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by Bill Crider

It’s been seven years since I mentioned BookScans (bookscans.com), “a free online reference site listing tens of thousands of .jpg images” of paperback covers. If you haven’t checked in lately, you should. Hundreds of images have been added in the interim.

Howard Jones is the managing editor of Black Gate, an online magazine devoted to science fiction. He blogs there and has written a couple of well-received historical fantasy novels. Chris Hocking is the editor of Detroit Noir, and a while back he gave Jones a list of what he considered to be must-read hardboiled and noir novels. Now Jones is going down the list in alphabetical order and discussing one book a week on “Hardboiled Monday” (www.howardandrewjones.com/hardboiled-noir). As of this writing, Jones (sometimes with input from Hocking) has talked about books by Megan Abbott, Lawrence Block, Howard Browne, Paul Cain, Raymond Chandler, and Max Allan Collins, most of which Jones is reading for the first time. If you’d like to get in on the discussion, be sure to stop by any day. The blog is always open, not just on Mondays.

Rob Kitchin is “a professor at the National University of Ireland Maynooth and the author of three crime novels and two collections of short stories, and author or editor of 23 academic books and a 12 volume encyclopedia.” I’m impressed. Kitchin also blogs at The View from the Blue House (theviewfromthebluehouse.blogspot.com), where you can find reviews of books like Alan Furst’s Night Soldiers and George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman. Kitchin has a menu that allows you to look at the books he’s reviewed by country or by decade, among other options. He also publishes occasional “Drabbles,” which are stories of exactly one hundred words, and the blog is worth reading for that feature alone. There’s much more, however, so be sure to take a look.

The title of The Westlake Review (thewestlakereview.wordpress.com) tells you what the blog is all about. It’s “dedicated to doing a detailed review and analysis of every novel Donald Westlake published under his own name, as well as under a variety of pseudonyms.” There’s a warning that plot elements will be revealed, so be aware of that before diving into these long, meaty commentaries. There’s even a review of Philip, Westlake’s only children’s book. 

Bill Crider’s latest Sheriff Dan Rhodes novel is Half inLove with Artful Death from St. Martin’s Press.

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