Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happy Deathday Mr. Chandler

Los Angeles, CA

Raymond Chandler died 50 years ago today. Rampant alcoholism, acute depression, at least one suicide attempt. The man was a mess.

But goddamn could he write.

I don't think I could say anything about him that isn't being said better by somebody else. So...

L.A. Weekly

L.A. Times

L.A. Times again

The Baltimore Sun

The Rap Sheet

And if they're not full up (and you've got the cash and the time) you might want to consider taking a short course on Mr. Chandler's novels and films at USC (warning - PDF) conducted by Judith Freeman, author of The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler And The Woman He Loved.  Starts March 31, goes on for 4 weeks. 

At the very least crack open that copy of The Big Sleep or pop in the DVD.  And then somebody please tell me who killed the chauffeur.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

She'll Have The Best Rack In Jail

Huntington beach, CA

People commit identity theft for a few different reasons.  Money, sure. Flat screen tv or a new ipod, absolutely.  Boob job, not so much.

Yvonne Pampellone, 30 (sure she is), allegedly stole someone's identity and charged $12K in liposuction and breast enhancements from The Pacific Center For Plastic Surgery in Huntington Beach.

Wow.  There's some freaky psychology right there.  Wonder what the inside of her head's like.  Think about that for a second.  She stole an identity to be somebody else so that she could get surgery to be somebody else.  Her therapist might want to brush up on his Escher.

And who'd she get the work done for?  Her boyfriend?  Herself?  Her desperate desire to be wanted and loved and my god won't a new body fix all of that, daddy, please?

I have mixed views about plastic surgery.  On the one hand I get the desire to match an ideal.  Lots of pressure there for men and women.  Big boobs (side note: I accidentally typed "books" there at first - tells you where my mind's at - The hell is wrong with me?), flat stomach, pecs, ass, whatever.  We all want to look good.  We all want to get some.  We all want to be loved.  Everyone has the right to do whatever the fuck they want with their bodies.

On the other hand you're paying someone to slice into you, suck shit out, fold shit around and sew it all back together again.  Surgery. Like knock you out you might not wake up again type stuff.

And on the third hand (Trust me, I got a lot of hands) I've got a tattoo.  I'm planning on getting more.  And on the fourth hand... well, I could go on all day.

So, yeah, when it comes to identity issues, I'm a fucking poster child.  Like that's news.  Really, you have no idea.

Good luck, Yvonne.  Between the 12K in medical bills, the 20K in bail money, the god knows how much for your lawyer and therapists, I think you're going to need it.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lookin' Good Chuck!

Corcoran, CA

Charles Manson's still around. Who knew?

Officials at Corcoran State Prison in Kings County released a new photo of the old psychopath and damn but doesn't he look like your crazy gimpy grandfather right before he downed a six of Heineken and took grandma out with a tire iron.

Well, looks like mine, anyway.

Kevin Roderick over at L.A. Observed has some photos of Mr. Manson over the years. Even as a youngster you could see it in his eyes. Batshit crazy.

See you in another 20, Chuckles.

Smokey The Bear Would Be Proud

Riverside, CA

In case y'all hadn't noticed, we're not big fans of fire out here. Almost every year... okay, every year, Southern California burns. High winds, dry weather, lightning strikes. Can't do much about those. I mean, shit happens. But arson? Well, that's a different story.

Raymond Lee Oyler was found guilty in March of deliberately setting the 2006 Esperanza fire that killed five firefighters and burned 24,000 acres in less than a day. Five counts of first degree murder, 20 counts of arson and 17 counts of using an incendiary device.

Kind of thing pisses people off round these parts. And on Wednesday the jury recommended the death penalty.

Remember boys and girls, only you can prevent psycho torch wielding arsonists.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Secret To Happy Families

San Bernardino, CA

There weren't a lot of arguments in our house when I was growing up. We were all sane, rational people. Plus we were all armed.

That's an important point. The family that can shank each other in the back is the family that... something something. I don't remember. Anyway. Maintaniing balance is important. Without it, well, you get this.

Rhonda Hensley, 43-years-old, was arrested Sunday on charges of attempted murder after allegedly shooting her daughter, 24-year-old Esmeralda Tovar. Seems there was a family argument and one thing, as they often do, led to another.

Ms Hensley is also being held on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon and violating her parole. Did I mention she was out on parole?

