Yo, Ray Boy

The Pegasus Crime reissue of Gravesend is the lead review in Marilyn Stasio’s New York Times crime column today.

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Last Sunday, the great George Pelecanos mentioned that he was reading The Lonely Witness in his New York Times By the Book feature. Pelecanos has been one of my biggest writing heroes for a while now, and it’s such a big honor to see The Lonely Witness mentioned here, especially alongside all the other incredible books he’s talking about. When I was in my early twenties, I found a copy of The Big Blowdown at a library sale in Poughkeepsie. I read it and was knocked clean out. I tracked down every other Pelecanos book–at that point, it was the Nick Stefanos series, Shoedog, the rest of the D.C. Quartet, and Right as Rain. I bought every new book after that as it came out. I loved his writing for The Wire. I read every interview with him I could find and sought out the authors he recommended. The first I ever heard of Megan Abbott was because George Pelecanos recommended her books. Same goes for Vicki Hendricks, Willy Vlautin, Don Carpenter, and Newton Thornburg. He’s also great on music and movies. I can’t even start to list the stuff I listened to because he put it on a playlist or watched because he mentioned it.

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Here’s a thoughtful-as-hell review of Gravesend by Thomas Pluck over at Criminal Element. This one means a lot. Other than older books by John Fante, Salvatore La Puma, and Pietro di Donato, I never found much about the Italian-American experience that hit me the right way, and it was important to write the book I wanted to see and to get all that right. To be mentioned in the same space as Price’s The Wanderers and Season 2 of The Wire knocks me out.

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When I was 13, David Lynch’s Wild at Heart came out. I saw it and loved it and got it on VHS as soon as I could. I also tracked down the book by Barry Gifford, and it blew me away. I didn’t really know at that point that books could be like that. I’ve got lots of favorite writers, but Gifford’s been a consistent for over twenty-five years—his bio on Jack Kerouac, his film noir essays, his novels and poems and plays, his work with David Lynch, and (maybe above all) his Black Lizard line of books, which introduced me to Willeford and Goodis and furthered my love of Thompson. Anyhow, the first blurb for my new novel, A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself, is in, and I’m goddamn floored:

“One thing to appreciate about William Boyle’s process is that, not unlike the late, great Charles Willeford, he takes his time, he doesn’t rush the reader. This is a significant trait, more important than it sounds, the method of a confident writer. He builds his characters patiently, allowing them to adjust to one another, not merely throw lines to titillate the reader. In A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself, Wolfie Wolfstein is as comfortably intact a creature as any crime writer of recent vintage has put together. I gleefully anticipate the coming of a movie or better yet a TV series in her name.” —Barry Gifford, author of Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels and The Cuban Club

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I now have an entry at the Mississippi Writers & Musicians page.

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Got to talk about dream casts for movie versions of Gravesend and The Lonely Witness over at My Book, the Movie.

 

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It’s Coming Up Lavender: My Favorite Music of 2017

My Favorite Records of 2017:
Phoebe Bridgers, STRANGER IN THE ALPS
Julien Baker, TURN OUT THE LIGHTS
John Moreland, BIG BAD LUV
Mount Eerie, A CROW LOOKED AT ME
Shilpa Ray, DOOR GIRL
Jake Xerxes Fussell, WHAT IN THE NATURAL WORLD
The Weather Station, S/T
Moses Sumney, AROMANTICISM
Margo Price, ALL AMERICAN MADE
Big Thief, CAPACITY
Hurray for the Riff Raff, THE NAVIGATOR
Big K.R.I.T., 4EVA IS A MIGHTY LONG TIME
(Sandy) Alex G, ROCKET
Songhoy Blues, RESISTANCE
Mark Lanegan Band, GARGOYLE

Favorite Reissues, Box Sets, Live, Best Ofs, Soundtracks, B-Sides/Rarities:
Bob Dylan, TROUBLE NO MORE
Neil Young, HITCHHIKER
Chris Bell, I AM THE COSMOS
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, LOVELY CREATURES
Townes Van Zandt, REAR VIEW MIRROR
The Replacements, FOR SALE: LIVE AT MAXWELL’S, 1986
TWIN PEAKS: MUSIC FROM… & SERIES SOUNDTRACK
Angel Olsen, PHASES
Y Kant Tori Read, S/T
Hüsker Dü, SAVAGE YOUNG DÜ
Sharon Van Etten, (IT WAS) BECAUSE I WAS IN LOVE
John Carpenter, ANTHOLOGY
Wilco, BEING THERE (DELUXE)
Elliott Smith, EITHER/OR (EXPANDED)
Lucinda Williams, THIS SWEET OLD WORLD

Other stuff I really liked: Courtney Marie Andrews, HONEST LIFE; Neil Young and Promise of the Real, THE VISITOR; Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, SOUL OF A WOMAN; Bob Dylan, TRIPLICATE; Lee Ann Womack, THE LONELY, THE LONESOME, AND THE GONE; Craig Finn, WE ALL WANT THE SAME THINGS; Bell Witch, MIRROR REAPING; Mavis Staples, IF ALL I WAS WAS BLACK; Jessica Lea Mayfield, SORRY IS GONE; Joan Shelley, S/T; Waxahatchee, OUT IN THE STORM; Lily Hiatt, TRINITY LANE; Dent May, ACROSS THE MULTIVERSE; Hiss Golden Messenger, HALLELUJAH ANYHOW; Angaleena Presley, WRANGLED; Kendrick Lamar, DAMN; Electric Wizard, WIZARD BLOODY WIZARD; Johnny Jewel, WINDSWEPT; The Como Mamas, MOVE UPSTAIRS; Don Bryant, DON’T GIVE UP ON LOVE; Marvin Pontiac, THE ASYLUM TAPES; Randy Newman, DARK MATTER; Will Johnson, HATTERAS NIGHT, A GOOD LUCK CHARM; The War on Drugs, A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING; Sean Rowe, NEW LORE; Lana Del Rey, LUST FOR LIFE; Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, SIDELONG; Garland Jeffreys, 14 STEPS TO HARLEM; Sun Kil Moon, COMMON AS LIGHT AND LOVE ARE RED VALLEYS OF BLOOD; Bobby Bare, THINGS CHANGE; Colter Wall, S/T; Destroyer, KEN; Big Sean, I DECIDED; Bonnie Prince Billy, WOLF OF THE COSMOS; William Eggleston, MUSIK; Kurt Vile & Courtney Barnett, LOTTA SEA LICE; Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye & Jim White, S/T; Godspeed You! Black Emperor, LUCIFERIAN TOWERS; Björk, UTOPIA; Kamasi Washington, HARMONY OF DIFFERENCE EP; Jon Langford, FOUR LOST SOULS; Ryan Adams, PRISONER; David Rawlings, POOR DAVID’S ALMANACK;  Lo Tom, S/T; Soccer Mommy, COLLECTION; Japandroids, NEAR TO THE WILD HEART OF LIFE; The Afghan Whigs, IN SPADES; Allison Crutchfield, TOURIST IN THIS TOWN; Molly Burch, PLEASE BE MINE; Bash & Pop, ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN; Matt Arbogast, DADDY WAS A SICK-HEARTED SINGER; Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, THE NASHVILLE SOUND; Cigarettes After Sex, S/T.

Here are some of my favorite songs of 2017.

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