Incident Report No. 19

A Week in Review of Small Press Crime Fiction for Nov. 19 – Nov. 25, 2017

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Last week I wrote a post for Do Some Damage on crime fiction by Native American writers. Here’s the beginning of the article and, if you’d like, head over to read the rest of “Crime Fiction by Native Americans; or, Tony Hillerman Will Only Be Mentioned Once”.

I know it is quite white of me to be writing about Native Americans on Thanksgiving Day, but trust me, it’s either this or writing about Turkey cozies or making up a book list of Pilgrim Noir. No one wants me to do that. As Winona LaDuke recently wrote, “There is this magical made-up time between Columbus Day (or Indigenous People’s Day for the enlightened) and Thanksgiving where white Americans think about native people. That’s sort of our window. November is Native American Heritage month. Before that, of course, is Halloween. Until about three years ago, one of the most popular Halloween costumes was Pocahontas. People know nothing about us, but they like to dress up like us or have us as a mascot. We are invisible.” Yeah, I am pretty much guilty as charged. Hopefully, I will come back to Native American crime fiction at several points throughout 2018.

You also might have noticed, the week has shifted a bit. The Incident Report will now cover Sunday through Saturday. It just makes my life that much easier.

Submissions
King Shot Press has submissions open for ENGAGE, an anthology of anti-fascist literature. For more details check out their website.

Publishers with their does open for manuscripts are Joffe Books, Bloodhound Books, Bookouture, Fahrenheit Press, Shotgun Honey, and Orenda Books.

This week we’ll focus on All Due Respect Books. They are still accepting manuscript submissions, but y’all better get on that fast, ‘cause that door is shutting soon.

What we want: low-life literature. Criminals, thugs, douchebags, cheaters, gamblers, pickpockets, ne’er-do-wells, guns, cigarettes, bath salts, booze, beer, strippers, whores, wheelers, dealers, schemers, robbers, adulterers, embezzlers, loan sharks, losers, and lottery winners (who are, of course, losers).

All at 100 mph with the brake lines cut and a shitload of speed running through its veins.

What we don’t want: straight-laced, upstanding folk of any kind. White House-‘n-terrorism thrillers. Police procedurals. Amateur detectives. Professional detectives. Mysteries. Cats that do anything besides be cats.

If you think we want romance, you should refine your Google search techniques.

If you wrote a book about serial killers or the mafia, it better be real different than what’s already out there.

We’re interested in: all lengths of books–short story collections, novelettes, novellas, novels. What we don’t want is a 150-page book with 250 pages of filler (we’re not Random House). Get to the heart of the story as quickly as possible.

What we do for authors: We want to sell books. So we promote your work. Facebook, Twitter, blogs, seeking reviews, contacting media people–we do all that. Now we’re an imprint of Down & Out Books and they’re great with promotion.

We edit our books thoroughly. But we’re also pulp people. We want speed, baby. We’ll get your book out there quickly and won’t delay it for bullshit reasons.

We publish both print and ebooks on a variety of platforms.

Releases
Emma Ångström’s The Man in the Wall (Bloodhound Books) is out. Beverly Has Read writes, “I found this book wholly absorbing. I love Scandinavian literature, there is a darkness and matter-of-factness to the writing which I really love. Despite being chilled to the bone at times I couldn’t put this book down, it was a great read which really made me think about relationships and what we are unable to see.” Books From Dusk Till Dawn writes, “It is such a dark and disturbing story which I read with my jaw permanently dropped. I mean how far would author Emma Ångström take this, well lets say I needed a drool bib because I am still on a high! A brilliant book, just awesome!” BiblioManiac writes, “This is a great thriller. It is very tense and has some real nail biting moments. I love a novel full of tension and suspense and Angstrom wastes no time delving straight into creating an atmosphere that is unsettling and creepy.” The Blonde Likes Books writes, “All in all, I enjoyed this book, and rated it 3.5/5 stars, mostly because I felt like it wasn’t quite a thriller the way I was expecting it to be, and because I did leave with some unanswered questions by the time the book ended. If you’re looking for a creepy, slow building suspense, with a touch of supernatural, this is a perfect choice for you!”

Amanda Fleet’s The Call (Joffe Books) is out. Ginger Book Geek writes, “I must admit that it took me a little while to get into this book because there seemed to be so many characters being introduced that I lost track of who was who and where they came in the story. However, once I fathomed out the ‘cast list’ so to speak, I became totally immersed in the story.” Nicki’s Life of Crime writes, “It’s a enjoyable read that has some gripping action scenes and a number of decent twists but I also felt that parts of the book dragged at times and slowed down the pace of the story.”

