Thursday, July 24, 2014

Unpublished Elmore Leonard Stories Coming In 2015

Jennifer Schuessler at the New York Times offers a piece on an upcoming book of short stories by the late great crime writer Elmore Leonard.

Elmore Leonard may have died last August, but readers now have a book of new stories by the wisecracking, adverb-murdering grand old man of crime fiction to look forward to.
The British publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired 15 unpublished early stories, most written while Leonard was working as a copywriter at a Detroit advertising agency in the 1950s. The volume will be released in the fall of 2015, with HarperCollins publishing in the United States.
You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:
You can also read my Crime Beat column on Elmore Leonard via the below link: 

James Garner RIP

I was hospitalized when the actor James Garner died, so I was unable to post anything about his life and death.

I've been a Garner fan since I was a kid watching Garner as Bret Maverick on television. I also loved Garner as Jim Rockford on The Rockford Files. 

Garner also starred in a number of good films, including The Americanization of Emily, The Great Escape, Support Your Local Sheriff, Up Periscope, Darby's Rangers and The Hour of the Gun. 

My favorite Garner film is the one where he portrayed one of my favorite characters, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe.

Garner portrayed the wise-cracking, tough private detective in 1969's Marlowe.

I've written here before that I believe Garner is the actor who comes closest to Chandler's Philip Marlowe character.

Had the film been set in the proper period, the 1940s, instead of a contemporary setting, the film would have been near-perfect.

I read James Garner's interesting memoir The Garner Files a while back and I recomend the book to his many fans. 

Beyond The Screen: A Look Back At The James Bond Thriller "Licence To Kill"

MI6, the website devoted to Ian Fleming's iconic character James Bond, offers a look back at Cinemax's video on Licence To Kill.

American premium cable channel Cinemax focused on the new 007 adventure Licence To Kill in one of their 1989 episodes of 'Beyond The Screen' and aired the segment before broadcasts of The Living Daylights.
Director John Glen, who is mistakenly captioned in the video, boasts of Timothy Dalton's action prowess: "Most actors say they do their own stunts, but this guy really does his own stunts. He's a very thorough actor, and I think he's always a little uneasy when someone has to step in and impersonate him." Dalton himself is a little more coy: "If you believe it's me it's me. If you can see it's me it's me. The audience should quite simply believe that the man - the character - they're watching, James Bond, does them."  
You can watch the video via the below link:
Note: I think Timothy Dalton was the second best James Bond, behind the great Sean Connery, and I think License To Kill was a very good thriller. I also like Robert Davi as the bad guy in the film.  
You can read an earlier post on Dalton and License To Kill Kill via the below link:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Philadelphia Police Commissioner, FOP Assail Philadelphia Daily News Reporters On Police Allegations

Craig R. McCoy at the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a piece on police criticism of two Philadelphia Daily News reporters' Pulitzer Price-winning newspaper series and a book on police misconduct.

The president of the Philadelphia lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police assailed the Philadelphia Daily News on Wednesday, saying there were credible allegations that two of the newspaper's reporters paid for utility bills, food, diapers, and other gifts to a woman whose story was told in their Pulitzer Prize-winning series on police misconduct.

In an interview later in the day, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey raised similar criticisms of the reporters, saying that if the allegations were true, the reporters crossed an ethical line.

John J. McNesby, president of FOP Lodge 5, said he had "sound evidence" that the Daily News reporters had paid for food and bills and given gifts to a woman who told them she had been sexually assaulted by a police officer. He would not identify his source.

Without providing details, he also cited allegations that "they intentionally fabricated parts of their story."

H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, owner of the company that publishes The Inquirer and the Daily News, rejected the criticism.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read my interview with the two reporters, Wendy Ruderman and Barbara Laker, via the below link:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Leonetti Rips Uncle, Says Cousin Didn't Have A Chance

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia offers a piece on former Philadelphia-South Jersey La Cosa Nostra Underboss Philip Leonetti's view of his cousin Nicky Scarfo's federal trial.

Defense attorneys for Nicodemo S. Scarfo said repeatedly during his federal fraud trial that Scarfo,
49, was targeted for prosecution because of the reputation and notoriety of his father, jailed Philadelphia mob boss Nicodemo D. "Little Nicky" Scarfo.

The jury, of course, saw it differently, convicting the younger Scarfo of all 25 counts he faced in the looting of FirstPlus Financial, a Texas mortgage company.

But now another voice has weighed in in Scarfo's defense. It's not a defense of what he did, but rather an explanation for how he ended up where he did. And it's also a plea for some consideration from Judge Robert Kugler when he sentences Scarfo in October.

The younger Scarfo never had a chance, said his cousin, mobster-turned-government witness Philip Leonetti.

"He's really not a gangster," Leonetti, 61, said in a telephone interview with Bigtrial this week. "His father had him under his spell...I used to tell him, 'Nicky, get away from these guys.' And when he was talking to me, he would agree' But then he would talk to his father and..."

The words trail off, but the point is clear. Leonetti, the one-time underboss of the Scarfo crime family, followed his cousin's trial from afar.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read my interview with Philip Leonetti via the below link:

"The Director," A Sobering Tale Of Cyberterrorism

Veteran journalist and author Joseph C. Goulden reviewed David Ignatius' The Director for the Washington Times.

About halfway through a first draft of this review, a sobering thought brought me up short: My criticisms of the underworld of online hackers and data thieves were apt to cost me retaliatory computer grief for years to come. So I shall take the coward’s way out. If you are among that band of technological bandits, and do not care for the way you are depicted, go after David Ignatius, who wrote the book, and not the guy reviewing it.

In a sense, “The Director” is even more frightening that the usual intelligence fare of Cold War nuclear sword-rattling or terrorism plots out of the Middle East. Those who are regular readers of Mr. Ignatius' commentary realize that he is perhaps the best-informed journalist writing today about intelligence and national security. Thus, when he sounds a klaxon alarm about the dangers of cyberterrorism, he is not making things up. He is describing a clear and present danger.

Mr. Ignatius is a rare columnist who does hard reporting rather sitting in an office and sucking his thumb. He devotes the same energy and skills to his fiction, and several of his nine novels were based on actual events.

To set the stage for “The Director,” in a prologue, Mr. Ignatius walks us through an annual hackers’ convention, DEF CON, held in a Las Vegas casino. This event really exists, and as Mr. Ignatius writes, “It was a school for mischief.” The multipage program lists lectures: “Hacking Bluetooth connections on phone,” “Hacking RFID tags on cargo containers,” “Controlling automobiles remotely through their electronic systems” and so on.

At the center of the chilling novel at hand is an idealistic high-tech businessman named Graham Weber, who is tapped to bring the Central Intelligence Agency out of slothful years of scandal and official misconduct.

However, on his very first day on the job, Weber is confronted with a more immediate problem. A young German man with a shaved head and scruffy clothes, ears adorned with metal studs — “a normal adult’s bad dream” — comes to the U.S. Consulate in Hamburg with a warning: Hackers have broken into CIA’s communications system. “Your messages can be read,” he tells a CIA officer. “They are not secret.” He gives her proof of the intrusion.

Thus, Mr. Ignatius plunges into a high-tech thriller that is essentially a cram course in how to foul up a communications system (although I trust that some of the details are fuzzed enough to deter readers from creating chaos on their own). The crowning moment is the hacking of the Bank of International Settlement in Basel, Switzerland, which serves as a clearinghouse for the world banking system — and which is viewed by many moon-howlers as “a compendium of all the mistakes and conspiracies of the twentieth century,” as one hacker muses.

You can read the rest of the review via the below link: