Incident Report No. 23

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A week in review of the world of small crime fiction covering Sunday, December 17th, to Saturday, December 23rd. Sections this week include New and Recent Books, Book Reviews, Articles, Short Stories, Podcasts, and Upcoming Releases.

Have you ever thought it would be great to get the Incident Report a day earlier? Of course, you have. And now, courtesy of the miracle of the internet and a free newsletter service, you can. Just subscribe at https://tinyletter.com/davidnemeth. It’s that simple, really. BTW I will not sell or give your email address to anyone or any company. I’m lying, if a someone offers to erase all my debt, I selling your email address without any hestitation or guilt. Your move.

Reviews start up January 2nd.

New and Recent Books

The Other Mother by J.A. Baker
Bloodhound Books

Publisher Description: Three troubled women. One deadly secret. Lissy and her daughter, Rosie, live a quiet life in Yorkshire, however when events at Rosie’s school come to light, their peaceful existence is shattered. Meanwhile, middle-aged women Erica and Beverley appear to have perfect lives but behind closed doors things are not as they seem. All three women are tied together by a dark past that goes back to their school days. A child was murdered and one of the women is to blame. But is the person responsible for the child’s death the same person who was blamed for it all those years ago? As secrets from their past begin to surface it becomes clear that someone has revenge in their sights…

Truth or Dead by T.J. Brearton
Joffe Books

Publisher Description: A ruthless serial killer. A woman who will do anything to protect her daughters. A detective with revenge in his heart. How far would you go to protect your kids? On her drive to work, Heather Moss gets a phone call which will turn her life upside-down. The caller knows where her kids are, what they are wearing, and even what Heather is doing herself at that very moment. If she doesn’t do what he wants, her two little girls will die. Then an inmate dies in the county jail. He was a witness who could have brought down notorious criminal Mario Palumbo. Special Agent Tom Lange is trying to get his life back together after losing his brother Nick. He thinks Palumbo was responsible for the inmate’s death and maybe Nick’s too. Tom desperately wants the evidence to point to Palumbo, but it doesn’t all add up, and soon there are more victims. Can Tom capture a serial killer and protect Heather? He faces a terrible choice between the truth and justice. Set in sultry Florida, this atmospheric thriller will keep you turning the pages till the stunning conclusion. Perfect for fans of Jeffery Deaver, Robert Bryndza, Lisa Unger, Michael Connelly, or Barbara Nickless. This is the second book featuring Tom Lange. The first in the series, DEAD GONE, is available now.

Know Me Now by C.J. Carver
Zaffre

Publisher Description: A SUICIDE. A MURDER. A CONSPIRACY. DIGGING UP THE PAST CAN BE DEADLY . . . A thirteen-year-old boy commits suicide. A sixty-five-year old man dies of a heart attack. Dan Forrester, ex-MI5 officer, is connected to them both. And when he discovers that his godson and his father have been murdered, he teams up with his old friend, DC Lucy Davies, to find answers. But as the pair investigate, they unravel a dark and violent mystery stretching decades into the past and uncover a terrible secret. A secret someone will do anything to keep buried . . .

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding
Joffe Books

Publisher Description: Gripping psychological suspense from the New York Times bestselling author, Joy Fielding. Perfect for readers of Liz Nugget’s Lying in Wait, BA Paris and Jenny Blackhurst. ‘I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.’ When Caroline Shipley’s two-year-old daughter disappeared, her whole world came crashing down. Now, fifteen years later, Caroline receives a phone-call that could change everything. But could this stranger really be her daughter? And what happened all those years ago to make her vanish without a trace? As Caroline pieces together the events of that ill-fated holiday, she begins to question whether the answers could lie dangerously close to home . . .

Beware the Past by Joy Ellis
Joffe Books

Publisher Description: A stunning new standalone crime thriller from #1 best-selling author Joy Ellis with a totally shocking conclusion. Discover the author everyone’s talking about. ONE TERRIBLE CASE ALWAYS HAUNTED DETECTIVE MATT BALLARD. NOW MANY YEARS LATER, THE KILLER SEEMS TO BE BACK. AND THIS TIME HE’S AFTER MATT. When Matt Ballard was starting out his career, three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was not satisfied that the real murderer had been caught. Over 25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope. It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. And the picture was taken before the murder took place. More photos arrive, relating to the historic murders, as well as intimate pictures of Matt’s very secret private life. A KILLER WHO WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO DESTROY A DETECTIVE. Then another murder happens, with some of the hallmarks of the old case. Has the killer returned or is this just a sick copycat determined to ruin Matt’s life and reputation? Everyone around Matt is in danger as the killer plays mind games with the detective. In an absolutely breathtaking conclusion, Matt and his team race against time to stop a vicious killer who knows no limits.

