Best lists are bunk. One of the reasons is that it is impossible to read all the crime fiction books (major or small press) and come up with a list. There are other reasons, but what Best of lists are good for is adding books to your TBR.
I’ve split this list into four parts and the part most people have come to read is at the end.
Favorite Books of 2017 That I Didn’t Read But Other People Really Seemed to Enjoy
Today, October 24, Electric Literature is opening submissions for personal and critical essays, as well as humor that reflects on the world of reading, writing, literature, and storytelling in all its forms. We’re particularly interested in pieces that examine the intersection of the literary world and other creative disciplines: film, fine art, music, video games, architecture — you name it. Submissions will remain open until November 6.
Rusty Barnes’ Knuckledragger (Shotgun Honey) is out. I’ve read Barnes’ recently re-released Ridgerunner which I liked. Nick Kolakowski, author of A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps says, “Knuckledragger is a fast and hard punch you remember for the rest of your life. The prose bursts with rough-hewn power, the pace is blistering, and the characters will break your heart. You couldn’t ask for a better slice of modern noir.”
Broken Glass Waltzes by Warren Moore (Down & Out Books). Vicki Hendricks, the author of Miami Purity, says, “I tried to read this slowly to prolong the pleasure, but found it impossible. The blend of obsession, darkness, and intriguing character and plot, as well as seamless literary style, wouldn’t let me go.”
Skeletal by Emma Pullar (Bloodhound Books) is out. This book, though technically a mystery, is probably more along the lines of a dystopian thriller.
Kathryn Croft’s Silent Lies (Bookouture) is out. Some reviews from the book’s blog tour.
“The pace is perfect, the characters are brilliant and the while thing over all is so good!!” – Donna’s Book Blog
“I can’t say for sure if it’s my lack of connection with the characters or perhaps the fact that the middle section felt slower for me or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood.” – A Haven for Book Lovers
“Silent Lies is a brilliant psychological thriller which will tense up your mind, flood your senses with apprehension and leave you sitting in a heap on the floor wondering what the hell happened there.” – Sweet Little Book
“This is an excellent choice for those who are fans of the ever popular psychological suspense in the domestic realm. Pack a bag and loads of caffeine with this one; you’ll have to stay up all night finishing it and will likely be a happy zombie by morning!” – The Suspense is Thrilling Me
““Silent Lies is a well crafted, addictive, and fast paced read which will leave you questioning absolutely everything.” – The Writing Garnet
“Silent Lies is incredibly intense and full of intrigue.” – Novel Deelights
“ This is one book that is certainly going to stay with me for a long time to come.” – Ginger Book Geek
“Overall, if you are a fan of psychological thrillers with a sort of “chick lit” vibe, then I feel like this will absolutely appeal to you.” – Clues and Reviews
Alexandra Sokoloff’s Hunger Moon (Thomas & Mercer) is out, this is the fifth in the Huntress/FBI Thrillers series. Noelle at CrimeBookJunkie loves the book saying:
What I LOVE about Alexandra Sokoloff’s writing is her skill at bringing current matters to the forefront and making the reader think -while at the same time entertaining the reader with a kickass story that really makes you feel empowered! I love this author’s writing style and the ability to make the reader embrace a story with the same passion that she has for the subject at hand.
The fourth in the Tara Sharp series, Sharp Edge by Marianne Delacourt is out on Deadline, an imprint of Twelfth Planet Press.
The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney (Bookouture) is out. Here are some reviews from its blog tour.
“Oh my goodness this book was fantastic!! I started it late one afternoon and read it pretty much non stop, this is definitely a book that grabs you so much that you don’t want to put it down!!” – Dona’s Book Blog
“Both shocking and strangely compelling, this is an absolutely cracking read in a series which is going from strength to strength.” – Jen Med’s Book Reviews
“It’s dark, gritty and intense with shocking developments and well executed twists.” – Novelgossips
T.R. Ragan’s Her Last Day (Thomas & Mercer) is out. Novelgossip writes that “was an effortless page turner”. This is the first in a series about PI Jessie Cole. The second book, Deadly Recall, will be out in March 2018. Criminal Element’s Kristin Centorceli says of Her Last Day, “If you like serial killer thrillers that genuinely thrill and have plenty of depth, now’s the time to discover Jessie Cole and T.R. Ragan.”
This past week was the first week with a contributor at Unlawful Acts. Jim Thomsen, a freelance book editor and crime fiction junkie, reviews Hart Hanson’s The Driver and Jame Pate’s Speed of Life (Fahrenheit Press). I reviewed Anthony Neil Smith’s Castle Danger: Woman on Ice and Eryk Pruitt’s What We Reckon (Polis Books).
Craft’s Nick Fuller Googins reviews Christopher Irvin’s Ragged; or, The Loveliest Lies of All (Cutlass Press) saying:
Ragged is no fable, but like any decent work of fiction it reflects a piece of ourselves in the pages. Through Irvin we see a world of animals, not a human in sight; yet he also serves us a powerful reminder involving the fragile architecture of trust and mutual aid that props up society, and how quickly it can all come crashing down.
More from the blog tour of Lilja Signerdardotter’s Snare (Orenda Books).
