In 1975, there was one craft brewery in the United States; today, there are more than 2,300. Powered by millions of savvy, devoted consumers and raking in hundreds of millions annually for producers and retailers, the American craft beer movement has changed the brewing industry and the international reputation of American beer. The Rogues at the heart of the revolution upended the Big Beer giants that once seemed untouchable and forever altered the culinary habits of not only millions of Americans but millions more worldwide. Tom Acitelli chronicles this delicious story of plucky triumph in his awesomely titled The Audacity of Hops: America’s Craft Beer Revolution.
April 19, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
As part of our month-long partnership with Stockholm Text, The Rogue Reader’s Edward Weinman chats with blockbuster Swedish crime writer Mari Jungstedt, recently hailed by Harlen Coben as ”one of the best writers of Scandinavian crime fiction.” Here’s Part Two of a Weinman’s Three-part Rogue Conversation.
Weinman: Because the series has been going for so many books now, readers have had a chance to get to know your characters quite well–and of course you know them intimately too! How did the Anders Knutas series come about?
When I started to write my first crime novel I was working as a news anchor on the Swedish Television, but I had an old dream of writing since I was a child. I wanted to be a journalist writing for newspapers or an author, but that seemed so impossible so I hardly dared to even consider it. Then in journalism school I got a lot of credit for my writing and the teachers thought everything I wrote was really good, so then I got the confidence that maybe I have a talent, maybe I can write. But after having graduated I got a job directly for the radio and the the Television, working as a news anchor, writing only short texts for telegrams to be read during the broadcast of the newsprogramme. I also got two children really quick, my husband and I built a new house and my sparetime was very busy with life itself during some years. But when the house was built and my children had started school I finally thought I would give it a try – so I did.
Weinman: What were the inspirations for detectives Anders Knutas, Karin Jacobsson and the reporter Johan Berg?
With Knutas, I wanted to have a police officer–since I was going to write a crime novel that seemed natural! When I started to write my book I contacted the chief of police in Visby ( don’t know the english word for the boss of the policemen working with crime, but he’s the head of the police department). He was very nice and answered all my questions and he is the role model for Anders Knutas – so in fact, Knutas exists in real life! His real name is Gösta Svensson , but he calls himself “Knutas” when he writes me!
One reason also why I wanted to have a journalist as a main character was because I wanted to use my long experience as a news journalist, and I’ve used Johan as a way of doing this–and as a way of writing about the ethical problems that reporters always come across in reporting about crime. Who should I interview and who should I not? How to treat victims of a crime or family/relatives. These questions are always interesting and new cases show up all the time. And maybe I made him a man to create a distance between him and me.
The conflict between the police and journalist is interesting and also their mutual need of each other. I have seen this very closely in my work as a newsjournalist. I think it is a necessary conflict because the police need the journalists when they want to, for instance, spread a message to the public and get in touch with witnesses and so on. On the other hand the journalists need the police for information – but at the same time the police doesn´t want to give away too much so it can have a negative impact on the investigation. It is a tricky business!
I think media plays a really important role in our view of crimes, both the one who commit them, but also the victims of crime. The past ten years there has been a big change, at least in Sweden, in the way media reports on crime. Nowadays it is much more common to describe more details, you get to follow every step the murderer for instance has taken, you get to know the family around the victim, they are being interviewed much more and in a different way than before. The name and face of the victim is being published really fast and also of the person who comits the crime.
But I also wanted to have important women in the series, since my two main characters are men. Karin is quite secretive in the first books, but she grows, more and more, in each book and her character becomes more and more important. And in my fifth book “ The dead of summer” her big secret is revealed and I think the reader will understand why she is acting the way she does. I also think the relationship between her and Knutas is interesting – are they just friends or is something else going on? The story between them will also develop in the series –I have just finished the 11th novel in the series and it will be published in Sweden in May.
