Incident Report

Incident Report No. 34

34_375By far the biggest news is the passing of Philip Kerr, father, husband, and best known as the author of the Bernie Gunther series. In Crime Reads, Otto Penzler writes:

In 1989, a young British journalist performed a magic trick. Though born in Edinburgh and living in London, Kerr wrote the nearest pastiche to Raymond Chandler’s quintessentially American literary style yet achieved, transcending the scores—no, hundreds—who had attempted it before he did.

At The Rap Sheet, J. Kingston Price writes:

One feels the strong desire, when writing about Edinburgh-born novelist Philip Kerr—who passed away yesterday, March 23, at the early age of 62—to simply quote from his many books and be done with it; your own prose contributions seem trifling and etiolated by comparison.

And at hardboiled wonderland, Jedidiah Ayres writes:

The slow awakening of the character over the course of three books – two pre-war and the haunting post-war coda A German Requiem – the realization that he’s been a cog in a terrible machine no matter how hard he tried to be a man of conscience and do the right thing and the pervading national depression, guilt and shame – and the mad scramble to justify personal actions of the recent past, but still not being able to make eye contact with neighbors… oh man, I felt that.

After you’ve read theirs and other remembrances today, you really don’t have to go any further, but if you plow ahead, there are a few things I would like to mention. Here at Unlawful Acts, I interviewed Chris Rhatigan. He’s a freelance editor, publisher of All Due Respect Books, and a crime fiction author.

For the last few months, something was bothering me about the Anthony Award for Best Anthology. I don’t believe that this award should encompass short story collections by one author as well as anthologies, there should be two awards. My post is here.

There were four book reviews as well: Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley, A Scholar of Pain by Grant Jerkins, The Hard Cold Shoulder by L.A. Sykes, and Chicago by David Mamet.

Also on a bit of a personal note, this was the biggest week of visitors ever at Unlawful Acts. It also topped the biggest month of hits and we still have a week to go. Thanks so much to you readers who stop by every few days and special thanks to J. Kingston Pierce over at The Rap Sheet who has been quite generous with his links.

Welcome to the thirty-fourth edition of the Incident Report where we try to cover as much news and book releases as possible. This edition has over 50 links to articles and almost 80 books that are released or about to be released.


Tripwire Talks To British Crime Writer Paul D Brazill – TRIPWIRE
I suspect I’ve pretty much lived in my own bubble all my life and that may even be accentuated because I now live abroad. I don’t write journalism, so I don’t need to look at what’s going on around me with any great scrutiny. I just make stuff up and write it down. Being discombobulated is its own reward!
Short, Sharp Interview: Alex Segura – Paul D. Brazill
Paul D. Brazill interviews Alex Segura prior to the release of his latest Pete Fernandez mystery, “Blackout.” -DN
Aubrey Hamilton – A BOLO Books Composite Sketch | BOLO BOOKS
I am always impressed with Aubrey dedication to our genre and her help getting our favorite authors – and myself – in touch with local libraries so that we can host events. Let’s see how Aubrey tackles our weekly questionnaire.
Book Review : Tom Piccirilli – The Last Deep Breath (2011) — Dead End Follies
So, here’s what makes Tom Piccirilli great: hardboiled fiction overflowers with drifters getting in trouble with murderous femmes fatales.
The Subtle, Menacing Noirs of Laura Lippman | CrimeReads
It’s that narrative that helps make Sunburn a propulsive, energetic read, which was also the case in the writing of the book. In terms of prep, Lippman doesn’t frontload her research, instead immersing herself in things as needed, based on where the story takes her.
#TimeForCrime: getting to the darkest heart of writers and bloggers! with Drew from #TheTattooedBookGeek @SarcasticEnigma – chapterinmylife: Scottish Crime Fiction Blogger
Well, I’ve only just started dabbling in crime fiction recently after mainly reading fantasy for a long time. I guess I know that fantasy isn’t real and I’m not going to save the world, take on marauding armies single-handedly or face down a gigantic beast in a fight to the death. Whereas, with crime books let’s just say that reading books in the genre both gives me ideas and also shows me the mistakes people make that mean they get caught!
SleuthSayers: Seriously, You Don’t Think It’s a Masterpiece Too?
Then the student added, “And a lot of commas too.”It was suddenly clear that her observation about details wasn’t meant in a positive way.

