Incident Report

Incident Report No. 35

I’m35_375 a few hours late, so let’s jump right into it. The Incident Report covers the goings on in the world of smallpress crime fiction for the week of March 18th through March 24th. Links to articles and new and upcoming book releases.


Blog | Richard Godwin | International Novelist
Paul Brazill is the master of Brit grit and hardboiled. His stories and novels ring like a chime out of a gangster flick, one with heavy overtones of London. He is adept at using contemporary culture to highlight and augment the inherent drama in his fictions, which are peopled with low lifes and hustlers. Paul met me at The Slaughterhouse, where we talked about Brit Grit and his new work.
Closing to review submissions indefinitely — Dead End Follies
Reviews, especially for books, are largely perceived to be a promotional vehicle. It shouldn’t be like this and I want it to change. No reviewer owes you a good review. They owe the handful of people reading their site not to con them into buying shitty books. The handing of advance review copies has turned into quasi-pimping and I’m done with feeling like a parasite to self-important publicists.
Amazon Is Burying Sexy Books, Sending Erotic Novel Authors to the ‘No-Rank Dungeon’ – Motherboard
In the last few days, word has spread among independent erotica authors on social media that Amazon was quietly changing its policies for erotic novels. Five authors I spoke to, and several more on social media, have reported that their books were stripped of their best seller rankings—essentially hiding them from casual browsing on the site, and separating them from more mainstream, safe-for-work titles.
Book Review : Maddox – F*ck Whales (2017) — Dead End Follies
F*ck Whales uses a fun and silly premise and playful arguments to make a powerful statement about the here and now. The potty training stage of the infancy-of-the-internet we’re currently going through. There’s no going against an opinion when it’s informed and based on hard data. Debate has become an adversarial practice, but by being cartoonishly adversarial, Maddox makes debate playful and accessible again. I’m probably taking this essay collection too seriously, but as an advocate of criticism, it feels fucking awesome that someone is effortlessly making it cool again. Maddox is not just an internet arsonist anymore, he is… welp, one of the best pop culture thinkers we have.
Gravetapping: “Postcard from Cambodia” by Andrew Nette
“Postcard from Cambodia” is a near-perfect hardboiled crime story
The Rap Sheet: Tidbits Both Meaty and Minor
Some links you may find of interest. -DN
Patricia Abbott Talks About Bringing Sorrow in Short Stories
Patricia takes some time to share insights about her latest work, I Bring Sorrow and Other Stories of Transgression and what she likes about writing short stories.
The 11 Coolest Writer’s Residencies – Electric Literature
For rich white people. -DN
6 Activities That Are Perfect For Listening to Audiobooks
Because you’re stupid. -DN
How Should a Literary Adaptation Be? We Asked the Critics for the Answer | Literary Hub
Sigh. -DN
Throw Back Thursday – Review for Sinner Man by Lawrence Block #Review #Hardcrime #TitanBooks #ThrowBackThursday – Always Trust In Books
I don’t really have anything negative to say about Sinner Man. It is definitely not for everyone, there are mature themes like violence, murder and abuse, but it caters to readers of crime/noir and being over 50 years old means it most definitely helped define Lawrence Block’s writing and in turn the noir we read today.
Fast-paced, a little bit educational or informative about the fire service, great characters, a decent story line, a setting I enjoyed – Brighton on the South Coast and a battle between the good guys and some villains, with family, ambition, friendship, a dash of romance and plenty of action on show.
Pay It Forward | The Thrill Begins
I’m excited about this new series, the writers who inspire us. -DN
When Do I Stop Feeling Behind On Reading?
But I do get stressed out by the idea of a list of books that I “have to” read right now. I’m not sure why I get into such a mindset. No one is going to reinforce that. No one is going to get angry at me if I throw aside my “required” reading and decide to read every lesbian sci-fi book published before 1990 in chronological order.
How Writing Nonfiction Made Me a Better Storyteller / Charles Salzberg –
The first and most important thing I learned was that fiction and nonfiction writing aren’t much different. Nonfiction, especially in those heady days of the New Journalism, used fictional techniques. Scenes had to be created. Dialogue had to be spoken. And, a cohesive story, with a beginning, a middle and end, had to be told. And so, writing magazine articles allowed me to sharpen my fiction writing skills.
