February 15, 2016 at 4:27 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I am happy to report that, so far in 2016, work on The Complete Boston Blackie is moving at the pace I projected in my in January progress report.  The “History of Boston Blackie” essay is now complete, and the biographical sketch of Jack Boyle is off to a good start.  As a bit of a sneak preview, here is the opening of the Boston Blackie piece:

“BOSTON BLACKIE KILLED” was the proclamation in the March 29, 1900 edition of The Saint Paul Globe.  At the time, Jack Boyle was an up-and-coming reporter in San Francisco, still more than a decade away from creating his infamous ebony-eyed safecracker of New England heritage, and yet Boston Blackie lay dying in a Michigan saloon.  Or, rather, a Boston Blackie lay dying.  While Boyle would make the name Boston Blackie known around the globe by the 1920s, the appellation was around long before he put pen to paper.  The checkered history of Boston Blackie encompasses a number of men (both real and fictional) all laying claim to the colorful sobriquet.

Thanks for the continued interest in this project, and I’ll be back with another update in a few weeks!

JBF – 2/15/16


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January 4, 2016 at 9:56 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Anyone who reads this blog regularly is aware that I have been working for years now to acquire every piece of fiction written by Jack Boyle.  My main goal for this search has been to release, for the first time, a book collecting all of the original Boston Blackie stories into a single volume.  My initial target date for release was 2014, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Blackie’s first appearance, but a variety of factors conspired to make that window unfeasible.  Subsequently, I projected publication for late 2015, but that mark has passed as well.  Rather than continue to make estimates on when the book will be released, I’ve decided to post periodic progress reports, so that anyone with an interest will have a clear idea of where the project stands.

As of this writing, I’m actually intending to release three separate collections.  The first two will be companion publications, released under the umbrella title PRISON STRIPES, REVOLVER SHOTS, & OPIUM SMOKE: THE COLLECTED FICTION OF JACK BOYLE.  Volume One of this pair will be THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE and Volume Two will be THE CLAWS OF THE TONG.  Between the two, they will collect every known short story by Jack Boyle, along with related essays, illustrations, and further ephemera.  The third volume is a slimmer collection, bearing the working title BOSTON BLACKIE STILL AT LARGE!  It will encompass vintage material about Blackie written by authors other than Jack Boyle.

In order to keep from being completely overwhelmed by these endeavors, I’m concentrating on getting just THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE to press first.  The good news is, the great majority of the work on this one is done.  The volume is slated to contain 25 short stories by Boyle, 23 of which have been re-typeset and proofread.  Two related stories by other authors also scheduled for inclusion are set and proofed, as well as four brief essays detailing various aspects of the Boston Blackie phenomenon.  Two longer essays are still in the works.  The first, “The History of Boston Blackie,” is three-quarters complete, while the second – a biographical sketch of Jack Boyle – is only in the outline phase.  My goal is to have “The History of Boston Blackie” complete by the end of January, and the piece on the life of Jack Boyle done in April.

Once the essays are complete, the remaining two Blackie stories will need to be re-typeset.  Then, the entire text and illustrations will need to be formatted.  After that, the book will finally be ready for publication.  I’m going to be optimistic, and shoot for having the e-book and softcover editions available in June, with a hardcover version out later in the year.  Again, these are only projections, and not set in stone, so be sure to check back here periodically for further news.  I’ll be posting an update every four to six weeks, to keep everyone abreast of the progress.  In the meantime, feel free to comment here if you have any thoughts about the work in development.

JBF  1/4/16

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