Helen Phifer’s Dying Breath (Bookouture) is out. Stardust Book Reviews writes, “I’m so pleased I read this book and didn’t pass on it because I’d not enjoyed others by this author. It just goes to show that you can’t judge a book by its author!! I will definitely be revisiting the other two books I’ve already read and re-reading them with different eyes. Anyone who can write a book this good cannot write a bad book!” The Writing Garnet writes, “I could not recommend this book more if I tried! Helen Phifer has written an absolute BELTER of a book – I couldn’t put it down! (To be honest, I didn’t want to either!). There was nothing about this book I didn’t like, yet there was everything about the book I absolutely flipping loved. Dying Breath really is a jaw dropping, spine tingling, and intense storyline which takes you on a rollercoaster ride the entire time.” Sweet Little Book writes, “Dying Breath has a complex plotline fleeting backwards and forwards in time, but not so much you would notice, as the actual book holds your attention so much I never really noticed it, it did work well as it was imperative to understanding the plot. Helen has a written an infallible plot which is macabre, unsettling and downright spine-chilling raising goosebumps as I turned each page.” Ginger Book Geek writes, “ I would liken reading this book to riding on an extremely twisty, turny rollercoaster ride with lots of stomach churning moments. There were times when I almost had to read through my fingers as I genuinely feared what was going to happen. The writing was so convincing that I really did feel as though I was an invisible member of the investigating team.”

S.E. Lynes’ Mother (Bookouture) is out. The Writing Garnet writes, “S.E.Lynes is like a composer of the literary world. Her writing skills are enchanting and very addictive on their own – I reckon that this author could write a story about a cow eating grass in a field, and make it come alive with no qualms at all.” Stardust Book Reviews writes, “A very dark, unsettling read. If you like fast paced action then this probably isn’t the book for you. In my opinion, it is definitely worth the read and I would highly recommend it!” By the Letter Books Reviews writes, “Mother is one of those reads where you feel like something is brewing. Like waiting for a storm to appear and unleash it’s wrath on you. It certainly had me hooked and I read it in one day.”

Peter Murphy’s Walden of Bermondsey (No Exit) is out. The Crime Review writes, “The light-hearted and intelligent tone of these stories makes Walden of Bermondsey a satisfying read for any mystery lover, but it’s particularly perfect for those who want a quick read with a sense of humour or for those who want a cozy mystery. This would make an outstanding holiday read!” Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog writes, “Murphy gives the reader fascinating insight into the UK legal system, combining facts with his fictional story to create a pleasurable read. He balances the legal case with a little mystery and a room full of cantankerous colleagues, who all have their very own personal input when it comes to legal cases.” Novel Deelights writes, “This is such a breath of fresh air. Not only does it involve some court action, which I thoroughly enjoy but Charlie and his colleagues are a cast of incredibly fun characters. Some are a little odd and eccentric maybe and it’s easy to see why they don’t always get along but they are all vastly entertaining. I suppose this story would fall into the cosy mystery category. What makes it stand out a bit are the fabulously witty moments and seeing a court through the eyes of a judge instead of a lawyer.”

Faith Martin’s Murder in the Family (Joffe Books). Ginger Book Geek writes, “Reading Murder In The Family became seriously addictive and I just had to read one more chapter and then another and so on and so forth. I was so engrossed in the story that I didn’t realise how quickly the pages were turning. In fact, it was almost as if they were turning themselves and before I knew it I had finished the book, which I was so disappointed about.” Books n All writes, “I loved this book but I did feel there was too much reference to events in previous books this might be an advantage for people reading the book as stand alone but for the ones who have read the series it makes it a bit slow going in places.”

Alex Kane’s self-published Chasing the Traveller is out. Crime Book Junkie writes, “There are twists, suspense and a very emotive but riveting storyline to keep you hooked and turning the pages! Once you start your journey with Kat, you will not want to stop!”

Douglas Schofield’s Killing Pace (Minotaur) is out. At Criminal Element Kristin Centorcelli writes, “Killing Pace is a fast-paced, unputdownable read—perfect to pass a weekend!”

Peter Bartram’s Front Page Murder (Roundfire Books) is out. Life of a Nerdish Mum writes that it is “an excellent read”.

