Klavan On The Culture
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Klavan On The Culture

I Talk Werewolves with John Miller

March 26th, 2015 - 5:21 am

John H. Miller, author of The First Assassin, (and incidentally a guy who is currently writing some of the best pop culture criticism around about authors such as H.P. Lovecraft and the great Robert Aickman) recently called my new novel Werewolf Cop “a modern masterpiece of hardboiled horror.”

Here, John and I chat about the nature of the beast on his podcast The Bookmonger.

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You may be a left-wing knucklehead if…

…you think the problem with the U.S. is that we need to have a “conversation about race.”

Here’s my contribution to Starbucks’ obnoxious and condescending “Race Together” effort to pour their ideas about race down our throats along with their coffee. If you think America hasn’t talked about race, you’re lying to yourself. The U.S. has talked about almost nothing but race for the last fifty years. Your real complaint is that we’re not saying what you want us to say and haven’t reached the conclusions you, in your self-righteousness, decree we should reach.

The leftists of the Democratic Party — the party of slavery; the party of the Ku Klux Klan; the party of Jim Crow; the party of segregation; the party of a welfare state that destroyed the black family in ways the most evil slaver could only dream of; the party of abortion, which snuffs out more black lives than heart attacks and cancer combined — call us racist when we oppose them. I weep sad tears. I so wanted their good opinion.

The Democrats and the rest of the left bewail the harsh treatment of black criminals — and then hamper or gut police programs that lower crime in crime-ravaged black communities. The left calls for government program after program but fails to acknowledge that the black rise from poverty to the middle class was faster before the leftist program explosion of the sixties and seventies began. The left calls for hiring and school admission favoritism for blacks but never explains how it’s fair that a white or Asian-American baby born today should be penalized for things that happened before he or she existed.

There has been egregious injustice against blacks in the past — and you can’t fix the past by poisoning the present. There are people who don’t like blacks today — and there will be racists tomorrow and forever and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. There are horrible problems besetting some black neighborhoods — and most of them have been exacerbated by leftist government programs when they haven’t been caused by them.

But let’s for a moment pretend that every misguided or dishonest assertion the left promulgates about race in America is actually true. What then?

Well, let’s say you had a friend — a real friend, someone you wished well. Let’s say your friend came to you and said, “Friend, I am a victim of circumstance. Things that happened before I was born have left me disadvantaged. Some people dislike me on sight. The police suspect me because I look like other criminals they’ve seen. I’ll never get ahead in life.”

What would you say to him?

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A nice week for me, with my new novel Werewolf Cop on the stands and being hailed as one of my best, which it is. And terrific Justified guy Nick Searcy signing on to direct the Gosnell movie, which I scripted.

And now — Trigger Warning!!! — the second book in my MindWar trilogy of novels for young adults is out — Hostage Run — and is already being attacked for political incorrectness!

“The continued use of a variety of foreigners as the baddies, including Islamist and Russian terrorists, creates an unrealistic and negative global viewpoint,” says School Library Journal.

Note the “unrealistic.” How much self-righteous dishonesty can you pack into a single word? I mean, whoever heard of Islamist and Russian baddies? School librarians can be a notoriously left wing bunch, though there are many, many great ones.

Ah well. The review from Booklist was not only far more positive, but also way more honest and fair:

“The second volume of Klavan’s genre-blending MindWar trilogy continues to deliver fast pacing. In this episode, readers follow Rick, teen hero and smart game player, and Molly, who was imprisoned by the villains in the first volume. Molly is no shrinking violet, and her eventual release from Smiley McDeath’s gang owes as much to her own wits and athleticism as it does to the intervention of male characters. Because of the complexity of the plot and the generous cast, readers new to the series should begin with the first volume. Those who loved MindWar (2014) will happily fall right into this.”

It’s a fun series to write and to read. So if you can stand the slanders against those poor abused Islamist terrorists and Russian baddies, try it out.

Nick Searcy to Direct “Gosnell”

March 18th, 2015 - 10:18 am

Credit: Breitbart.com

Well, the bad news for crime story fans is that Justified is in its final season, but the very good news for those same fans is that the mighty Nick Searcy, who brilliantly plays Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall Art Mullen on the show, has been chosen to direct the movie about abortionist killer (but I repeat myself) Kermit Gosnell, for which I wrote the script. This is from the Hollywood Reporter:

Gosnell, a movie about an infamous abortion doctor convicted of murder that is being financed via a crowdfunding campaign, has hired, as its director, Nick Searcy

Part of the story that Searcy, Klavan and the other filmmakers plan to tell is what some have likened to a press cover-up of Gosnell’s brutality. Journalist Megan McArdle, for example, wrote a mea culpa in 2013 published in the Daily Beast titled: “Why I didn’t write about Gosnell’s trial — and why I should have.” The article included a photo of rows of empty courtroom benches that had been reserved for the press.

