Incident Report No. 29

small press crime fiction

A review of small press crime fiction for the week of February 11th through the 17th. Links to articles and book releases, new and upcoming.


In ‘Down The River,’ Walter Mosley Latest Detective Novel Deals With Dualities : NPR
And so I wanted write a novel in which that happened, that that you have a policeman – a black policeman, but still a policeman – who hates, you know, what this guy has done. But then as he’s paid to get deeper and deeper into it, he begins to understand that everything is not what it seems.

February Thrillers Featuring 7 of the Best Mystery Writers Today
No, no, no, no, no! A thousand times no! -DN

All Men, All the Time: A Former Literary Editor Remembers the World Before #MeToo – Vogue
It didn’t take long for me to learn that the literary world, despite an exterior sheen of civility, could be a discouragingly conventional place teeming with unchecked male egos.

A Prisoner Got a Book Deal. Now the State Wants Him to Pay for His Imprisonment. – The New York Times
But his surprising literary debut also caught the attention of Michigan’s attorney general, who now wants Mr. Dawkins, 49, to use his financial windfall to pay for his incarceration.

Mystery Playground: Q & A with J.J. Hensley
I’m always calling on my training and experience when I’m writing. The funny thing is I don’t think my readers are holding me to a higher standard when it comes to accuracy. However, I raise the bar extremely high and take few liberties when it comes to processes and procedures.

SleuthSayers: Draftsmanship
I also like to write a first draft all the way through, without stopping to do a lot of analysis on the way. I’ve never been one of those people who "edit as they go."

Friday’s "Forgotten" Books | Sweet Freedom
The links to the reviews and more: 16 February 2018

Five of the best French crime authors » CRIME FICTION LOVER
France has a great literary tradition, the polar noir is part of that, and you can find plenty more French crime authors here. However, the ones listed below are truly magnifique and deserve your reading attention…

Fahrenheit Press | Rubicon optioned by the BBC
Holy Crap! Ian Patrick’s debut novel, "Rubicon", has been optioned by the BBC. It’s published by Fahrenheit Perss. Awesome small press crime fiction news! -DN

Book Review : Donald Ray Pollock – The Heavenly Table (2016) — Dead End Follies
If I’d judge The Heavenly Table by any other standards, I would’ve been more enthusiastic about it but I know Donald Ray Pollock has an extra gear he didn’t use for this one and it murdered me.

The best recent crime novels – review roundup | Books | The Guardian
One small press title out of five is kind of good. -DN

The Greatest Crime Novelists on Their Favorite Crime Novels Ever | GQ
Interesting, though I’ve never heard of Stephanie Cha. I will fix this. -DN

Sofia Samatar on Kafka, Binge-Writing and the Search For Monsters | Literary Hub
Writing that goes too far, I think that is all I want to read. As writers, we should go where the horse drags us.

My Father’s Crimes Exist in Everything I Write | Literary Hub
Our family didn’t need the money and we never suspected anything was truly wrong with him until the day the Hamilton County police showed up at our garage door with a warrant for his arrest.

25 Legendary Literary Feuds, Ranked | Literary Hub
They don’t make literary feuds the way they used to.

Tom Gauld on the writer’s life – cartoon | Books | The Guardian
When working is not working. -DN

How ‘Lolita’ Freed Me From My Own Humbert – The New York Times
Over time, the novel became more than a coping mechanism; it became a guide. I came to see how Lolita uses Humbert’s obsession with her as a means to gain power over him.

Crime Review: February 17 2018
A new issue of Crime Review is out with an L.C. Tyler interview and 20 book reviews.

Golden Man Booker prize launched to find the best ever winner | Books | The Guardian
I see a white male author winner in the future. -DN

The bookstores of Koreatown
Koreatown is a destination for English, Korean and bilingual — or aspiring to be — readers of every age.

Hunting — and Haunted by — a Serial Killer – The New York Times
The story that [Michelle McNamara] she spent the last five years of her life obsessively researching was half written, the gruesome mystery still unsolved. After losing his wife, [Patton] Oswalt couldn’t bear the thought of her work languishing.

Prize for thriller novels without female victims draws mixed reactions –
But what about those who do? Women make up a large portion of thriller readers and authors, and female crime writers have been among the strongest critics of the prize.

A Letter to the Girl on the Bus Reading FLAT STANLEY
On witnessing the joy of reading in others. -DN

Dani Shapiro on the Hard Art of Balancing Writing and Social Media | Literary Hub
The work we do requires solitude. Not only actual room-of-one’s-own solitude, but vast fields of mental space. The moment a writer thinks of her audience, she inevitably falls into a pit of self-consciousness.