Read more of Weinman’s interview with Jungstedt later this week here at The Rogue Reader. And buy Jungstedt’s latest ebook Killer’s Art bundled with Weinman’s Icelandic crime thriller The Ring Road, for one low price right here–it’s a deal you won’t find anywhere else.
April 10, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
As part of our month-long partnership with Stockholm Text, The Rogue Reader’s Edward Weinman chats with blockbuster Swedish crime writer Mari Jungstedt, recently hailed by Harlen Coben as ”one of the best writers of Scandinavian crime fiction.” Here’s Part One of a Weinman’s Three-part Rogue Conversation.
Weinman: You once worked as a news anchor, right? That came to mind immediately when you introduced one of your characters, reporter Johan Berg. And of course you write about the island of Gotland, where I know you spend a lot of your time. All this made me wonder, how much of your novels are inspired by your real life experiences? As with most writers, I imagine you write from a personal place, or at least begin there. How did you become a writer–and how did you choose the direction of your writing?
Jungstedt: I had three thoughts in my mind when I started my first attempt to write a book – I wanted it to be a crime novel, I wanted it to take place on Gotland and I wanted it to be about something more than “just” a suspenseful crime story – I wanted to tell something else, some human problem that people can relate to and find interesting, I wanted to have a depth in the story.
I chose to write a crime novel because I have always loved reading them myself. Even during my childhood I always loved suspenseful stories and mysteries. When I started to write I thought it was a big challenge to see if I could write in such a suspenseful way so the reader cannot stop reading. I have always been reading a lot of mysteries and crime novels, since I was a little girl and I loved Sir Artur Conan Doyles books about Sherlock Holmes and Enid Blyton novels about “The five” – “Five has a mystery to solve” etc…
I fell in love with the island of Gotland at the age of nine when I saw the sea for the first time and 20 years later I fell in love with Gotland again through my ex-husband who I met in journalist school (we were in the same class). He is from Visby and he has a big family – seven brothers and sisters and they have many children themselves – one sister has nine, one brother has seven, one sister has five – so our children have 28 cousins only on the island of Gotland! So through my ex-husband I have a big family on Gotland, we have a house on the island and I spend a lot of time there. I also thought Gotland would be perfect as a crime scene.
The rest of the year I live in Stockholm and I also rent a house on Gran Canaria where I write, especially in the wintertime. My husband and I were divorced in October last year, after 22 years together, but it was a very easy divorce and we are very good friends!! We keep the house on Gotland together and share it. Our children are turning 20 and 21 this year.
Weinman: So what drives your storytelling? What’s the engine behind your creativity?
Jungstedt: I do not only want to write for entertainment, even though I want my books to be very entertaining and suspenseful, but I also want to tell something else, something about humanity, how we people work and I do have a focus on the childhood and how it effects us. In my first novel I wanted to use my experiences of having been harassed in school and how that affected me in my life.
Since I was used to write only short television telegrams I asked myself – How do I start? I had never written anything longer before, so I decided to start in a very easy and modest way and with no big ambitions. First of all I wanted to see if I could write only one page. I thought it must be easiest if I tried to describe something concrete from my every day life.
I started to write about a memory I had from Gotland. One beautiful summer day in July I went to the beach on my own, a quite wild and deserted beach with no restaurants or cafeterias. When I got there it was sunny and warm and lots of people laying on the sand, swimming in the sea and children playing in the water. I laid down in a dune and fell fast asleep in the sand. When I woke up there was a completely different picture around me. All the people was gone, it was empty and quiet around me and a thick and huge mist had come in from the sea . The beach was suddenly abandoned and quiet and I could hardly see my hand in front of me because of the mist. It was beautiful, but also scary and it was completely silent. I started to write about this memory and it was like pushing a button, the words came floating out of me like a neverending stream. Then the story went on and I was writing whenever I got the chance – on weekends, after work, late at night and early in the morning. And then it became my first novel . And the mist is the same mist in the beginning of the novel, my first “Unseen”, when the young woman Helena Hillerström is walking to the beach with her dog early in the morning and suddenly she is in the middle of the mist that is coming in from the sea and her dog disappears in the mist and then she meets her murderer…
When I had written about half of the manuscript for my first book I contacted the biggest publishing company in Sweden, Bonniers ( Albert Bonniers Forlag). I had no contact with the publishing world and I did not know any authors. I asked to speak to a publisher. He listened to my story ( he also knew who I was from TV so that probably helped a bit). He told me I had to finish my book and then I could send the manuscript directly to him. It took me three months to finish the script and after sending it he called me after three days and said – this is a pageturner – we will publish this! It was like a dream – I was at the furniturehouse Ikea with a friend when he called and I just screamed of joy and almost fell into a shelf with lamps!!!
