Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Two Flavors of James Ellroy

Take a look at these two pictures:

On the right is the illustration of James Ellroy from the New York Times review of his latest memoir, The Hilliker Curse. On the left is the picture I took of him for The Rap Sheet when I covered his talk at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

I've Photoshopped my picture a bit to make it look like a watercolor, but even without the manipulations, I don't think there's much doubt that the artist used it as a model for his efforts. Look at the ears in particular.

It's not surprising, really, since the photo adorns Ellroy's Wikipedia entry, but it was an odd deja vu feeling to see it in the paper.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Read All About It ... For Free!

Check out this collection of the openings of all five of my August Riordan books, which you can view on Scribd for FREE!


My essay about planning and throwing a toga party is up on SFGate, the San Francisco Chronicle website.

Here's a taste just to get you started:
Getting a degree part time is like getting a root canal part time. Completing classes and homework while juggling a career and personal life, particularly a screwed up personal life, can be torment. And so, in the late 80s, after painfully chipping away at MS degree requirements for five years, when I finally donned the graduation gown with special orange regalia to represent the Stanford School of Computer Science (yes, it takes a real computer geek to pick orange), I was ready for a party. A big one.
Read the rest here.

Graduate Program in Mystery Blogs

The web site Best Online Colleges has been going to school on mystery blogs, and has chosen Riordan's Desk (this here blog) as one of its 50 best blogs for mystery readers. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zanzibar Editions

Check out the 2011 catalog of French publisher Zanzibar Editions, featuring Joseph Wambaugh's famous 1973 effort, The Onion Field.

And what's that in the first slot of the second row, Le Plus Vieux jeu du Monde? I believe that roughly translates as "The Oldest Game in the World," which is apparently is the preferred French translation for the title of my first novel, The Immortal Game.

Find it in Paris bookstores in one year!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Chinatown Banquet

I had to chuckle when I read the Labor Day edition of Jeff Kingston's "Bullet Points" feature on The Rap Sheet.

He relays the report that the annual Private Eye Writers of America banquet will be held this year at the Empress of China in Chinatown on 838 Grant Avenue in San Francisco.

The restaurant, and indeed the whole building at that address, serves as the model for the headquarters of Leonora Lee, a character from my private eye novel Runoff. Ms. Lee is referred to as the "Dragon Lady of Chinatown" in the book because of her abrasive personality and the enormous power she wields in the community. My private eye protagonist, August Riordan, makes her acquaintance after chasing a thief on a backhoe through Chinatown in the middle of the night, causing the thief and his backhoe to crash through the front window of the art gallery on the first floor of 838 Grant.

You can read a review of the book from Rap Sheet contributor Steven Miller here, check out the first chapter of the book here, and follow the route of Riordan's chase on this special Google Map (zoom into Chinatown to see the chase route; click on the blue markers to see photos of locations from the book):

View Runoff by Mark Coggins in a larger map

As I suggested, Leonora Lee is a pretty feisty character. I hope the other PI writers will be mindful of that during the banquet!

A Complicated Holmes ...

"Chess Notes," the chess column of the Boston Globe, provided a small write-up on Masters of Technique, the chess fiction anthology recently published by Mongoose Press.

My contribution to the anthology gets a passing mention:
Mark Coggins’s “The Adventure of the Black Bishop’’ is the inevitable Sherlock Holmes story, in the Holmes mode, but somewhat more complicated. We find that Holmes likes the English defense. In the original stories, Holmes thought that chess players were devious individuals.
I can only concur that the story is indeed "somewhat more complicated," but have to point out that my Holmes pretty much shares the opinion of the original Holmes regarding chess players--at least as far as the ones in the story go!

Read the whole article here.