The Middle Part | The Thrill Begins
You want tears? Try the middle part of a novel. Or, as Chuck Wendig calls it, “The middle, the motherfucking middle.”

The Devil Doesn’t Want Me by Eric Beetner – Unlawful Acts
Reading Beetner is like snorting rails of coke off of a stripper in a VIP room, lots of fun, but do you really want to do it every night? “Hell, yeah!”

Author of the Week: Tom Pitts – Digital Media Ghost
I mean, fuck the bestseller list. It’s all shit anyway. I just want to get it right, just once before I tucker out.

Village Greene: Brian Greene’s Writing Blog: Introduction in Forthcoming Book
News of a new Orrie Hitt reprint is always good news. -DN

Audiobooks: Revolutionary or Ruining Reading? – The Dorset Book Detective
With the constant rise of firm such as Audible, it is no wonder that audiobooks are becoming more popular as consumers enjoy easier access to them. However, I have always wondered if they are ruining the real reading experience by providing a sort of rubbish version of actually reading a book. Is it better to read the words than it is to hear them spoken aloud?

Yellow Mama
New issue of Yellow Mama is out.

The Night of the Flood – The BOLO Books Review | BOLO BOOKS
The Night of the Flood is an impressive collection of stories from some of the most talented writers working in the crime genre today. The intertextuality amongst the stories is truly impressive. The subtle – and sometimes blatant – references between these works will warrant and reward multiple readings of The Night of the Flood.

Is 99¢ too cheap a price for your book? • Career Authors
My problem is $11.99 ebooks when the paperback is going for under $9. -DN

Your novel blows because… it’s morally rigid and predictable — Dead End Follies
I’ve been ceaselessly yapping about Joe Clifford’s novel Give Up the Dead over the last couple months, but it’s another example of nuanced stakes and therefore nuanced morals.

Alexis Burling on Tolstoy, The Golden Notebook, & Roxane Gay’s Fierce Criticism | Literary Hub
Just because many of us read all day for work, that doesn’t mean we are always in our pajamas. Because: gross.

BLACK GUYS DO READ – Book Reviews Blog: PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW by Gwendolyn Kiste
Once upon a time, the darkness stole my life from me. Now it’s stealing my hereafter too.

In Praise of Alistair MacLean and the Male Romance – The New York Times
Years later, I understood that these were in fact romance novels for boys, which means very little romance and lots of danger, complicated weaponry and battle-forged camaraderie. Historical romances are known as “bodice-rippers.” The only silk to be found in an Alistair MacLean novel is on a parachute.

Caleb Roehrig lists some YA Mysteries for us.

Laura Lippman: An Interview with One of the Biggest Names in the Industry
My least favorite book is always the book I’m working on, but it’s also my favorite. It’s very much like being a mom.

Review: The Devil at Your Door by Eric Beetner by Scott Adlerberg
What’s great about Beetner is you know he might give you what you want, but he just as easily may not. Whichever way he chooses to take you, I can tell you one thing: hooked on the propulsive story, you’ll be reading the book fast. Is there any other way to read an Eric Beetner novel?

Crime Fiction in the Age of Trump: Five Top Writers Weigh in on the Challenge of Writing Crime in 2018 by Sam Wiebe
Crime fiction’s ability to speak to social problems depends on its ability to entertain and draw a readership while doing so. Story takes precedence; if it doesn’t, your well-wrought critique of the prison-industrial complex will languish on the remainder table. In hip-hop terms, there’s no flow without the beat.

Slaughterhouse Blues by Nick Kolakowski – Unlawful Acts
Slaughterhouse Blues wasn’t the wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am book like its predecessor, but I wasn’t disappointed. With Bill and Fiona as our guides, Nick Kolakowski’s Slaughterhouse Blues takes us on a raucous ride filled with craziness, violence, and peculiar characters.

A Book I Fucking Hate : Night Train (Guest Post) — Dead End Follies
Now, if you hated mystery novels and wanted to come up with a pure fuck you of a solution, and you thought you were smarter than you actually were, you’d probably come up with what Amis did.

We Need to Start Taking Young Women’s Love Stories Seriously
Tackling sexism in the writing and publishing world is a big job with multiple and varied solutions, but one piece of the puzzle is as simple as confronting this impulse to embrace books we perceive as masculine and to distance ourselves from those we perceive as feminine.

10 African American Authors to Read This Month | LitReactor
I’m not a big fan of Black History posts … I don’t believe they should be limited to a single month. I’ll give Gabino Iglesias a pass because Gabino writes about diverse authors ALL year long. This list is great and there’s more than ten.

