Sunday, 11 September 2016 01:35

It seems inconceivable—as nearly everyone has been mentioning this week—that the horrible events of September 11, 2001, were 15 years ago.

Each of us remembers where we were when we first heard or saw this news. I know I shall never forget—and I hope none of us ever forget.

Of the many symbols that came out of that day was a photograph that represented resilience, pride in our country, and surviving. The photograph is of three firefighters raising an American flag amid the ruins of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

It wasn’t long after that photograph was taken that the flag disappeared. Despite officials’ many attempts, the flag could not be found.

Until now.

And author Brad Meltzer has a connection to this historical artifact.

It happened just days after a segment on the flag was featured on the first episode of Brad Meltzer’s Lost History, which was broadcast in 2014 on H2, a spinoff of the History Channel.

A grainy video showing the flag was broadcast on Meltzer’s program on October 31, 2014. Four days later, a man carrying a plastic bag walked into a fire station in Everett, Washington. The man, who called himself “Brian” and said he was a former Marine, had seen the show and believed he had the flag.

The man did not take the $10,000 reward that Meltzer had offered for the flag’s return.

After much research and testing, it was determined the flag was authentic.

Last Wednesday, September 7, 2015, Meltzer was at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City as the flag was unveiled. It will be permanently displayed there.

Meltzer gives full credit to finding the flag to the help from law enforcement, forensic experts, eyewitnesses, and the former Marine.

As an author, Meltzer uses history in his thrillers, the latest of which is The House of Secrets, and also in his children’s books, the latest of which are I Am George Washington and I Am Jane Goodall. Now Meltzer is participating in history.

Meltzer will host a one-hour History Channel special, America's 9/11 Flag: Rise from the Ashes, at 10:30 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 11.

For more information, visit

And today, remember how this terrorist attack changed America. Give thanks to our first responders.

And never forget.

Brad Meltzer’s Role in 9/11 Flag
Oline H. Cogdill
Sunday, 04 September 2016 03:15

leoardelmore libraryamerica
With a fine eye for curation, the Library of America puts out mini collections of authors’ works. These volumes are beautiful books.

The latest is Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels, and this is a must-have for fans of the late writer.

Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels contains some of the most popular and important works by Leonard, and joins the Library of America’s other volumes on the author: Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1970s and Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1980s.

The works included in this new volume are:

Get Shorty: A Miami loan shark with an idea for a movie finds a way to break into Hollywood as a producer. It is a brilliant satire on the movie industry, which Leonard knew well.

Rum Punch: An aging bail bondsman and an airline stewardess matching wits against lawmen and criminals.

Out of Sight: Deputy U.S. marshal Karen Sisco and escaped bank robber Jack Foley develop an unlikely romance in the middle of a violent adventure. The Library of America collection also includes the short story “Karen Makes Out,” which introduced Sisco.

Tishomingo Blues: Set in Mississippi, this 2002 novel involves exhibition high divers, Civil War reenactors, and an unforgettable cast of gangsters and hustlers. Leonard has been quoted as saying it is one of his favorite novels.

Three of these novels have been filmed:

Get Shorty starred John Travolta as loan shark Chili Palmer, who discovers the movie business isn’t much different from his occupation. Get Shorty will be filmed again. Epix has announced that Ray Romano and Chris O’Dowd will star in its TV remake of Get Shorty, which will have a ten-episode first season. The show is expected to premiere next summer on Epix. But according to some reports, the characters will have different names.

Run Punch was filmed by Quentin Tarantino as Jackie Brown in 1997, with Pam Grier and Robert Forster as the bail bondsman and flight attendant whose attraction to each other fuels the story. I will always remember the scene in which Max Cherry (Forster) falls in love with Jackie Brown (Grier) as she walks out of jail.

Out of Sight: It was totally believable that Jennifer Lopez, as Karen Sisco, would fall in love with George Clooney, as the bank robber Jack Foley, in this 1998 film directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Tishomingo Blues was to be made into a movie starring—and possibly directed by—actor Don Cheadle. But that project is said to be scrapped. For a bit of trivia, the title comes from the 1917 Spencer Williams song.

Elmore Leonard: Four Later Novels was pulled together by Detroit native Gregg Sutter who began working as a researcher for Leonard in 1981. Sutter currently is working on a biography of Leonard. Sutter also is editor of the Library of America’s other editions of Leonard’s novels.

