Guns and dolls: Noir novel gets a sexy opening event

Guns and dolls: Noir novel gets a sexy opening event
Ronit Schlam

Welcome to the “Gun” show!

A Williamsburg author will debut his hard-boiled detective novel next week with an event filled with leggy dames and hard whiskey. The author of “The Painted Gun” said that he wants the launch party, at the Rosemont bar on March 9, to reflect his inspiration of 1950s books filled with sexy showgirls and hard-drinking detectives.

“We doing this launch in noir — it would make sense to do something different with a big party and burlesque dancers,” said Bradley Spinelli. “I’ll read for a little, but people can go home and finish the book. I want them to have cocktails and be entertained.”

The novel, from Brooklyn publisher Akashic Books, follows alcoholic former journalist David Crane, a down-on-his-luck gumshoe hired to crack the case of a missing girl named Ashley. The only clue: a mysterious painting that Ashley made of David himself. The story that follows will keep readers on the edge of their seats, said Spinelli.

“It’s a page-turner,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to say too much, but there are a few moments in the book where there are a lot of sharp turns and plenty of suspense — it absolutely keeps you on edge.”

The twist of Ashley’s painting adds a paranoid edge to the tale, said Spinelli.

“It’s that weird feeling of ‘What if someone is watching you,’ — that was the idea,” he said.

The book is set in San Francisco in 1997, and Spinelli began the project in that same city and time, but took a few long breaks to finish other books — including his 2013 novel “Killing Williamsburg.” Despite its more modern setting, the book is a conscious homage to detective greats like Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, he said.

This is basically a noir and a throwback to 1950s detective stories, set in San Francisco in 1997,” said Spinelli.

And in the tradition of those mid-century pulps, the protagonist starts off a little prickly, he said.

“He’s shifty — Crane is a guy that comes across as a little bit of a jerk,” said Spinelli. “I think he’s likeable in a rogue-ish kind of way, like a Dirty Harry or an Indiana Jones, and he certainly grows on the reader during the course of the book.”

For the release party, Spinelli — who co-founded the stripping-centric magazine Burlesque Beat — has invited popular and genre-appropriate dancers Gal Friday and Angie Pontani to take the stage.

“We have the best performers in town,” said Spinelli. “They will each present one act, which is a strictly rehearsed number created by the performer herself.”

“The Painted Gun” at the Rosemont [63 Montrose Ave. between Lorimer and Leonard streets in Williamsburg, (347) 987–3101, www.therosemontnyc.com]. March 9 at 7 pm. Free.

Duck and cover: Spinelli’s novel “The Painted Gun” is a take on the detective fiction of the 1950s, but is set in the late ’90s.
Akashic Books