Lament the Common Bones by Jen J. Danna with Ann Vanderlann is out, “Forensic anthropologist Dr. Matt Lowell and his team of grad students don’t go looking for death—it usually comes to them. But when one of Matt’s students suspects the skeleton hanging in a top competitor’s lab is actually from a murder victim, Matt has no choice but to sneak in to confirm a suspicious death. Once the case comes to Massachusetts State Police Trooper Leigh Abbott, the team is back together again.”

Trey R. Barker’s When the Lonesome Dog Barks (Down & Out Books) is out, “Two bodies, recently beaten to death, are discovered on the edges of Zachary County. There is a recent attempt to break into the security office at a resort in nearby Rooster County. And the Zachary County Jail has exploded with seemingly random fights.”

Upcoming Releases

Book Reviews
Last week at Unlawful Acts Jim Thomsen reviewed Lee Child’s The Midnight Line saying, “Lee Child is a master of malignant quiet.”

Curious Ginger Cat reviews Ragnor Jónasson’s Whiteout (Orenda Books), “Jonasson’s writing differs slightly from a lot of the Nordic Noir that is so popular nowadays in that whilst it shares the same dark atmospheric quality, his writing tends to be slightly less gritty and violent – more of a procedural whodunit than a psychological thriller. It is actually quite nice to read a story that I find chilling and suspenseful, but that doesn’t make me flinch at the graphic depictions between the pages.” Off-the-Shelf Books writes, “As expected, Whiteout is atmospheric and well written (and well translated), with haunting poetic descriptions of the old lighthouse and nearby abandoned house. Each of the suspects was present in the house that night. All appear to be harbouring secrets and may have a possible motive. I spent my time going round in circles trying to work out the ‘whodunnit’. In the end I gave up trying, realising I just had to wait until Ragnar Jónasson revealed the truth at the end.” Bloomin’ Brilliant Books writes, “Whiteout is absolutely brimming with atmosphere and the setting plays an important part in the overall sense and structure of this book. The feelings of isolation and bleakness serve to add to the sinister undercurrent that runs throughout. Whiteout moves at a steady pace and is a book to be savoured rather than rushed through as you want to take in every word.” Beverly Has Read writes, “This is a classic mystery with a simple premise and this in less capable hands could be dangerous territory as no room for error as any missteps will be glaringly obvious. It is a testament to Ragnar Jónasson’s skill as a writer that *Whiteout8 is gripping and makes the reader feel part of the mystery and at times I felt like a budding Miss Marple.” Hair Past a Freckle writes, “As with other books in the series this is a rather melancholy story and yet the haunting and beautiful prose completely captivated me. I felt such a mix of emotions when I reached the last page, the satisfaction of reading a novel that I’d become so engrossed in I lost track of time then the sad realisation that my time with Ari Thór has reached its conclusion. I will be returning to these books again of course but for now all I can do is thank Ragnar (and brilliant translator, Quentin Bates) for this truly wonderful book and series.”

small press crime fictionHeavy Feather Review reviews Christopher Irvin’s Ragged; or, the Loveliest Lies of All (Cutlass Press), “The themes Ragged deals with are all important and worth discussing, especially in our current cultural landscape, but beyond being thought provoking, the book is just one hell of a page turner. I found myself speeding through it in a few days, eager to see where the plot would turn next, taking notes at the way Irvin builds tension. Ragged builds a world that feels gritty and lived in, something incredibly close to home. Irvin at once utilizes and subverts the tropes of the genre to create a literary work that is at times darkly comedic, uplifting, and nail bitingly intense. You know that a book is good when the only criticism you can think of is: “I sure wish that I got to spend more time in its pages!” We reviewed Ragged back in October and said, “I immediately fell in love with Christopher Irvin’s setting: the Woods and the Fells. But it’s the characters that give Ragged its vibrancy and life. Cal, the recently widowed father of two pups, tries to come to terms with the fever that hangs on the periphery of his world and teh responsibility of protecting his two young sons from the possibility of the family being banished. Populated with catfish, badgers, toads, raccoons, and other many animals, the Woods is at a crossroads, a caravan delivery that links them to the outside world has yet to arrive and rumors of the disease are growing.”