“This is a slow burning mystery, since the first page you know the end will not be good, will be explosive, it will not let you sleep till you arrive at the inevitable ending… be prepared.” – Varietats
“We have a tendency to idealise Iceland, with its dramatic volcanic landscape, enigmatic outpost culture, puffins and – yes – the hidden people. Lilja Sigurdardottir doesn’t play to any such romantic ideals, instead shining a light into the sordid side of Reykjavik during a period when, let’s not forget, Iceland’s real life financiers had ripped off private citizens, businesses and public bodies across Europe.” – Crime Fiction Lover
“Snare is a truly gripping read, elements of the storyline were so original, and this made it harder to predict were the plot was going.” – Keeper of Pages
“Readers looking to be swept up in a breathless, tense journey into the underbelly of idyllic Iceland will find Sigurdardottir’s story compelling and propulsive; readers looking for a character-driven Noir read will fall in love with the human, flawed, and endearing characters Sigurdardottir has crafted.” – Crime by the Book
“Snare is such a sophisticated, high stakes thriller with real heart; it’s dark, gripping and incredibly intense!” – Rather Too Fond of Books
“I thought that this book was great and it really gripped me – I loved the pace and the plot was spot on, I loved the detail and the characters of Ava and Jim were brilliant – I thoroughly enjoyed the whole book and have given it 5 stars!” – Donna’s Book Blog
“Again my only complaint would be the coincidences, I keep coming across them a lot lately in crime fiction.” – On The Shelf Reviews
“If you like Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott, Ruth Rendell, or Mark Billingham you will be gripped by this exciting new crime fiction writer.” – Orchard Book Club
“Crime and mystery fans will enjoy this novel but for me its the insight into Antti Tuomainen’s Finland which is most rewarding. In short this is delightfully genre blending caper about a man with only months left to live.” – The World’s Shortlist
“I really enjoyed reading this, loved every part of it, the character of Jaako and laughed out loud at some of his predicaments. The author’s wit and writing skill is present throughout even through a layer of translation.” – Mrs. Bloggs Books
“I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, and I couldn’t put it down. It is full of dark humour and interesting and amusing characters.” – The Quiet Geordie
“The Man Who Died is an absolute treat of a book. From the stunning cover through to the final sentence. If you love a good old ‘who done it’, black humour and a thoroughly absorbing plot with interesting characters who you’ll remember long after you close the book, then you’ll love this story.” – Brew and Books Reviews
“While this is quite different from my usual reads it is definitely a book I would recommend if you fancy something a little different.” – Book Lover Worm
“The Man Who Died is dark, quirky, unique and hugely enjoyable – a real page-turner.” – Curious Ginger Cat
“This book isn’t a thriller in the traditional sense, yes there are moments of suspense and tension but it is much more an exploration of life and its meaning.“ – Beverley Has Read
“Honestly, buy it, read it, give it to people you like. It’s fantastic.” – Live and Deadly
From the blog tour of Lloyd Otis’ Dead Lands (Urbane Publishing).
“London at the tale end of the 70s is portrayed as a bleak space in which tough, varied characters flourish. Witty dialogue and well-crafted description characterise this novel, and the story is both fast-paced and intriguing.” – The Dorsett Book Detective
“What I really loved about this book was the gritty and yet matter of fact tone in which it was written. There is no glamourising the deaths and yet they are brutally authentic in portrayal.” – Jen Med’s Book Reviews
“Dead Lands is a thrilling crime novel by Lloyd Otis set in 1970s London. If you’re looking for something that is a little different and if you’re a fan of gritty crime thrillers then I would highly recommend Dead Lands. Brilliant writing.” – Hooked From Page One
“I don’t want to say much more about the plot, but it is definitely a gripping story. I really liked Rocco as a character and the various story arcs made for some great change of pace throughout the book.” – Bibliophile Book Club
As usual, you can trust Mel Comley to deliver a well written, perfectly plotted suspense. It’s like cuddling up with a hot chocolate, warming and comforting in its familiarity.
If you’ve never read Iain Ryan before, you are missing out. Tom Leins reviews Ryan’s first book Four Days saying:
Ryan’s prose is impressively understated: brisk and razor-sharp throughout, and his knack for nastiness and corruption recalls early James Ellroy. If you are sick of flabby police procedurals this grim novella is a welcome antidote. Make no mistake, Four Days trims away the fat and cuts to the fucking bone.
Bookgasm’s Alan Cranis reviews the new Stark House combined release of Australia’s Carter Brown’s The Wench is Wicked / Blond Verdict / Delilah was Deadly. Tipping My Fedora also review the books saying they are “highly amusing mysteries, which were only ever meant to read at top speed and not taken even remotely seriously, are really great fun”.
Crimespree Magazine’s Eise Cooper reviews Michael Brandman’s Missing Person (Poisoned Pen Press).
Released two weeks ago, Never Imitate’s Jackie Law reviews Christina James’ Fair of Face (Salt). Law writes, “A crime novel that held my attention and offered sufficient originality to make it worth the read. Where I am sensitive to what I regard as over emphasis on looks and dress, others will likely find this helps picture each scene.” Reflections of a Reader says that it is “a rollercoaster of a read”.
Off the Shelf Books‘ Victoria Goldman reviews Sarah Driscoll’s Before It’s Too Late (Kensington). This is the second in the FBI K-9 Thrillers.
Books of All Kinds reviews Alison Brodie’s upcoming self-published book, Zenka, saying that it is “a fast-paced, gritty, story of family, lies, love, and some murderous mobsters thrown in for good measure.”
In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Robert Sloan writes that Willa Cather’s My Ántonia “does not deserve the status as a classic work but rather a secondary novel.”
Colman Keane reviews Thomas Waugh’s Nothing to Loose (Endeavor Press). The Damien Lewis blurb says that the book is “engaging and enjoyable”. Keane writes:
According to publisher, Endeavour Press – Thomas Waugh is the pseudonym of a bestselling historical novelist.
A Google search has Fantastic Fiction suggesting Waugh might be Damien Lewis “a war correspondent and thriller writer.”
I’d quite like for it to be Lewis, as I like the idea of him hat-tipping his own books. Beat your own drum man, because there’s plenty to be proud of.
By theLetter Book Reviews says of Louise Jensen’s Surrogate (Bookouture) that had their “heart pounding and adrenaline racing.”
S.E. Lynes’ Mother (Bookouture) will be coming out in late November. Brew and Books Review says that is “a deliciously dark, unsettling and clever read.”
Snazzy Books reviews Felicia Yap’s Yesterday (Mulholland Books) saying that it is “original, intriguing and beautifully written novel”.
Tom Leins, author of Skull Meat, reviews Benjamin Myers’ Turning Blue (Moth Publishing) saying, “Grim, gripping and grotesque, Turning Blue is an outstanding book, and easily one of the best British crime novels that I have read in the last decade.” Leins follows up the review with an interview with Myers.
Bookgasm reviews Leo W. Banks’ upcoming book saying “The setting and characters, along with the inventive plot, make Double Wide well worth your time.”
My first column at Do Some Damage is called “Do Writers Even Read Anymore?”.
A few months ago, J. David Osborne, writer and publisher of Broken River Books, posted a photograph of a dog side-eyeing the viewer. Osborne wrote, “When writers only seem to talk about all the TV they’ve watching”. How true. My social media feeds are filled news and views about the latest premium cable series or any of the numerous Netflix series and movies. And things do get heated from time to time. We all lost loved ones during the great Baby Driver Facebook War this summer.
Stop, click, and read S.W. Lauden’s interview with Peter Rozovsky. Seriously, do it now.
David Cranmer writes about the problems of way too much reading in genres and how to rekindle your love.
Admittedly, after hundreds (thousands?) of crime novels and Western shoot-outs, narratives begin to repeat, grow stale, though, when something fresh crosses my desk, like Frank Bill’s soon to be released The Savage, I’m thoroughly invested.