“There are three aspects to this story that are fascinating,” said Searcy. “What happened; why it was allowed to happen; and why no one wanted to talk about it after it happened.”

Searcy, who has appeared in such films as MoneyballCast Away and Fried Green Tomatoes, actually made his directorial debut in 1997 with a low-budget feature called Paradise Falls. While a hit at several film festivals back then, a distribution deal was struck only recently and it will be released this year under a new title: Carolina Low.

“I am both excited and humbled by the opportunity to have a part in bringing this important American story to the screen,” Searcy said of Gosnell. “It is a story that many in Hollywood were unwilling to tell, and I am grateful to Ann [McElhinney], Phelim [McAleer], and Magdalena [Segieda] for having the courage to tell it.”

Nick is a terrific guy, a major talent, and one of the funniest tweeters on Twitter. You can follow him at @yesnicksearcy.

This would also be an excellent time to contribute what money you can to the script. Ann, Phelim and Magda plan to be filming by summer.


“Werewolf Cop” is Here

March 16th, 2015 - 10:27 am

My new novel Werewolf Cop is out. I hope you’ll get a copy. I’ll discuss the writing of it a bit below, but here are some early reactions:

“A modern masterpiece of hardboiled horror, featuring a hero who feels like he stepped out of a Raymond Chandler novel as he confronts a dilemma that recalls the best of Stephen King–and the whole thing set to a moral sensibility that has become too rare in literature.”— John J. Miller, author of The First Assassin.

“Moves like a freight train–a classic white-knuckled police procedural with the chills of a midnight horror movie, and the best kind of old-fashioned hero at the center.  I loved it.”—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Suspicion and Paranoia.

“Be warned: this book is loaded with provocations. The French have Michel Houellebecq; here in the US of A, we have Andrew Klavan. Werewolf Cop is his bestbook yet, one that starts with a rush and never lets up, dark and funny, with the bittersweet taste of the knowledge of good and evil.”— John Wilson, Books and Culture

“Grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let go until the very end. The writing is crisp and descriptive. Straight-arrow Zach Adams has his flaws and moments of doubt. The other characters are also fully-rounded. This good read will send shivers up your spine.”— AuthorLink.com.

“Literally a read-in-one sitting thriller… One of Klavan’s strongest novels in years, and easily one of his best.” Bookshots.

The reactions are gratifying because I wrote this book entirely for myself. I wasn’t even going to seek a publisher for it, just e-publish it on my own. That way, I figured, I could do anything I wanted to do, say anything I wanted to say without some publisher telling me I was being too provocative or off-beat. The problem is: about half way through the writing, I realized I was producing one of the best books I’d ever written and something unique. I knew it would need intelligent reviews if it was ever going to get to the public. E-books just don’t get reviewed the way published books do. I’m thrilled Pegasus had the courage to bring it out in hard covers.

As for the title…  well, some people hate it. It was meant to be at once ironic and to demonstrate my commitment to the genre. A lot of times, you’ll hear a reviewer say a crime or horror novel, “Transcended the genre.” To me, this almost always means, it doesn’t fulfill the needs of the genre. That is:  Literary thrillers are rarely thrilling, literary horror rarely horrifying.

I wanted to do something different: to write a novel that gives you all the depth of a literary novel while giving you the action and thrills of great genre writing. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein did it. Why should we think it can’t be done?

The early reactions in the press and on Amazon seem to suggest I got at least something of what I wanted. In spite of the title — or maybe because of the title — I hope you’ll take a look.

The Magic Box of Leftism

March 13th, 2015 - 7:19 am

A bit of magical thinking for the weekend:

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“Justified” Still The One

March 11th, 2015 - 10:20 am

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Justified is back for its final season, and I can’t let that fact pass without mentioning that it’s still the best crime show currently on television. The writing remains top-notch and the acting excellent, including the hyper-cool Timothy Olyphant, the brilliant Walton Goggins, the mighty Nick Searcy, and Joelle Carter, who has not only gotten even more beautiful somehow, but also owns the season in the role of a frightened moll in a deadly bind. Plus two veteran favorites of mine — Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen — are on hand to play somewhat against their usual type. Both are terrific, as they always are.