Ginger Book Geek reviews Stephen Enger’s Dying Day (Bookouture), “In my opinion, ‘Dying Day’ is just as well written as ‘Dead To Me’ and it is just as addictive. The story hits the ground running and the fast pace is maintained throughout the book. I was hooked on ‘Dying Day’ from the first word on the first page and the book had me in its grip until the last word on the last page. I just had to read on and on to see what would happen next. I didn’t notice how quickly the pages were turning and before I knew what had happened, I was almost a third of the way through the book. I was reading that quickly that it was almost as if the pages were turning themselves. For me reading this book led to just as much of an adrenaline rush as I would get riding on a rollercoaster.”

Raven Crime Reads reviews Iain Maitlan’s Sweet William (Contraband), “Maitland never fails to convey to the reader what seems to us the shambolic and irrational thought processes of Orrey, but by the same token depicting Orrey’s moments of clarity and clear thinking so resonant of mental disturbance.”

Chapter in My Life reviews Alexandra Sokoloff’s Hunger Moon (Thomas & Mercer), “I’ve read reviews that criticise this book for being too political and including too much of the author’s personal views. Well, damn this is a book that IS political and THANK GOD the author holds the views that she does! I’ve seen the author accused of encouraging violent protests and murder through the actions taken in this book and I think to myself WTF! Seriously, you think a writer who uses murder and violence is advocating for that to happen?! No, the writer is using her craft to highlight the strength and the depth of feeling that exists in our current times and the violence are symbolic of this and not a call to arms! Hunger Moon (and the rest of the series) does provide a powerful and real social commentary on what is going on in our world today and rightly so. The shift of power has changed and we have seen a massive increase in the victimisation of the most vulnerable women, children and men across the world and what would appear to be a lack of political will to make any real changes to this. So, Alexandra Sokoloff, I salute you for being that writer who is not afraid to use the power of the pen to make people stop and think and take a real look around them about what is happening right here and right now!”

Love Books Group reviews Helen Slavin’s The Stopping Place (Ipso Books), “As I got further into the book I was waiting for something extraordinary to happen and it didn’t. Although the book has some thought-provoking topics throughout there is a certain pace to it that just wasn’t for me, I found all the crying and weirdness with the library staff a bit much and I couldn’t’ connect with Ruby at all. However, others readers will love the storyline and unique writing style.”

Jen Med’s Book Reviews reviews Rachel Amphlett’s Hell To Pay (Saxon Publishing), “As for this instalment, it is every bit as high energy, adrenalin pumping as its predecessors. There are moments of great peril, especially for Kay, and you wonder if it will even be possible for her to overcome all the forces which are acting against her. I could feel my skin crawling at times throughout, not always sure why, just having that niggling doubt about certain people, certain situations, which kept me on edge. Even then, I didn’t see the ending coming, certainly not expecting quite how it played out. This was a book which kept my attention from the off, and one short break to feed the animals aside, I didn’t put it down until I had finished.” It’s All About the Books writes, “There are some quite uncomfortable scenes in Hell To Pay but it’s been written brilliantly and you really get a sense of the fear and urgency this case requires. This really was a gripping story, filled with tension and suspense it really is a fantastic page turner that I will definitely recommend.” Keeper of Pages writes, “Hell To Pay ticks all the boxes, it’s a fast-paced thriller that begs to be read in one sitting! Kay and the team investigate their most chilling case yet, personally I think this case is particularly horrific and I’m thankful for Amphlett’s ability to create a chilling case while still allowing me to sleep at night!”

Col’s Criminal Library reviews Chris Whitaker’s All the Wicked Girls (Zaffre), “It’s been a while since I shed a tear reading a book, but Whitaker pushed me close. The characters were that real and that haunting. Guilt, secrets, love, loss, grief, awakening, maturity, friendship, community, family – all resonate strongly throughout.”

BiblioManiac reviews Corrie Jackson’s The Perfect Victim (Zaffre), “The Perfect Victim is full of energy and is a fantastically gritty read, I like Sophie Kent a lot, I think she’s a refreshing female lead character and I like Jackson’s unflinching use of dialogue and language. It is a page turner, it is compelling, it is addictive and it is well worth reading. This is a great sequel and this is an exciting new series in Crime Fiction.”

Random Things Through My Letterbox reviews Susi Holliday’s The Deaths of December (Mulholland Books), “The Deaths of December* is not as dark as this author’s previous work, there’s a dry humour running through it, despite the theme. However, it is a complex and well woven story that keeps the reader on their toes. Susi Holliday excels in creating characters that the reader can relate to, they are multi layered and often surprising and work incredibly well.”

