Sunday, May 19, 2024

The Dire Reader literary series has a summer feel Friday. It’s been transformed for the day into the The Dire Literary BBQ, with food and music added to the usual readings by up and comers in the literary scene presented by short story writer and poet Timothy Gager.

The food’s at 6 p.m., with music joining in an hour later by John Cate, creator and host of the Americana Showcase at the original House of Blues in Harvard Square. Cate has released 10 albums and claims more than 1,000 songs, including some featured in film and television such as “American Idol,” “Num3ers,” “Dawson’s Creek,” “Touched by an Angel,” “All My Children” and “Touching the Game: The Story of the Cape Cod Baseball League.”

He also runs Billy Block’s Western Beat Entertainment, which includes showcases in Nashville, Tenn., and Los Angeles, with intermittent runs in Boston, New York and Austin, Texas.

Here’s Cate & the Van Gogh Brothers performing music from “Touching the Game” at Toad in Porter Square:

At 8 p.m., the readings begin. Scheduled are two writers with several similarities, starting with their shared publisher, Brooklyn’s Ig Publishing, and that their new novels were welcomed warmly by Kirkus Reviews and Publisher’s Weekly, which gave each a starred review:

Kirby Gann, a Louisville, Ky., professor at Spalding University and editor at Sarabande Books whose “Ghosting” is an Appalachian gothic described as “genre-subverting literary thriller.” In it:

Fleece Skaggs has disappeared along with Lawrence Gruel’s reefer harvest. Convinced that the best way to discover the fate of his older brother is to take his place as a drug runner for Greuel, James Cole plunges into a dark underworld of drugs, violence and long-hidden family secrets where discovering what happened to his brother could cost him his life.

Christopher Narozny’s “Jonah Man” — his first novel — is set in vaudeville and told from the perspectives of multiple characters, including a one-handed juggler who moonlights as a drug trafficker, a prodigious young talent who sees his father’s murder as an opportunity to break free of the small stage and an inspector with an overly mannered mode of investigation.

“A classic whodunit ripe with spare, snappy prose and riddled with period language, this is one show-stopper that deserves a standing ovation,” Publisher’s Weekly said.

The event is at the Out of the Blue Art Gallery, 106 Prospect St., between Central and Inman squares. Entry is $8.