News: April 2009

Don with Elmore Leonard and Dennis McMillanLAST MONTH IN TUCSON

In the photos above you’ll see Dennis McMillan catching a quick chat with Elmore Leonard after his big interview, and Don doing a spur-of-the-moment tribute to Ernest P. Worrell. The Tucson Book Fair offered lots of photo ops — more pics to follow in months to come.


If you can’t wait for the set of walks on each and every Sunday in May, Don is slipping on his gumshoes for the usual four-hour tour beginning at noon on Sunday April 5. Just show up with a tenspot, like it says on the Tour Page. And since Palm Sunday is the anniversary of Charles Willeford’s death, now twenty-one years ago, Don will be sure to add-in the Powell Hotel on the walk, the place Willeford was staying in San Francisco when he was working on his first novel.


We’ve been blurbing it like hell for months now, so don’t miss the official launch party for the new Ace Atkins novel Devil’s Garden in “M” is for Mystery, San Mateo, Thursday April 2 from 7:00-8:00p.m. — a superb fictional recreation of the Fatty Arbuckle case in the St. Francis Hotel, with a Pinkerton’s op named Samuel Dashiell Hammett working the streets — without close second the best handling of Hammett as a character in a novel that Don has ever read. Drop in and get your copy of the novel signed on the official publication date. As Elmore Leonard put it, “Keep an eye on Ace Atkins, he can write rings around most of the names in the crime field.”

Plus Don will be signing copies of the new edition of the Dashiell Hammett Tour book for anyone wanting it John Hancocked. And the rumor mill has it that other local crime writers are planning to show for this one, including Mark Coggins, who just did a snazzy review of the tour book on The Rap Sheet — and while you’re surfing that site don’t miss the interview with Ace they’ve got posted.


After San Mateo signing wraps up, Ace and Don will be shooting up to San Francisco straight for The Ha-Ra Bar in 875 Geary Street, between Hyde and Larkin, to talk Hammett and the hard-boiled with anyone who wants to show up. Think of this as a reprise of the old Maltese Falcon Society which Don launched many years ago, only without the bulky trappings. No membership fees. No entrance fees. Just bring money to buy your official poison from Carl the Bartender and hang out and talk crime movies and novels until the city makes the place shut down. So, 9:00 or 9:30p.m. and straight ahead for four hours or so. Books signed if you’ve got ’em, opinions liquored up and spilled on the floor. Big fun.


If you can’t make the Ace signing in San Mateo, you get another chance 7:00p.m. April 3, when the Borders on the n.w. corner of Union Square will host the exclusive San Francisco signing for Devil’s Garden — in the next block up from where the notorious Fatty Arbuckle party rocked the St. Francis. Putnam’s is only parachuting Ace in for these two days, so seize your chance to get the novel signed while it’s hot off the presses, in the city the action takes place — immediately after the Borders event Ace is off to L.A., then starts working his way back east via Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale and Murder by the Book in Houston and other points of interest. Don will be sitting in on that one, too, so if you want any and all editions of the tour book signed, come on down.


After guiding the Hammett tour up and down the mean streets on Palm Sunday, Don is quick-stepping over for a talk and signing for the Dashiell Hammett Tour in City Lights Books — Sunday April 5 starting at 5:00p.m. The previous edition of the tour book came out under the City Lights imprint, of course, and has been climbing in price for the last few years — Ace tells Don that he had to shell out about fifty bucks for a copy when he was researching Devil’s Garden. And now you can get the best edition to date, the first one ever in hardcover, for only $19.95.

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