Book Reviews

Two Bullets Solve Everything by Ryan Sayles and Chris Rhatigan
by Colman Keane | Col’s Criminal Library
“I’d be hard-pushed to choose a favourite between these two[Disco Rumble Fish by Ryan Sales and A Pack of Lies by Chris Rhatigan], so I’ll call it a tie. Both were concise and to the point, while at the same time offering enough flesh on the bones of our main participants. I wasn’t page counting or wishing I was reading something else while reading these. Attention holders for certain.”

Heart Swarm by Allan Watson
by Claire Knight | CrimeBook Junkie
“This dark crime thriller is just that, dark. It’s not for the faint-hearted at all but if you like your stories dark, shocking and twisted, Heart Swarm might be right up your street!!”

Noir Medley by L.A. Sykes
by Susan Hampson | Books From Dusk Till Dawn
“Now if you are squeamish then it probably won’t be for you but if you like the hard-boiled variety of crime then this is a perfect choice. Just don’t eat or drink while reading as you will either choke or spray.”

We by Laura S. Distelheim
by Bronwyn Maudlin | The Next Best Book
“We is a short chapbook. In less than 50 pages Distelheim gives an intimate view inside the lives of people who live on a knife edge. We see their apartments and their schools; we see the children they keep close and the children they left back home. We feel their want, their hopes and their fear.”

The Mountain by Luca D’Andrea
by Cheryl | Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog
“It’s an intriguing combination of existential fears, post-traumatic stress and a calculated killer. “

The Man Who Played with Trains by Richard Whittle
by Kate Noble | The Quiet Knitter
“The writing is brilliant, you get a great sense of the settings and the characters with the great descriptions. Although I initially felt more drawn to Theodore’s story, as the pace picked up I found that my attention was being drawn back to John in current day, and despite this being quite a hefty read it’s thrilling and exciting right the way through.”

Graveyard Love by Scott Adlerberg
by Richard Vialet | Black Guys Do Read
“One of the reasons I’m such a fan of noir is that I can’t seem to resist reading stories about doomed losers and lowlifes making unfortunate decisions leading them deeper into ruin. This book might be a turnoff to some who prefer their fiction to have characters with mostly likable qualities. It’s a creepy, sleazy bit of noir about a loser ex-writer that lives with his overbearing mom and the obsession he has with spying on a mysterious redhead who apparently plays with herself in a dead woman’s tomb in the neighboring cemetery.”

The Puppet Master by Abigal Osborne
by Susan Hamson | Books From Dusk Till Dawn
“This is a brilliant read. … A superb debut novel.”

Articles

A Conversation Between Angel Luis Colon and Scott Adlerberg
“Scott A: Well, to start with, there are Hallmark movies. No one needs to be told how terrible these are, but they are instructive in reminding you how ineffective and uninvolving as narrative are stories that are so relentlessly positive and “inspirational”. But a bit more seriously, there is the flip side of that, miserabilism in storytelling. There are those writers and filmmakers, etc who seem to believe that a relentless focus on the gloomy and somber, the bitter dregs of life if you will, means that the work has more seriousness and profundity – more “reality”. Which is utter nonsense. “

8 Overlooked Crime Reads from 2017
by Lisa Levy | Literary Hub
Interesting list of books that most people have not heard of.

Interview with David Gaffney
by Abby Slater-Fairbrother | Anne Bonny Book Reviews
“When I was young I developed a skin condition called psoriasis which although it is quite common and harmless, it was quite debilitating for a teenage to have something disfiguring like that all over your skin when you are going through adolescence, and it had a big psychological effect on me, which I also think informed my being drawn into creative pursuits like music and writing.”

Ow. Pow. Wow. Secrets to Creating External Conflict
by Hank Phillippi Ryan | Career Authors
“Every time you create a conflict, your brain will fire with ideas. With setting, with motivations, with new characters, with necessity or action. Because once there’s a problem, you the author must solve it.”

Literary fiction in crisis as sales drop dramatically, Arts Council England reports
by Alison Flood | The Guardian
Ha ha ha ha ha. Catches breath. Bwah ha ha ha.

