Incident Report No. 26

26_375Here’s another edition of the Incident Report, a week in review of small press crime fiction. Over the last couple of weeks, I reviewed three really good books: Matt Phillips’ Accidental Outlaws, Marietta Miles’ May, and Scott Adlerberg’s Jack Waters. Shit, we at Unlawful Acts like Miles’ new book so much, Jim Thomsen stopped by with a glowing review. My column at Do Some Damage was about Eryk Pruitt’s latest work, a podcast called The Last DanceThis issue I’m focusing on a bunch of new and recent releases since early to mid-January. At the end there are a handful of selected upcoming releases.

New and Recent Releases

Switchblade: Issue 04 edited by Scotch Rutherford
Caledonia Press
Publisher Description: Switchblade returns with another lethal dose of outlaw fiction. Rage, retribution, revenge—that’s just the tip of the stiletto. Greed, bloodlust, infamy—the more you read, the deeper the laceration; twisting as it mangles. Featuring 14 choice cuts from Pearce Hansen, Nick Manzolillo, J.D. Graves, Keith Rawson, Max Sheridan, Diana Deverell, Peter DiChellis, Henry Brock, A.B. Patterson, Lisa Douglass, Aaron Majewski, Mike Derochick, Tais Teng, and Jeffrey Burton.
Twisted and barbed like your ex; sharp and deadly like the femme fatale you know you can’t resist—Switchblade Issue Four: it ain’t your grandma’s Ellery Queen.
Blackchurch Furnance by Nathan Singer
Down & Out Books
Publisher Description: Blackchurch is not the sort of place where folks are inclined to be up in each other’s business, and strange house guests at a neighbor’s pad are not likely to be noticed, let alone remarked upon. So on a day in early October, when two beat-up-looking crackers, a pregnant teenage whore, and a small, androgynous Japanese woman in a large-brimmed sombrero, sunglasses, and wrapped in a patchwork down comforter came to call on D’antre Philips with heads full of prophetic visions and tales of the apocalypse already in progress, nary an eye was blinked. When the end times do come to Blackchurch, it’ll be a day like any other day. And the next day will be too.Blackchurch Furnace is a scathing satire of faith, family, and all that we hold dear, where the only thing you can believe in are the voices in your own head…and they are every bit as crazy as you are.Praise for BLACKCHURCH FURNACE:“Blackchurch Furnace is one of the most amazing books I’ve ever read. It reads like an underworld testament, groaning with ghost histories, clanking and burning with all the shuffling grandeur of its subject, Cincinnati. It’s haunting, it’s furious, it’s beautiful, it’s a book only Nathan Singer could have written. He’s the kind of writer who’ll just destroy you, in all the right ways.”—Benjamin Whitmer, author of Pike and Cry Father“Similar to author Victor LaValle (The Ecstatic, Slapboxing with Jesus and Big Machine), Nathan Singer is an urban wordsmith that blisters the pages with a language only he can scribe. Blackchurch Furnace is an apocalyptic head-scratching mystery laced with hip-hop, Louisiana metal, 9-11, Afghanistan and Iraq. Characters scour to LA and back to where the story is rooted amongst the struggling class of Ohio with Gothic saviors, saints and prophets searching to redefine what was once moral and just. This book is loud, comical, witty, and comes with a soprano-shriek that screams ‘read me!’”—Frank Bill, author of Crimes in Southern Indiana and Donnybrook“Reading Nathan Singer’s Blackchurch Furnace is like coming across a lost book of the Bible, equal parts profound and profane. Singer’s work has beauty and brutality in a balance no other writer can match. Blackchurch Furnace is a brilliant story of loss and struggle, pushed by an unrelenting momentum and characters of such power, such precision, that their impact will leave a sacred mark on the devout reader.”—Steve Weddle, author of Country Hardball“Blackchurch Furnace is a relentless, visceral, and black-humored ride through America’s alternately pious and depraved id. It turns a keen and tender eye to bars, churches, porn mansions, and boiler rooms. Singer has managed a finger-trap of a story that weaves together realism and apocalypse, heavy metal and children’s books, redemption and the lack thereof.”—Tyler McMahon, author of How the Mistakes Were Made
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.
scott adlerbergJack Waters by Scott Adlerberg
Broken River Books
Publisher Description: The year is 1904, and Jack Waters has been expelled from his native New Orleans for the murder of man he caught cheating at cards.Waters escapes to the Caribbean, where he becomes embroiled in a revolution against a brutal dictator…though his reasons for fighting might not be as noble as they first appear.
