John Wisniewski interviews Paul Heatley

When did you begin writing, Paul? I’ve been writing stories since I was very young – any scrap of paper I could find I’d scribble a story on, usually about existing characters In was aware of, like the X-Men or whatever other cartoon I’d been watching. In high school I wrote a lot of horror,…

Art/Heist by K. A. Laity

When I’m not thinking about grifters, I’m probably thinking about heists. There’s a good bit of overlap in the miscreants involved in each, I’m sure. Are we talking fiction or non-fiction? I hesitate to call it reality. Does anything seem real right now?  With news that there’s was another big art theft this week, we…

THE COOL OF CLASSIC NOIR – Janet Roger

Here’s something that quite startled me not that long ago, from a eulogy given in Washington Cathedral for a remarkable American. The speaker was recalling a capacity John McCain had, for what she called …a stoic silence that was once the mark of an American man. So why should that startle me? Well, I suppose…

Overlooked Crime: Rebuilding Coventry – Sue Townsend by K. A. Laity

Best known for the Adrian Mole books, the late Sue Townsend wrote a variety of other interesting novels, memoirs and plays. I picked up this one after Beth Jellicoe mentioned it on her piece about Muriel Sparks’ Loitering with Intent, the latter certainly one of my faves amongst her many fine novels—and a book that…

Overlooked Noir: Crack-Up (1946) by K. A. Laity

No surprise that this one would appeal to me: Noir ambience? Check. Art and art forgery plot? Check. Mind manipulation? Check! Yeah, art and a sort of Hannibal connection, well – I’m sold. Never mind that Crack-Up stars Pat O’Brien, an unlikely everyman as its hero. It’s got Claire Trevor though, with a wild swathe…

Noir Classics: Vera Caspery’s Bedelia (1946) by K. A. Laity

Having finally caught the film I knew I had to get around to the novel. A key change: the novel is set during 1913, when the writer herself had been in high school. Caspary must have decided the past was a better setting; there’s the practical matter of being truly snowbound in the last part…

The FU School of Writing School by Graham Wynd

When your books are less than successful, when you find it hard to make a splash, people tend to say the same kind of things:   Don’t give up! Your audience is out there! You’ll find them and connect. Stick with it.   I am here to tell you that this is not true. The…

Grifter Life: Can You Ever Forgive Me? by K A Laity

Behind the terrific 2018 film is the slim volume penned by serial forger/biographer Lee Israel. Memoirs of a Literary Forger fascinates not only for its insight into how Israel managed to pull off not one but two iterations of forgeries, but also for the evident joy the process brought. She found great pleasure in channeling…

Gresham and the King of the Spook Workers by K. A. Laity

With the swirl of anticipation beginning to rise around Guillermo del Toro’s remake of Nightmare Alley, it’s a good time to look back at a tantalisingly incomplete project of William Lindsay Gresham. ‘King of the Spook Workers’ is collected in the 2013 volume Grindshow from Centipede Press, which also offers a balanced overview of the…