Wednesday, October 18, 2006

"Back to the Badlands"

Lucky U.K. readers can buy John Williams Back to the Badlands this month; it seems American readers will have to wait until to early 2007 to get a copy.

Here's a synopsis of the book from Amazon UK:
In the summer of 1989, John Williams donned a baseball cap and took off for the States to search out the mythical America of modern crime fiction - to find James Ellroy's LA, Elmore Leonard's sleazy South Beach of Miami, Sara Paretsky's Chicago, and many others on an unnerving tour of the American underbelly. The result was "Into the Badlands", a riveting collection of interviews that introduced a generation of crime fans to now legendary writers. In 2005, Williams returned to discover that much had changed in the intervening years, both in crime writing and in America as a whole. As Williams crosses America in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, he finds himself in a profoundly uneasy country. Whether their territory is inner-city DC, like George Pelecanos, or the rural white poverty of the Ozark Hills, like Daniel Woodrell, the best crime writers today are sending despatches from the edge. John Williams brings their visions together to construct a powerful, personal portrait of America today. This book also contains interviews with James Lee Burke, James Ellroy, James Crumley, Sara Paretsky, Eugene Izzi, Elmore Leonard, George V. Higgins, Vicki Hendricks, Kem Nunn, Kinky Friedman, Daniel Woodrell, and George P. Pelecanos.
The good news is that Williams has set up a webpage designed to complement Back To The Badlands. There you can find all the chapters from the original book, Into The Badlands, that do not appear in the new edition, as well as interviews with the likes of James Lee Burke, Harry Crews, William McIlvanney, and James Crumley.

--Marshal Zeringue