The Rap Sheet: Bill Crider, R.I.P.
There’s been a lot said about Bill Crider last night and today. There will probably more in the upcoming weeks. Over at The Rap Sheet, J. Kingston Pierce has a great remembrance of Bill.

The Latest Trends In Cover Design: Think Pink? |
More on book covers.

On the Very Contemporary Art of Flash Fiction | Literary Hub
Follow Lydia Davis’s example. Make your flash fictions algebraic word problems or culinary recipes or autocorrected text messages from your estranged father or email spam from Nigerian bankers or advertisements for a new kind of hat that grows hair in just thirty days or for Dr. Campbell’s Arsenic Complexion Wafers. In short, anything at all.

Fans of Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill, Meet Joe King Oliver – The New York Times
Sometimes a broken clock is right. Marilyn Stasio calls Walter Mosley’s DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA, "Great stuff." I’m hoping she’s correct.

The First Two Pages: A Matter of Blood by Catherine Maiorisi – Art Taylor
Today, Catherine write about her new novel—and first full-length mystery!—A Matter of Blood, featuring NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli. Congratulations to her on this milestone publication!

SONS OF SPADE: Slaughterhouse Blues (Bill & Fiona) by Nick Kolakowski
There will be laughs along the way.
Not a mystery novel or the kind of PI stuff I usually review it IS a solid crime novella.

Do Some Damage: Being Part of a Writing Community
The advice I normally seek out is rarely about craft—those are questions I feel comfortable working out alone. But the business of writing baffles me, and can be demoralizing. I love talking shop with people smarter than myself, who know the business and have an eye for spotting ways to be more professional.

The Good Mothers review – women challenge the mafia | Books | The Guardian
"To leave the mafia means much more than physically getting away from it. If you leave, the women are told, you cease to exist."

How It Happened – Thomas Pluck | The Thrill Begins
"And when I started doing things, I started coming up with stories in my head."

Review: Help I Am Being Held Prisoner by Donald E. Westlake by Brian Greene
But HCC’s latest Westlake re-release, 1974’s Help I Am Being Held Prisoner, is not on par with those two nor is it among the better works penned by the ridiculously prolific multi-Edgar Award winner and former Mystery Writers of America Grand Master.

When You Have to Kill the Perfect Book Cover | Literary Hub
My first approach to a cover always begins in my sketchbook. After reading the manuscript and taking brief notes, I begin drawing small thumbnail versions of loose cover ideas to work out composition and placement. This helps me to avoid getting mired in unnecessary details too early in the process

Forget the Love Poems This Valentine’s Day, But Fall in Love With Poetry | LitReactor
"Similes are great, and I use them often, but it is the metaphor that really takes something good and makes it great. And do you know who is really good at writing metaphors? Fucking poets, man."

The Interrogation Room – An Interview With Nick Kolakowski | Dirty Books
"If it’s funny or gruesome, I have a real struggle with cutting it out. I keep a separate document where I collect interesting bits and fragments that I’ve chopped from other works—sometimes they’ll find a good home later in another short story or novel."

Rebecca Solnit on the #MeToo Backlash | Literary Hub
“The change that really matters will consist of eliminating the desire to do these things, not merely the fear of getting caught.”

One Bite at a Time: A Conversation With Thomas Pluck
"I put my heart into stories, which makes them harder for me than novels. Not that I don’t put my heart into a book, but a story is like a one-inch punch from Bruce Lee, and a novel is a ten or fifteen round fight, where you get breaks and some love from the cut man between rounds."

William Gay’s Detective Novel | Fried Chicken and Coffee: Online Home of Rusty Barnes
Rusty Barnes points us to a new release, William Gay’s "Stoneburner".

Karl Ove Knausgaard: ‘Contemporary fiction is overrated’ | Books | The Guardian
I love the spectacle of Karl Ove Knausgaard. -DN

Stuff That Takes Readers Out of a Story |
"In some thrillers I’ve read there’s a kind of thrillus ex machina (apologies to Aristotle) at work. Suddenly the protagonist develops an instant set of skills or finds almost superhuman strength at just the right time. Or maybe there’s a suspension of physical or forensic reality."

Love, It’s What Makes ‘Suburra’ | by Christopher Carroll | NYR Daily | The New York Review of Books
"Though technically a prequel to a film of the same name directed by Stefano Sollima, itself adapted from a novel by Giancarlo De Cataldo and Carlo Bonini—a judge and a journalist, respectively—the series far outshines both."