When I pressed her about it, she added, “It dragged a little”—her tone saying that, really, for her, it dragged a lot.

Review: Second Story Man by Charles Salzberg by Thomas Pluck
There’s no CSI: Burglary, but if you’ve come home to a ransacked house, you’ll get plenty of cathartic enjoyment out of reading this crime yarn about a retired cop, a master burglar, and an obsessed detective. Each character could command their own novel, but we get a gripping cat-and-mouse game as seasoned police and a narcissistic criminal face off.
Western Fictioneers: THE DOCTOR’S BAG
Do not read while eating. -DN
SleuthSayers: Live From LCC: Three Simple Rules for Getting the Most Out of Your Crime Fiction Conference Experience
And don’t be surprised if some of the best memories you’ll have of this experience took place in or around the event bar.
It’s Called An Imagination | The Thrill Begins
Most crime writers have always been fascinated by aberrant behavior, even if we’re not quite sure why. Perhaps, to paraphrase the late, great P.D. James, we’re just more easily scared than others.
The Rap Sheet: Second Helpings
You might have presumed that yesterday’s huge “Bullet Points” post exhausted my current stock of links to crime-fiction news and information of interest. But you would be wrong.
Book Review: Gunshine State by Andrew Nette | Dirty Books
As the heist unravels and the plot unfolds the absorbing location details and invigorating set-pieces help to keep the narrative fresh. All in all: a top-notch thriller. I look forward to the (in-progress) sequel, Orphan Road.
Top Five Female Detectives – Strand Mag
There are so many great detectives investigating their way through complex mysteries, I could talk about them for days. But female detectives face special challenges. If they’re in law enforcement, they’re a minority: even today, only 19 percent of the Special Agents at the FBI are women. Like their real-life counterparts, they may be facing sexism, harassment, and exclusion as par for the course. They may also be dealing with pregnancy and childbearing issues in a profession with uniquely physical challenges and dangers. Somehow, they always still manage to get the job done.
Books: Do We Really Buy With Our Eyes Anymore? – The Dorset Book Detective
I can understand the need a few years ago, when buyers bought with their eyes. Without the ease that we have today of finding book reviews online, readers had their eyes drawn to a pretty cover, read the blurb and then made the decision to purchase or not. However, today there are so many other factors, yet still publishers and authors pay a fortune to have sumptuous designs created for their stories.
These two stories are a perfect way to celebrate Mickey Spillane’s career. In “A Bullet For Satisfaction” we get the brash upstart, connecting with the populace, damn the elite, fully engaged with the genre, pulling no stops. In “The Last Stand” he gives us a story that is less about attitude and more about awareness, that only a more experienced writer can produce. They prove at either end of his career, he was a writer who could entertain.
10 of my favorite pop culture antagonists (and why they are) — Dead End Follies
I’ve been riling a lot on poor antagonists so far, in 2018. It is my most sincere belief that they are the driving force behind most (and perhaps any) story. Andthey don’t get the respect or reverence they deserve. But today I’m going to help you. Here are 10 antagonists I’m particularly fond of and why I believe they enhance the stories they’re in.
The Grifters and Con Artists of Nightmare Alley | CrimeReads
Gresham’s book is a masterful story about the art of the grift and the best fictional depiction of the carny (slang for the traveling carnival employee). But most of all, it is a stone cold classic piece of low life noir fiction, dark, visceral, surprisingly sex-drenched for its time, and utterly devoid of redemption.
What Exactly Does a Librarian Do? Everything. | Literary Hub
What I’m saying about library “tropes” is that they apply to anyone who works in a library because you have to know how to do everyone else’s job. Librarianship is the understanding that maintaining a library is a shared responsibility.
Get the Most out of Facebook Without Losing Your Sanity • Career Authors
Any writer who is spending more than 30 minutes on social media a day is spending too much time not writing.
Q&A with Jim Ody
I think as children we form a misconception about what life will hold for us, and gradually through experience things change. My stories often take this concept and turn it into an adventure, or a reason why they have turned into what they have.