Walk in the Fire by Steph Post
Polis Books
Publisher Description: “Steph Post is a great new discovery. Her stories carry a dark pulse that keeps the perfect beat in a world where people put everything they’ve got on the line. Walk In The Fire is going to put Steph Post on the map.”
—Michael ConnellyLife 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.
>Bad Samaritan by Dana King
Down & Out Books
Publisher Description: Nick Forte has a hard time leaving well enough alone. He seriously injures a man for slapping a woman Forte has never seen before, so when Becky Tuttle comes to him with disconcerting letters sent to her author alter ago Desiree d’Arnaud, he does more than a cursory investigation. Following the thread of Becky’s problem leads through a local cop who takes the situation too lightly for Forte’s taste and into the disturbing world of men’s rights activists, for whom he has no use at all.Becky’s case isn’t the only thing going on in Forte’s life. A chance meeting with Lily O’Donoghue, a former prostitute whose mother’s death Forte feels responsible for, leads to a blackmailer who has videos of Lily’s former occupation. Forte takes care of the blackmailer with minimal fuss, but learns (again) that no good deed goes unpunished. Forte’s innocent intercession brings him back into the sphere of Chicago gangster Mickey Touhy, who has interest in both Lily and Forte.Forte’s usual cast of Sharon, Goose, Delbert, Sonny, Jan, and, of course, his daughter Caroline do what they can to keep him on an even keel. The problem is that Forte’s keel may be permanently damaged and the only resolutions he can arrive at satisfy no one, least of all himself.
One Last Hit by Nathan Walpow
Down & Out Books
Publisher Description: Back in ’68 they made killer music…now their music is killing them.It’s been thirty years since Joe Portugal put his electric guitar away. Maybe that’s one reason he’s suffering a serious case of the mid-life doldrums. Then Joe stumbles upon a chance to put the band he was in as a teenager back together. And maybe his life too. All he has to do is find the lead guitarist, who hasn’t been seen since the 70s. But when he starts to look, it’s quickly clear that someone doesn’t want to see a reunion tour…someone who’s very handy with a gun.Praise for the Joe Portugal mysteries:“I love reading Nathan Walpow books…a solid, intelligent mystery…add Walpow’s marvelous sense of humor and you’ll see why he’s winning new fans ever day.” —Jan Burke, Edgar Award-winning author.
Southsiders: Closing Time by Nigel Bird
Self-Published
Publisher Description: With the death toll at the Phoenix Festival rising, Jesse is one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately he can’t see things that way. As soon as he regains consciousness, there’s only one thing on his mind – REVENGE. He enlists Danny’s help to find the men who killed his girlfriend and intends to deliver justice in the old-fashioned way.Danny goes along with him, but only on the condition that Jesse doesn’t get his hands dirty when they’re on the job. Unfortunately for Danny, even the best made plans can go awry.The explosive and final instalment of the Jesse Garon series.
Safe Inside the Violence by Christopher Irvin
Lethe Press
Publisher Description: Safe Inside the Violence is an unforgettable collection of thirteen contemporary crime stories that shows why LitReactor wrote: “Irvin’s tone is lightening fast, hard hitting, and leaves the reader breathless and shocked with the sudden and realistic portrayal of violence.” Irvin offers readers a world of battered men and women who confront a bleak and brooding world with dignity that, unlike spines, doesn’t shatter easily. “A fine collection of crime stories told from the point of view of regular people, forgotten people, and their painfully human decisions are a roadmap to their inexorable Hell. Irvin’s smartly restrained stories simmer and linger, and build to a wonderfully menacing and tragic cumulative effect.” – Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Little Sleep “At the heart of every crime is an unanswered human longing, and Christopher Irvin knows this well. These stories are full of all the betrayed hopes and thwarted dreams that steer men and women down dark and unglamorous paths. Irvin writes crime fiction with a bruised heart, which is the best way to write any kind of fiction at all.” – Nathan Ballingrud, author of The Visible Filth”With so many hardboiled crime writers, they do nothing but stick to the same worn out themes and character types that have been done to death over the past 100 years, and add nothing new to the genre. But with Safe Inside The Violence, Chris Irvin has managed to craft a collection that not only breaks the molds of hardboiled crime fiction, he completely shatters them. If you only read one short story collection this year, make sure it is Safe Inside The Violence, you will not be disappointed” – Keith Rawson, author of Laughing At Dead Men and All Those Hungry Mouth
The Last Notch by Arnold Hano
Stark House Press
Publisher Description: Originally published in hardback by Dodd, Mead & Co as by Matthew Gant, The Last Notch is a noir western about an aging, self-hating gunslinger who takes on a job to kill the territorial governor who has become a threat to the local cattle ranchers. As the publisher of Lion Books, Arnold Hano nurtured the careers of Jim Thompson and David Goodis. Under various pseudonyms, he wrote a series of edgy westerns and crime novels during the 1950s and 60s.
