Thursday, March 22, 2007

Chicago Blues


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

Stuart Kaminsky
Max Allan Collins
Joe Konrath
Kris Nelscott
Deb Brod
Sam Reaves
Sam Hill
David Walker
Steve Mandel
Michael Black
Mary Welk
Jack Fredrickson
Brian Pinkerton

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.

And thanks.

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...

16 comments:

S N Paretsky said...

Libby, what a great idea! Me, I need a proposal for an essay on the evolution of feminism, and I also need a book proposal. I hate writing proposals, so could the group please write those for me?

Rob in Denver said...

Is there a deadline for entries?

Libby said...

The deadline is April 15th. Thanks for asking.

Sara.. I dont mind doing the evolution of feminism.. but book proposals are right up there with jacket copy and synopses... :)

Anonymous said...

bob axelrod (un-anon) said …

Libby great idea! This calls for a Chicago native familar with the local blues scene and who has keen marketing skills … hmmm let me see if I can think uh one uh dem. It would certainly help if the contestants had a flavor for a story or two that will be included and had the opportunity to interview you.

To your friend s n paretsky, I don't like writing proposals either, but I am good at them … for a price!

Libby, how do I find your last blog which I was dying to read, but never got the chance?

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