Incident Report No. 50

Small Press Crime Fiction Week in Review

Before we get started is Gabino Iglesias’ 10 Reasons Book Reviews Matter. Yeah, I know it’s a bit self-serving for me, but I really think book reviews do matter.

Actually, King and Patterson don’t need reviews to sell books or spread the word, so venues covering them and not covering indie folks are doing readers a disservice. Fucking fight me.

Unlawful Acts’ Incident Report covers the world of small press crime fiction for the week of July 8th through July 14th with links to news, reviews, short fiction, podcasts, new books, and upcoming releases.


News

I don’t want this to sound like too much of a lecture—if you want to spend all day on Twitter, fine, cool, you do you!—but keep in mind how much work you’re not getting done. – Rob Hart


the killer inside me by jim thompson

Return From Oblivion posted Woody Haut’s essay, It’s a Noir World. Time has passed and Haut, author of “Days of Smoke”, reposted his think piece on his blog, It’s a Noir World- Noir Fiction in the Age of Trump. If you missed this examination of noir and politics, the first time around, now’s my chance to remind you to read it again.

While speculative fiction has periodically imagined the present, it’s noir fiction that, over the years, has set the parameters for the world we live in, while providing reality-based background to our present state. And no doubt about it, these days we all seem to live in a noir world. On the other hand, we’ve been living in a version of that world for some time now. Admittedly, things have rarely seemed quite so dark. But what could be more noir than having an infantile ignoramus sharecropping the White House, and knowing that, with outside assistance or not, we have helped put him there? Less a figment of our collective imagination than a parody of a noir nemesis, who, crippled by paranoia, narcissism and braggadocios claims, has sentenced us to live in a warped world where money screams and bullshit splatters.


will_viharoMarietta Miles, author of “May” and “Route 12”, turns the tables on lounge lizard Will Viharo interviewing him for Do Some Damage. The oddest thing is that they don’t chat about Viharo’s obsession with the TV show “Miami Vice”.

Of course, the dozen or so years I spent presenting vintage Grindhouse and B movies had irrevocably warped my brain, and what began as a modest little neo-noir took a hard left turn into deeply disturbed, and disturbing, psychedelic, psychotronic territory, where I felt most creatively comfortable. This lurid, surrealistic style, heavily influenced by hardcore exploitation cinema as well as my own bizarre personal life story, became the hallmark of my work ever since.


In the Vines by Shannon KirkI simply love the How It Happened series at The Thrill Begins. This week Shannon Kirk, author of the upcoming “In The Vines”, tells her story.

Thing is, I don’t know how I got to where I am. And I don’t know exactly where I am. I’m coming up on my third book to be published on July 17, and my fourth soon after in November. Sometimes, out of nowhere, I could be folding towels, I could be baking a cake, I could be struggling writing a whole other novel, a story line hits me hard, as if it flew straight into my brain like a magical gift out of Shaker basket from Planet Shubondalay. And it won’t let me go.

Maybe that’s one way I got here? I finally started listening to myself when these stories hit hard out of nowhere? Maybe that’s one way. And it’s true that while I’ve always written, it wasn’t until 2009 when I stopped throwing away initial drafts of things, not until 2009 when I started listening to the stories in my head and started putting discipline around them, organizing them, actually writing them.


Blood and Water by J David OsborneJ. David Osborne on editing his ten-year old novels.

If I were to give myself an assessment, like I was my own client, it’d go something like this: “Easy on the metaphors. Give the reader a bit more of a lifeline. Slow down. Let things flesh themselves out. Take your time on the endings. Really work on sticking those landings.”

As Osborne writes, “Write for your smartest reader, sure, but don’t write to confuse your smartest reader.” His two reissues are “By the Time We Leave Here, We’ll Be Friends” (self-published) and “Blood and Water” (King Shot Press).


travellin-shoes-by-v-m-burnsWriters Who Kill’s Grace Topping interviews V.M. Burns, author of “The Plot is Murder” and “Travellin’ Shoes”.

