News: October 2009


For anyone who missed the full month of Hammett walks in September, you’ve got a couple of chances to make it good this month. Two dames flying in from Switzerland asked for one and a book group asked for the other — and both gave Don enough advance notice to swing the old schedule their way. Anyone who wants to join in is welcome to show up, bearing a tenspot, for the usual four hours of hard-boiled sightseeing — same details as on the Tour Page. These walks are set for noon on Sunday October 11 and Sunday October 18 — if interested, honest, just show up. No reservations required, or taken.


On the walk for September 13 a guy mentioned he’d hauled all the way down from Vancouver Island — but then a couple of other guys reported that they’d come from the city of Vancouver, pretty much matching his travels. And then a family chimed in that they were in the burg all the way from Toledo, Ohio — and then a couple said they flew in from Hawaii. Plus we had more of a Hammett web presence than ever before on a single tour. Mike Humbert, who hosts the Hammett site linked off the Tour Page, came out to stretch his legs after being run down by a car like Porky Grout up in Chico earlier this year (and Don is pretty sure the only reason his new tour book got covered in the Chico paper is because Mike did the maps for it and that gave the paper a chance to blurb one of their local boys). And that guy from Vancouver Island happens to host The Continental Op Page which is one of the first websites ever devoted to Hammett. The guy was in Hog Heaven, right in the middle of Op country, but now Don realizes that he doesn’t think he ever caught the guy’s name. . . .


Veteran Bay Area radio reporter Jan Sluizer recently taped a couple of minutes with Don for Westwood Radio One Network’s nationally syndicated program “America in the Morning.” You can catch the spot embedded in the entire show streaming on their websiteMp3 it here. (pick the Tuesday, September 22 one), or if you just want to listen to the spot solo, you can.


Remember how when Don tooled down to the Tucson Book Fair earlier this year to appear on a hardboiled literary panel and the programmers scheduled it against a talk by living legend Elmore Leonard? For the upcoming Litquake the readings Don is set for will be up against an appearance by James Ellroy. What the hell. Who plans out these things, anyway? Litquake runs from October 9-17, with Don popping up at 7p.m. Thursday October 15 for “Subterranean SF: Hardboiled Writing with an Edge” hosted by Peter Maravelis and also featuring Robert Mailer Anderson, Cara Black, David Corbett and Craig Clevenger. But here’s the thing: to attend the Subterranean readings you’re going to have to work for it. The location is secret. To sleuth out the site you have to go to the front desk in City Lights Bookstore and ask for an envelope, and follow directions. Super-secret and up against James Ellroy — guess that means more beer for the readers!


Don’s longtime pal Ben Indick passed away on September 28, after making it to his eighty-sixth birthday on August 11. He had a good run of it, and was a regular co-conspirator in various books and projects Don did over the years, from litcrit about Stephen King to The Dark Barbarian and beyond. For a nice local angle, Ben’s son writes under the name Michael Korie, and among other things did the book for the opera Harvey Milk. Don got to see that one during the Orpheum run some years ago, great seats courtesy the Indicks. Oh, and when Don began reviewing for Publishers Weekly late in 2000, he talked Ben into joining in on the fun — and though he started later and quit sooner, Ben totaled something like 350 reviews, completely blowing Don out of the water. As of this moment, Don has only gotten to review 119 and knows he’ll never catch up.

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