Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I just founded a publishing company

Well, not exactly. I just didn't do it, just like that, it was a long and at times frustrating process. But now it's up, after planning it and thinking about it for many, many years.

The publishing company is called Helmivyö in Finnish. I'm not really sure what it should be called in English - literally it's a bit like "a string of pearls", but the word "helmivyö" is an old word originally meant to be the Finnish translation of "anthology". It's probably translated from the Italian "collana", which means both "collection" and "jewel". And so my publishing company does a lot of anthologies.

The first of which is Ajokortti helvettiin ("License to Hell", according to the short story the title was taken from), a collection of flash fiction stories I published in my short-lived Ässä magazine (plus three new stories from Rob Hart, Stephen D. Rogers and Anthony Neil Smith).

There is also a collection of my reviews, articles and what not about American hardboiled crime novel, called Epämiellyttäviä päähenkilöitä ("Unpleasant Protagonists"). It turned out to be almost 300 pages! There's stuff ranging from John K. Butler and old true crime mags to James Ellroy and Gillian Flynn. (Okay, I'm cheating a bit, since Flynn isn't hardboiled, but she's noir, and that's close enough.)

The third book is Kalmankylväjä ("Deathbringer" or something like that) by Petri Hirvonen, a very short and tense action novel taking place somewhere in South America.

Two of the books, my collection and Petri's novel, were designed by J.T. Lindroos, the mastermind originally hailing from Finland. The cover for the flash fiction anthology was done by Jenni Jokiniemi.

The books are available only in print-on-demand. They are not available as e-books, since there are no markets for them in Finland. (It's a long and boring story.) I have plans for future books (actually I have four almost ready), and this might be something, well, not big, but biggish. We'll see. I'm not one to boast about my possible successes. You can see more here (it's obviously in Finnish).

PS. There might be some translations in the future, as I've accumulated lots of connections through years. I'll contact you.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Joe R. Lansdale binge

I've been reading lots of Joe Lansdale lately, since I wrote an article on him and his works for the magazine of the Finnish Whodunit Society. Here's a lowdown and some mini-reviews:

The Thicket: amazing Western novel that approaches horror literature without using any topics of the horror genre.

Paradise Sky: great epic Western with a very sympathetic African-American lead, some very violent scenes throughout.

Cold in July: great film, but even a better book, one of Lansdale's best. Lansdale himself dubbed this as his Gold Medal paperback. Lots of twists and turns, but I thought each and every one of them was logical.

The Bottoms: great mix of Mark Twain and more gory horror, though I saw quite early who the killer was. (It's never any reason for me to read a crime novel, to keep guessing who the killer is.) Great characters, people you wanted to know about and care for them.

Sunset and Sawdust: maybe a bit too reminiscent of The Bottoms, but still a very good crime novel, with a plausible and likable female lead and his two not-so-likable helpers. Lansdale does the epoque very well without emphasizing it too much. I like that.

Leather Maiden: possibly Lansdale's most conventional crime novel, but thoughtful and gripping nevertheless.

The Nightrunners: some terrific scenes and great characters, but there seemed to be a subtext of warning about teenage criminals, which felt odd.

I'd read almost all of the Hap and Leonard books earlier, so I read now only Mucho Mojo (great) and Vanilla Ride (a bit too straight-forward, but entertaining nevertheless). I didn't have time to read Devil Red nor Honky Tonk Samurai (nor the novellas that were published interim), a short mention based on what I could find had to suffice.

Lansdale doesn't have a Finnish publisher now. He hasn't had one since 2003. That's a crime. Someone should do something about it, what with the Hap and Leonard show on HBO and the graphic novel series coming out.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Donald Westlake's James Bond treatment surfaces as a novel

Hard Case Crime has dug up a James Bond novel Donald Westlake wrote as a treatment several years ago. It looks great. I'm not interested in the Bonds in the least, but this might be worth a look.