Amazon’s New Review Rules: Should Authors Be Worried?
by Anne R. Allen | Anne R. Allen’s Blog… with Ruth Harris
“Amazon isn’t trying to be mean to us. They’re fighting a plague of scammers. Scamming Amazon is a cottage industry in some parts of the world and the crooks sometimes get away with millions.”

Louisville factory-worker-turned-author Frank Bill discusses his latest, ‘The Savage’
by Eli Keel | Insider Louisville
“I was on nights, and I watched a movie called ‘Fight Club,’ and I see that it was based on a book by Chuck Palahniuk, and ended up liking the movie, so I wondered how the book was written, compared to the movie,” explained Bill.
From there, he branched out to many other authors. At first it was mostly Southern writers, but then he expanded to pretty much everything.
“From there I started picking up just a lot of different authors,” he said. “I kinda picked a book collection up and started reading all the time. And around that time I started trying to teach myself to write.”

Interrogation–Jo Perry
by S.W. Lauden | Crime + Mystery + Interviews
“Taking home a dusty, confused and thirsty dog that had been dumped in a Home Depot parking lot on a very hot day in 2008 is what led, I see now, to writing the book. This dog that someone felt could be discarded like trash—we named her Lucy—changed my world and changed me. I’d always had cats and had no instinct for the canine temperament, but Lucy was a very patient teacher. Lucy is one of the smartest, kindest and most interesting beings I know. She and our other dog, Lola (she was dumped in an alley behind our house) will be 10 in February. They’ve led me to new experiences, new friends, and often allow me to see the world from a canine point of view.”

A Murder Reverberates: Eryk Pruitt on the Valentine’s Day Murders
by Max Booth III | Lit Reactor
The Long Dance is an eight-part podcast that takes listeners through the mystery of the Valentine’s Day Murders. Built on exclusive access to every available piece of evidence, intimate interviews with family and hundreds of hours with former and current investigators, this podcast peels back the secrecy to offer listeners an unparalleled look at what’s happened since that cold night in 1971. The Long Dance is produced by crime fiction author Eryk Pruitt, investigative reporter Drew Adamek, and sound engineer Piper Kessler.”

Why Coming of Age Crime Stories Work So Well
by Justin Hunter | Lit Reactor
“A good story doesn’t ever truly end. It finishes with a new opening. And that is what coming of age crime stories provide us as readers. A conclusion we can only really form in our minds.”

That Writer
by Thomas Pluck | Do Some Damage
“I trained myself to talk to people. People are scary. They want to know all about you and sometimes they say mean things, and the leading cause of death in humans is other humans. Admittedly, I used booze to make that easier in the beginning, which is an expensive and possibly dangerous solution to social interactions. But in the end, I learned that when people ask you about writing, most are genuinely interested.”


Writer, Heal Thyself: Coping with 2017

by David Cranmer | Lit Reactor
“It’s become more difficult to pick up a crime story or a mystery slider in the evening after eight to ten hours of the same. Literary icons aside, like Amis, who I read often for motivation, I turn to other activities to de-stress from the world-wearing woes—recreational math”

Money for Nothing
by Thomas Pluck | SleuthSayers
“Go tell your mechanic to work for the love and tell me where you find the wrench.”

Interview with Pamela Samuels Young
by Mysteristas | Mysteristas
“I was stunned when I learned that children were being prosecuted for distributing child pornography as a result of sexting. I immediately knew this was a topic I wanted to address in a legal thriller and Abuse of Discretion was the result.”

The Most Reject Books of All Time
by Emily Temple | Literary Hub
The Lost Get-Back Boogie [James Lee] was Burke’s fifth novel, rejected 111 times over nine years. It was finally published in 1986; that year, according to the author, it was nominated for the Pulitzer prize.”

Let It Go: Niña Weijers’ Debut Novel and Understanding the Universe
by Rebecca Waldron | Los Angeles Review of Books
“Though The Consequences is in no way a genre mystery novel (there is no crime, no one is killed, there is no villain), Weijers often borrows standard cues of suspenseful plotting as the story progresses: clues are gathered and the plot consists of many unexpected twists and turns.”

Registration Open: Washington Writers Conference
by Art Taylor | Art Taylor, Writer
“Registration is now open for the 6th annual Washington Writers Conference, May 4-5 at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in College Park, MD. Sponsored by the Washington Independent Review of Books, Books Alive! welcomes some of the region’s best writers for panels, interviews, meet-and-greets, and more. This year’s headliners include novelist Alice McDermott and veteran TV newsman Bob Schieffer.”