SONS OF SPADE: Blackout (Pete Fernandez) by Alex Segura
With every novel Alex seems to become more ambitious and the story more multi-layered, luckily without losing some of the good more pulpy elements of the genre like a wisecrack or two and some good fight scenes. I love how the relationship between Pete and Kathryn evolves, as always reminding me of McKenzie / Gennaro from the Dennis Lehane books. I was sad to see that series end. If you were too, this will be the series for you.
Review of Joe Lansdale’s Jackrabbit Smile
Joe Lansdale’s not quite dynamic duo of Hap and Leonard have grown to be a series favorite. Their friendship is strong and believable, particularly when irritating each other, and is the kind we hope to have if we don’t already. Joe understands the two in both their consistencies and contradictions. He puts his understanding of them to good use in the latest misadventure, Jack Rabbit Smile.
Era by era – 10 of the best historical crime novels with Barry Forshaw » CRIME FICTION LOVER
There is now an army of historical sleuths operating from the mean streets of Ancient Rome to the Cold War era of the 1950s.
Writing During Your Daily Commute: The Story of Fiona Mozley’s ‘Elmet’ – The Millions
Though we seldom see people writing on trains, many commuters read or browse aimlessly on their smartphones. Emily St. John Mandel, staff writer of The Millions, spoke of her subway writing habit in “Writing on Trains.” “With a combined total of six hours spent on a subway a week, it felt like extra time,” she says. Mandel sought out other writers who wrote on trains, including memoirist Julie Klam and novelist Joe Wallace. Klam appreciated the need to beat the clock and get down thoughts before her station, as opposed to the long hours she’d spend writing at home on her Mac.
Review: Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington by Kristin Centorcelli
Last Ferry Home by Kent Harrington is a riveting novel of grief, obsession, recovery, and passion, as well as a gripping portrait of a man torn apart by loss but looking for something, anyone, to believe in.
Author of the Week: Les Edgerton – DIGITAL MEDIA GHOST
As an honest and knowledgeable writer. I see all these writers writing criminals and it’s obvious most don’t have the faintest clue how the criminal mind works or how real criminals actually act. It works the same as the straight’s mind, to be honest. Like a straight, they don’t think in terms of good and evil or good and bad. Whatever they do, it’s usually for the same reasons a straight does things. (I know that the term “straight” today sometimes means a heterosexual, but I use it the way guys in the joint use it—to describe a person who obeys the law, i.e., a “lame.”)
Author R&R with Charles Salzberg – In Reference to Murder
Salzberg stops by In Reference to Murder today to take some Author R&R about researching and writing [his book “Second Story Man”].
Writing About What You Know–Even When It Hurts |
The trick is to face your fear and turn it inside out and upside down. Your own true experiences – be it the horror of war, the loneliness of childhood or the terror of domestic violence – is only fodder. If you spill it out too raw on the page, it can feel strangely trite and, in the case of my short story, artificial. The trick is to take your specific and deeply personal emotions and experiences and make them feel universal. Your pain has to become something bigger.
The First Two Pages: Last Puffs by Harley Mazuk – Art Taylor
In today’s First Two Pages, Harley offers reflections on the first section of his most recent novel, Last Puffs, charting its evolution over time as he crafted the full book, which I hope you’ll check out here.
Why What To Read Next Lists Don’t Work For Me
This frustration when in search for the next read-alike has happened to me several times. It isn’t always easy to find a book that will give you a similar feeling as the previous one, and I wish there was a tool for that.
I finally got to it this year, and man, was it a superb, nuanced read that blended crime and sport along with many other fascinating and authentically rendered themes (toxic masculinity, suburban life, coming-of-age stories, and more).
BLACK GUYS DO READ – Book Reviews Blog: THE LISTENER by Robert McCammon
Also, even though I’ve got a thing for dark and gloomy crime stories with morally flawed characters, I also really do appreciate characters that are undeniably likable and that’s also something McCammon excels at, this time giving us the character of Curtis Mathew, a genuinely nice guy you can’t help but care for and root for immediately.
Author Q&A: Christine Mangan, TANGERINE — Crime by the Book
It was actually the city that inspired the novel. I visited Tangier in 2015 and while there, I was struck by how absolutely different it was from any other place I had ever been before. It’s a city that encourages such strong reactions from people—some find it too overwhelming and chaotic and others really take to the bustling atmosphere. While I was there, I found myself starting to think of how that relationship might be explored on the page.
