My last column as the Mystery Strumpet (my most unlikely sobriquet ever at Bookslut) came out today, in celebration of the online magazine's 100th issue. I just haven't been able to keep up in recent months, and as I've explained in the column, I think it's irresponsible for me to keep the title if I can't keep up the work. Will I keep writing for Jessa, Michael and the gang? Oh, you bet. (and I'm still writing like crazy for Bookslut, The Denver Post, Kirkus and others, for all you booky publishing types who think of sending me books or assigning assignments).
That said, there's a great advantage to be had in having a free range in which to let your thoughts roam, not to mention not worrying about dropping a dirty word now and then. There's a whole wide world of books to chew up, and anyone who gets my attention earns my attention and efforts for sure, and will continue to do so.
As I told Jessa when I turned in my badge, I never had more fun writing for anyone than I did writing for Bookslut. There's a good chance you may see me again someday with a different column, but for now I'm all shot to hell, so it's time for there to be a new Sheriff in Town.
For the record, I wrote a lot of okay columns and a few good ones. If you stumble across this blog in the ethernet long after I'm gone, go read "Radio Noir," my favorite column of all time. If that's cool, go read "Talking Crime," my crazy-quilt conversation with Don Westlake, Elmore Leonard and Walter Mosley, or "Pulp Fiction, Hard Cases and the Travis McGee Retirement Plan."
You joining me among the living can tune in one more time for a few words from Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, and myself weighing in on Arkady Ranko, great first lines, Travis McGee and Black Mask magazine. If you're interested in taking on the role of Mystery Strumpet for Bookslut, feel free to contact myself or Michael Schaub, the managing editor of Bookslut, to apply for the gig.
I pretty much said what I had to say in the column, but let me add a little coda with some words from others that have gone down over the years.
"Any desire to do a regular mystery/suspense column?" --Jessa Crispin
"If I’d been Bookslut’s Clayton Moore, fielding calls on a pre-holiday morning from a trio of prominent crime novelists--Walter Mosley, Donald Westlake, and Elmore Leonard--all with news to share about their next books, I might just have crawled back to bed afterward, content that my Christmas had been present-rich enough." --the great J. Kingston Pierce of The Rap Sheet
"I had the opportunity to talk with reviewer Clayton Moore when he was writing for Kirkus Reviews. Now he's writing about mysteries for Bookslut (his sobriquet is Mystery Strumpet). I enjoyed our conversation and I'm glad he enjoyed my book:
I’ve never been one for the outdoorsy sub-genre, although I certainly understand the attraction of CJ Box and his ilk. Yet somehow Paul Doiron’s debut novel The Poacher’s Sontranscends its setting, lending a bleak austerity to its milieu while simultaneously infusing its main character with Steinbeckian humanity.
Any reviewer who mentions Steinbeck and me in the same sentence has earned a lifelong place on my Christmas card list." - Paul Doiron, author of The Poacher's Son"I was pleased to see The Wheelman included in a roundup of car-related crime novels over at Bookslut.com. "Mystery Strumpet" Clayton Moore takes a spin through my novel, as well as James Sallis's Drive, Andrew Vachss's The Getaway Man, Timothy Watts's Grand Theft, James H. Cobb's West on 66 and Joe Gores's 32 Cadillacs. Cheers to Moore for the kind words." --Duane Swierczynski
"It’s a great article, and I really appreciate your kind words! You really captured the essence of the line and where we are right now with our major foray into graphic novels" --Karen Berger, editor of Vertigo Comics
"In his column Five Off the Top, Mystery Strumpet Clayton Moore trumpets The Serialist:"Last month's winner for funniest book of the month was a killer." - David Gorson
"And finally, from the Bookslut blog, Clayton Moore, a.k.a. the Mystery Strumpet, gives us the benefit of his refined taste. Moore's "Mystery Strumpet's Nifty-Keen Beach Books Round-Up" conveniently organizes books by crime type -- for example " Cold-Blooded, World-Shaking Murder, 1968," for the new Hampton Sides biography of James Earl Ray , Hellhound on His Trail . These are well-chosen and unusual books, including Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre and James Sullivan's book about the late "criminal" George Carlin, Seven Dirty Words . " - Novelist
"I rather enjoyed this piece by Clayton Moore, the Mystery Strumpet of Bookslut on "Age, Wisdom, and Treachery," about creative people, age, wisdom and, well, you get the idea." - The Bookgrrl
"Speaking For the Dead: The June "Mystery Strumpet" column for Bookslut is at once a meditation on the meaning of Memorial Day and a look at recent historical novels (literary thrillers, mostly) about historical characters from the not-so-distant past. Edgar Allan Poe, anyone?" - Reading The Past
"Like so many others before him, Clayton Moore, Bookslut’s “mystery strumpet,” ponders the definition of 'thriller.' 'I usually have my own perspective on the question,” Moore writes, 'but my position waffles depending on the book, the day, and my current medication.' Moore doesn’t spend a lot of time on his pondering, however, but jumps right in and looks at three upcoming books whose thrillerish pedigrees probably won’t be much questioned: The Raw Shark Texts, by Steven Hall (Canongate), Killer Weekend, by Ridley Pearson (Putnam), and Free Fire, by C.J. Box (Putnam). (“Okay,” says Moore, “I’m going to skirt the boundaries of this month’s topic a little bit and leave you with a genuine, Edgar-winning mystery writer.”) The piece is engaging and it’s here. " - The Rap Sheet
The Rocky Mountain News ran a great piece on Dead Boys, by Clayton Moore. Also, check out Moore's blog, Bang!" - Richard Lange, author of This Wicked World.
I love this headline: 'The Spy Who Didn’t Suck.' In fact, I’d steal it in a New York minute, had Bookslut not just used it to crown a quite wonderful essay by Clayton Moore, in which the critic discovers that fictional British secret agent James Bond isn’t a one-dimensional figure who appeared in novels by Ian Fleming that are all but unreadable today. In fact, writes Moore, contrary to the contemporary zeitgeist that would have us believe that Fleming’s protagonist is a rather embarrassing leftover from another era, 'maybe James Bond does still matter.'--The Rap Sheet
"Clayton Moore's Bookslut column has a decidedly dangerous edge to it." --Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind
"We're heartbroken to announce that this issue brings the final Mystery Strumpet column from longtime Bookslut contributor Clayton Moore. Clayton is a good friend of mine, and I still plan to extort him into writing for us, but he's passing on the Strumpet mantle to an as-yet-unnamed successor. (Interested? Let me know.) Clayton, man, we'll miss you, and thanks for everything. --Bookslut's own Michael Schaub
"Dear Clayton, Your article is obviously heartfelt and tremendously flattering. I appreciate it very much. Thank you. and Garth send their regards. Best, George C. Chesbro."