Award and Contest Ratings
by The Watchdog Desk of The Alliance of Independent Authors
“The ratings below are the opinion of the Watchdog Desk. Ratings are based on careful appraisals of multiple criteria, including pricing and value, quality of service, contract terms and rights, transparency, accountability, and customer satisfaction.”

Short Stories

Some Christmas stories to get you in the spirit: Louise Jensen’s “An Unexpected Guest”, Paul Heatly’s “Saving Christmas”, and Tom Leins’ “Slay Ride 2: Jingle Bullets”.

In Jesse Rawlins’ “The Proxy” (Spelk Fiction) a PI is on a stakeout. And, finally, from Nick Heeb’s “This Ain’t No Movie”:

You do these things, check them off, feel better. But when you’re on the shitter in an I-90 truck stop in western South Dakota listening to a murder being committed, all the caution you’ve exhibited your entire life was for naught. A series of pointless exercises. You’re on the clock now, as they say.

Podcasts

Crime Time: Rachel Caine, Laura Marshall, & Crime on a Dime
hosted by Lee and Eddie
They’re heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere! That’s right, Lee and Eddie wouldn’t leave you hanging for the holiday season! The last episode of the year has arrived, and it is truly a gift! Lee reviews Laura Marshall’s chilling Friend Request while Eddie just pales in fear at the idea of making friends. Rachel Caine’s Stillhouse Lake arrives just in time for you to binge the first two of this ongoing series, and Eddie is swooning over the coffee table book/pulp fiction history book of the year! We will see al of you beautiful people in the new year, with an all new schedule, and more banter to make your reading life especially extra!
https://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/74916/52601213

Two Crime Writers and a Microphone: Chris Brookmyre
hosted by Steve Cavanagh and Luca Veste
It’s where it’s at! The two crime writers discuss the upcoming holidays – best Christmas films and songs, what counts as a Xmas film, and which books to buy as gifts. Also, it’s Word of the Year time again! Star guest this week is the incredible Chris Brookmyre! He talks about his career so far, best comedies, and how Ford Prefect influenced a character.
https://app.stitcher.com/splayer/f/134284/52637956

A Stab in the Dark: A Year in Crime
hosted by Mark Billingham
In this special, seasonal episode of A Stab In The Dark, award-winning crime writer Mark Billingham welcomes fellow award-winning crime writers Christopher Brookmyre, Susi Holliday and Martyn Waites to discuss 2017’s best crime books and crime drama, as well as rising trends and the names to watch out for in 2018.

A Stab in the Dark: Sherilyn Fenn
hosted by Mark Billingham
In this special mini episode our man with the spyglass – Paul Hirons – talks to actress Sherilyn Fenn about her role as the iconic Audrey Horne in Twin Peaks and Twin Peaks: The Return.

The JDO Show: Nicolás Obregón
hosted by J David Osborne
It was my pleasure to host Nicolás Obregón on the podcast. He’s a crime series writer, and a really chill dude. We talk the spirit of LA, Jung, characters as spirits, how to balance staying true to yourself with writing commercially, being a “young” writer, memes that exist to suffer, talking to yourself, what to do with racist statues, syncronicity, twitter feuds, and classism. We also talk about his novel Blue Light Yokohama. Also, the “essay” I was trying to recall about opening a “Racism Museum” wasn’t an essay at all, but rather an episode of Rune Soup. Worth a listen. Please do check out Nic’s fantastic Blue Light Yokohama Follow him on Twitter: @NicObregon Follow me on Twitter: @brbjdo Thanks for listening folks!!!

Upcoming Releases

Hydra by Matt Wesolwoski
Orenda Books

Publisher Description: One cold November night in 2014, in a small town in the north west of England, 26-year-old Arla Macleod bludgeoned her mother, father and younger sister to death with a hammer, in an unprovoked attack known as the “Macleod Massacre.” Now incarcerated at a medium-security mental-health institution, Arla will speak to no one but Scott King, an investigative journalist, whose Six Stories podcasts have become an internet sensation. King finds himself immersed in an increasingly complex case, interviewing five witnesses and Arla herself, as he questions whether Arla’s responsibility for the massacre was a diminished as her legal team made out. As he unpicks the stories, he finds himself thrust into a world of deadly forbidden “games,” online trolls, and the mysterious Black-eyed Children, whose presence extends far beyond the delusions of a murderess.

