Dennis McMillan has been buzzing through the area lately — you’ll remember he got his car with Kansas plates stolen as an early Xmas present — and a few weeks later he got the ticket for his stolen car running the Fastrak lane at the Carquinez Bridge tollbooth, northbound into the unknown. . . .
Complete with a shot of the license plate.
It just seems somehow unjust, you know?
Meanwhile, our pals over at Contrappasso magazine have just released a noir-themed issue, which features a very long interview with Dennis from 2005. It catches him in amber a few years before he decides to bail out of the publishing game for a second time (and recaps why he gave up the first time), including lots of commentary on his posse of writers such as James Crumley, Connelly, Pelecanos, Nisbet, Truluck. Any dedicated collector of the imprint will want it.
Plus the issue features a new memoir of Charles Willeford by Lester Goran, a novelist who happened to teach in the Miami-Dade college system at the same time as the author of The Burnt Orange Heresy. It features some nice bits (“among his best known admonitions to a class was: ‘No one who believes in God can be a writer!'”), but also confirms my impression of people in the area who knew Willeford. Sure, they were aware he wrote books. They saw him constantly joking and kidding around. But somehow they didn’t quite appreciate the fact that he was doing really great writing, and his “sudden” fame at the end (and enduring fame today) sort of baffles them.
Also new in this issue is a poetic, hard-boiled little poem by another pal, Floyd Salas, who is becoming a Contrappasso regular.
And editor Matthew Asprey tells me his “Hammett/Poisonous City essay has been newly updated to reference your Red Harvest spaghetti western discovery” — yes, the info appeared here on Up and Down These Mean Streets, but it was yet another pal, Dr. Jesús Ángel González López of the Departamento de Filología in Universidad de Cantabria, who tipped us to the existence of La Cuidad Maldita.