His prose is a stripped-down muscle car without a muffler, tender as a brick and soothing as a gasoline popsicle, arriving at a tone you might call old-testament-pulp, while the stories themselves bite and kick and howl, and are run through with notions of the bonds of blood and kin that threaten as much as they ever may comfort.
At The Trill Begins, the Writers Passport series continues with Jenny Milchman interviewing psychological thriller author Sophie Hannah. Hannah says:
I’m very happy with the label of psychological suspense, and/or psychological crime. I was influenced by brilliant writers such as Joy Fielding (See Jane Run) and Nicci French (The Memory Game), whose novels were mysteries but with a strongly psychological focus. They were the people – along with Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine and Agatha Christie – who made me want to write crime fiction, and they are all authors who are obsessed with warped psychology and unusual motivations. So, yes, psychological suspense feels like the right description. Domestic mystery and family thriller are not labels I’d ever use, and they’re not labels I like. Both sound reductive, and make me think of narrowly focused books that are all set in one family’s kitchen. All my books involve people outside the home as well as inside it, and many relationships that aren’t familial, and the action/focus is never confined to one house. I’d be happy with the label human relationships thriller but that sounds a bit odd!
One part writing boot camp, one part rollicking party,National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) celebrates its 19th year of encouraging creativity, education, and the power of the imagination through the largest writing event in the world. This year, NaNoWriMo expects over 400,000 people—including over 70,000 K-12 students and educators on our Young Writers Program website—to start a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. Throughout the month, they’ll be guided by this year’s theme: Superpowered Noveling.
Eryk Pruitt, author of What We Reckon (Polis Books), lists “Six Great Southern Crime Novels” at The Strand Magazine. There is a surprise or two in it.
Most writers who teach have variations on this story, and we all wonder how you can possibly want to write when you don’t enjoy reading. That’s like a guy who can’t stand heights wanting to skydive. Colorblind artists don’t get far, either. Or tone-deaf musicians.
I’m going to be brutally honest, I have in the past, reviewed a book that I greatly disliked and prior to posting it, I was having this inner battle with myself. Ultimately, I tried to shift the responsibility and emailed the review to a fellow blogger and asked them if they thought the review was acceptable or too harsh.
I will tolerate violence in well written books. Because when violence is well written, language somehow bathes the violence in a wash of human experience. But when violence is gratuitous, the shock value serving mostly to obscure poor or lazy writing, I put the book down. A recent case in point was a novel where the writer turned the victim of hideous and graphically told violence into a perpetrator of the same. The author portrayed this as a victory. I thought he turned the victim into a cartoon. Ditto for some police procedurals I’ve read where the violence was so over-the-top, it served only to trivialize real police work. I put those down too. When writers focus only on the physical details of violent behavior and ignore the emotional consequences to both the victim and the perpetrator, something important is missing.
BOLO Books lists some new paperbacks that may warrant your attention.
Do sci-fi and crime mix? Are they the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups of genre fiction? Over at The Thrill Begins, Jake Bible thinks so.
Crime Fiction Loverinterviews bestselling author Ann Cleaves.
Bibliophile Book Clubinterviews Lloyd Otis, author of Dead Lands.
The cover for Andrew Nette’s Gunshine Stateannounced. The book will be re-released in February 2018.
At Scott Montgomery’s newish blog The Hard Wood, he interviews Kris Lackey about his new book Nail’s Crossing and the Chickasaw Nation.
Criminal Minds has posted about joining professional writing groups and such. Unsurprisingly Danny Gardner’s article is one of the best. Garnder is author of A Negro and an Ofay (Down & Out Books).
Mystery/crime writing is as much about the writers as what we write. It’s clear it comes from tradition, and while I don’t fully understand why the social factor among us is so powerful, I’m not living my life in fear of failure anymore so I don’t have to try to see around every corner to figure it all out before I proceed. I leap and then look in Mystery/Crime in ways I have never done in my life, much less career. Tradition matters to me as much as innovation. Allowing for the new is balanced with respecting that which is long-standing and honored. I received so much love, camaraderie and respect for my work and my commitment to it, I joined all these organizations partly to get the benefits and be in the know for my career, but mainly for one simple reason. I love what I do. I want to keep on doing it, and for that to happen, I have to make certain that I stand in good stead.
Elkay Ray stops by In Reference to Murderto talk about writing and her book Saigon Dark (Crime Wave Press).
The new film of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express got Scott Alderberg thinking about film adaptions of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Alderberg’s pick for the best adaption “is the British film Green for Danger, directed by Sidney Gilliat. It was made in 1946 and taken from a Christianna Brand novel written two years earlier.”
At Mystery Fare, Clea Simon writes about making the jump from cozies to noir with her new book World Enough.
Lilja Sigurðardóttir, author of Snare (Orenda Books), stops by Shots to talk about the importance of food in books.
If In Doubt Read interviews Adrian Magson, author of Rocco and the Nightingale.
On Robert Crouch’s self-published No Bodies, Novel Deelights says that “if you enjoy your cosy mysteries, I have no doubt you will like the Kent Fisher Mysteries!”
The Rap Sheet lists the winners of the 2017 Dagger Awards.
Best of 2017 are already coming out. Here’s The Stand Magazine’s list and Publishers Weekly. Both are wrong as they don’t include Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun. J. Kingston Pierce put together both lists nicely at The Rap Sheet.
On Writing At My Reading Corner, Antti Tuomainen writes about a brief writer’s retreat with Steph Broadribb, Thomas Enger, Karen Sullivan and others.
Allison Brook aka Marilyn Levinson talks with Lucy Burdette at Jungle Red Writers about writing.
There are many, many books being published these days, and you want to make your book stand out as best you can. First of all, learn the elements that go into a good novel. This takes time. Join writing groups like Sisters in Crime. Take classes, either in person or online. Join a critique group that’s familiar with the type of book you write. You want to belong to a group that provides support and helpful criticism. Read in your genre. Keep on writing. Writing is a process. It can’t be rushed. Be aware of marketing, what is wanted in your genre, while nurturing your own style and voice. So much of this sounds contradictory, but this, too, is part of the process: to believe in yourself while keeping an open mind to those critiquing your work.
But those minor characters deserve your love and attention just as much as your main cast. It’s easy to write them as shallow stereotypes, but they deserve personalities all of their own, and feelings, and depth of character. Give them their moment in the sun.
For example, I used to do a lot of script reports for new writers. I read hundreds of scripts, perhaps thousands. Films scripts, TV scripts, play scripts. If old ladies appeared in those scripts they’d often be described as having white hair and wearing a cardigan. They were the most generic old ladies ever. They’d invariably call everybody ‘dear’ a lot. As in ‘hello, dear,’ ‘yes, dear’ and ‘would you like a cup of tea, dear?’