We Were the Salt of the Sea by Roxanne Bouchard
Orenda Books

Publisher Description: As Montrealer Catherine Day sets foot in a remote fishing village and starts asking around about her birth mother, the body of a woman dredges up in a fisherman’s nets. Not just any woman, though: Marie Garant, an elusive, nomadic sailor and unbridled beauty who once tied many a man’s heart in knots. Detective Sergeant Joaquin Morales, newly drafted to the area from the suburbs of Montreal, barely has time to unpack his suitcase before he’s thrown into the deep end of the investigation. On Quebec’s outlying Gaspé Peninsula, the truth can be slippery, especially down on the fishermen’s wharves. Interviews drift into idle chit-chat, evidence floats off with the tide and the truth lingers in murky waters. It’s enough to make DS Morales reach straight for a large whisky.

Blue Night by Simone Bucholz
Orenda Books

Publisher Description: After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital—almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles—Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived.

Killed by Thomas Enger
Orenda Books

Publisher Description: Henning Juul sits in a boat on a dark lake. A man with a gun sits opposite him. At the man’s feet is a body that will be soon be dumped into the water. Henning knows that the same fate awaits him. And he knows that it’s his own fault. Who started the fire that killed Henning’s young son? How is his sister, Trine, involved? Most importantly, who can be trusted? Packed with tension and unexpected twists, Killed is the long-waited finale of the internationally renowned series featuring conflicted, disillusioned but always dogged crime reporter Henning Juul, and one of the most chilling, dark and moving crime thrillers you may ever read.

May by Marietta Miles
Down & Out Books

Publisher Description: May, lonely drifter and small time weed dealer, has spent years running from her ugly past. As a damaging nor’easter takes aim at her sleepy island home of Folly, however, she rushes to shore up, settle in and keep safe. Though most of the islanders have evacuated, May is not entirely alone. Spoiled city kid Curtis, fleeing his own dark secrets, along with naïve local boy Tommy, are also stuck on the island, both boys tweaking, both desperate but only one grows vile and violent. To save the boy and to save herself, May must learn to be bad.

Praise for MAY:

“Every page has a lovely line, something to savor, even as the story uneasily slips under your skin. There’s beauty in the violence in this novella about loneliness and the lengths people go to free themselves from its grasp. You read May and imagine Marietta Miles sitting at the edge of the abyss, peering into it and scribbling into her notebook.” —E.A. Aymar, author of You’re As Good As Dead

“Marietta Miles is a unique voice in modern noir, a writer of such dark scenes that only the power of her words can provide the light that releases the reader into a world where hope remains. Showcasing a Southern sensibility that reminds at times of Flannery O’Connor, Miles continually reveals further breadth (and depths) to her characters. A book of dark charms, May adds to the staggeringly beautiful intoxication delivered by last year’s Route 12.” —Rob Pierce, author of Uncle Dust and With The Right Enemies

Hang Time by S.W. Lauden
Rare Bird Books

Publisher Description: Touring in a band is murder. Or is it suicide? After narrowly surviving a hellish season with a murderous drug kingpin, Greg Salem and his sidekick/drummer are back at home in The Bay Cities. A tour looms for their infamous punk band, Bad Citizen Corporation, but first Salem & Associates must wrap up a jealous husband case tied to a cheating hip-hop bombshell. BCC plays a warm up show when a dead body turns up in their dressing room―the first of many during this ill-fated reunion.

The final book in the Greg Salem trilogy, Hang Time, brings together the colorful cast of characters from Bad Citizen Corporation [and] Grizzly Season in a thrilling and atmospheric series finale fueled by sex, drugs, backstabbing band mates, cheating spouses and vicious cops. The non-stop action will keep readers dangling until the very end.

Walk in the Fire by Steph Post
Polis Books

Publisher Description: Life hasn’t gotten any easier for Judah Cannon. He may have survived the fiery showdown between his father, the tyrannical Pentecostal preacher Sister Tulah, and the Scorpions outlaw motorcycle club, but now Judah and Ramey, the love of his life turned partner in crime, are facing new and more dangerous adversaries. It will take all of their cunning and courage, their faith in one another and some unexpected help to give them even a shot of making it out alive.

In attempting to extricate the Cannon family from the crime ring they are known and feared for, Judah finds himself in the sights of Everett Weaver, a cold blooded killer and drug runner in Daytona Beach who shouldn’t be underestimated and doesn’t take no for an answer. Threatened by Weaver, saddled with guilt from his recovering, but now pill-popping, younger brother Benji and pressured to use his head and do the right thing by Ramey, Judah quickly arrives at a breaking point and things soon begin to go south.