Rapture Alley / Winter Girl / Strictly for Boys by Harry Whittington
Stark House Press
Publisher Description:RAPTURE ALLEYNo one needs Lora. Ken claims to love her, but he is married to Lora’s wheelchair-ridden sister, Chris, and he doesn’t really need her. And all Lora wants is to be needed. Lora feels alone, defeated by herself. Then Arty comes along. He helps her fill this hole in her heart with something better than love—escape. Through him she meets Boyd, the nightclub singer, with his own brand of addicting salvation. Soon drugs become Lora’s cushion against a hurtful world. They allow her to float above her problems. But they can’t keep the pain away forever. And when Lora’s own needs cause her world to come crashing down around her, all the drugs in the world can’t save her.WINTER GIRL“An hour after I met Lu Ann again that winter, I knew I was headed for deep, serious trouble. Only I had no idea how deep, how serious…” When Calder Fenton first saw Lu Ann that day at her rich daddy’s hunting field, he couldn’t take his eyes off her. He’d seen her every year growing up, but she’d never looked like this before. Soon, he’s sitting in her jeep, being taunted by her, trying to figure her out. Lu Ann is only looking for thrills, and doesn’t care that Calder has problems of his own—like being dirt poor, like having a pa who drinks and whores around town. But Calder likes what he sees, and he wants more. Pretty soon, he’s got so much Lu Ann he doesn’t know what to do with himself. And that is just the beginning of his troubles.STRICTLY FOR THE BOYSAmy can’t help the way the boys look at her. It isn’t her fault. But Burt doesn’t see it that way. He is convinced that Amy is cheating on him and as her husband, he has a right to knock some sense into her. Burt doesn’t mean to hurt her, he just can’t control himself. So when Amy runs back to her mother, she expects a little sympathy. But Stella’s got problems of her own and no time for Amy’s change of heart. She lets her move back home but does everything she can to get Amy and Burt back together. Amy takes a new job, and still Burt follows her around, trying to find out who the new man in her life must be. And this time he’s right—this time there’s Terry, and a new chance at love. But for Burt, Amy belongs to him and him alone, and he will kill any man that gets in his way.
Night Driver by Ronald Colby
Rare Bird Books
Product Description: So this was it, he thought. He had his first fare and was now officially a cab driver. He shook his head as he exhaled the smoke into the morning cold. Well, he’d use the taxi time just as he had promised himself. He would figure things out, get a hold on himself, keep a little money coming in, and find the men who had murdered his wife.Nick Cullen’s wife was brutally murdered in a burglary gone horribly wrong, and he’s not the type to move on with his life, especially when he has seen the faces of the murderers in person. His plan: learn how to drive a cab so he can find his wife’s murderers on the streets of Los Angeles.Nick’s nighttime rides lead him down dead end after dead end, until one day he manages to get a hold of the ID of one of the men who destroyed his life. Nick’s chase heats up and he’s forced to face the truth of how far a man will go who has nothing left to lose.Night Drivertakes the reader on a white-knuckled thrill ride through the dimly lit streets of after-hours Los Angeles and into the dark heart of a man pushed to the brink. An unforgettable journey of obsession, sadness, and revenge.
Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era by Brian Ritt and Rick Ollerman
Stark House Press
Publisher Description: These are the authors who turned out the dark noirs and hardboiled thrillers, private detective
puzzles and psychological suspense, police procedurals and backwood melodramas, stories of
passion… and cold-blooded murder. 132 profiles of the men and women who wrote the books that became the backbone of the Pulp and Paperback Era from the 1930s through the 1960s.Here you will find information on the acknowledged masters like Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain and Cornell Woolrich… the rack mainstays like Gil Brewer, Brett Halliday, Day Keene, and Charles Williams… and the unjustly forgotten like Malcolm Braly, Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, Ennis Willie and Douglas Sanderson.Each profile contains details about the author’s life and explores key works, with special attention paid to series characters. Also covered are screenplay and teleplay work, as well as movies based on the authors’ stories.Paperback Confidential also includes a handy PseudoDex with all the various names these authors wrote under, and a section for each author with further recommendations for the reader’s consideration.