Because if an old lady appeared, you could bet your life that a cup of tea would be sure to follow. Now I love tea as much as the next fellow– milk, no sugar, since you’re asking – but I often wondered what would happen if instead of clutching a teapot the old lady would appear with a crack-pipe… or a DVD of extreme porn… or sporting a purple Mohican hairstyle.
A week in review of small press crime fiction for Oct. 16 – Oct. 22, 2017.
This week begins something new for Unlawful Acts. Tomorrow fellow crime fiction junkie Jim Thomsen will be joining the blog to review books. Jim is a freelance manuscript editor and will be at Murder & Mayhem in Milwaukee on November 4th.
You may also have noticed that you are no longer at davidnemeth.net, rather you are now at unlawfulacts.net. If you have links to the old blog, no worries, everything is getting forward to the corrects links at the new website.
Also this week, my first column will appear at Do Some Damage on Thursday.
Near to the Knuckle is accepting flash and short stories. Make sure you go back and look at past Incident Reports for other magazines and publishers that are open for submissions.
King Shot Press is still open for submissions for their anti-Fascist book. Check on Incident Report 10 for more details.
I missed Lloyd Otis’ Dead Lands (Urbane Publications) last week and, boy oh boy, is it getting lots of great reviews. But The Last Word Book Review’sreview is one that I want to point out.
At times harrowing and gritty but also complex this is terrific first crime novel that presses all the right buttons and delivers. Just think of the 1970’s and it is here. From the police to the streets and everything in-between. Nothing is left out. Yet again Urbane Publications have found another fantastic writer and a gritty pulsating debut.
There are two Fahrenheit Press books that bear mentioning. This first is A Citizen of Nowhere by Seth Lynch which came out this week. And the other book was released two weeks ago is Drawing Dead by J.J. De Ceglie.
Also out this week is the anthology Killing Malmon edited by Dan and Kate Malmon. The anthology benefits the National MS Society includes thirty writers who do their best in trying to kill book critic Dan Malmon.
Bloodhound Books released Her Dark Retreat by J.A. Baker. While My Chestnut Reading Treecalled it “harrowing and nightmarish”, Sweet Little Book Blogsaid interestingly said it was “like a bucket with holes, the faster you try to fill it the faster it runs out. The red herrings throughout the book remind of that bucket the quicker I filed one away another appeared, thanks for sending me on a wild goose chase, it was awesome.” By the Letter Book Reviewssaid it was “a bit of a slow burner which gathers momentum that sent me in a tizzy.”
Netta Newbound’s Maggie (Bloodhound Books) is out. By the Letter Book Reviewssays it “is one dark and twisted read” and As the Page Turns Reviewswrites that “is everything and more I could have wanted in a psychological thriller. “ Both Bookstormer and Sweet Little Book blogs are big fans of Newbound. The former says the books is “in extremely suspenseful read with the Newbound traits that I have come to love in this author’s written work” and the latter writes that Newbound is “is a first-class writer”.
The eighth in the DI Dylan series, When a Killer Strikes (Caffeine Nights Publishing) by RC Bridgestock is out. Bridgestock is a pseudonym for the married writing team Bob and Carol Bridgestock. They visit Chelle’s Book Reviews to talk about the origins of DI Jack Dylan. By the Letter Book Reviewswrites:
I think due to the author’s having first hand experience of working in the police force, they bring that bit more into this series than you would find in any other detective series’ out there. What they deliver, is an authentic look into the working and personal lives of a detective. For me that makes this story even more gripping as it’s a lot more true to life which can sadly be more scarier than fiction these days.
A couple of other releases are Janice Frost’s The Fatal Secrets (Joffee) and Roger Pearce’s Javelin (Urbane Publications)
A Scholar of Pain by Grant Jerkins (ABC Group Documentation)
None this week, because, I’m lame.
Kevin Burton Smith says that Deitrich Kalteis’ Zero Avenue is “like the Ramones covering Elmore Leonard covering the Ramones …”
Colman Keane’s been liking Martin Holmen’s Harvey Kvist Thriller series, first with Clinch and now with *Down for the Count. Both are published by [Pushkin Press]. Sadly they opted for a new style of covers from Holmen’s books instead of some of the other wonderful covers they have. But I digress. Keane writes that there’s “a helluva lot to like – setting, mystery, main character, resolution and Harry’s aftermath.” Keane also interviews Holmen.
I hadn’t heard of Brian Cohn’s The Unraveling of Brendan Meeks (Pandamoon Publishing) but after reading Susan Hampson’s review at Books From Dusk Till Dawn I’m sold – I mean an schizophrenic amateur detective dealing with a tragic loss, what’s not to like. Hampson writes, “Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant! Very highly recommended.”
Susan Hampson of Books From Dusk Till Dawnreviews Simon Maltman’s Bong Fury 2: Holiday for Skins and, boy, does this North Ireland Noir novella seem written for me. Hampson writes, “Is there violence in these stories. Yes most definitely. Is there swearing? Tons of it. Would I recommend it? 100% a brilliant story line!”
Barbara Cooperthwaite’s Her Last Secret (Bookoutre), a psychological thriller taking place during Christmas, is getting great reviews. Donna’s Book Blogwrites that she has “not been so tense reading a book for ages and I felt like I was reeling after I’d finished”, By The Letter Book Reviewssays that it is “totally jaw dropping stuff”, and If Only I Could Read Fastercan only “thoroughly recommend it.”
The number of authors I haven’t read and should’ve read is quite high and Zoë Sharp is one of them. Fox Hunter (Zace) is out, the 12th book in the series and it is getting some love. damppebbles blog writes that it is “thrilling, fast paced and well written.” Jen Med’s Book Reviewswrites that they “loved reading this book.” Random Things Through My Letter Box has a nice article by Sharp herself on the books that shaped her life. There’s a short interview with Sharp over at Sons of Spade.
Lilja Sigurdardóttir’s Snare and Antti Toumainen’s The Man Who Died, both published by Orenda Books, are creeping up my TBR because of reviews like these. The Quiet Knitter on Snare, “I’ve not read anything like this before”; and The Last Word Book Review on The MAn Who Died, “This may be a little different from some of the other Scandi Noir out there but Tuomainen has delivered a real masterpiece of writing.”
Another newish book that has been on my TBR is Bill Beverly’s Dodgers. Keeper of Pagesreviews this well-received book and writes:
Ah, what a breath of fresh air this novel was! It’s not often I read a book were the characters embark on a road-trip but likening this to The Wire made it very appealing to me. Dodgers is a crime novel with a very strong coming-of-age element.