That is now eleven years ago and I have written eleven novels in the series so far. I just finished my eleventh novel and it will be released in Sweden in the middle of May – and I love writing!
Read more of Weinman’s interview with Jungstedt later this week here at The Rogue Reader. And buy Jungstedt’s latest ebook Killer’s Art bundled with Weinman’s Icelandic crime thriller The Ring Road, for one low price right here–it’s a deal you won’t find anywhere else.
April 5, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
During the Scandinavian winters, the cold creeps into your bones. The sky is gray like a bullet. And snow dumps continuously, turning ashen as exhaust spews from cars and buses.
Winter’s attributes mark the perfect setting for Scando crime novels, where killers are on the loose, hiding out in the murky darkness of an urban cityscape. This bleak, mysterious setting is brilliantly turned on its head in The Dead of Summer, the fifth novel in Mari Jungstedt’s Gotland series, featuring detective superintendent Anders Knutas. In The Dead of Summer, Jungstedt once again sequesters her readers on Gotland and other Swedish islands located in the Baltic Sea–but this time during the height of summer.
Whatever the weather, islands are the ideal location for Jungstedt’s crime thrillers: tension rises when detectives Knutas and his protégé Karin Jacobsson, meddling TV journalist Johan Berg and his photographer Pia, and we the readers are trapped in a claustrophobic space with an unknown killer, our only escape the odd ferry.
The Dead of Summer begins with the murder of a vacationing father on the beach, a summer idyll gone awry. In a city like Stockholm, the suspect could be anywhere in the city’s denseness, hiding out in alleys, underpasses or tenements rising high into the burlap sky. But on Gotland–or in this case Fårö, where the murder takes place–the perp is someone from the tented campsite where Peter Bovide was vacationing with his wife and small children.
In another twist, Jungstedt launches her novel without her protagonist. The murder occurs while detective Knutas is off island taking a much-deserved vacation, which means Jacobsson must handle the investigation on her own. But ever the workaholic, Knutas can’t stay away for long, and his return is met with mixed emotions by Jacobsson: she is glad to have him back, but frustrated not to sleuth out the suspects all on her own.
Jungstedt’s taut prose is gloriously deceptive. The Dead of Summer is not a fast-moving thriller, but the author’s storytelling delves briskly into her characters’ personal lives, a much-welcomed break from so many Scando crime novels that read too much like a screenplay–all action and zero interior motivations.
Without overloading the novel with action-packed set pieces, Jungstedt provides readers with enough bullet-torn corpses and mystery to keep us turning the pages. Eventually those pages lead lead to the docking of a Russian ship, and a second murder that sends Knutas and Jacobsson scurrying to find the missing link between the two deaths.
All month long, we’re celebrating the great books coming out of the upstart digital publisher Stockholm Text. And we’re pairing their best with ours. Right now, you can grab Mari Jungstedt’s latest novel Killer’s Art in a bundle with Edward Weinman’s debut Icelandic thriller The Ring Road. Buy them both with one click below, and be transported to the chilly criminal landscapes imagined by two accomplished authors.