Kevin’s Corner: Jeanne and Treadmill Books: Fat Cat Mysteries by Janet Cantrell
Jeanne is back this week with another in her Treadmill Book Reviews series. This week she is considering the Fat Cat Mysteries by Janet Cantrell. An author who is far better known in these parts as Kaye George.
Do Some Damage: The Montclair Literary Festival
There’s something therapeutic about handing out books. I think the booksellers and librarians are onto something.
The Rap Sheet: Bullet Points: Spring at Last! Edition
Links to things you want to read about. -DN
Author Influences With Karl Holton | Bloomin’ Brilliant Books
If I was picking one single author that’s an inspiration it would be Agatha Christie. I know some parts of her writing aren’t that popular given modern taste but when it comes to twisting plot arcs she is the queen.
Why You Should Be Watching Hap & Leonard by Thomas Pluck
If you already enjoy his work, watching the series on Sundance is like reading the books for the first time again.
Author of the Week: Earl Javorksy – DIGITAL MEDIA GHOST
Incidentally, I should probably quibble with your use of the word horror as part of my genre-mashup. Some would call it a hardboiled/paranormal mashup, but I prefer to call it metaphysical noir. There are no clowns in the sewers, nor sharpened teeth or copious amounts of blood, and the soundtrack would have no shrieking.
The First Two Pages: “Scrapping” by Patricia Abbott – Art Taylor
Patti’s First Two Pages essay today focuses on one of the pieces from her new collection: “Scrapping.” I hope it’ll prompt you to read the full story—and the full collection as well.
Two Books With Alcoholic Protagonists That Actually Avoid Clichés
y making their main characters alcoholics, both Sparrow and Boyd avoid the common cliches about drinking. They explore the ways in which the same personality traits that may have led their characters to drink are also the same flaws that make it possible for them to immerse themselves in the mysteries set before them.
Lessons From Watching a Classmate Become a Famous Author
All that to say, one of my former classmates is in the process of making it big right now. I won’t namedrop, because his success isn’t about me, but his book arrived in the mail the other day and I realized that I relate to it differently than I do to other books. It feels like a monument to the hours we all spent trying to say the right thing to help an author make a breakthrough.
Florida Crime Fiction: A Guide to the Madness | CrimeReads
When it comes to my own personal favorite Florida crime writers, it’s a toss-up between Harry Crews, Elmore Leonard, Jim Harrison and Jeff Lindsay. With the exception of Lindsay, these authors aren’t necessarily known for their Florida crime novels and perhaps that’s why they resonate with me.
The Time I Drank with Borges in a Scottish Pub | Literary Hub
I called him Mr. Borges the first time we met, and he corrected me. “Just Borges, please.”
Kevin’s Corner: Review: The Wanted: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel by Robert Crais
… The Wanted by Robert Crais is a pretty good read. It keeps the action moving forward at a strong pace and author Robert Crais does a good job of escalating things as needed. While not nearly as good as earlier books in the series, it is a good read and worth your time.
Jenny Milchman’s Deal Diary: Entry #3 | The Thrill Begins
My book drops—that’s industry speak for gets published—in just seven weeks and so of course I am pretty calm, collected, and focused on other things. No, really, it’s true. IN OPPOSITE LAND.
SleuthSayers: Dubious Writing Advice
Knowing whether you want to use many apostrophes or only a few has a significant impact on your writing. If you choose to use many apostrophes, your work will be filled with contractions, an informal style best suited to first-person narration. If you desire few apostrophes, you will write in a formal style best suited to third person.
Ink-Quisitions With Steve W. Lauden, part 1 ~ Story and Grit
I got into writing because I love reading.
Five Ways to Foil a Kidnapping – Strand Mag
Five Ways to Foil a Kidnapping by Maggie K. Black via Strand Mag
No Moral Center: A Brief Review of Grant Jerkins’ A Scholar of Pain
This is a book you read to remind yourself that, while we are all born alone and we will all die alone, in the meantime, we are all, in one way or another, suffering, and this single fact should be the one thing that brings us together.