Sons of Spade’s Jochem Vandersteen likes Evan Ronan’s self-published The Dead Girl.
I haven’t had a chance to read IQ yet, yeah, yeah I know and now Joe Ide has a new book out, Righteous. Anne Bonny Book Reviewssays that it is “sensational.” Literary Hub’s Lisa Levy interviews Ide about his path to writing and finally getting published, The Many Careers of Joe Ide: The Much-Lauded Author of ‘IQ’ Took Awhile to Get There. Here’s another Joe Ide post where he talks about all the wandering he did before his first books was published. There’s hope people.
Esi Edugyan in The Guardianreviews Anita Locke’s Bluebird, Bluebird
Locke’s mesmerising new novel bears all the hallmarks of modern crime fiction: the alcoholic protagonist with the damaged marriage; the townsfolk who close rank against outsiders; the small-town law enforcement agent with murky loyalties. But Bluebird, Bluebird is a true original in the way it twists these conventions into a narrative of exhilarating immediacy.
The blurb of Alison Brodie’s self-published Zenka is fantastic: “Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.” How can I not be intrigued? At the Being Anne … blog, Anne writes, “Alison Brodie’s writing is just wonderful – she has an immense talent for story telling, with real warmth and humour that ranges from the wry and subtle to the downright slapstick.” The book will be released in a couple of weeks.
Jedidiah Ayres steps away from the movies and takes a look at one of my favorite publishers, ABC Group Documentation.
For my money, it’s about as distinctive and strong a launch as the late great New Pulp Press in 2009 and (hate to blow my own horn) Broken River Books’ 2013 arrival, (btw if you dug Jackson Meeks’ NPP title [While the Devil Waits] – I think you’d dig [Through the Ant Farm]).
The rise of indie presses putting out good shit is exciting, but goodness gracious, how many of these quality houses have to burn down too soon? True, it’s exciting to see other houses pick up and re-release some great titles, but it’d be swell to see somebody go the distance.
Marietta Miles interviews Nicola Murphy at Do Some Damage. Miles says of Murphy that she “serves up twisted tales with seriously sordid overtones. The words are dark, personal and likely to make you think long after you finish reading them. If you like perfectly crafted tales with heartbreaking details you should seek out the work of Nicola Murphy.”
Spinetingler Magazine’s Sandra Ruttan interviews Dana King, author of the Penns River series available on Down & Out Books. King talks about some influences:
The first book I can point to as having shaped me as a writer is David Simon’s The Corner. I was already writing then, and it’s a non-fiction book, but it showed me that there was another level I could get to if I paid attention, and that the way to make a point in a book was not to beat people over the head with it. Just lay things out as honestly as you can. If the point is valid, people will get it. If it’s not, then no amount of dressing it up can change that.
As part of the Writers Passport series at The Thrill Begins Tom Sweterlitsch, author of The Gone World, talks to Venezuelan writer Israel Centeno about his novel The Conspiracy (Phoneme). The book is about a failed attempt on a Chavez-like leader. Centeno says, “The art of questioning. Questioning always annoys power. Questioning is a torpedo to a unique truth, unique thought. Writing is not a religion, it is not about ideologies—it is about people in their worlds, their contradictions.”
Paul D. Brazill lets us know know what’s happening in Brit Grit Alley. I’ve only read one of the books in his recommendations, so I guess my TBR has just increased again.
I read Literary Hub’s Best Reviewed Books of the Week every week in hopes of seeing something along the lines that Unlawful Acts covers. It finally happened. Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun made the list.
This week’s Composite Sketch at Bolo Books is Laura McHugh, author of Arrowood (Spiegel & Grau).
Over at Jungle Red Writers, they discuss New York City and the new anthology Where Crime Never Sleeps: Murder New York Style 4 (Level Best). Panel participants are Lindsay A. Curcio, Triss Stein, Elizabeth Zelvin, Anita Page, Stephanie Wilson-Flaherty, and Rona Bell.
A new book across the pond and soon to be released here is Martin Salisbury’s The Illustrated Dust Jack: 1920-1970 (Thames & Hudson). The pages look gorgeous. There’s a brief essay in The Guardian as well. Speaking of covers, David Cranmer points us to Jason Diamond’s Judging Books by Their Covers where Diamond analyzes his obsession with Vintage Contemporaries covers from the 1980s.
Victoria Watson talks with writer Mac Logan of the Angel Share series.
Arc of the Writer has three short interviews with debut novelists Hart Hanson, Kellye Garrett, and Roger Johns.
Paul D. Marks writes about writing advice in 7 Criminal Minds, don’t worry, he says, “The thing with all advice is to take it with a grain of salt. Do what works for you and more importantly what works for the story and the characters. “
Week in Review of Small Press Crime Fiction for September 18-24, 2017
My head swelled a bit this week when crime fiction curmudgeon Sam Belacqua asked to interview me for the blog Do Some Damage. What I wasn’t ready for was the reception the interview would receive. I feel a bit like Sally Field. If you haven’t had a chance to read the interview, please do. And, seriously, thanks very much to all you who in the crime fiction community that have welcomed me. Before we get to the regular scheduled programming, one more thing.
A few weeks ago, I reviewed Gabino Iglesias’ Zero Saints (Broken River Books) which by the way is fantastic. Part crime, part horror, part coming of age story, it’s the bees knees as the grandparents would say. Though Iglesias might be living on the mainland of the United States, his family is from Puerto Rico. Iglesias is donating all the money from his book as well as his freelance writing and editing to his family in Puerto Rico. It might not be much, but it’s something. So if you haven’t picked up Zero Saints yet, what the fuck? Go buy it now. Here is Iglesias’ Facebook post. I know it’s kind of long, but deal with it.