Upcoming Releases

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.
This is What Happened by Mick Herron
Soho Crime
Publisher Description: From CWA Gold & Steel Dagger winner Mick Herron comes a shocking, twisted novel of thrilling suspense about one woman’s attempt to be better than ordinary.Twenty-six-year-old Maggie Barnes is someone you would never look at twice. Living alone in a month-to-month sublet in the huge city of London, with no family but an estranged sister, no boyfriend or partner, and not much in the way of friends, Maggie is just the kind of person who could vanish from the face of the earth without anyone taking notice. Or just the kind of person MI5 needs to infiltrate the establishment and thwart an international plot that puts all of Britain at risk.Now one young woman has the chance to be a hero—if she can think quickly enough to stay alive.
Punishment by Scott J. Holliday
Thomas & Mercer
Publisher Description: Detroit-based homicide detective John Barnes has seen it all—literally. Thanks to a technologically advanced machine, detectives have access to the memories of the living, the dying, and the recently dead. But extracting victims’ experiences firsthand and personally reliving everything up to the final, brutal moments of their lives—the sights, the sounds, the scents, the pain—is also the punishment reserved for the criminals themselves.Barnes has had enough. Enough of the memories that aren’t his. Enough of the horror. Enough of the voices inside his head that were never meant to take root…until a masked serial killer known as Calavera strikes a little too close to home.Now, with Calavera on the loose, Barnes is ready to reconnect, risking his life—and his sanity. Because in the mind of this serial killer, there is one secret even Barnes has yet to see…
Blind Eye by Marcus Pelegrimas
Down & Out Books
Publisher Description: Eddie Ballard is a hitman who loves his job. He is also inexperienced and enjoys making the kind of noise that just isn’t professional. If Eddie wasn’t so good at what he does, He could be the next one put onto a slab.Cecil Marzynski is a quiet, skinny man with eyes that have seen all there is to see in the St. Louis underworld. Cecil is also a hitman, but one that uses a vast network of contacts as his primary weapon. So many important people on both sides of the law owe him favors that some have taken to calling him Marker.Eddie enjoys fast cars, loud guns and louder music.Cecil has been circling the same woman for months, trying to find the perfect angle to approach her without tipping her off that he is wanted for murder in several states.Eddie thinks he knows how to be a tough guy. Cecil has forced some of the toughest criminals to give up everything they held dear.The figure at the top of St. Louis’s biggest organized crime syndicate is known as Pyotr The Greek. Pyotr is the only man with enough power to convince Cecil to take Eddie under his wing and teach him about what it means to be a true professional. Along the way, perhaps Eddie can show Marker a thing or two about savoring the good things in a bad life. Unfortunately for both of them, there is a new threat coming to town that might hit The Greek hard enough to topple his entire family.
Slaughterhouse Blues by Nick Kolakowski
Shotgun Honey
Publisher Description: Slaughterhouse Blues catches up with Bill and Fiona, the chattery and gun-happy anti-heroes of A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps, soon after they’ve escaped the Rockaway Mob, the criminal enterprise from which Bill “borrowed” several million dollars.Holed up in Havana, Bill and Fiona know the Mob is coming for them—it’s just a question of time. But they’re not prepared for who the Mob sends: a pair of assassins so utterly amoral and demented, their behavior pushes the boundaries of sanity. Seriously, what kind of killers pause in mid-hunt to discuss the finer points of thread count and luxury automobiles?Forced on the run (again), Bill and Fiona will venture from the crumbling streets of Cuba to the steaming jungles of Nicaragua, and finally back to the mean streets of New York City. If they want to survive, our fine young criminals can’t retreat anymore: they’ll need to pull off a massive (and massively weird) heist—and the loot has some very dark history…
My Name is Nathan Lucious by Mark Winkler
Soho Crime
Publisher Description: How far would you go for your best friend? If she begged you to, would you kill her?Nathan Lucius, 31, is an ad salesman at a Cape Town newspaper. Disaffected, hard-drinking and plagued by blackouts, Nathan lives alone and has only one true friend, a woman named Madge. But Madge is dying slowly of cancer, and when she asks Nathan to end her pain, she sets off a shocking string of events.A modern-day answer to Crime and Punishment, My Name Is Nathan Lucius is a taut and unforgiving exploration of the intersection of violence, trauma, social responsibility, and memory. Stylish, intense, and unforgettable, this glittering noir gem will appeal to readers of Irvine Welsh and Chuck Palahniuk as well as fans of Thomas Harris and Dennis Lehane.
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.

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