April 2, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
In this one-of-a-kind ebook bundle, we’re pairing the latest from Swedish crime fiction legend Mari Jungstedt with a breakout debut from Edward Weinman. From Jungstedt’s picturesque yet uncanny island of Gotland to the frigid isolation of Weinman’s volcanic Iceland, you’ll be transported into the imaginations of two chart-topping Scandinavian crime writers–and for one low price.
“Killer’s Art + The Ring Road” by Mari Jungstedt + Edward Weinman on Ganxy
March 24, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
This week Barnes & Noble is spotlighting Mark T. Conard‘s crime novel Dark as Night, the first in his Philly Payback Series, and to give you a glimpse of the man behind the moment, The Rogue Reader‘s Ro Cuzon interviews Mark in our continuing Rogue Conversations Series. Read an extended excerpt of Dark as Night - and download the book for any ereader you like. (And if you’ve not yet discovered Ro Cuzon, do the same with his acclaimed crime novels too.)
RO CUZON: You are the Chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. What drew you to Crime Fiction?
MARK T CONARD: I started writing crime/suspense by accident. I started working on a screenplay in grad school with a friend of mine. When we began, we didn’t have any particular genre in mind. We just wanted to come up with a story, and it turned out to be a suspense/mystery. We came up with a crude outline of the plot and some character sketches, and he left it to me to put it into screenplay format, which I didn’t know how to do. I let it sit in my desk drawer for a couple of years, then decided one summer to turn it into a novel. I wrote, rewrote, edited, read in the genre (I’d never read any suspense or crime literature until I started writing it), and finally came up with a complete draft. I enjoyed the process so much, that I started right away on a second one. Dark as Night was the fourth manuscript I completed, and the first one published, originally by Uglytown.
That’s kind of how I ended up in the genre, too. It was actually Adam who suggested I went the Crime Fiction route. Since my stories always included drugs and shady characters, I guess it wasn’t that big of a leap.
Quite a while now. He signed me up after the first novel I wrote in English and really taught me a lot—back then I don’t think I even knew what ‘plot’ was. So which are the genre’s authors you think had the biggest influence on your writing/style?
My biggest influences have been Elmore Leonard, Jim Thompson, James Ellroy, Raymond Chandler, and David Goodis. When I started writing, I was consciously imitating the style of one of these guys. I wrote an Elmore Leonard novel, and then a Jim Thompson novel, and then a James Ellroy novel. It was in the middle of my sixth novel that I found my voice. I was reading some pages and I realized, “this sounds like me!”
These are a few of my favorite authors as well. Now, you’re the editor of several non-fiction books about the relationship between philosophy & cinema (Woody Allen; Scorcese; Spike Lee; The Coen brothers; Noir; Neo-Noir; even one on the Simpsons). How did that series come about. Was it your idea?
I first got into film and philosophy (or more broadly, popular culture and philosophy) when I wrote an essay on symbolism and meaning in Pulp Fiction. After that, a friend and colleague, Bill Irwin, had the brilliant idea of doing a volume on Seinfeld and philosophy. That was right around the time the show was going off the air. Subsequently, Bill and I, along with another friend, Aeon Skoble, edited a volume on the Simpsons, and that’s what really started the whole thing. It really launched a new sub-category of contemporary philosophical analysis. The publisher of that book decided to do a series and made Bill the general editor. Aeon and I then did a book on Woody Allen for Bill’s series, and then I decided to start my own series at a different press. So my film noir, neo-noir, Scorsese, Coen brothers, and Spike Lee books are all published in my own series. This is my main area of scholarly work.
Very cool. And is that non-fiction series of yours available in eBook format as well or just print?
The philosophy books are available in e-format as well.
Speaking of Neo-Noir, I just read and thoroughly enjoyed Dark As Night, the first novel of your Philly Payback series now out from The Rogue Reader. I especially dug how you incorporated food and the restaurant business. I love to cook and worked in the service industry for close to twenty years, which is to say I’m very familiar with it, and those restaurant or cooking scenes in your book were dead on. Did you work in restaurants or hang out with chefs?
