Week in Review of Small Press Crime Fiction for Sept. 25 – Oct. 1, 2017
I mentioned this a while back, but it bears a reminder, Alec Cizak opened up submissions for Pulp Modern until the 10th of October. Get on this now.
Two other places with submissions open are an anti-fascist anthology at King Shot Press. You can read the guidelines is last week’s Incident Report. And if you have a book-length manuscript lying around, All Due Respect Books is shopping for novellas.
Getting ready for the upcoming release of Eryk Pruitt’s What We Reckon (Polis Books), the publisher has released two previous Pruitt books, one of which that went unceremoniously out of print, Hashtag and Dirtbags Pruitt will also be taken over the social media accounts of Great Jones Street during the week of October 9th. I cannot imagine this will end well.
Here is the second re-release of a book from 280 Steps, the first being Pruitt’s Hashtag and, once again, Fahrenheit Press steps up to the plate with Seth Lynch’s The Paris Ripper. If historical mysteries are your thing, jump on this at .99¢.
Amongst Bookouture’s Christmas books, they snuck out Louise Jensen’s The Surrogate, a psychological thriller where a couple hire’s the wife’s childhood friend to carry their child. El’s Book World that “This is one thousand percent a MUST READ for any bookworm and if you let this book slip from your pile you are seriously missing out on the book of the year!!”
I missed posting about Lilja Sigurdardóttir’s Snare (Orenda Books) a couple of weeks ago. Fixed.
David Ellis teams up with the corporation that is James Patterson for Murder House where a deadly secret cannot stay buried, we might want it to, but, alas, it is going to come out.
Flash Fiction Offensive’s Gutteral Scream series is off to a flying start with Paul D. Brazill’s Carcass.
The only thing I’ve read of Steve Weddle is his Facebook posts and his articles on Do Some Damage. Yeah, I know, I really need to read Country Hardball, but I need to read a lot of shit. In the meantime, Playboy has brought Weddle’s short story South of Bradly outside of its paywall. Read it now before it disappears.
David Cook’s Box Office at Flash Fiction Magazine is not crime fiction, but if you’ve ever worked in a cubicle it is a necessary read.
If you are like me, you recently picked up Nigel Bird’s Southsider series, three novellas for .99¢ each. Paul D. Brazill likes the first in the series That’s All Right and says that “is a great slice of kitchen sink drama that is full of well-drawn and sympathetic characters. That’s All Right is touching as well as gritty …”.
Coleman Keane reviews a non-fiction book at Col’s Criminal Library. The victim is Phil Stanford’s Rose City Vice (Feral House).
Ben Leviere reviews Ed Kurtz’ Bleed. Though a horror book, the Dead End Follies review says:
I’ve said before that Ed Kurtz was a natural storyteller, that it was what made him special. I still stand by what I said, but Bleed makes me believe he might be a little more than that. Kurtz is somewhat of a philosopher too. He’s one of these authors who can connect the dots and create original narratives from material we all know and love.
Ben also reviews Killing Malmon (Down & Out Books), the anthology where writers get to kill a book critic. Ben writes:
The beauty with anthologies is that you can skip what you don’t care about. This one is particularly well formated in that regard with links to the table of content after every story. Fight MS, read about the recurrent demise of a geeky guy, be entertained. What’s not to like?
Jochem Vandersteen at Sons of Spade reviews Tom Leins’ Skull Meat saying, “The prose is very fast and to the point, which I absolutely loved. The violence plays out in your mind very vividly without spending a huge amount of description, not an easy feat.”
BOLO Books reviews Renee James’ Seven Suspects (Oceanview Publishing) and they write:
Seven Suspects could easily have become a didactic exercise intended to teach readers about the transgender experience. However, by wrapping the subtle lessons within a compelling suspense plot, Renee James instead leads readers to connect with Bobbi as a person first and foremost, thereby allowing the rest of the equation to develop organically.
Kirk Clawes, co-found of LitReactor, died at the age of 38. I am a huge fan of LitReactor, and though I never met Clawes, he will be missed by his family and the community. The following is from Rob Hart’s post at LitReactor:
It is with an incredible amount of regret and sadness that we have to announce our site’s technical lead and co-founder, Kirk Clawes, died in his sleep last night. We learned the news from his girlfriend. He was 38.
Right now, honestly, we have no idea what to do. We’re gutted by this. Not just because Kirk was a linchpin for LitReactor, but because he was such a good friend.
In an interview with Paul D. Brazill, Tom Pitts, author of *American Static, Pitts admits he wants to live in L.A. Brazill also interviews Dietrich Kalteis. Kalteis has part one of an article on writers who were/are musicians.
