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Jasmine Schwartz is the hottest new voice in crime fiction. Her novels "Farbissen: Melissa Morris and the Meaning of Money" and "Fakakt: Melissa Morris and the Meaning of Sex" are witty and daring, sneaking weighty subjects like sex-trafficking and drugs into storylines that at first seem breezy. In this interview with Matt Rees, Jasmine talks in her inimitable style about how she wrote the books and reads from them. She also discusses the persona she invented not only for the books' writer, but also for her blog.

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_20_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:17am EDT
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Award-winning crime writer Matt Rees describes the challenges of researching and writing about the great Italian artist Caravaggio for his novel A NAME IN BLOOD. Matt says he deliberately took his research too far, not only learning to fence with a rapier and to paint with oils, but dying his beard and cutting his hair in Caravaggio's style and using New Age spiritual techniques to connect with the energy of Caravaggio. He did all this because he wanted to be sure he could accurately portray the real Caravaggio, not the "gay psycho bitch" as whom Caravaggio is usually portrayed. Here he tells the story of how he found the real Caravaggio.

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_19_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:08am EDT
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Award-winning crime novelist Matt Rees was on a book tour in Spain when, visiting a Madrid gallery, he fell for Caravaggio's portrait of St. Catherine of Alexandria. Rees tells the story of how that encounter with Catherine drew him into the work of the great Italian artist -- and the story of his mysterious disappearance. The result is the stunning historical crime novel "A Name in Blood."

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_18_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:50am EDT
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Award-winning crime novelist Matt Rees reads from A Name in Blood, his historical crime novel about the great Italian artist Caravaggio. It's Rome, 1605 and the new Cardinal Scipione Borghese views Caravaggio's work alongside the artist's patron, Cardinal del Monte. Here's more about the book: For the ruling Borghese family, Rome is a place of grand palazzos and frescoed cathedrals. For the lowly artist Caravaggio, it is a place of rough bars, knife fights, and grubby whores. Until he is commissioned to paint the Pope…Soon, Caravaggio has gained entry into the Borghese family’s inner circle, and becomes the most celebrated artist in Rome. But when he falls for Lena, a low-born fruit-seller, and paints her into his Madonna series as a simple peasant woman, Italian society is outraged. Discredited as an artist, but unwilling to retract his vision of the woman he loves, Caravaggio is forced into a duel – and murders a well-connected street tough. Even his powerful patrons cannot protect him from a death sentence. So Caravaggio flees to Malta, where, before he can be pardoned, he must undergo the rigorous training of the Knights of Malta. His paintings continue to speak of his love for Lena. But before he can return to her, as a Knight and a nobleman, Caravaggio, the most famous artist in Italy, simply disappears…

Direct download: Caravaggio_reading_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42am EDT
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The only thing as evocative as a good noir crime novel is music. So, award-winning crime writer Matt Rees thought, how about making an album of music about crime fiction? That’s what he has done and he unveils. The project’s called Poisonville, after the mispronounced location of Dashiell Hammett’s first novel “Red Harvest.” (The place was really called Personville, but Hammett’s Op learns that people call it Poisonville for a reason.) You can listen to the songs free on Matt's website. Share them. Matt found it inspiring to work on these songs. You’ll see the styles vary from industrial to rock to funk to the sound of hoboes in a speakeasy, as well as Matt's impersonations of Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_16_Poisonville_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:54am EDT
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Award-winning crime writer Matt Rees was born in Britain and lives in the Middle East. But as a lover of noir crime fiction, he's always had a soft spot for the Los Angeles of Raymond Chandler and has spent a great deal of time there. A soft spot that's almost as soft as Los Angeles itself... An outsider's witty take on Los Angeles, which Agelenos would surely describe as "deep."

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_15_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:39am EDT
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A writer's identity is important to his work. Award-winning crime writer Matt Rees examines his own amusing confrontations with Italians who questioned his identity...though not as a writer.

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_14_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:41pm EDT
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Before I became a writer, I worked a number of crappy jobs. I hauled cement on my back, gleefully destroyed hospitals, ate meat pies, and watched homoerotic wrestling while draining a deep-fat fryer. And got paid badly for all of them. But without them, I wouldn't be the writer I am.

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_13_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:57pm EDT
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When I was a very young journalist in London, I had the last interview with Salman Rushdie before Khomeini pronounced his fatwa against the writer. Unfortunately I was drunk. He was rude, and so was I. Here's the story of how it happened.

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Episode_12_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:34am EDT
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Writers usually decide to be writers before they know what they might write about. In the case of Matt Rees, it was a journey from teenage isolation in Britain to the violence of the Middle East which led him to the elements of his fiction which could be true -- not just in the sense that they're based on reality, but in the sense that they show something true about the souls of the people he had come to know and most of all about himself. Here he talks about how Dashiell Hammett, journalism and teenage alienation were staging points on that journey.

Direct download: The_Man_of_Twists_and_Turns_Podcast_Episode_11_-_Start.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:38am EDT
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