You know, I never really worked in a restaurant or hung out with chefs (save for a brief stint as a dishwasher at a country club when I was in college). It’s just that I adore good food and eating well, and I love going to good restaurants and trying new places, etc. As I noted on the Bublish excerpt, I didn’t have access to really great food when I was growing up in the Midwest. We ate well, in the sense of having food on the table and being nourished, but I never really experienced cooking and food as artistry until I moved to Philly, which was and is a great restaurant city. So that side of my aesthetic sensibility was awakened, and great food, eating well, became a terrific passion of mine. So it was natural for me to make the main character a chef and to set many of the scenes in restaurants. I also had a lot of fun with food and digestion as a metaphor in that book—the cop who has no appetite, the bloated gangster who’s dyspeptic, and so forth. That’s also why I thought that Nietzsche quote worked so well as an epigraph. As I side note, I only recently have started to figure out how to cook well. I tried it a number of times over the years, but I was always a disaster at it. Something just didn’t click. But now I’m doing better.
Yeah. Food and writing, man. They saved my life. Literally. Well, and wine, too.
Cool. Too bad you don’t live closer. Seems like we’d have a lot of fun hanging out.
Indeed. Let’s try to make it happen next time I’m in New York. OK. One final question for you: how did you get involved with The Rogue Reader?
I met Adam years ago, around the time that Dark as Night first came out. We kept in touch over the years. I’d send him some work periodically, but for whatever reason things didn’t happen. So a few months ago a filmmaker in LA got in touch with me about optioning the movie rights to Dark. He’d seen a terrific online review of the book that Eric Beetner had written not long ago; he found the book, loved it, and thought it would make a great movie. I had been working with another agent for a while, but he hadn’t been able to place my work. He was an older man and died after a short illness earlier last year. So, needing representation, I reached out to Adam to help me negotiate any movie deal that might happen. He agreed to help, and we got on the phone one afternoon, and he started telling me about The Rogue Reader. I told him I’d been continually writing, so I had a backlog of good manuscripts. In addition, since the original publisher of Dark had gone out of business, those rights had reverted to me. So we realized that the time was right, and everything came together very fortuitously. I’m very pleased and excited to have joined you and the other Rogue authors.
Yeah, welcome to the team, man. Good to have you. I enjoyed chatting with you and I’m looking forward to reading your other books. And I’ll definitely give you a shout next time I’m up in NYC.
Great. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I really appreciate it.
March 15, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
March 13, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
Mark T. Conard knows noir.
The Chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, Mark’s the editor of The Philosophy of Film Noir, The Philosophy of Neo-Noir, The Philosophy of Martin Scorsese and more.
This month The Rogue Reader launches his Philly Payback series with two neo-noir novels that January Magazine says “readers who crave Elmore Leonard in his more whimsical mode should eat right up.” Here’s the intro to the series:
Philadelphia. The City of Brotherly Love. The Cradle of Liberty. The Birthplace of America.And one tough-ass town.Conard’s Philly Payback Series takes you down the cracked and crooked back streets of an iconic American city to the dark and dirty secrets that lie hidden behind the boastful museums and white-washed history. A city that never lets a hero stand too long, Conard’s Philadelphia is full of men and women swaying between virtue and vice, waiting for the tough winter wind off the Delaware to blow them one way or the other. In Dark as Night, a young man tries to claw his way out of the mean streets, only to get sucked back into his criminal past when his brother is released from Graterford with an offer of one last job. In Killer’s Coda, a brilliant psychologist assists the police as they hunt for a serial killer, but soon finds himself on the wrong side of the investigation, with no one to trust–including himself.This is a city of grit and guts, of murder and retribution. This is Philly Payback.
Connect with Mark on Twitter, and come back to The Rogue Reader all this month for lots of great material from Mark and his fellow Rogues. And sign up for The Weekly Rogue–every seven days we’ll deliver great suspense fiction from Mark and others right to your inbox.
