Week in Review of Small Press Crime Fiction for Aug 14-20, 2017
This will be abbreviated as I’m on vacation in western Oregon to visit my sister-in-law who is a nurse in the VA down in Roseburg. So far we’ve hung out in Portland where I bought too many books at Powells, did a hydroplane boat ride on the Rogue River, saw some redwoods in northern California, and now we are hanging out in Newport, Oregon awaiting the end of times or as scientist call it a solar eclipse.
The sad news of the week is the passing of Bonnie Stevens aka B.K. Stevens. I knew of her only through her periodic essays of SleuthSayers. The folks over there put together a nice remembrance piece on Stevens.
In big news, All Due Respect is moving over to be an imprint of Down & Out Books. That makes the third imprint for Down & Out. I definitely understand the reason for doing so, but I wonder if it is such a good idea to have four book publishers of very similar tastes all together under one roof? Will they lose their identities? Or will the extra support from Down & Out Books be a boon for All Due Respect, Shotgun Honey, and ABC Group Documentation?
In silly news, historical genre novelist Philippa Gregory came out against genre fiction in the New York Times. At first glance, Gregory came out against bad writing which is okay but then she kept on talking.
And why does anyone write lazy, sloppy genre novels? The typing alone is so exhausting — surely if you’re going to undertake 150,000 words, you might as well have something interesting to say? Why do people write crime novels with blindingly obvious murderers? Why do they write love stories with idiotic heroes? (Oh, perhaps see above, re pornography.) Writing should be both individual and universal. Choosing to write a genre novel is like fencing the universe because you are afraid of space.
Choosing to write a genre novel is like fencing the universe because you are afraid of space. Amazing. For more take downs on Gregory’s interview read Clare Langley-Hawthorne’s Kill Zone post or Alison Flood’s takedown at The Guardian.
Down & Out Books released Beau Johnson’s short story collection, A Better Kind of Hate. Mark Westmoreld writes of Johnson’s book, “His stories are populated with sleaze balls, grease stains, and bad motherfuckers.” Also released on Down & Out is John Shepphird’s The Shill Triology. You have probably read all three novellas already, but if you haven’t, now is your chance.
The third of the Danny Bird Mysteries, Death of a Devil, by Derek Ferrell is out on Fahrenheit Press. Also released by Fahrenheit is Speed of Life by James Pate. I missed last week, Anita Waller’s Strategy on Bloodhood Books.
In the spirit of keeping this short, I am just going to recommend some flash fiction. If you haven’t read Nikki Donson’s 83 over at Shotgun Honey, please do so. Brian Morse’s My Blue Mistake (Pulp Metal Magazine) is told from the point of view of a dead man. At Out of the Gutter, The Dressmakers Dummy by James Shaffer is pretty dark and then it gets darker. Crime writer Iain Ryan has a horror tale called Nice Ass over at Seizure. And something else different is Kamila Shamsie’s true tale, When Pakistan Feels Like an L.A. Noir, in Lit Hub. Shamsie’s piece reads like a short story.