Writing is a very solitary endeavor. I spent years writing but told very few people about my dream to get published. It was so personal and close to my heart that similar to my protagonist, Samantha Washington, I seldom shared that deeply personal thing with others. So, going to my first Malice Domestic event and hearing people say they read my book was terrifyingly splendid. Hearing them say they liked it was even more amazing. I am a long time fan of Agatha Christie and the nomination for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel was beyond special. When I told my sister, I cried like a baby. Thankfully, book two released a few days prior to the Agatha Awards, so I didn’t feel the nomination added any pressure.


Marlon James, author of “A Brief History of Seven Killings”, is interviewed by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization.


Chuck Wendig has a problem with Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat!” and, surprisingly, people didn’t shit the bed over it.

A book is not a movie. A movie is not a comic book. No one format is another format. Each carries with it a series of advantages and limitations (and some limitations are also advantages, assuming you don’t buy a duck hoping it’ll be a dog). A film tends to be a thing that follows a clearer, more illustrative pattern. It doesn’t have to be! Many times, it’s not, specifically when we look to smaller, niche, more “indie” films. But bigger films tend to follow more typical patterns and tropes. A book, though? A book is bigger. Sprawlier. Stranger. Books can be exciting and cinematic but even then, if you write them exactly like you’d write a film, you’d potentially end up with something too lean, too shallow — because films do not explore an internal dimension. Yes, there’s subtext! Yes, actors and direction reflect an internal world of the characters. But books don’t reflect that — they rip open the exterior wall to show what goes on inside character’s heads and hearts and histories.


I do not understand how the editors of the Chicago Review of Books hired someone that despises flash fiction to review a flash fiction collection.

To work briefly today is indulge the evaporating attention spans of people who devote waking days clicking from one browser tab to the next. The novel, too, has seen itself flashified in recent years, chopped more and more frequently into short, punchy chapters that present their own micro beginnings, middles, and ends, ever moving, ever forward, ever effective. Rhythmical monotony and temporal texture aside, I suppose part of me worries for the labor we’re no longer asked to exert as readers. I mean the sustained attention, the focus nothing else in 2018 asks of us, except maybe existence itself.


If you don’t know, I am a huge Anne Tyler fan. Here’s an interview with her in The Guardian where she recommends  Rachel Kushner’s “The Mars Room” and talks about the importance of reading.

I used to think it was my publisher’s job to get people interested in my books and persuade them to buy copies, but books are suffering. We need to do all we can to encourage people to see books and reading as part of their lives. If we don’t, then someday kids will stop reading and that will be the end.


Chris Rhatigan, publisher of All Due Respect Books, interviews Paul D. Brazill on the eve of the release of his latest book “Last Year’s Man”; Roxanne V. Young on teaching black literature in schools; expand your genre reading by reading some new romance novels; an interview with true crime writer Nancy Rommelmann about her book, “To The Bridge: A True Story of Motherhood and Murder”; David Hagerty, author of “They Tell Me You Are Brutal”, writes about contributing to the political anthology, “Low Down Dirty”; the smell of a used bookstore is yours for purchase; I’m still trying to care that Jonathan Franzen is retiring; the difference between a proofreader and your software’s spellchecker; Bill Crider’s The First Two Pages series continues at Art Taylor’s blog with Mark Thielman discussing “The Black Drop of Venus”; another interview with Mr. Brazill; Brandon Taylor interviews Jamel Brinkley, author of “A Lucky Man”; Rob Hart, author of “Potter’s Field”, has some tips about editing the first draft of a novel; On Vonnegut’s distaste for semicolons–I prefer em dashes; poet Julian Aragon Fatula has been studying books on how to write mysteries. She shares some of her notes at The Stiletto Gang blog; Marjorie Tucker is the next contestant on A BOLO Books Composite Sketch; Terrence MacCauley, author of “The Fairfax Incident”, writes about The Importance of Authentic Diversity; Alex Kapitan updates The Radical Copyeditor’s Style Guide for Writing About Transgender People; Paul D. Marks, author of the upcoming “Broken Windows”, on using social media; an interview with Elizabeth Heiter, author of “Stalked”; and Jesse Rawlins interviews Mick Creeden.


We’ll end the News portion of the Incident Report with a photograph by Lucas DeShazer. Thanks to Fragments of Noir to pointing us to his work.


