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Barbara D'Amato on The Choirboys, 2011 Edgar Award Nominations, Mardi Gras Reads, and Finding True Love at Mystery Conventions
If the winter weather has gotten you down, our guest for "Writers on Reading" this month, Barbara D'Amato
, has a suggestion: Joseph Wambaugh's The Choirboys
And if a healthy dose of Joseph Wambaugh's
outrageous black comedy doesn't cure the winter doldrums, there's a lot more going on in February: Edgar Awards buzz
(read our MS
reviews of all Best Novel nominees); tales of true love on the mystery convention circuit in honor of Valentine's Day;
and some of our favorite Mardi Gras
Oh, and how could we forget? The #118 Winter Issue of Mystery Scene
, featuring Robert Crais
, author of the Elvis Cole
series, is just on the horizon for late February. The forthcoming issue also includes a chat with Jill Paton Walsh
about her latest continuation of Dorothy L. Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey
mysteries, a look at TV's most intriguing PI, Kalinda Sharma
on The Good Wife
(CBS), a selection of crime films featuring journalists, and a look at Steven Hockensmith's Holmes on the Range
adventures, and Lawrence Block
remembers his friendship with Evan Hunter
(aka Ed McBain
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Barbara D'Amato on The Choirboys
Cheering up by behaving badly with the LAPD
I'm not given to depression, for which I am grateful. I'm good at worrying, but I don't do depression. However, several years ago we had moved out of a house where we had lived a long time and into an apartment. Maybe it was the effort, or the change of surroundings, but I became sad. I felt as if I spent every day living under a big damp dishrag.
Then by sheer accident, I picked up a copy of The Choirboys, a book I had read before, which had survived the move. By page 40 or so, I felt the depression lift.
The story is loosely hung on a killing in MacArthur Park by one of the officers and the subsequent hearing. Ten officers, stressed out from urban policing, meet in the park for what they call "choir practice" - heavy drinking, occasional group sex with neighborhood barmaids, soothing their feelings of loneliness and disillusionment, and telling war stories - a child slashed into pieces, a dead body covered with rat bites.
The Choirboys raised a storm of outrage when it was first published 1975. Kirkus called it "...a brutal, brutalizing book...an obscenity in a toilet stall..."
I guess they didn't like it.
The Choirboys is politically mega-incorrect, truly poignant, and flat-out hilarious, black comedy at its blackest but funniest. There were whole pages where I could not stop laughing.
The Choirboys is in-your-face stuff. If you read it, you are going to react to it. It takes you by the hair and says, "Pay attention!" Maybe I just got over feeling drab and gloomy on my own, just coincidence, but I believe The Choirboys blasted me back to life.
Barbara D'Amato's latest is Other Eyes (Forge Books, January 2011). www.barbaradamato.com
"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers.
2011 Edgar Nominees Announced
Mystery Writers of America announced its Nominees for the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2010. The Edgar Awards will be presented to the winners at our 65th Gala Banquet, April 28, 2011 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.
Congratulations to all the nominees!
BEST NOVEL NOMINEES
For a full list of all categories and nominees including BEST FIRST NOVEL, BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL, and BEST SHORT STORY, please click here.
- Caught by Harlan Coben (Penguin Group USA - Dutton)
Romancing the Con
Have you found true love on the mystery circuit?
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Mystery Scene is sharing our very romantic article "Romancing the Con," from Issue #113, about four couples who found true love in some unusual places - mystery conventions!
Share your story of love at first write and win!Have you also found love on the mystery circuit? We want to hear your story. One lucky couple will win a Mystery Scene package of romantic reads. Send your true tale of the heart to us at info@MysterySceneMag.com.
Image courtesy of Elana (sourpatch) @ Flickr.
"He was a true Briton, ordering the girl he loved out of danger and remaining loyal to
his billy goat of a brother."
- Amelia Peabody praising her future brother-in-law, Walter Emerson, Crocodile on the Sandbank, 1975, by Elizabeth Peters
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