Plot Your Heists: June Is International Crime Month

Not crime per se, mind you. June will see a month-long celebration of crime fiction, as well as its notable authors, editors, critics, and whatnot. Crime novels and stories are a big enough business that they get their own section in the New York Times Book Review, and universal enough that people who never ordinarily read will lug around giant hardcovers by someone named “Stieg Larsson.” So how are we marking the occasion?

Well, officially there are a great many readings and events around New York, thanks to some outstanding independent publishers and bookstores: the kick-off is today at Book Expo America, where editors from Grove Atlantic, Europa Editions, Melville House, and Akashic Books will lead a panel discussion. Throughout the next weeks, there’s plenty to be excited about—a reading by awesomely-named author Wolf Haas sounds cool, you definitely want to hear about the adventures of Detective Brenner in Austria. Then there’s Jessica Hagedorn, whose work tackles the dark side of the Philippines. So much seamy filth to learn about!

But your observance of International Crime Month really shouldn’t end there. This is your chance to go around talking like the private eye in a classic noir film, calling ladies “dames” and such. It’s also an excellent occasion to start plotting that insanely overcomplicated burglary you’ve been keen to get going on. Or just spend a day trying to think like a psychopathic killer. Soothing, isn’t it.

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CBS Makes Vague Promise Of Sensitivity On Violent Shows Post-Newtown

In a fairly meaningless gesture, the head of CBS’ entertainment division has promised the network will be sensitive on its violent programs following the December 14th massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 27 people dead. 

Nina Tassler excused the violence on the channel’s crime procedurals, according to Yahoo, by explaining that on CBS programs, the bad guy always loses and the good guy always wins. However, what the specifics of the "reneweed sensitivity" post-Newtown (and post-Taft) even means is unclear.   

CBS, of course, aren’t the only ones grappling with how to handle violence on TV in a post-Newtown era that’s galvanized both pro- and anti-gun control activists. Immediately following the massacre, Paramount Pictures rescheduled its premiere for Jack Reacher, a violent flick starring Tom Cruise as a detective who hunts down a sniper. Arnold Schwarzenegger (who is an actor again)  added his peanut gallery opinion last week when he defended his new movie The Last Stand — in which he fires a gun from a school bus — calling guns on film "entertainment" and suggested stricter gun laws. And of course, there was that awkward "Demand A Plan For Gun Violence" video starring a bunch of celebrities who got roundly criticized for using guns onscreen. 

Please God, let’s just not let what happened in Newtown become an episode of Law & Order: SVU?

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.