Crime Watch reviews Barbara Fradkin’s The Trickster’s Lullaby (Dundurn), “It’s an action-packed story set against a beautiful backdrop – the Laurentian Mountains in Quebec. The winter season adds to the sense of isolation and hovering danger, as Doucette and the schoolkids are beset by challenges from without and within. The group dynamics, challenges of dealing with teenagers, and the wild environment are all evoked with a nice sense of authenticity.”

The Suspense is Killing Me reviews Emily Littlejohn’s A Season to Lie (Minotaur), “I do understand the importance of keeping your audience abreast of what’s going on, but I found myself skipping entire chunks and not missing a thing due to this nature. Other than that, this was a solid crime novel with excellent characters and a creepy undertone that held my attention. Even though I wasn’t blown away by this installment I will most definitely be reading the next book as the characters really are top notch.”

At Flash Fiction Offensive Chris McGinley reviews J.J. Hensley’s Bolt Action Remedy (Down & Out Books), “These moments of transcendence, if you will, are just one of many clever elements in Hensley’s narrative–little touches, always managed with subtlety, that distinguish this highly readable and carefully plotted novel. One other note on this novel: Hensley has a gift for all sorts of dialogue. Quick rejoinders abound, mostly of the self-deprecating variety, but his characters are alternately funny, sad, confessional, and even philosophical. Bolt Action Remedy is a fine novel full of action, intelligent design, clever dialogue, and great characters. I look forward to Hensley’s next.”

Dead End Follies reviews Lawrence Block’s Sinner Man (Hard Case Crime), “While I love mid-century detective novels, I can’t say that I’m a fan of mid-century noir. I find that they’re all either about guys robbing banks or guys not able to control their dicks to save their lives. Sinner Man is more ambitious than that. If you can get past the lurid cover, you’ll find a genuine reflection on the murder and the self, which plenty of literary novels that were explicitly about that failed to deliver. Sinner Man is great, rewarding noir, which is something I should’ve expected from a household name like Lawrence Block. There’s more to him than just the Matthew Scudder novels and Sinner Man is a good place to start with the standalone material.”

BOLO Books reviews Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun (Ecco), “As far as debut novels go, one could hardly expect a better example of how to do it right; but frankly, that undervalues She Rides Shotgun. There are rarely books this exemplary even late in a writer’s career. Jordan Harper negotiates multiple viewpoints with ease – the chapters from Polly’s POV honestly feel as though they were written by a young girl, while the sections Nate narrates hum with edgy menace and loyal devotion. Several other memorable characters share in the storytelling, but it is these two characters who ultimately captivate readers.”

Out of the Gutter S.W. Lauden’s Crossed Bones (Down & Out Books), “This was a great read that reminded me how much I have loved everything Lauden has written.” We reviewed Crossed Bones saying it “is the adult version of a carnival ride and Lauden’s writing keeps us grounded even as we plunge into the absurdity of costumed pirates battling a motorcycle gang for a lost treasure.”

At Criminal Element David Cranmer reviews The Best American Mystery Stories 2017 edited by John Sanford (series editor Otto Penzler) (Mariner Books), “I wouldn’t envy Otto Penzler’s task in compiling these “Best Of” anthologies. Not these days, anyway. In what once may have been a more manageable feat, the flourishing of webzines over the past decade means there must be thousands of stories published in any given year that are arguably in the “Best” category. Whittling down to a tight, chosen few (20 for 2017) might feel like an exercise in futility. Just the same, long-time series editor—and legend—Penzler has done an exceptional job over the last quarter of a century, give or take, in assembling collections of the best short stories that have crossed his desk.”

At The Rap Sheet Linda L. Richards reviews Dietrich Kalteis’ Zero Avenue (ECW Press), “With sex, drugs, and rock-’n-roll on the menu, crime is not far off. This rich combination pushes Zero Avenue along at a graceful burn. The book is tight and rich and as hard to pin down as smoke. If you love noir, you’ll love Zero Avenue. Simply as good as it gets.”

Crime Book Junkie reviews Michael Fowler’s You’re Next (Caffeine Nights), “This is a hard hitting police procedural. It’s not one for the faint hearted – I personally can take most crime fiction in my stride but Michael Fowler stunned and shocked me with this novel.”