Imagine your country is devastated by a hurricane the likes of which the world has rarely seen. Imagine you’re a thousand miles away, living in a different place and you feel like worry is going to drown you. Imagine you suddenly realize that while prepping for past storms and then waiting for the country to get back in shape was a long, tedious, hot, uncomfortable process, not being there now is somehow worse. Imagine for a second you were one those people who thought about getting the fuck outta there and not being able to because the place is 100 miles long by 35 miles wide and there’s nowhere to go. All island people know that feeling because we’ve been there before. Imagine staring at your phone, waiting for it to ring with good news because you fear for the safety of loved ones. Imagine that those daily calls to tell your mom “I’m okay. I’m not going hungry and I’m not in jail, viejita” are gone and all you can do is wonder if she’s okay. Imagine an entire country plunged into the humid, impenetrable, mosquito-infested darkness that only Caribbean folks know and not knowing how many months it will take for power to be restored. Imagine calling friends time and again despite there being no signal. Imagine worrying about your family having enough food and drinking water to ride out the whole mess. Imagine your country under water and mud and broken pieces of buildings and displaced sand and trees and collapsed power lines. Imagine folks losing it all to the storm and some of your favorite places under a few feet of brackish water that refuses to disappear. Imagine assholes taking advantage of the situation to steal shit and roam the lawless streets to get whatever they can get their hands on. Imagine the government putting a curfew in place to try to solve things. Imagine rivers erasing communities you’ve been to and streets you walked/hung out in/visited plenty of times looking like a bomb was dropped on them. Imagine the airport is closed and the hotels are destroyed and schools are closed and entire offices blew into wind. Now let me ask you this: what do you do? Do you donate to folks you don’t trust? Do you give in to despair? Do you drink until you forget the whole thing happened? Do you keep reading and watching obsessively as videos and news appear chronicling the devastation? I don’t have an answer for that because we’re all different. All I know is what I do. I worry and keep trying the phone. I cling to every slice of good news, like a friend calling me at 1:00 a.m. just to say “I’m good, brother.” And above all, I send my love out. I send my love to Puerto Rico, patria querida, and to mis hermanos en Mexico. I send my love and keep hustling. Every cent I make from Zero Saints and my freelance writing and editing will go back home to help rebuild, to help mi islita bounce back. For now, that is the only thing I can control, and controlling one little thing is enough.
We are looking for bank robberies gone bad, double crossing bastards going at it, serial killers with a heart (maybe literally), redemption and revenge. We like it violent, thoughtful and well written. We will consider other genres such as western, science fiction and maybe fantasy, as long as they fit in with the grit theme we are looking for. Please take the time to edit— look over your story for spelling, grammar and flow. We want to publish you. If it’s good but needs work we’ll let you know.
There’s another thing going on at Near to the Knuckle, a competition of sorts. Check it out.
It’s competition time, and all you need to do is write 1000 words. We’ll need your entries in by the 20th October 2017 and they can be in the form of a .doc file or something I can open up with Microsoft Office.
Here are the submission guidelines for ENGAGE!, an anthology of anti-fascist literature, dropping next spring from your friends at King Shot Press.
I am seeking fiction or creative non-fiction/memoir that rejects racism, nationalism, authoritarianism, etc. as well as the various strains of fascism, from the alt-right to blackshirts and beyond. Stories of solidarity, atrocity, resistance, satire, even revenge. From Casablanca to Green Room to Inglourious Basterds to Cobra, from V For Vendetta to It Can’t Happen Here to The Wave to Distant Star. Antifascism isn’t just “a couple anarchists in masks,” as some in the media try to frame it, rather, it’s also historically been a coalition across the political spectrum, across national and racial divide. This anthology aims to honor that unity.
100% of publisher proceeds will be going to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an American “non-profit organization that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation.”
Word count between 2000-8000 words. Deadline is January 1, 2018. Payment is $100 (with the option of donation to the SPLC) and a Contributor Copy.
Send stories to: engagestories [at] gmail dot com
Subject Line: Engage! Anthology Submission
Attached file should be .doc(x) or .rtf; no crazy fonts or formatting please!
A submission confirmation email will be sent within a week of receipt. Acceptances and rejections will be sent by January 15, 2018. If you have not heard from us by January 20, 2018, then do please follow up with us.
Okay, not crime fiction, but the publisher sci-fi/fantasy publisher Angry Robot is cool enough, so they’re open for submissions. The caveat, unpublished works by unrepresented authors. More here.
Releases Falling Too by Gordon Brown is the follow-up to his 2016 Falling both published by Down & Out Books. The Fallings series follows Charlie Wiggs, an accountant (as you normally picture accountants) helping friends in trouble and finding themselves in a world of crime and danger where they are out of their league. You can get Falling Toofrom the publisher or your favorite retailer. Falling, the first in the series, is on sale for .99¢ for you Kindle.
Quick note: All four of these books from Bloodhound Books and Bookoture area ll going for .99¢ each which is a pretty good deal.
As part of Shotgun Honey’s imprint deal with Down & Out Books, they are slowly re-releasing their catalog. This week the release is Marie S. Crosswell’s Texas, Hold Your Queens that Joe Clifford calls “a smoldering, hardboiled novella with a unique mix of violence and tenderness, identity, revenge, and fate.”
The machine we fondly call James Patterson has releasedHaunted written by Patterson and James O. Born. It’s about a family about to be haunted . . . . . . by a father’s worst nightmare! Get it? Get it?
Short Stories Beau Johnson’s A Better Kind of Hate (Down & Out Books) is hanging around on my TBR and that us until I read his storyOf Dream, Scenarios, and Plans on Flash Fiction Offensive. Great, fun story which will now force be to read his book. Also at FFO is Bill Barber’s Duke City Getwaway, a story about what happens when you kill a drug dealer and steal all of his money.
Brian Panowich has finished up his six-part serial on Shotgun Honey. If you haven’t been keeping up, just start at Part One and you’ll keep on reading.
Beat to a Pulp published their monthly story, Jerry Bloomfield’s Home Is …. Filled with bikers, cops and a prodigal son, Bloomfield’s story has heart and is damn well written.
Book Reviews This past week I reviewed Michael Kazepis’ Gravity (Broken River Books) and John le Carré’s Call for the Dead (Penguin) where I found out that the rumor is true, John le Carré is a damn fine writer.
Janice Law reviews two anthologies of 40s and 50s women crime writers, Golden Age Mysteries, Female Version, over at SleuthSayers. Law focuses on two Library of America releases, Women Crime Writers, Eight Suspense Novels of the 1940’s and Women Crime Writers, Eight Suspense Novels of the 1950’s.
Things must have been even harder back in the day, and so a lot of fine work, even work that resulted in famous films like Vera Caspary’s Laura, was neglected and good authors subtly squeezed out of the mystery canon. Fortunately, thanks to the enterprise of editor Sarah Weinman, who, as she wrote, recently realized “…that the most compelling and creative American crime fiction was being written and published by women,” and decided to look into the women who preceded the best sellers of today (and paved the way for a great many more of us).