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Incident Report No. 28

small press crime fiction

Here we are with another edition of the Incident Report, a week in review of small press crime fiction for February 4th through the 10th. Last week I said I’d stop posting links to articles here and send you to my Facebook page or Twitter account because of the amount of time it was taking me to put everything together. Turns out, by sending my links to Twitter, I was able to find an easy and less cumbersome way to get collect the links. So here you are. Shake your stick at these links because there are lots of them. Oh, and if you look closely at the the book release sections you see some other genres in there.


The Rap Sheet: PaperBack: “Unfinished Crime”
I’m looking forward to this series.

Under The Influence – Stephen King – by Beau Johnson | Dirty Books
"Mr. King, as I have said before, became my Vader."

The Origins of "The Blinds" | Shotsmag Confidential
Over at Shots, Adam Sternbergh writes about the origins of his novel, "The Blinds".

Do Some Damage: The Tarantino Problem
"Separate the art from the artist? Not sure I can. But I can’t separate myself from the art, either."

Book Review : Frank Bill – The Savage (2017) — Dead End Follies
"Everything seems to hurt in a Frank Bill novel."

The Blank Page: Anxiety or Opportunity? | SleuthSayers
Just read this by Art Taylor.

Movie Review : Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri (2017) — Dead End Follies
"Not a perfect movie by any means, but a memorable one anyway."

The Heart of Conrad | by Colm Tóibín | The New York Review of Books
“Conrad’s pen,” [Maya Jasanoff] writes, “was like a magic wand, conjuring the spirits of the future.”

There Will Be Blood and Almost Certainly Bone Snapping and Maybe Cannibalism: An Interview with S. Craig Zahler | hardboiled wonderland
"To me it’s a success if they’re thinking about these people and this imagined world and piece of fiction as living breathing things that exist and have their own rules." – S. Craig Zahler

The Shortest Novels Written by 20 Authors You Should’ve Read By Now | Literary Hub
I like small books and I cannot lie.

Strangers in the Night, Exchanging Genre Conventions – The New York Times
Look, another book inspired by a Hitchcock film.

Good Paperback Vibrations – The New York Times
Well, this was weird.

Fictive Dream Call for Submissions | ShortStops

The Thrill Begins and What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash | The Thrill Begins
"But I’m much more worried about the approaching time when no human touch will be needed at all in writing." – Tom Sweterlitsch

Book Reviews Blog: FIRES THAT DESTROY by Harry Whittington | Black Guys Do ead
Everyday is a good day when someone reviews Harry Whittington.

7 Interesting Romance Fiction Trends from the Past 10 Years | LitReactor
A take on the familiar ‘bodice ripper’ Regency romances, this popular romance category tends to revolve around Amish and other Mennonite communities. Perhaps inspired by Harrison Ford’s romance in the film Witness, many authors have found success with these tales of love among the hay bales.

Questions and Answers with Nick Kolakowski | Col’s Criminal Library
These books never come out the way I envisioned, because I tend to start without a firm plot in mind.

Denis Johnson’s Final Collection Of Short Stories Is Published : NPR
Christian Lorentzen is the book critic for New York Magazine. He says Johnson’s fiction is not so much about the psychological development of his characters as it is about the style of his writing.

Coffee Or Tea: In Dickens’ World, It Might Be A Choice Between Good And Evil : The Salt : NPR
"This is an observation rather than a rule," she laughs, "and there are lots of counter examples. And, as with anything in Dickens, it is the circumstance rather than the comestible that is most telling. Tea is often (though not always) part of a comfortable and feminine ritual; coffee-drinking was seen as more vigorous and powerful, thanks perhaps to its caffeine boost, but also to its association with the [19th-century] coffee houses where men gathered to talk politics."

A library without books? Universities are purging dusty volumes | Chicago Sun-Times
Though “weeding” has always taken place at libraries, experts say the pace is picking up. Finances are one factor. Between staffing, utility costs and other expenses, it costs an estimated $4 to keep a book on the shelf for a year, according to one 2009 study. Space is another; libraries are simply running out of room.

The Straggler by Scott Adlerberg | Elizabeth A. White — Editing & Reviews | Crime Fiction, Thriller, Noir
"The novelist V.S. Naipaul, in a piece he wrote about Joseph Conrad, describes Conrad’s Lord Jim as a book primarily about the theme of the racial straggler."

Interview: Scotch Rutherford | Econo Clash
What a refreshingly honest interview with Scotch Rutherford of Switchblade.