Ah Sweet Mystery Blog reviews Fred Van Lente’s Ten Dead Comedians (Quirk Books), “The biggest crime is that here we have a houseful of comedians – and nobody is funny. I don’t think Van Lente intends this. He’s clearly working very hard here to delineate, if not characters, then various comic styles. Between every murder, Van Lente even includes a past “set” by one or another of the comics. Sadly, I found these lacking in much real humor (or taste) and therefore eminently skippable. As a result, I may have missed out on a clue or two on the way – I can’t be sure.” The View from the Blue House writes, “While the tale is full of comedians it is not full of comedy, or at least I didn’t find myself laughing out loud. And the characters are all quite shallow and hollow and do not invite any emotional investment. Also, the perpetrator is kind of obvious, though not necessarily how the murders are being orchestrated. The result was an interesting without being spellbinding or side-splitting tale.”

Col’s Criminal Library reviews Christopher Farnsworth’s Hunt You Down (Zaffre), “I really liked this one and a fair bit more than I was expecting to. The action and events are fast-moving. The plot was believable. Smith’s abilities were convincingly explained and with my doubts and scepticism parked at the front page, I was happy to go with the flow.”

Other Reviews:

Articles
Crime Fiction Lover continues its New Talent November with “Five Women to Watch in 2018”.

New, strong female voices are shining in crime fiction at the moment, and you could even say they are driving the genre. It’s refreshing is to see the breadth of topics, styles and subgenres these writers are tackling, and contrary to what is reflected in some corners of the media it’s not just in the field of domestic noir that women writers excel.

More from New Talent November with Ten to Taste Part 2. This is a can’t miss series.

At Lit Reactor Trey R. Barker, author of When the Lonesome Dog Barks (Down & Out Books), writes about the creation of his character Jace Salome.

Jacob Collins of Hooked From Page One tops by damppebbles to share three book recommendations. Lorraine Rugman from the fabulous The Book Review Cafe also stops by to share some recommendations.

BibloManiac interviews Corrie Jackson, author of The Perfect Victim.

Linda Huber, author of DeathWish (Bloodhound Book), stops by Compulsive Readers for an interview.

At LitHub Paul French examines Cairo crime fiction.

Arriving in Cairo is one enormous assault on the senses. Congestion, chaos, craziness—taxi drivers who never remove their palm from the horn, pedestrians with an endlessly cavalier attitude to crossing the roads. The city of ten million sprawls endlessly, much of it looks about to crumble and collapse to dust but then in places the instantly modern butts up against the incredibly ancient. How could a city such as this not have engendered some great crime fiction?

At Col’s Criminal Library Coleman Keane interviews Chris Whitaker, author of All the Wicked Girls (Zaffre).

After the death of B.K. Stevens, her blog series “The First Two Pages” is continuing over at Art Taylor’s blog. This week R.T. Lawton discusses the first two pages of his short story, “Black Friday”.

At LitHub Lisa Levy writes about rape culture, “On Rape Culture in Crime Fiction: Why We Can’t Seem to Stop Reading (and Writing) Violence and Abuse Against Women”.

Do we like reading about fictional rape? An affirmative answer would make us sleazy and voyeuristic, but it’s a common enough fantasy and so present in our culture that to answer with an unequivocal no can’t be right either. Yet it’s conundrums like this that make living in rape culture so confusing. The proposition that we do indeed like it validates fears about our most debased impulses, that we (or enough of us) get off on violence at some primal level. This is hard news to hear, especially for women, who we know read for pleasure more than their male counterparts. Yet it also makes innate sense to the noir fan, who understands the irresistible pull of the ugly. Even I have my limits, and I read a lot of dark stuff. I put aside novels by Jo Nesbø, who I also admire for his psychological insights and natural way of building suspense, because I found them too violent towards women. I also put aside books by Pierre Lemaitre and M.J. Arlidge because I couldn’t stomach them.

In Reference to Murder interviews Lawerence Kelter, author of Back to Brooklyn (Down & Out Books). Back to Brooklyn is a sequel to the hit-movie My Cousin Vinny.

Bloomin’ Brilliant Books interviews Chris Thomas, author of Enter the Dark (Bloodhound Books).

Compulsive Readers interviews S.E. Lynes, author of the newly release Mother (Bookouture).

Chelle’s Book Reviews interviews Liz Mistry, author of DI Gus McGuire series.