Tim Bryant Launches A Unique Western Series With A World Of Hurt | website
Mainly, it is Tim Bryant’s voice that makes this such a distinct read. Told from Liquorish’s point of view, Bryant’s voice meld perfectly with his protagonists. The novel becomes a meditation on story telling. we wonder how much truth is in either tale since one he is telling to save his skin. History, legends, and lies co-exist and fuse to a point where they can’t be distinguished from the other, especially in a country that uses its history for legend.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent … Paul D. Brazill
With a mutual nod Paul D. Brazill and I pulled nylons – really nice and soft on the skin – over our faces and charged into the bank. I jammed the doors while Paul fired a shot at the ceiling. Plaster sprinkled my head and Brazill ducked, all nonchalant, at the strip light’s un-moored swing.
In The Spotlight: Mark Rogers’ Koreatown Blues | Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…
Koreatown Blues is the story of a decent ‘everyman’ sort of character who gets caught up in a blood feud. It takes place in one of Los Angeles’ unique and distinctive areas and features a variety of characters who are part of the life there.
The Interrogation Room – An Interview With Paul Greenberg | Dirty Books
I’ve read a ton. Mainstream, indy, vintage pulp fiction, hardboiled and noir authors. Plenty of unsafe out there. Unsafe is good.
I Just Can’t Quit You | Washington Independent Review of Books
At the start of this year, I made a similar resolution with Dickens’ Bleak House — in this case, breaking it down to a chapter every five days. Many great things are to be said for the novel: characters rich in detail, atmospheric settings, and plot aplenty. And, yet, by mid-March, I’d given it up completely.
Female Cops Through History – Strand Mag
Women pioneers in law enforcement were accomplished in many arenas. Ela founded an abbey. Rose was a successful entrepreneur. These were brave, brazen, intelligent, and ambitious people. But more about that later.
Electric Literature Essay Submissions Are Open! – Electric Literature
Essays wanted.
Elfpunk: What It Is and 5 Books to Get You Started
Elfpunk is a thing? -DN
Am I Chinese Enough to Tell This Story? | Literary Hub
If there were readers out there who believed I didn’t have the right to tell a story set in Singapore—the land of my birth, the only home I knew—who was I to embark on this novel, set in a part of southern China that I’d only visited twice, during a time period that I knew almost nothing about?
How to Visit the Graves of 75 Famous Writers | Literary Hub
Graveyards, in general, are peaceful places—good for writing, and for thinking about writing—and of course there is a long history of people making pilgrimages to the last resting places of those they loved, either in person or on paper.
Paul Bowles’ recipe for a Moroccan love charm | Dangerous Minds
Because Paul Bowles. -DN
10 Literary Holidays We Desperately Need | LitReactor
March 26th is Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. Which I figure makes for a good excuse to right the calendar’s wrongs and come up with some literary holidays. You can thank me later, astrologists, or old monks, or whoever came up with the calendar. 
Review – Lord Of The Dead by Richard Rippon | Bloomin’ Brilliant Books
A great addition to the crime genre, Lord of the Dead is well written, refreshingly different and highly recommended for fans of crime thrillers
Philip Kerr obituary | Books | The Guardian
Berlin held a great fascination for the author Philip Kerr, who has died aged 62 of cancer: it was a place where the impact of evil upon essentially decent people was felt especially keenly. His morally ambiguous fictional private detective Bernie Gunther first appeared in March Violets (1989), set in the city in 1936, after the Nazis’ rise to power, and the first of his Berlin Noir trilogy. Each book, he later admitted, was aimed at painting Gunther into a corner “so that he can’t cross the floor without getting paint on his shoes”.
Set In 1950s Morocco, ‘Tangerine’ Is A Dark Tale Of Twisted Love : NPR
Yeah, I’ve wanted it to be, in some ways, about being an outsider. And these two women are outsiders to this place. And I wanted to focus on the different ways that they react to it and the way that they succeed or they fail and the way that they try to make this place their home.
I really liked this one and will definitely back track and read more from this series of books. It’s interesting seeing Smith’s writing set a lot closer to home than his Boulder series. I never used to like reading books set in the UK, I’d far rather read about incidents on foreign shores. Graham Smith, Paul D. Brazill, Martin Stanley, Ben J. Jones and others are convincing me of the shortsightedness of this stance.

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