On the road in Vacaville

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Zoom Street is Moving!

We’ve been packing our Macs and in the process of relocating. But don’t worry, you can find ZOOM STREET wherever we are. We’ll be back in December to present our Holiday Picks.

In the meantime, we wish you all an early Happy Thanksgiving!

moving

Get your motor runnin’
Head out on the highway
Lookin’ for adventure
And whatever comes our way
Yeah Darlin’ go make it happen
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at once
And explode into space

Foggy Past & Present

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Three noirish novels set in the City by the Bay — what more could you ask for to start the summer off. Two take place in the 1940s, and one in the future.

Kelli Stanley‘s addictive series featuring Miranda Corbie sails on with CITY OF SHARKS. Thick with atmosphere and hard-edged nostalgia, the novel’s undertow  is the war in Europe which is pulling America into the conflict. Miranda is planning to travel to England in search of her mother, but a new case has its tentacles around her. A  publisher has been murdered and a manuscript is missing. The shadow of Alcatraz suddenly rears up like a shark’s fin and the plot grows more complex and seductive.

Christopher Moore‘s NOIR is hard-boiled humor—fog, snakes and wisecracks. Moore plunders the genre for clichés to hang his fedora  on (“She was a blonde, the dirty kind…”) and you will find yourself smiling throughout. The terrain is familiar, but the ride proves a nice distraction during a heatwave.

THE NIGHT MARKET is an eerie dystopian novel set in the not too distant future. In fact, the city’s skeleton is a completely recognizable dreamscape turned nightmare.  Something is terribly wrong. in the city,  but  apparently no one saw it coming. Jonathan Moore‘s  novel will be compared to Blade Runner and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but he’s managed to carve out his own space in speculative fiction. Don’t miss it.

 

GIVE THE REDHEAD SOME SUNSCREEN

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For all those with short attention spans, I’m  sticking the bottom line at the top: If you love noir, suspense, dark humor and lowlife characters, don’t miss SUNBURN.

It’s 100% pure virgin noir (hold the virgins): dead-on dialogue,  hard-edged clever,  with occasional jolts of wit like electroshocks.  (The only “noirist”  who manages this effect so well  is the late French writer Pascal Garnier.)

In SUNBURN, Laura Lippman pays subtle homage to  James M. Cain,  but she beats him at his own game here. Yeah, she’s that good.

The story takes place back in 1995,  so you won’t find anyone staring at an iPad  or taking selfies. The characters don’t  have Facebook pages, but if they did you can bet they’d all use fake identities. In fact, there’s so much lying going on in this novel, the characters would feel quite at home in Donald Trump’s White House.  But don’t get me wrong, there’s no politics in this novel, just undercurrents of good old, Made-in-USA corruption.

The setting is Belleville, Delaware….think small and seedy, like a hundred other no-name towns across America—where nothing much happens and folks live quiet lives of desperation.

In other words, a perfect place to disappear.

Also, a nice place to visit and lose yourself.

Grab it on Amazon 

REVIEWER’S NOTE: the original version of this review stated Belleville is a real place. It’s not. I wish I could claim that I lied (that would be in keeping with the novel), but I misread my Google search.

 

FALL READING: POLITICS, NOIR, SURREALISM & THE DEATH OF EXPERTISE

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As you can see I’ve got a lot of reading to do. A surreal trip to Paris, then down the rabbit hole into the Trump Zone courtesy of Matt Taibbi and Joshua Green.  Deeper still into Pascal Garnier‘s latest. And hey — look, Michael Connelly has launched a new series!  Can’t wait to dive into Jane Casey‘s latest novel — oh yes, I’m a Maeve Kerrigan groupie.   Take my word for it, I’m an expert even though nobody listens to experts anymore, right Tom?

Full report soon.

Spring Forward

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We just received a copy of the latest addition to the super Akashic Noir anthology series: OAKLAND NOIR, edited by Jerry Thompson & Eddie Muller.  Up to now, my favorite has been SAN DIEGO NOIR which is filled with dark gems. But heck, Oakland is a natural for the series, with its shadowy crimes and disgruntled cops. Looking forward to diving in. The book goes on sale April 4.

ORDER

 

28BOOKULLRICH2-blog427-v3Speaking of Noir,  it doesn’t get any darker than this new biography of Hitler by Volker Ullrich. With all that has been written about him, you’re probably wondering what’s left to say. Well as it tune out, there’s plenty.  The most compelling book on Hitler’s early days and rise to power.  ORDER

 

 

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Here’s my hot pick for Spring…. take a trip to Hong Kong’s crime zone and discover Kwan Chun-dok — a veritable Chinese Sherlock Holmes. But what makes this masterful novel unique is its background history of Hong Kong…following the detective’s 50-years tracking down criminals.

This beautifully designed edition from Grove Press deserves a vote for best cover of the year. Tip of the cap to Gretchen Mergenthaler.

ORDER

 

 

 

Apples and Oranges

appleWe finally made the big move from Windows to Mac. That’s right, since 2008 we’ve been working with Windows computers and software. Changing tools was not as simple as, say, switching from an old car to a new model from a different manufacturer. It required several months of planning, as well as implementation.

The first order of business was porting over thousands of files created over the years, reorganizing them, archiving, and (in some cases) deleting, and then setting up shop in the clouds — namely,  Adobe’s Creative Cloud. That meant getting all new versions of the apps we reply on, as shown in the screen-shot below.

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Adobe Photoshop topped the list, and switching to the Mac version required updating all the various plug-ins, such as Retrographer for special effects. (A review of the Mac version will appear in January.) In some cases the apps we used had no Mac version, so replacements had to be found and tested.

But now all the grunt work is behind us. We’re back!—armed with MacBooks and iPads and ready for action.

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Thanks for your patience.

Happy New Year to all!