RARA-AVIS: A Hell of a Thing

From: Kevin Burton Smith ( kvnsmith@thrillingdetective.com)
Date: 29 Nov 2007

Them broads are getting uppity again.

Just when we guys thought our little hard-boiled cubbyhole of manly macho masculinity was safe once again from the intrusions of them poor deluded dames who think they can write as well as any man, along comes Megan Abbott's latest, A HELL OF A WOMAN, which bills itself as an
"anthology of female noir."

Now this is just the sort of book I'd love to sink my critical teeth into, and let rip.

But NOOOOO!!!! That devious Abbott dame (Queenpin, The Song Is You, Die a Little) is no patsy. She shows she has what it takes to make a great femme fatale -- she sucker-punched me by getting me to contribute, thereby puncturing any chance I'd ever really, honestly review it.

Granted, my paltry contributions -- two small "appreciations" of pretty much forgotten hard-boiled women writers -- pale in comparison to all-new new stories by the likes of Sara Gran, Vicki Something-or- another, Alison Gaylin, Cornelia Read, Naomi Hirahara, ZoŽ†ďharp, Sandra Scoppettone, Charlotte Carter, Lynne Barrett, Annette Meyers, Vin Packer and Libby Fischer Hellman.

Just to rub it in, Pat "Ma" Abbott (no small slouch of a writer herself) became not just a contributor to but an advertiser on Thrilling Detective Web Site.

And now, pouring salt in the wound, I'm invited to attend a couple of signings this Saturday (December 1) in the LA area -- not as a reader but as a writer. Talk about an offer I can't refuse. So there's no way in hell now that I could ever be fair and balanced about this book.


Damn, damn, damn...

So, uh, let's cut to the chase. Us members of the He-Man Women Haters Club are screwed. It's the greatest book ever written, makes an ideal Christmas gift, and it's perfect for just about anyone who gives a damn about hard-boiled fiction, female noir or just quality writing. Hell, it's even got a few male authors (Traitors, I say!) in there
(Ken Bruen, Al Guthrie, Charlie Huston, Eddie Muller and Daniel Woodrell) and an intro by Val McDermid, a fairly dangerous dame herself. I can hardly wait to read it.

So, if any of you Rara-Arians are in the LA area, I'll be at Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks at 10:30 AM and over in Westwood at The Mystery Book Store around 2:30. I'll be joining Meagan, Christa Faust, Naomi Hirahara, Charlie Huston, Eddie Muller, Cornelia Read, Theresa Schweigel and Robert Ward to scribble more gibberish on your books.

In such august company, I'm sure I'm only there to cleanse the palate, or maybe to garner a few sympathy purchases, but it should still be fun.

Hope to see you there. Jim, if you're out there, please bring beer.

But watch that Abbott twitch... I tell ya, she's up to something.

Kevin Burton Smith www.thrillingdetective.com

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