Elmore Leonard Collection
Oline H. Cogdill
Saturday, 27 August 2016 20:10

loehfelmbill letdeiloutBy OLINE H. COGDILL

Each year, I write about Bouchercon, the largest conference for mystery fans.

Bouchercon, for those who are not familiar with it, is a fan-based conference, which means that it is for readers to connect with their favorite authors and meet new ones. This year, Bouchercon is September 15 to 18 in New Orleans.

The conference doesn’t stress the craft of writing, like Sleuthfest, though anyone interested in writing will glean something from Bouchercon.

The main focus of Bouchercon is to look at trends, isssues, and how authors work. For example, this year I am moderating the panel “Even in the Quiet Moments,” subtitled “A good story doesn’t always rely on all-out action,” with authors M.O. Walsh, Tracy Kiely, Leigh Perry, William Lashner, and Annette Dashofy, at 3 p.m. Sept. 17.

I have only missed one Bouchercon since 1997. (Full disclosure, last year I joined the Bouchercon board.) Each Bouchercon has been different—some well organized, some a mess; some in cool areas, some in places I never want to return to.

No matter, I have never had a bad time at Bouchercon.

And because Bouchercon is in a different area each year, I think it is a great excuse to read authors from that area.

So here is a quick primer on Louisiana authors for those going to Bouchercon, or those opting for armchair travels. These are in no particular order and I am sure I have missed a few, so please tell us who I’ve missed.

James Lee Burke: Burke’s novels about Dave Robicheaux have been a longtime favorite. Through the years and some 20 novels, Burke has allowed the Louisiana detective to change and go through many life experiences.

Bill Loehfelm: The rebuilding of New Orleans is a metaphor for the emotional recovery of police detective Maureen Coughlin, who finds a fresh start with the city’s police force. Loehfelm’s novels feature an authentic view of New Orleans’ myriad neighborhoods, bars, and restaurants.

herrengreg batonrougebingoGreg Herren: The prolific Herren writes two series about New Orleans’ private detectives. The darker Chanse MacLeod and the lighter Scotty Bradley are both gay men with a strong connection to their homes in New Orleans. Herren’s wicked sense of humor especially shows in his Scotty novels.

Nevada Barr: The author of the bestselling Anna Pigeon novels lives in New Orleans, but has set only one novel, Burn (2010), about the National Park Service ranger in her hometown. In Burn, Anna is assigned to the New Orleans Jazz National Heritage Park where the rangers’ duties are to preserve the area’s music.

Attica Locke: Locke’s novel The Cutting Season (2012) showed the changing face of racism and classism on a Louisiana antebellum mansion that’s managed as a tourist stop by an African American woman whose ancestors were slaves on the plantation.

Tom Cooper: Cooper, who lives in New Orleans, delivered a funny, yet poignant novel with his debut. The Marauders is set in Louisiana’s Barataria swamp after the ecological disaster that was the BP oil spill.

Ethan Brown: Investigative journalist Ethan Brown has two nonfiction books set in New Orleans, the newly released Murder in the Bayou and Shake the Devil Off.

Charlaine Harris: Harris’ popular Sookie Stackhouse novels invented a new genre—the Southern Vampire mystery. Set in Louisiana, these novels gave us a whole new look at vampires and were the basis of the popular HBO series True Blood.

David Fulmer: Fulmer wrote four well-received novels about Creole detective Valentin St. Cyr, set in Storyville, the red-light district that thrived during the early 1900s in New Orleans.

nevadabarr burnBarbara Hambly: Hambly’s excellent novels devled deep into Big Easy history with hero Benjamin January, a former slave who is a surgeon and music teacher in 1830s New Orleans.

Julie Smith: Smith’s novels about police detective Skip Langdon took readers to the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Mardi Gras, and city government. Smith also may have been the first to write about a group of people who connected virtually, through an online bulletin board, in her novel New Orleans Beat.

Sophie Dunbar: The late Dunbar has four charmingly light mysteries about New Orleans beauty salon owner Clair Claiborne. Her books are Behind Eclaire’s Door (1993), A Bad Hair Day (1996), Redneck Riviera (1998), and Shiveree (1999). Dunbar died of cancer in 2001.

Bouchercon in New Orleans
Oline H. Cogdill