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.
Aerogramme Writers’ Studio points us to 23 Writing Competitions to Enter Before the End of the Year. Warning, some might charge an entry fee. If you charge for submissions, well they won’t be listed here.
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.
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 Tree called it “harrowing and nightmarish”, Sweet Little Book Blog said 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 Reviews said 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 Reviews says it “is one dark and twisted read” and As the Page Turns Reviews writes 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”.
Adrian Magson’s fifth in the Lucas Rocco series, Rocco And The Nightingale, is out. The series takes place in France during the 1960s. Magson visits Shots to talk about his new book. Never Imitate’s Jackie Law said it was “an engaging police procedural”.
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 Reviews writes:
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.
- This Week
- Broken Glass Waltzes by Warren Moore (Down & Out Books)
- Dying to Live by Michael Stanley (Minotaur Books)
- Her Last Day by T.R. Ragan (Thomas & Mercer)
- Knuckledragger by Rusty Barnes (Shotgun Honey)
- The Lost Child by Patricia Gibney (Bookouture)
- Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft (Bookouture)
- Skeletal by Emma Pullar (Bloodhound Books)
- Week of October 30
- Week of November 6
- Week of November 13
- Week of November 20
- Week of November 27
- Week of December 4
- January 2018
- Blackchurch Furnace by Nathan Singer (Down & Out Books)
- 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 Dawn reviews 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 Blog writes 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 Reviews says that it is “totally jaw dropping stuff”, and If Only I Could Read Faster can 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 Reviews writes 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 Pages reviews 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 Reviews says 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 Guardian reviews 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.”
Kathleen Barber, author of Are You Sleeping, writes of the travails of getting one’s Goodreads page and then actually paying attention to the reviews at The Thrill Begins
Scott Alderberg, author of the upcoming Jack Waters (Broken River Books), delves into the dietary peculiarities of Balzac and Patricia Highsmith.
J.J. Hensley stops by In Reference to Murder to talk about the research he did for Bolt Action Remedy on Down & Out Books).
Nathan O’Hagan, co-publisher of Obliterati Press and author of Out of the City, is interviewed by Abbie of Bloomin’ Brilliant Books. They talk about influences and writing.
The Rap Sheet’s J. Kingston Pierce has a great point about lists and in particular, Abe Books’ Thirty Essential Mystery Authors: “ Whoever compiled this rundown must now be thinking it wasn’t worth the grief.”
This is kind of cool, Val McDermid writes about Adrian McKinty’s Rain Dogs.
Zeroflash interviews Paul D. Brazill.
Jedidiah Ayres at Hardboiled Wonderland let us know the Things That Are Good Lately
Colman Keane makes us all feel bad by listing the books he read in September. But he also tells us the best on of the bunch and this time it is Zero Avenue by Dietrich Kalteis.
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. “