The plot line has U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens (Olyphant) running his ex-lover Ava (Carter) as a confidential informant to get to her present lover and Raylan’s nemesis, gangster Boyd Crowder (Goggins). Sure, it’s Notorious country style, but Notorious is one of those stories that can be used in different ways and never gets old (see Mission Impossible 2).

As always, Justified has a special touch with violence. It’s unexpected, sudden and deadly and the threat of it keeps you tense throughout every episode. This story is not going to end well for someone, maybe for everyone, so the suspense level is very high.

I say it every season, but I say it once again: great stuff.

The Weird Politics of “House of Cards”

March 9th, 2015 - 4:27 pm

I take a fresh look at the upside down politics of Netflix’s enjoyable series House of Cards at City Journal:

Most Hollywood fictions can be relied upon to rewrite conservative truth into left-wing fantasy. In real life, the staunch Cold Warrior president John F. Kennedy is assassinated by a Communist for the sake of Communism. At the movies, Oliver Stoneturns Kennedy into a peacenik killed by a vast right-wing conspiracy. In real life, a married Democratic president faces credible charges of philandering and mistreatment of women. Onscreen, Michael Douglasmagically transforms him into an unmarried man of integrity excoriated by the puritanical right for falling deeply in love with an accomplished woman his own age. In real life, leftists in the news media attempt to discredit a Republican president by creating a nonsensical scandal out of the Valerie Plame kerfuffle. At the multiplex, the scandal becomes deadly real and Vice President Dick Cheney (who had nothing to do with any of it) is somehow behind it all.

We’ve all become so accustomed to this leftward rejiggering of history that watching Netflix’s TV series House of Cards can be a weird and confusing experience. On the one hand, by dramatizing the rise of a corrupt, soulless Democratic pol willing to break any law, betray any principle, and literally throw his opponents under trains to acquire power—and by showing a Republican opposition too bumbling and cowardly to oppose his ruthless machinations—the series hews so close to the facts that it can hardly be called fiction at all. But when it comes to portraying the actual nuts and bolts of day-to-day policy making, the show sometimes seems to take place in an unidentifiable political Wonderland.

You can read the whole thing here.

And my previous CJ piece on the show is here.

Me And Steve Malzberg

March 6th, 2015 - 7:24 am

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I’m really glad Steve Malzberg has found a home on NewsMax TV. He’s always been a smart, informed, quick-thinking interviewer capable of making news when the moment is right. Plus I enjoy talking to him.

Here’s our chat this week about the left’s reaction to the recent speech from the leader of the free world Bibi Netanyahu:

“My favorite reaction was President Obama’s when he said it was nothing new. And I thought: That’s absolutely right. The battle between good and evil is the oldest thing in the world; there’s nothing new about it. Only Obama thinks that because it’s not new it’s somehow invalidated because it doesn’t have his fresh original perspective!”

Brother of Christian Martyrs Thanks Isis

March 4th, 2015 - 6:05 pm

The Coptic Egyptian Orthodox Diocese of Los Angeles, Southern California and Hawaii had Tony Rezk make an icon of the the 21 Coptic Egyptian Men who were beheaded by the hands of the the ISIS in Libya last week. More at the picture link.

This is from Christianity Today: The brother of two of the 21 Coptic Christians slaughtered by ISIS beasts in Libya thanked the slavering Islamist murderers because the video of their damnable atrocity included the dying martyrs’ final words of Christian faith:

Speaking on a live prayer and worship programme on Christian channel SAT-7 ARABIC, Beshir Kamel said that he was proud of his brothers Bishoy Estafanos Kamel (25) and Samuel Estafanos Kamel (23) because they were “a badge of honour to Christianity”.

Harrowing scenes of the murders have been seen around the world. The last words of some of those killed were “Lord Jesus Christ”.

Beshir Kamel thanked ISIS for not editing out the men’s declaration of belief in Christ because he said this had strengthened his own faith. He added that the families of the ex-patriate workers are “congratulating one another” and not in despair: “We are proud to have this number of people from our village who have become martyrs,” he told the programme.

He said: “Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.”

In my Revolting Truth video last week, I remarked what good news it was for the victims of the ISIS murderers that Barack Obama says Islamist terror is not an existential threat. But of course that’s pure satire on my part.

The real good news for the Coptics is the promise of Christ: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”