Kristofer Upjohn reviews the upcoming Stark House Press release of James McKimmey’s Perfect Victim / Winner Take All. Who is McKimmey? Crime fiction author Jason Starr writes in a 2014 article for Los Angeles Review of Books:
[He] was a prolific pulp writer who had his biggest successes during the 1950s and 1960s. The author of 17 novels and hundreds short stories, he wrote several outright masterpieces including The Perfect Victim, Cornered!, and Run If You’re Guilty that were on the level of, or even better than, the works of better-known crime writers of his era, such as James M. Cain, David Goodis, and John D. MacDonald.
If you think you read a lot then you haven’t been paying attention to Colman Keane’s blog Col’s Criminal Library. One of his most recent posts recounts all the books he read in August and his pick for best of the month. I’m not going to tell you, you’ll have to go and read it. Keane also reviews the latest book by Graham Smith,The Kindred Killers. At Dead End Follies, Ben Lelievre reviews Thomas Mullen’s Lightening Men (Atria / 37 INK) which is a continuation of his critically-acclaimed 2016 novel, Darktown. At Black Guys Do Read, Richard Vialet reviews Cody Goodfellow and J. David Osborne’s The Snake Handler (Broken River Books). Vialet begins his review, “Although the narrative lacked the momentum I was hoping for, this book is nowhere near safe or formulaic.” And he finishes with a truism, “This is yet another brave and unique piece of work from Broken River Books, one of the best publisher’s out there.”
I couldn’t put it down. Tom’s writing is kinetic and fast-paced, perfectly suited for the break-neck feeling of this novelette. Start reading a few lines and the next thing you know it’s well past the witching hour. SKULL MEAT delivers dirty, British crime at its best. Descriptive. Violent. Bloody. Grotesque. Wait until you meet ‘Swollen’ Roland. I loved it!
Katherine Tomlinson reviews Attica Locke’s Bluebird, Bluebird (Mulholland Books) and it is looking like a book I might want to read. Here is Dwyer Murphy’s interview with Locke in Lit Hub. In Los Angeles Review of Books, Rob Latham kind of likes Ryan Gattis’ Safe (MCD). Crime Fiction Loverreviews George Mann’s Wychwood (Titan) saying that it “is a good contemporary murder mystery, and an intriguing beginning to a new series.” Here’s an excerpt from Wychwood. Jenny Maloney reviews Terrence McCauley’s A Conspiracy of Ravens (Polis Books) and says that it “ will fill a few page-turning hours with some fast-paced action and spy intrigue.” Jodem Vandersteen reviews the first issue of the Down & Out magazine.
Articles I don’t know if I have pushed hard enough for people to buy and read Winnie M. Li’s Dark Chapter (Polis Books). I have reviewed it and mentioned Li in two Incident Reports, No. 7 and No. 6. Make that three. In Writing My Trauma with a Little Help From a Jason Bourne Car Chase, Lie writes about writing the horrific rape scene in Dark Chapter.
Now as a general consumer of culture, I’d seen loads of film and TV scenes where characters are raped. I’d also read a number of books where the crime happens. But when it happened to me in real life, I realized all those numerous portrayals were nothing like the actual experience. What bothers me about screen depictions of rape is that you never get the interiority of characters involved in the crime. You’ll often get a close-up of the victim, you may even get her point-of-view, but you’ll never get her subjectivity, her thought process. And when an assault like that is happening to you in real life, there is no exteriority, you have no body: all you are is a jumble of thoughts and emotions.
As for the evolution of my writing, I’d like to think I’m getting better. I write every day, so hopefully with each word, each work I edit, each publication, I’m learning and growing and getting better. It’s one of those motivational sayings that kind of gets thrown round so much it’s becoming almost a cliché, but I didn’t come this far to only come this far.
The Writers’ Passport series continues over at The Thrill Begins. This time S.J.I. Holliday interviews the award-winning Alexandra Sokoloff. Battles with anxiety are real and quite often debilitating. Just because a public reading might be easy for you, doesn’t make it so for everyone. At The Thrill Begins, Kathleen Barber, author of Are You Sleeping has a fantastic article about such issues. I am beginning to wonder if Scott Alderberg can write a crappy post at Do Some Damage? With his most recent article, A Dangerous Book, the answer is a resounding no. I’m definitely looking for his new book in 2018 on Broken River Books titled Jack Waters.
Tony Knighton writes about the influences of his wonderful hard-boiled novel Three Hours Past Midnight (Crime Wave Press) at The Writers Thread. Did I say Knighton’s book was wonderful? It fucking is. At Shotgun Honey’s website, Nick Kolakowski interviews Marie S. Crosswell. They talk writing process her book, Texas, Hold Your Queens. Paul D. Brazill interviews Nigel Bird on the release of his latest Southsiders book, By the Time I Get to Phoenix. There is that Chris Pratt meme called “Afraid to Ask Andy” and if you were afraid to ask about bizarro fiction, no worries, Gabino Iglesias tells all in Lit Reactor’s The Little Genre That Could: Why Now is the Time to Read Bizarro.
Jedidiah Ayers at hardboiled wonderland does it again with his remembrance of Harry Dean Stanton, “ Those soulful eyes set deep and resting atop often un-shaven jowls (jowls – on a skinny guy) could convey hardness and cynicism as effectively as bottomless wells of tender-hearted warmth and vulnerability.” David Cranmer writes that Nicholas Ray’s Lonely As Hell, starring Gloria Grahame and Humphrey Bogart, is “a film of such immense, staggering depth is bound to elicit more treasures on repeated dives.” Over at SleuthSayers, Paul D. Marks put together a list of neo-noir films to watch. I’m watching Narcos and so is Holly West at Do Some Damage. At least she tells you why you might want to watch.
On Writing Chris Rhatigan, freelance editor and publisher of All Due Respect Books, gives us a free, short master class in writing based on some words and sentences by Elmore Leonard. If you are a beginning writer or maybe you’ve had a novel or two published, there are lessons for everyone in Rhatigan’s Write It Like Elmore Leonard: Ditch Formal Language. The article begins with Leonard explaining that he doesn’t want the reader to be aware of his writing. Rhatigan writes, “Here’s one of the greatest crime writers saying that he doesn’t want you to be aware of his writing. A little weird, no?” Rhatigan gets into specifics and it is well worth your time.
I came across this article the other day called The Radical Copyeditor’s Style Guide for Writing About Transgender People. The post goes into some detail on Correct/current usage of transgender-related language, Bias-free and respectful language in reference to transgender people, and Sensitive and inclusive broader language. There are two updates as well, all of which you can find at the blog The Radical Copyeditor.
Week in Review of Small Press Crime Fiction for August 21-27, 2017
Apologies that this week’s Incident Report is a bit late but given my vacation, return to work, birthday, and taking our son to college, I’m okay with that. No short story links this week. They will return next week.