Meanwhile, Special Agent Clive Grant, who has been unwillingly sent down from ATF headquarters in Atlanta, arrives in town to investigate the fire at Sister Tulah’s church. Clive, looking to prove himself, becomes obsessed with Tulah and her iron grip on Bradford County and is determined to take her down. His search leads him to Judah’s door and soon the Cannons are caught up in an increasingly tangled web of violence, lies and retribution spanning both sides of the law. Backed into a corner, but desperate to protect his family, Judah finds himself walking a dangerous path that might cost him everything or might win him it all, if only he can walk through the fire and come out on the other side.

Jack Waters by Scott Adlerberg
Broken River Books

Jen Conley, author of Cannibals, writes, “Scott Adlerberg’s Jack Waters is the story about a man who doesn’t believe in murder, unless you haven’t paid your gambling debt. Reminiscent of the great South American novels, this tale takes us to an unnamed island in the Caribbean where Jack Waters takes refuge in the gorgeous tropics, hiding out from the Americans who want to hang him for his crime. But Jack Waters is too full of bravado, too American to stay low for long. Mixing with both the island’s wealthy elite and poor rebels, Jack Waters must eventually choose a side, and grow a moral center, if he wants to keep his head. With Adlerberg’s effortless prose and compelling characters, Jack Waters is a wonderful novel to curl up with.”

The Devil at Your Door by Eric Beetner
Down & Out Books

Publisher Description: Lars and Shaine have returned to a quiet life on the islands, but for Lars there is unfinished business. When he gets information that will lead him to exact revenge on behalf of his young protégé, the young woman he’s grown to think of as a daughter, he decides to take action in secret.

When he lands in a hospital Shaine is called in from a thousand miles away and she must take the lead in the last job of Lars’ storied career of death for hire.

Facing his own aging body, Lars struggles to take a back seat to the youngster he has trained in his image. They’ll face a local drug boss along with an old enemy as they work to fire the last bullet they’ll ever need to—before one finds them first.

The Cost of Doing Business by Jonathan Ashley
Down & Out Books

Publisher Description: Jon Catlett, a misanthropic literary obsessive, is facing the loss of the only thing in the world he loves; his used bookstore, a haven for fellow weirdos, outcasts, misunderstood geniuses and malcontents. Jon has several other problems, the least of which are his love affair with a bi-polar femme fatale heiress to a thriving northern steel company or the exponentially growing opiate habit he has developed.

When Jon, during a deal gone wrong, accidentally kills a fellow drug addict, getting away with murder turns out to be the least of his worries. The steps he and Paul, the obsessive-compulsive manager of Jon’s store, must take to cover up the killing result in the two cornering Louisville’s blossoming heroin trade.

From West End gangbangers to dirty cops and crusading narcotics detectives, Jon and his unstable partner in crime must dilute their morals and thicken their skin if they are to have any hope of surviving the lucrative but deadly life they’ve stumbled upon.

Life During Wartime and Other Stories by Thomas Pluck
Down & Out Books

Publisher Description: A blackjack 21 of stories of people caught up in crime, facing bleak horrors, or spun in the whirlpool of human absurdity, this collects the best stories of Thomas Pluck.

Take a ride on the neuter scooter in “The Big Snip”, selected as one of the best crime stories of 2016. Follow a mountain man who’s not what he seems into a snowbound frontier town where evil has sunk its claws. Dine at the most exclusive restaurant in New York, where “Eat the Rich” takes on a whole new meaning. And meet Denny the Dent, a hulking 350 pounds of muscle who wouldn’t harm a fly…but who’ll glad crush a bully’s skull. And read the Jay Desmarteaux yarn that takes off where Bad Boy Boogie ends.

Read the stories readers call “hard-hitting bombs” full of “gut punches and belly laughs”…and be ready to get Plucked.

Street Whispers: Stories by Liam Sweeny
All Due Respect

Publisher Description: An eclectic collection of pulp, grit and noir stories inspired by the Capital Region of New York, a rust-belt crossroads in the shadow of the city that never sleeps. Here’s a trip led by fat slobs in smoky, vomit-stained cabs, heading to the oasis of the strip club on a street lined with rusted out factories, ventilated with beer cans and rocks. No heroes and villains in these pages, just shades of grey and characters making choices between bad and worse.

Tales of woe and macabre, the profane and ordinary dance with each other in a building where the forgotten stay, passing their street whispers like bottles from the bottom shelf.

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