Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cute Author Alert: Christa Faust

Deadly cute, that is. Christa Faust is the first and only woman to have been published by Hard Case Crime, the noir-centric publishing house known for it's gloriously pulpy book-covers and abiding love of vintage crime. In addition to reprinting mid-Twentieth Century works by Donald Westlake and Mickey Spillane, they publish original crime stories by contemporary authors, and Faust's 2008 novel Money Shot is easily one of the best. Money Shot is a tightly paced thriller with a believably tough protagonist, former adult actress Angel Dare. (This will undoubtedly be made into a movie at some point, and I hope it's adapted by a director who will take the source material seriously. Quentin Tarantino may seem like the obvious choice; there's even a scene in the book that echoes the patented Tarantino trunk shot. But, I'd much rather see a less overtly stylized adaptation. Maybe David Gordon Green?) Faust sharpened her teeth on movie novelizations of such cinematic masterworks as Final Destination 3 and, yes, Snakes on a Plane. She has several other original works to her credit, including a bizarre fantasy set in the world of lucha libre, and the operatic saga Triads (co-written with Poppy Z. Brite). Her website is entertaining and informative, but her LiveJournal is, dare I say, endearing. She writes intelligently about 1940s B-movies starring Lawrence Tierney and Ann Savage, but isn't above posting pictures of vintage shoes and expressing justifiable outrage at people who use their cellphones in movie theaters. I wonder if these cellphone malefactors would so eagerly engage in that breach of etiquette if they knew that this modern day Claire Trevor was the offended party. We can expect a new Angel Dare novel February 11, 2011.

Full Disclosure: The sad truth is that this blog entry began as a paean to crime novelist Megan E. Abbott, an author whose work I follow with great interest. Abbott's five published novels are beautifully detailed works of historical fiction, with a focus on strong female protagonists. Her latest novel, the Edgar Award-winning Bury Me Deep, is a fictionalized account of the life and crimes of Winnie Ruth Judd, the so-called "Trunk Murderess." Abbott's empathetic treatment of Ms. Judd and the voice she ascribes to her are breathtaking. Plus, she wears glasses. The "spectacle factor" would ordinarily clinch the deal and guarantee her a place on the Cute Author Alert. However, the preliminary Google search that can make or break an aspiring Cute Author provided us with some unsettling information. Megan Abbott is married! Blogging about the allure of married authors would surely set an unhealthy precedent here at the Readers Block. So, advantage Faust. It may be impolite to openly declare her the default recipient of this most coveted award, but I'm not unduly concerned. I think it's safe to assume that the authors in question are wholly ignorant of this blog and the cabal of librarians who run it.