Ray Daniels, author of Hacked, interviews Kellye Garrett, author of Hollywood Homicide.
At Do Some Damage, Claire Booth finds that the toughest author interview is done at high school career day.
November is National Novel Writing Month where you sign up and hope to write 50,000 words of a novel. A lofty goal. Steve Liskow, a writer and teacher, has some advice at SleuthSlayers on how to prepare for such a daunting task.
But the first task, especially if you’re new at this, is learning how much effort it takes to produce an average of 1667 words–roughly six and a half pages in 12-point font–every day. For the newbie, this is a daunting task. Even the act of sitting long enough to do it is rough, and you need to resist the urge to check your email, play computer games, or edit your picture files. Many established writers set daily word limits for themselves.
The Thrill Begins’ Writer’s Passport series continues with E.A. Aymar interviewing Leye Adenle, author of Easy Motion Tourist (Cassava Republic Press). Aymar asks if there was any feedback from the police in Nigeria and Adenle responds, “I’m not aware of any who have read EASY MOTION TOURIST, but I can only imagine that if there are, some of them might want to invite me for closed door ‘discussions.’”
I loved this book and so did Aymar. He writes:
The novel is smart and immersive, complex without being needlessly complicated, and absolutely courageous in its unflinching views on corruption and Nigerian culture. And Adenle’s characters are so richly described that, while the book serves as an introduction to a country likely unfamiliar to audiences outside of Nigeria, the characters are profoundly recognizable, wonderfully human.
S.W. Lauden takes out the rubber hoses once again, this time for Dietrich Kalteis, author of the soon-to-be-released Zero Avenue. Lauden asked, “Why do crime fiction and punk rock go together?” Kalteis responded:
Crime novels are fast-paced and packed with action, violence and desperation, and the punk scene was so edgy, raw and angry and had this us-against-them outlook. It just made a great backdrop and a perfect fit for a crime story.
Stay away from The Rap Sheet’s comprehensive list of crime fiction new releases for the next few months, September is included. Flee the Coming Cold, Crime Yarns in Hand is a great combination of big publishers as well as the small press. I could quite possibly go broke reading it.
Do Some Damage opens their doors to author Richie Narvaez writing about the place of diversity in fiction, Diversity Rises in Genre. Narvaez opens with:
As a doe-eyed kid growing up in Brooklyn, I didn’t actively look for Latino characters in all the buckets of pop culture I was gobbling. But when I came across them, glowing on the screen or speaking to me from a story, it was joyful. , that guy looks like my dad. She sounds just like my mom. Of course, as a Latino, the faces I did find were pretty much limited to Zorro, Chico and the Man, and West Side Story. Still, this showed we weren’t just invisible sideliners in the world. We were a part of it.
Colman Keane profiles Rusty Barnes, poet, novelist, and editor of Tough. Author and editor Rob Pierce interviews Dietrich Kalteis on the eve of the release of his latest novel, Zero Avenue. Are you tired of Killing Malmon yet? Don’t be. Dead End Follies interviews Kate and Dan Malmon about the book and other things. Some upcoming crime fiction and true crime recommendations from Lisa Levy at Lit Hub.
And not to get pigeoned-hold in one genre, maybe you would like to try romance. Here’s an article about what’s new in romance from the New York Times, but I am going to safely assume that their coverage in this genre is probably as bad as their coverage of crime fiction.
Dietrich Kalteis writes about the importance of opening lines at Criminal Minds.
While the ending to a good story is like the punchline to a good joke, I’m more interested in the first few pages of a book — the opening. If it doesn’t grab me, I may not read much more before putting the book down. If it doesn’t grab me, I won’t keep turning pages to see what the ending holds in store.
My take away from Getting Down to Bass Tacks with Jess [Lourey] and Shannon[Baker] on Do Some Damage is this small quote from Jess, “It’s much easier to fix a weak story than to fix a story that’s never been written.” John M. Floyd tells about the how and why of his short story “Rooster Creek” in SleuthSlayers.
I imagine I would not be a huge Harlan Coben fan, but his five writing tips in Publishers Weekly are fantastic from “You can always fix bad pages. You can’t fix no pages.” to “There are days you just can’t write. Fill them with self-loathing.”
In The Atlantic, Joe Fassell writes about how interviewing authors over several years, helped him with his own novel.
As I listened, I thought of my novel, the one I was struggling to write. I was attempting to get beyond the first 50 pages—aiming to write 1,000 words every morning before heading off to work, and often just staring at the screen and feeling seasick instead. My cast of characters had shifted over time, and I’d tried telling the story from different points of view. But what King was saying rang incredibly true: Whenever I felt lost, my opening sentence, which I’d worked and reworked, always reminded me of what the book was meant to be.