Ace Atkins is returning to “M” is for Mystery in San Mateo for a signing of his latest novel, The Ranger, on Tuesday June 14, 7 p.m. Unless I’m jumped and blackjacked into some noir limbo, I plan to be there. I’m a few novels behind on Ace’s backlist, but I’ve read close to half and he’s one of the best crime writers going today — I figure I’ll grab a couple more I’m missing, plus this new one.
Ace is getting a lot of press after signing on to continue the Spenser series created by Robert B. Parker — I’ll have to tell him what Parker said about writing a Philip Marlowe novel when he came into the burg to be Guest of Honor for that Bouchercon I was chairman of in 1982.
The photos this time date from Thursday April 2, 2009, shot on location in “M” is for Mystery, when Ace and I did a joint signing for his novel Devil’s Garden and the then newly released Dashiell Hammett Tour book. Top grainy image, we’re working the audience from the stage area. Bottom, in sharper focus, the formalities are over and people are milling around — in the foreground signing a book, leg propped on a chair, you’ll spot Vince Emery, with Ace toward the back.
And Ace, like pretty much everyone else, loved the film clip of Hammett I put up for his birthday — he did a bit on his blog about it, even speculating on exactly what kind of cigar Hammett was about to lip. A Cohiba? Maybe.