Now all this could have been avoided if Ms Tovar had just been packing herself. Sure, it might not have stopped a batshit crazy ex-con from yanking the trigger, but at least she would have been in a position to return fire.

Hey, it worked for us.

Friday, March 13, 2009

More Writerly Stuff - This Is Getting To Be A Habit Edition

Book 'Em Mysteries - 1118 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA 91030 626-799-9600

Saturday, March 14, 2:00 P.M.
Earlene Fowler signs Love Mercy
The bestselling author of "The Saddlemaker's Wife" and the Agatha Award-winning Benni Harper mystery series returns with her latest novel. After being widowed, Love Mercy Johnson has come to terms with her life in Morro Bay, California. She spends her time writing columns for a regional magazine, helping her in-laws work their ranch, and trying to move on. But her dreams of reconciliation with her long-estranged grandchildren come true when her eighteen-year- old brokenhearted granddaughter, Rett, unexpectedly shows up. When a family crisis forges an unexpected connection between the two grieving women, they must discover if by working together, they can change their lives, and the lives of those they love, for the better.
Huh. Not my bag, but if it's yours swing by and grab a copy.

Sunday, March 15, 12 Noon
Cara Black signs Murder in the Latin Quarter
A Haitian woman arrives at the office of Leduc Detective and announces that she is Aimee's sister, her father's illegitimate daughter. Aimee is thrilled. A virtual orphan since her mother's disappearance and her father's death, she has always wanted a sister. Her partner, Rene, is wary of this stranger, but Aimee embraces her and soon finds herself involved in murky Haitian politics leading to murder. The setting is the Latin Quarter on the Left Bank of the Seine, in the old university district of Paris.
Murky politics, orphaned children, and MURDER! I'm all for dead Frenchmen.

Mysteries To Die For - 2940 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, California 91362

Saturday, March 14, 11:00 a.m.
Susan Arnout Smith signs Out At Night
San Diego crime scene tech Grace Descanso gets drawn into the investigation of the brutal slaying of Professor Bartholomew, an outspoken opponent of genetically modified crops. The FBI question Grace because her name was discovered in the victim’s phone. Grace cannot explain this fact since she did not know the man. Family secrets and an alarming threat by radical protesters come into play in this nail-biting sequel to The Timer Game. Join us for a special event of good snacks and good conversation with this rising new talent.
Saturday, March 14, 1:00 p.m.
Hannah Dennison signs Scoop
Melinda Wells signs Death Takes The Cake
Double the pleasure and double the fun for cozy fans as we welcome back to the store Hannah Dennison, the creator of investigative reporter Vicky Hill, and Melinda Wells, the creator of cooking show host Della Carmichael. Both heroines find themselves caught up again in investigating strange and somewhat bizarre deaths. Vicky looks into the electrocution death of a champion hedge cutter and Della, competing in a televised cake competition. discovers a victim drowned in a bowl of batter. This promises to be an engaging interchange with two very special ladies.
Two for the price of one! Man, I wish strip clubs would do that.

Saturday, March 14, 2:00 p.m.
Barry Eisler signs Fault Line
In Silicon Valley a scientist is murdered in an apparent drug deal gone wrong. Alex Treven, the patent attorney who represented the dead man, is also attacked. Fearing for his life, Alex reaches out to his brother Ben for help. Ben is an undercover soldier in the war on terror and returns home from Istanbul to lend support and protection to his younger brother but long simmering family traumas and bitter resentments make this an uneasy alliance as they have not spoken to each other in seven years. However, working together is their only chance of survival. An engaging standalone from the creator of the John Rain series!
Brand new character. Just as violent, witty and fun as his John Rain series, no doubt.

Saturday, March 14, 3:30 p.m.
Cara Black signs Murder In The Latin Quarter

In case you missed her over at Book 'Em, swing by and grab a book.

