Thursday, March 22, 2007
A few months ago I blogged about the Blues in Chicago. How the music’s irony and desperation elicit the noir qualities of the city. How its rawness and energy underscore the passions, power, and sins of the people who live here.
Little did I know it would lead to editing an anthology. But it has, and Chicago Blues, a collection of 20 dark crime fiction stories, will be out in October from Bleak House Books.
Simply put, Chicago Blues will include stories from some of the best Chicago crime fiction authors writing today. Everyone in the Outfit will have a story in the collection. There will also be stories from
Max Allan Collins
And Rick Kogan, the prolific author, broadcaster, and guru of Chicago neighborhoods and all that goes on in them, is writing the introduction.
I am not kidding (although I might have just a slight bias) when I say these stories ROCK. The idea was to interpret the “Blues” loosely, so we have stories that are about the music itself. We also have stories about cops and the mob, stories that feature PI’s, stories with strong female characters, and stories that take their theme from the location, like Lower Wacker. Some of the stories have paranormal elements; some historical; all of them make irresistible reading. In fact, I've loved editing this anthology – every time a new story came in, I felt like a kid opening a Christmas present.
There’s only one problem. Ben wants me to write jacket copy. I HATE writing jacket copy. I’m no good at it. Not at all. So I thought I'd turn to you. What should it say? What would make you say, “Hey I’ve got to buy this anthology”? Can you come up with a description, a phrase, or even an adjective that perfectly expresses Chicago Blues? The only thing I’ve come up with so far is:
“Blue is the new Noir…”
It’s not carved in stone; feel free to come up with something better.
In fact, how about if we make it a contest? If your words end up on the jacket, you get a free copy of the anthology, and we’ll buy you a beer at the book launch. (More about that in due time)
So, go put on a little Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, and Luther Allison, and let it rip.
PS Once again Chicago showed its dark side as Al Sanchez, the former head of Streets and Sanitation and aide to Mayor Daley, was indicted on 9 counts of mail fraud. He was a leader of the city’s Hispanic Democratic Organization, and the indictment alleges, in part, that HDO members were handed jobs and promotions in return for campaign work. He’s now the 47th or 48th city official to be brought up on charges associated with the Hired Truck scandal.
But maybe there is a silver lining – not every city can claim such diversity in corruption...