March 7, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
Roger Hobbs stunning debut thriller Ghostman is the story of five epic heists, four happening concurrently, between the sun-baked concrete and sticky waters of Atlantic City, and one occurring in a past that won’t stay gone. The full fist of heists are connected in ways apparent and hidden, and the consequences of each layer on top of each other to form a richly imbricated story world of crime and conscience. The novel itself is sheer pleasure, with Hobbs delivering details of armored trucks, guns, getaway cars with an easy expertise. Violent without being gratuitous, set in a character-rich world of high-stakes thievery, the novel employs the standard tropes of heist fiction to great effect. The valuable Macguffin. The thugs and goonies as expendable as the cars. The Nameless Hero with a hidden past and a brilliant, unquiet mind (he sometimes goes by the name of Jack, but if you think that’s really his name, he’s fooled you already). The ticking time bomb that injects urgency into every minute (in this book, it’s literal: the money will explode if not found in a day and a half, and the countdown begins by page five). In the hands of lesser writers, these devices would seem familiar and perhaps uninspired. But Hobbs is not a lesser writer (see Heist #5).
Heist #1: The Inciting Incident
In Hobbs’ explosive first chapter, two thugs lie in wait in a casino parking garage, counting down the nervous early-morning minutes before their target arrives–an armored truck scheduled to drop a platter of cash before the casino’s opening. It’s an operation that should have been simple–if not easy: a 40 second flurry of guns and blood, followed by a dash of heavy feet, a squeal of tires, and a sprint to the hideout with a federal payload. Its the kind of operation the distant and diabolically brilliant heistmaster Marcus once excelled at. But unlike a typical Marcus heist, it’s the kind of heist that was doomed from the start. A lone gunman watched the burglary from the back of the garage, his rifle aimed at the gunmen waiting for the armored car. Before the half-minute heist is done, one of the theives is dead, the other mortally wounded. Who the gunman was, how they knew, and what they want–these are why Marcus calls Ghostman out of hiding and back into action. That, and he’s got to get his money back, which is currently in the car of a dying thief hiding somewhere in New Jersey, waiting to blow up.
Heist #2: The Botched Job
That call wasn’t the first Ghostman had received from Marcus. A few years before the book begins Marcus tapped Ghostman to be part of an elite team that would target a high security bank, stealing millions in one of the most daring and inventive heists in bank-breaking history. Two days before zero hour, Ghostman makes the smallest of errors, setting into motion a chain of events that would leave the team broken, its members dead or captured or on the run, and force Ghostman to leave behind the only woman he’s ever loved. And it would put him in the debt of Marcus, a man who does not write off losses (for example, look for the shudder-inducing scene with the force-feeding of nutmeg…).
March 5, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
March 1, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
Like your beer with a unique Scottish twist? Honestly, that’s a question you’ve probably never thought about, but once you’ve had an ale from Olde Burnside Brewing Company, you might feel like donning a kilt the next time you go drinking. The Scots are known for being a rough-and-tumble crowd, and Olde Burnside would make even the meanest, toughest Scot proud. This East Hartford, Connecticut microbrewery proudly claims that it uses only the highest quality hops and ingredients during the brewing process and does not use filter, pasteurize, or include any additives, stabilizers, or preservatives in its beers. They’re all about providing the freshest and most full-flavored beers around, and they have become a local favorite since they opened in 2000.Olde Burnside beers can be found in 7 states across the Northeast, so next time you’re feeling a wee bit Scottish, pick up their flagship Ten Penny Ale or their Penny Weiz Ale and enjoy a rich taste of Scotland. Leave the bagpipes at home, though. Or hell. Bring them with you and make some noise.
May 11, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
By MARK T CONARD Ralphie rode in the back of Pete’s Chevy Impala, while Pete steered, and Quentin sat in the front seat next to …
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