Romance so white? Publishers grapple with race issues amid author protests | Books | The Guardian
Readers, writers and editors of romance books are grappling with the genre’s record on diversity, after a week where a report found that books by authors of colour were on the decline, an imprint specialising in diverse romances closed, and another publisher was forced to apologise for telling a writer they avoided putting people of colour on book covers because they didn’t sell.
Movie Review : Tomb Raider (2018) — Dead End Follies
It’s one of the best video game adaptations I’ve had the pleasure of seeing, but it’s still filled with problematic choices.
Gravetapping: Thrift Shop Book Covers: “The James Dean Story”
The James Dean Story, by Ronald Martinetti, was published as a paperback original by Pinnacle in 1975, which is the very edition that caught my eye. T
A Quickie with Lynda Page – Compulsive Readers
No matter how hard I have worked that day or how late the hour I cannot sleep until I have read for at least an hour, which usually turns into three or four. Research aside, I read for pleasure and to be taken into the lives of people I never would be in reality. I like stories that are intricate but easy to read and with characters that are likeable and I can relate to, imperfect like I am. I read many genres but my preference is crime, American by the likes of David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, Dan Brown, but for me nothing beats a good British whodunit by the best in the business, Agatha Christie, also Anne Cleeves, Joy Ellis, Denzil Meyrick amongst many others whose stories I enjoy.
Learn 5 Ways to Take Risks With Your Writing – Helping Writers Become Authors
Art that is safe is art that doesn’t matter. Safe writing doesn’t challenge the reader, and it certainly doesn’t challenge the writer. This is true on so many levels: personally, socially, even commercially. Safe writing is stagnant writing. Where the art is stagnant, so too is the society.
Rough Edges: Coming From Stark House: The Second Carter Brown Collection
More Carter Brown books. -DN
Don’t Quit the Day Job: Matt Potter | elementaryvwatson
But what I really write about, the constant theme, is compromise. What are the deals we do with ourselves to get through life. What are we willing to put up with to get what we want? When does not enough become really not enough? When do we decide to walk away, and when do we decide to return or start anew?
When a Bookstore Stands Against Censorship | Literary Hub
Like our social media champions, booksellers must advocate and act on behalf of all marginalized groups. Anything less than full support for those who are constantly defending themselves is not enough. We are often the ones who can truly influence people with the literature we provide them. We are deciding to fill our shops with books that reflect all kinds of identities, peoples, and cultures.
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Taking Author Photos | Literary Hub
Problem is, books are written slowly, and aging happens all of a sudden. So the author is secreted away during the composition of a new novel, typing and deleting, until finally it’s complete and ready for exposure, at which point the writer stumbles from a study into the (very minor) flurry of publicity. By then, the previous shot compared with the new one is like a Before-and-After for a spa you’d best avoid.
Why Are There Two Distinct Ways of Writing Norwegian? | Literary Hub
Nearly all of Norway’s five million inhabitants speak Norwegian as their first language, and out of those, almost 90 percent use the Bokmål, or “book tongue,” writing standard. But Nynorsk, meaning “new Norwegian,” has equal standing under the law, and a great deal of effort is made to ensure it is represented in all walks of life. Every child is taught both standards in school and expected to write both fluently.
5 Promotion Tips for Small Press and Self Published Authors | LitReactor
The point is, don’t give up after a couple months. The lifespan of your book depends on you, and how hard you promote it.
Why Reading Books Should be Your Priority, According to Science |
More than a quarter–26 percent–of American adults admit to not having read even part of a book within the last year. That’s according to statistics coming out of the Pew Research Center. If you’re part of this group, know that science supports the idea that reading is good for you on several levels.

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