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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Snowball in Hell book release

Yesterday saw the re-release of one of my early novellas, Snowball in Hell. Snowball is set during Christmas in 1943. It’s a tense time in the City of Angels, and murder does nothing to help the holiday spirit.

I’m a great fan of vintage mystery and so writing a story set in the 40s was a natural for me. It’s a time period I know fairly well, but even so the research was grueling -- all the same, I enjoyed working on this story intensely. I had that rare but wonderful feeling of sinking into a dream each time I returned to work on it. It was my own personal noir flick.

Anyway, the novella begins…  

“Hell of a thing,” Jonesy said for the third time.
Matt agreed. It was a hell of a thing. He turned his gaze from the gaggle of reporters smoking and talking beside the grouping of snarling cement saber-toothed tigers, and returned his attention to the sticky, bedraggled corpse currently watching the birdie for the police photographer.
Whoever had dumped the dead man had counted on the body sinking in the black ooze of the Brea Pits, and in the heat of the summer when the tar heated up and softened…maybe. But it was December, a little more than a week before Christmas, and it had been raining steadily for two days. No chance in hell. The body had rested there, facedown in the rainwater hiding the treacherous crust of tar beneath, until the museum paleontologists excavating the site for fossils had made the grisly early-morning discovery.

Not only does the novella have a new lease on life, I’m beginning work on the second book in what will be called the Doyle and Spain series.

To celebrate the re-release of Snowball in Hell I thought I’d hold a little contest.

It’s very simple. Match the author to the correct first line(s) of an unnamed but classic vintage crime novel. I’ll pick randomly from the correct answers and select a winner, and if no one guesses correctly, I’ll just pick randomly from those who comment on the Not Your Usual Suspects blog.

The contest will end at tonight.

Oh! And what do you win? You win an Amazon gift certificate for a copy of Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller. An informative, entertaining, and accessible introduction to film noir.

So here are the first lines -- authors listed below.

1 - Frey shrugged his broad shoulders, gestured helplessly with spread hands, palms upturned.

2 - Mrs. McGillicuddy panted along the platform in the wake of the porter carrying her suitcase.

3 - I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on
Fifty-second Street
, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me.

4 - “I am afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go,” said Holmes as we sat down together to breakfast one morning.

5 - It was about in the morning, mid October, with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.


A - Dashiell Hammett

B - Agatha Christie

C - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

D - Raoul Whitfield

E - Raymond Chandler

Answer in the comment section below -- and good luck!


Shirley Wells said...

I love the opening to Snowball in Hell, especially the corpse watching the birdie. Good luck with it!

Right, here goes:
1 = D
2 = B
3 = A
4 = C
5 = E

Is that anywhere close? :)

Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks so much, Shirley!

Toni Anderson said...

Sounds like a great story, Josh. Body in a tar pit--now you're giving me ideas :) Congrats on your re-release and new series.

MaureenAMiller said...

Snowball sounds great, Josh! I am fascinated with the era. I am blessed to still have Grandma with me (93 yrs) and it's so fascinating to hear the tales she shares. She and Grandpa used to sneak into New York City right before he left for the war...and I suspect there just might have been some premarital shenanigans going on. But she won't fess up!! :)


airi71 said...

Congrats on the re-release! I have my copy :-)



Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks, Toni. That was the first image I started with. Everything else seemed to flow from there.

Josh Lanyon said...

Wow, Maureen! That's wonderful. My grandparents are all gone now, but I vividly remember their stories.

Josh Lanyon said...

Yay for entering the contest!

Julie Moffett said...

Congrats on the release, Josh! It sounds wonderful!!

Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks, Airi71! Thanks for entering the contest!

Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks, Julie!

Susan Sorrentino said...

Beautiful historical romance, Josh. Heartbreaking in the reality of the period, but gorgeously written as usual.

Here are my answers:

1 - D
2 - B
3 - A
4 - C
5 - E

Tried to set up Google Accout for my post but Google would not let me because of 'age requirement', which means they are having a problem, not that I am too young.

Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks so much, Susan. Boy, this is the week for technical malfunctions, for sure!

jennysmum2000 said...

I'm another snowball lover Josh, but you already know that! I've been looking for Cornell Woolrich too but without sucess.
Anyway answers are:
1 = D
2 = B
3 = A
4 = C
5 = E

I hope it sells well and gets the audience it deserves.

Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks so much, Jan.

Betsy said...

I have my copy - purchased from the Carina Press store, of course ;) Loved it!!

Okay, it's been a while since I read hard-boiled crime novels, but here are my guesses:

1 - D
2 - E
3 - A
4 - C
5 - B

Josh Lanyon said...

Hey there, Betsy! Thanks for buying and thanks for playing along!

Elise Warner said...

Happy release day.
1 = D
2 = B
3 = A
4 = C
5 = E

Josh Lanyon said...

Thanks, Elise!

Anonymous said...

Hey Josh! Congrats on the re-release. This story is high on my enjoyment list. One excellent read!

And my contribution to the contest....

1 : D
2 : B
3 : A
4 : C
5 : E

Betsy said...

Hey, I just realized I'm the only commenter who has a different set of answers! Either I'm thinking outside the box, or I don't have a clue what I'm talking about. Hmmmm.... I knew I should have just copied Shirley... :-)

Audra said...

I love this book and I really love the new cover.


1 = D
2 = B
3 = A
4 = C
5 = E

Laura said...

I did find a lot of new reading material while making my list of answers. Great fun! I have always wanted to read Chandler since Adrien quotes him so often... now I have one to start with : )


A- 3
B- 2
C- 4
D- 1
E- 5

Anonymous said...

1 - D
2 - B
3 - A
4 - C
5 - E

Now after a few hectic days at work, I get to relax and crawl in bed with my kindle and Snowball in Hell :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Josh, I bought Snowball, too, and am looking forward to reading it. Love that time period. I wish you much success with it.

Clare London said...

Congratulations Josh! :)

Josh Lanyon said...

Well, the Randomizer has spoken and Marina is the winner! Marina, just drop me a line back channel and your gift certificate for the muller book will be on its way to you.

And congratulations!

AND thank you to everyone who entered.

The correct answers were:


Stevie Carroll said...

Far too late for the competition, but that's another book I want to read.

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