Crime Fiction Lover’s “New Talent November” continues with an article about self-published author Tom Trott, author of You Can’t Make Old Friends and Choose Your Parents Wisely. Thomas Walker did a fantastic job on both covers.

Helen Matthews, author of After Leaving the Village (Hashtag Press), stops by Short Book and Scribes to chat about book launches.

Christopher Farnsworth, author of Hunt You Down (Zaffre), stops by Col’s Criminal Library to chat with Coleman Keane.

Q: Is the writing full time? If not, what’s the day job? Can you give us a quick biography of yourself?
A: I’m lucky enough to write full time now. I was born and raised in Idaho, and worked as an investigative and business reporter before I sold a screenplay to MGM. After flinging myself at Hollywood for a while, I switched to writing novels when I published BLOOD OATH, about a vampire who works for the President of the United States. I’ve written five more novels since, as well as three novellas. I still write scripts and the occasional article, too.

At Cafe Thinking Paul D. Brazill exposes his secret library.

Paul D. Brazill turns the tables on Will Viharo and interviews him.

Speaking of Will Viharo, Viharo interviews David James Keaton, author of The Last Projector (Broken River Books). I absolutely love Keaton’s response regarding influences.

Today it’s Flannery O’Connor. Yesterday it was John Irving, again, especially The World According to Garp, which I revisit a lot. It’s sort of the Bat Out of Hell of popular novels (they came out right around the same time, too!). And last Thursday I was really into Pauline Kael movie reviews. This past summer, I discovered John Updike and The Witches of Eastwick, which I’d some how missed first time around, though I’d seen the George “Mad Max” Miller adaptation more times than I can count. It’s fashionable to shit on Updike these days, but that book is amazing (sequels are a mess though). And because of Updike, I’m all into metaphors again. He’s got more metaphors than Jamaica’s got mangoes! I’m also into ratty, old Gordon Williams paperbacks lately. The Last Day of Lincoln Charles, Man Who Loved Women, The Siege of Trencher’s Farm, aka Straw Dogs (though that last one I could only find in hardcover). I just picked up a couple Barry Hannah books I’m looking forward to reading over the holidays, in between more true-crime binges.

Over at Sean’s Books Reviews, they declare the “Debut Author of the Year”. Go check it out.

On Writing
At SleuthSayers Steve Liskow, author of Dark Gonna Catch Me, writes about outliners versus winging it.

When I started writing (without an outline), I produced nearly 300 pages of a first novel over the course of about a year and a half. Then I got lost. I went back and discovered I had over 125 characters, many appearing only once, and lots of dialogue that went nowhere. I scrapped about 90% of what I’d written because it was all tangents and false starts. What was left looked sort of like an outline, and I’ve used a refined version of that approach ever since.

I liked how Liskow finished his article, “Remember, the only wrong way to write is not writing.”

At Career Authors Hank Phillippi Ryan looks at what should be on your Page One.

Page one is make or break. You know this, right? Think about how you choose a book in the bookstore. You look at the cover, you look at the back. Read the flap copy. Then you read page one. If you aren’t enchanted or intrigued? No sale.

At LA Review of Books Sven Birkets reviews John McPhee’s Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process (FSG). Okay, it’s more than a review, but you already knew that when you saw that Birkets wrote the piece.

McPhee has, by his own admission, struggled to find the right access and structure for everything he’s written from the start of his career, and no success has made the next assignment any easier — he will fret over it like it was his first. “Your last piece,” he writes, “is never going to write your next one for you.” If he has gained any ground at all, it is through coming to believe that with enough time and persistence, which is to say enough essaying, a way will be found. An opening, and also the structural logic latent in that opening. For a writer reading McPhee’s newest collection, Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process, this is a sobering takeaway. It’s all about work and more work, and where’s the fun in that?

At The Thrill Begins Kathleen Barber, author of Are You Sleeping (Gallery Books), writes about always being on point when one’s book is released.

I was so bound and determined to be prepared for every contingency that I also spent a good chunk of time scouring my writers’ groups for hints as to what I could expect during release week and searching the internet for variations on the question “what should I do before my book launch?” Surprisingly, the most frequent piece of advice I encountered was that I should do my laundry before the book came out.

I ignored this advice—there were so many more pressing things to worry about than clean socks! —but soon came to regret dismissing it when I was packing for book events out of state and realized that I was severelylacking in clean clothing. So, take it from me, the advice about doing your laundry is sound and should not be ignored. Learn from my mistake.

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