The Steph Post Interview | Crimespree Magazine
"About five years ago, I was sitting in my living room, complaining about grading essays or something and why couldn’t things just be easier, why couldn’t I just be a writer, blah, blah… and so on. My no-nonsense husband looked over at me and said “Just fucking do it already. If you want to be a writer, write a damn book.” "

Chris Black and Number 13 Press join Fahrenheit | Fahrenheit Press

Lots Going on at Fahrenheit | Fahrenheit Press

Editorial Power Means Blowing Up the Machine from the Inside | Literary Hub
No pull quotes. Read the whole thing.

Will Self: In Praise of Difficult Novels | Literary Hub

Should You Write What You Know? 31 Authors Weigh In | Literary Hub
"A little autobiography and a lot of imagination are best." – Raymond Carver

Ellen Akins on the Self-Indulgence of Walden and the Wonder of Wuthering Heights | Literary Hub
"I don’t know that anyone thinks enough about book critics to have misconceptions."

Review: ‘Down the River Unto the Sea,’ by Walter Mosley – The Washington Post
"At 66, Mosley is, remarkably, as prolific as ever, sometimes producing more than a book a year. “Down the River Unto the Sea” — his 53rd book — is as gorgeous a novel as anything he’s ever written."

A Recovering Sex and Porn Addict Tells All – The New York Times
“The adrenaline racing through my body made me feel invincible at the time,” she writes. “And the shame I felt afterward was even better.”

‘A False Report’ Highlights How Women Who Report Sexual Assault Are Treated : NPR
"When police challenge rape victims, accuse them of lying, victims often shut down and sometimes even recant… That then reinforces the belief that many rape claims are false, which leads police to challenge the next victim. It can become a cycle."

Do Some Damage: Gone But Please Don’t Forget Me
Sad to see Holly West go, but she won’t really be gone. Best of luck, Holly.

The First Two Pages: A Well-Timed Murder – Art Taylor
Tracee de Hahn stops by Art Taylor’s blog where she analyzes the first two pages of her new book, "A Well-Time Murder".

In Praise of the Small Town Library | Literary Hub
"Though not a patron herself, she knew that a library card was a passport, a way for her only child to travel beyond the hemmed-in mountain hollows and valley town. First imaginatively, and then for real."

Empathetic ‘Anatomy Of A Scandal’ Does Justice To A Dark Subject : NPR
"Fiction is one way we have of examining our culture, and processing our experiences. Anatomy of a Scandal cleverly and cleanly undercuts some of the queasy hallmarks of its genre … "

Twisty Thrills Propel ‘The Burial Society’ : NPR
"One of the pleasures of The Burial Society is that Sadowsky keeps a tight rein on the action … Unfortunately, this also leads to one the book’s pitfalls, too; the constant action leaves little time for character development."

‘This Is What Happened’ And ‘Babylon Berlin’ Deliver Thrills And Intrigue Aplenty : NPR
"Before we know it, what looks at first like your basic spy thriller morphs into something far different — a tricky game of three-character monte filled with sly twists that Herron reveals with the precision of a high-end Swiss watchmaker."

Zakk reviews What We Reckon by Eryk Pruitt | Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness
"If you are not a fan…. well, then I guess we can’t be friends."

Texas Hot Flash, by Michael Bracken | Tough
Rusty Barnes’ webzine "Tough" is back with a new shorty story.

Joe Clifford Talks Moving Forward | Do Some Damage
"Conflict and drama, tragedy fuel art, and since losing my brother, I can honestly say I’ve written some of the best shit of my life." – Joe Clifford

Reading Fiction When the World is Burning — Dead End Follies
"[Fiction is] the result of a dissatisfaction with the world that prompted the question: how could it be different? It tackles questions that don’t have a clear answer to and therefore can’t be answered by non-fiction."

17 Literary Podcasts to Ease Your Commute – Electric Literature
Podcasts for the poshest of readers.

Confessions of a Typewriter Addict | Literary Hub
A book about typewriters and Tom Hanks is not involved.

Pre-orders open for Gunshine State | Pulp Curry
"A very quick heads up that pre-orders are now open for the re-released version of my novel, Gunshine State, which will be dropping from Down and Out Books on February 26."

The Editor Over My Shoulder | The Trap of Solid Gold
"Editors are sensitive, acute, perceptive, imaginative people. That’s the trouble with them." – Donald Westlake

Nick Kolakowski – A Brutal Buch of Heartbroken Saps (2017) – Col’s Criminal Library
"Larger than life characters, plenty of pace and action, a love story with a grenade and some automatic rifles, as well as some amputated digits."

My Little Corner
Y’all need to follow Sandra Seamans’ My Littler Corner. This is THE place to find out about submissions. Seriously, bookmark, subscribe to the RSS feed and read this blog.

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