Depeschen mit dem Leitwort

»What is certain is that this Death Penalty volume offers a rich, innovative approach to a confounding topic. One can only hope that it will be broadly read and debated.«

Jan Mieszkowski

Derrida and the Death Penalty: Jan Mieszkowski reviews The Death Penalty, Volume I by Jacques Derrida. His review and an interview with Peggy Kamuf, the translator of the book, by Arne De Boever you will find at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

»«Mad scientists! Hard-boiled detectives! Vengeful goddesses! Murderous robots! Scandalous starlets! Drug-fueled love affairs!» screeches the back cover of The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction. Also, stories about hidden tombs, debauched maharajas, evil curses, pornographic films, and unusual murders.

They were the universally sumptuous fare of pulp but with a lip-smacking regional twist. While many of the Blaft anthologies’ stories (a second volume arrived in 2010) deal with fantastical figures borrowed and reimagined from Western pulp fiction, in a strange reversal, they are also grounded in recognizably common preoccupations about morality, familial duty, and marriage: staples of Tamil popular culture and my grandmother’s library.«

Kaavya Asoka

Pickles, Puja, and Pulp: Kaavya Asoka about The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction and The Blaft Anthology of Tamil Pulp Fiction, Vol. II by Rakesh Khanna, translated by Pritham K. Chakravarthy. Her review at The Los Angeles Review of Books.

  • Ask Not by Max Allan Collins
  • Under the Eye of God by Jerome Charyn
  • Black Wings Has My Angel by Elliot Chaze
  • Snitch World by Jim Nisbet
  • Others of My Kind by James Sallis
  • The Maid’s Version by Daniel Woodrell
  • 3 Steps to Hell by Arnold Hano
  • Dead Lions by Mick Herron
  • Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives ed. by Sarah Weinman
  • Laidlaw by William McIlvanney

The king of noir Woody Haut picks the best of 2013. His list and other favorites you will find at Los Angeles Review of Books.

»Presumed Innocent is a wildly innovative work of fiction that upends several genres at once while simultaneously creating an entirely new subgenre of its own. But after that book, Turow stopped innovating. His later books, including this year’s Identical, while all a cut above the general run of mystery novels, stay obediently within the proscribed lines of their genre.«

Michael Bourne

Not merely a well-crafted legal thriller: Michael Bourne about the novel Presumed Innocent (published in 2011) by Scott Turow. His review at Los Angeles Review of Books.

»But Maggie differed from her contemporaries in another crucial way. In an era when most mysteries featured strong men, or non-aggressive women like Miss Marple or Nancy Drew, Maggie’s protagonists were smart, difficult, and sometimes threatening. They were women who shared a quietly desperate view of a hard-boiled world.«

Kathleen Sharp

Mores and corruptions of a stratified society: Kathleen Sharp with worth reading portait about literary suspense author Margaret’Maggie‘ Millar. Her portrait The Dangerous Housewife at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

»As part of Terror of the Soul, The Morgan has booked a spectacular program of events that run through January 16, 2014. It includes screenings of Murders in the Rue Morgue (1932) and House of Usher (1960), several gallery talks and guided tours, a performance by Elevator Repair Service, a reading by Robert Pinsky, and a discussion with Paul Auster. One of the events in the program won’t happen, after all. Lou Reed was scheduled to appear on November 5. He died too soon. Reed’s 2003 album The Raven adopted several of Poe’s tales and poems. His voice on these tracks has a dark jitteriness that seems just right. I can’t say why, exactly, but when I was standing in the library, looking at the Poe relics and thinking about Lou Reed, I kept hearing an earlier lyric, again and again: «It’s hard to live in the city.»«

Caleb Smith

Poe in Hard Times: Caleb Smith about the exhibition Edgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York. His review at Los Angeles Review of Books.

»Christie famously called Poirot a «detestable, bombastic, tiresome, ego-centric little creep,» a string of adjectives so often quoted it’s difficult to find their original source. Her exhaustion with the character is apparent, though. Poirot first appeared in her 1920 novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, and by 1936 —14 books later — Christie grew frustrated enough to insert a version of herself into the story.«

Molly McArdle

Tidy little man: Molly McArdle with a worth reading portrait about Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective created by Agatha Christie. Her essay A Time-Lapse Detective: 25 Years of Agatha Christie’s ‚Poirot‘ at Los Angeles Review of Books.

»Scandinavian crime fiction has challenged the readers a bit more than crime fiction from other countries. When you see «crime novel» on the cover of a book in Scandinavia it’s not synonymous with pulp fiction. It could be pulp fiction of course, and easy entertainment — myself, I see myself as an entertainer — but entertainment doesn’t have to be light entertainment. I take my entertainment quite seriously. And I think that’s the thing about Scandinavian crime writers, [they] have this mandate of addressing problems in society. All books are political — whether the writer is aware of it or not.«

Jo Nesbø

«I’m sorry about last night»: Thriller writer Jo Nesbø started his conversation with Nancie Clare with an apology. What has happend? Find out in the worth reading interview at the Los Angeles Reviews of Books.

»At the end of the day, Pochoda’s Visitation Street has given me more respect for Denis Lehane, for choosing such a complex and nuanced story about urban America. Hopefully, the imprint will continue to find authors who aren’t afraid to go beyond labels and safe places.«

Neelanjana Banerjee

Class and racial tensions: Neelanjana Banerjee about the novel Visitation Street by Ivy Pochoda. Her review at the Los Angeles Review of Books.

»The end of Night Film leaves us with more questions than answers, which is both beautiful and appropriate for a novel that resists clear solutions and buries mystery within mystery.«

Edan Lepucki

»What Night Film gives us, finally, is a competing digital world, one that’s entirely under Pessl’s control, one in which she suffers no risk of exposure.«

Maggie Doherty

Use your illusion & The novelist goes to the movies: Read two reviews on Marisha Pessl’s Night Film. Edan Lepucki and Maggie Doherty about the novel – at Los Angeles Review of Books.