The Mystery Bookstore - 1036-C Broxton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024

Saturday, March 14 at 12:00 noon
Kate Carlisle discusses and signs Homicide in Hardcover
Kathryn Lilley discusses and signs A Killer Workout
Kate Carlisle makes her debut with this first bibliophile mystery, introducing San Francisco rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright. Brooklyn's mentor dies violently on the eve of unveiling his greatest restoration, and leaves Brooklyn a priceless and supposedly cursed copy of Goethe's Faust with his dying breath. As Brooklyn leans over to catch his last words, she becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

Kathryn Lilley's second "Fat City Mystery" finds investigative reporter Kate Gallagher checking into Body Blast, a boot camp-style fitness program. When her roommate is found dead of a broken neck at the foot of the climbing wall, Kate discovers that hers is not the only recent suspicious death at Body Blast.
Saturday, March 14 at 2:00 p.m.
Susan Arnout Smith discusses and signs Out At Night
Stick around to greet Susan Arnout Smith, who'll be signing this sequel to THE TIMER GAME (a Mystery Bookstore Discovery Club selection). San Diego crime scene tech Grace Descanso is on vacation with her daughter when the FBI calls. Professor Thaddeus Bartholomew, a man she barely knows, has been found dead in a field, shot with a crossbow and burned alive – but before he died, he managed to type a text message that included Grace's name. Grace can either join the investigation or become a suspect; her search for the truth eventually leads to the world's largest agricultural conference, and a conspiracy bigger than she could have imagined.

Saturday, March 14 at 4:00 p.m.
Barry Eisler discusses and signs Fault Line
This standalone from the author of the John Rain series is both Pam L's and Stephen's favorite (EDITOR'S NOTE: THAT'S NOT ME - JUST SAYIN') read of the month, and Barry himself is one of our favorite visitors. FAULT LINE's hero, Alex, is a corporate lawyer in the Silicon Valley. His brother, Ben, is an undercover operative doing things we really don't want to know about. Because of family traumas, they haven't spoken to each other in years. After Alex's inventor client is murdered, it looks like Alex is next. With nowhere else to turn, he enlists the aid of his estranged clandestine brother. Together, they have to fight unknown killers, understand the power of the encryption invention, learn whom to trust, and work through their own sibling disputes.
Incidentally, I'm planning on being here. I occasionally throw out these little Where's Waldo moments in case any of my readers want to come by and take a swing at me for mocking their fat, Samoan cousin.

Saturday, March 14 at 6:00 p.m.
Cara Black once again discusses and signs Murder In The Latin Quarter

They're doing cocktails and appetizers for this one, so don't miss out.

So there you have it, folks. More authors than you can conveniently fit into the trunk of a 1998 Chevy Impala without a bandsaw.

Not that I would know or anything.

William Gibson Would Be Proud

San Pedro, CA

Ginie Samayoa, 27 was found in her car behind the Pacific Diner in San Pedro with a bullet wound to her head on January 30th. She died the next day at Harbor UCLA. Now that the cops have suspects in custody and they're starting their case they've let everyone know just why she took that bullet.

The shooters wanted her laptop. More specifically, they wanted the credit card numbers Samayoa had obtained over the last couple of years hacking into corporate accounts.

She never took much. Couple K here, couple there. Not enough to grab anyone's attention. Didn't live high on the hog. Kept a low profile. Could have kept doing it for years.

But like with all crimes the more people who know about it the more likely somebody's gonna fuck it up. Maybe she was teaching others how to do it. Maybe she told a boyfriend. Either way, one thing led to another and ended with a dead hacker.

The suspects, Michael Lee Bonfiglio, 31, Raul Tiscareno, 26, and the alleged shooter Daniel Keith Martinez, 35 were arrested in February and have been charged with murder with special circumstances. Killing while committing a robbery.

Guy once told me when he got back to LA this place better be like Blade Runner or Neuromancer. Digital billboards, video grocery store shelves, high tech / low brow crime like this, I'd say we're getting pretty damn close.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

When A Phone Call Just Won't Cut It

Los Angeles, CA

Gone are the days of the anonymous phone tip. No longer will police hear hushed tones in a shady Hollywood bar from a guy with no name. That's right, it's a new era. We've moved up to the 1980's.

The body of Denise Figueroa, 22, was discovered in the trunk of a car in Valley Village yesterday after a fax was sent to the KTLA-TV station detailing the location and the name of two suspects, Christopher Bullock and Adele Chapel.

A fax.

I get it, it just sounds odd. You want to give a lot of information in a brief time. So write a letter. But letters take too long to send and the body's already pretty ripe. So fax it.

Preferably from a blocked number. And not a Kinko's. Otherwise that whole "anonymous" thing sort of goes out the window.

Figueroa's uncle showed up at the crime scene the same day saying he spoke with someone who was supposedly the last to see her alive. And the guy apologized to him for hurting her.

I can't see the tipster remaining anonymous for long. So, less a tip or confession than a headstart to get out of town?