I know, I know, Matthew Revert’s Human Trees (Broken River Books) is not a crime novel. But given the three other books I have read from the publisher (Heathenish by Kelby Losack, Gravity by Michael Kazepis, and Zero Saints by Gabino Iglesias) and Ben Lelievre recent review, Revert’s book became a must read for me.
Fahrenheit Press keeps on putting out interesting books. This week was Ian Patrick’s Rubicon. As the blurb says, it is the story of “two cops, both on different sides of the law – both with the same gangland boss in their sights.” I haven’t read anything from Penguin’s Europa Editions but I have always been intrigued. Suburra by Giancarlo de Cataldo and Carlo Bonini is getting a big publicity push based on its upcoming Netflix series.
I can’t say I missed it, but James Patterson released another book two weeks ago, The Store, this time he writes with Richard DiLallo.
Ben Lelievre says of Hard Sentences – Crime Fiction Inspired by Alcatraz (Broken River Books), “(David James) Keaton and (Joe) Clifford put together a sweeping portrait of the Alcatraz experience, though and if you decided to crack this baby open, you’re bound to find something of your liking or something that transcends you idea of what prison stories can be.” Also over at Dead End Follies, Ben reviews Don Winslow’s The Force with expected results, “I’ve tore through The Force in two ravenous days of reading. It’s perhaps not Don Winslow’s best novel, but it’s up there with the best ones.”
Winnie M. Li
Next month Polis Books will be releasing Winnie M. Li’s debut crime novel Dark Chapter. I have already had a chance to read it and it is one of the best books of the year. It has already been out for a few months in the UK and has gotten many positive reviews. Dark Chapter is a difficult book as it is a fictional recounting of Li’s rape in Belfast. The book also has chapters told from the point of view of the rapist. As Jackie Law says in her review that it is “a powerful account of a crime that is too often maligned and misunderstood.”
Tom Leins, author of the recent Skull Meat, reviews Tony Knighton’s fantastic Three Hours Past Midnight (Crime Wave Press). Leins says of Knighton’s book that it “is a compelling slice on contemporary hard-boiled fiction, and one that cries out for a sequel – or sequels. Great stuff.” I am in complete agreement. Don’t miss Three Hours Past Midnight. On his blog Dirty Books, Leins also has an interview with Knighton.
Derrick Horodysk reviews Greg Barth’s Everglade, the fifth and final book of Barth’s Selena series. Everglade is hovering near the top of my TBR, shit, the entire series is on my TBR. I have been debating for weeks whether to just read Everglade or start at the beginning with Selena. In the Out of the Gutter review, Horodysk loves Everglade and calls the Selena series “one of the best noir series ever written.” I guess it is time for me to shit or get off the pot.
I am only hearing great things about Ryan Gattis’ Safe (McDonnell Douglas) whether it is on Eric Beetner and S.W. Lauden’s podcast Writer Types or Michael T. Fournier’s review in the Chicago Review of Books.
Donald E. Westlake Photo by Jean-Marie David CC BY-SA
If you are a crime fiction fan, the article this week that you most likely read is Scott Bradfield’s Donald E. Westlake: The Writer’s Writer’s Writer in the Los Angeles Review of Books. The article starts with a humorous story of Bradfield taking a writer’s conference with the legendary Harlan Ellison. Ellison, in his abrupt style, tells Bradford, “Throw out that fucking copy of Finnegans Wake you’re always carrying around and go read Donald E. Westlake. He’ll teach you everything you need to know about writing fiction. Oh, and pick up some acne medication while you’re at it. Your face’s a mess.” Bradford goes on to say:
Those first Westlake books zipped by so quickly that I wasn’t even aware I was reading them until they were over. And unlike all the “serious” and “noteworthy” books I usually tried to read, they never had me anxiously checking how many pages there were left until the next chapter, or looking up words in the dictionary, or skimming back over the previous pages to find something I had missed. Every image leapt off the page; every scene quickly set me in a location so vivid and immediate that it felt like I wasn’t entering some fictional space but simply remembering an actual location where I had already been. And every line of dialogue opened up the voice and personality of the character who spoke it.
If you haven’t read Bradford’s article and I highly doubt that, stop reading this and read that.
Over at S.W. Lauden’s blog, Lauden interviews Gary Duncan, founder of Spelk Fiction and writer of You’re Not Supposed to Cry (Vagabond Voices). Duncan maybe one of the preeminent experts on flash fiction. In the interview, Duncan says:
Good flash fiction can be so many things—a unique voice, an original situation, a new way of saying something—anything that makes you sit back and wish you’d written it yourself. If I’m reading a good flash, I can usually tell it’s going to be good in the first few lines. You often can’t put your finger on it, but you can just tell that this is someone who knows what they’re doing. A light touch is important—you don’t want to hammer it home or lay it on too thick. I like flashes that make you work a little, that give you just enough information to get you thinking. What’s the backstory? What’s being said between the lines? What’s the bigger story here?
Danny Gardner writes about his writing process and the amount of work he throws away in Criminal Minds. The next NoirCon is set for November 1-4, 2018. I don’t know about you but I can never keep up with Book Riot and their lists of books to read. I’m guessing that their posts are more research minded rather than to do’s, I mean who has time to be in five book clubs. Over at J. Kingston Pierce’s Killer Covers blog, a companion to his excellent The Rap Sheet blog, he has a huge post that will probably become the most popular page of Killer Covers, Pay Attention, Big Boy!.
. . . I’ve been having trouble enjoying “straightforward” books. I haven’t done the deep work of figuring out whether or not I’m a born contrarian, but I don’t even like reading books that are typically understood (by a majority of people, of course) to be “good.” Plots, characterization, pacing, all of it seemed boring to me, all of a sudden.
As good and weird as Osborne’s Broken River Books is, prepare for it to get weirder and better, if that is even possible.
Some interviews to catch up on are BV Lawson’s intervew with Jack Getz at In Reference to Murder. Getz has a new book out on Down & Out Books called The Black Kachina. Over at Mysteristas, Albert Tucher, author of The Place of Refuge (Shotgun Honey), is interviewed. Are you tired of me mentioning Tony Knighton? Too bad. You should be reading his new book Three Hours Past Midnight (Crime Wave Press) and also this interview with Scott Alderberg in Do Some Damage.
Noir at the Bar will be going at the National Book Festival this weekend. Noir at the National Book Festival will be rated PG rather than the usual R to NC-17 rating. Here is E.A. Aymar reading in the first DC Noir at the Bar. This was first published at Do Some Damage.