Book Reviews

Rachel Kramer Bussel reviews Rob Hart’s “Potter’s Field” (Polis Books) for Criminal Element. She writes:

What makes Potter’s Field so compelling is as much about Ash’s internal struggles as his ability to defeat those eager to harm him largely using his wits and his own weapons of choice (never guns, which violate his personal code of ethics). He’s given numerous chances to simply walk away from what seems like an unwinnable battle, yet he perseveres out of a sense of duty, not so much to Ginny or even Spencer but to a higher cause. He risks his relationships with his best friend, tech wiz Bombay, and even his mother in his pursuit of justice.


At Kevin’s Corner, Barry Ergang reviews Dennis Palumbo’s “Head Wounds” (Poisoned Pen Press).

The skillfully written and structured Head Wounds is strong on characterization and a sense of place, undoubtedly the result of the author’s background as a working psychotherapist and native Pittsburghian. A state-of-the-art thriller, it could function as a textbook about how to create and then intensify already high-tension situations in suspense fiction.


Ben LelievLelievre reviews John D. MacDonald’s “The Quick Red Fox”.

So, I enjoyed The Quick Red Fox for a reason that’s completely removed from its plot. Travis McGee is one of these character who’s evolving from novel to novel and his relationship to women takes a big step forward in this book. John D. MacDonald always wrote complex and nuanced female characters, but Dana Holtzer’s understated charm gets to McGee in a way the others didn’t and fuel him with the desire of doing right by her. So, it’s a different, nicer Travis McGee on display in The Quick Red Fox. And his rapidly evolving romantic relationship ends up taking precedence on the story because of that.


The latest Revue of the Reviewers is up at The Rap Sheet; James A. McLaughlin’s “Bearskin” (Ecco) is reviewed at Crime Fiction Lover; Dan Malmon reviews Rob Hart’s “Potter’s Field” (Polis Books); Kate Laity loved Laura Lippman’s “Sunburn”; The New York Times reviews “Hope Never Dies”; Paul D. Brazill recommends Caimh McDonnell’s “The Day That Never Comes”; Kay George, author of “Death on the Trek”, reviews “Kill Devil Falls” by Brian Klingborg; and just because of this headline, A Novel That Reads Like Martin Amis on Mescalin, the New York Times review of Aidan Truhen’s “The Price You Pay” (Knopf).


Short Stories

Genny Bow by Chris La Tray (Beat to a Pulp Webzine)

The Butterfly of Death by Ambrose McJunkin (Shotgun Honey)


Podcasts

Angel Luis Colón chats with Mia Manansala, “Death Comes to ComiKon”, on The Bastard Title.

Imagine Veronica Mars as queer, Asian-American, and all grown up, and you’ve got geek girl extraordinaire Sunshine Salinas. Obsessed with Samurai Surfer Squadron since she was a child, Sunshine must crack the case when the show’s star turns up dead at Chicago ComiKon and her childhood heroine becomes the prime suspect. But if Sunshine’s not careful, they might be sharing a cell, as Chicago PD is all too eager to cast her as the faithful sidekick.


A couple of other podcasts to check are J. David Osborne interviewing Rose O’Keefe, publisher of Eraserhead Press; the Partners in Crime podcast interviewing Rachel Amphlett, author of the DS Kay Hunter series; and Terry Lynn Coop interviews Carole Oldroyd aka Lee Conenr, author of “Prison Wife Survival Guide”, on The Blue Plate Special.

If you haven’t listened to Eryk Pruitt’s The Long Dance then do so. S.W. Lauden, author of “Hang Time”, highly recommends The Long Dance. And it turns out Pruitt might not be done.


New Releases

switchblade_6Switchblade #6
edited by Scotch Rutherford
(Caledonia Press)

Short fiction by:

George Garnet
Aiden Thom
Rex Weiner
John Bosworth
Mike Payne
Jim Thomsen
E.F. Sweetman
Travis Richardson
Rusty Barnes
Scott Carpenter
Danny Sophabmisay
Tom Barlow
Tais Teng
Evelyn Deshane

(Buy)


Hellcorp by Jonathan WhitelawHellcorp
by Jonathan Whitelaw
(Urbane Publications)

“Hellcorp sparkles like a blood-black diamond. Satan’s got his work cut out in this darkly comic crime tale. A cracking read!” – Mark Leggatt

‘HELLCORP combines suspense, humour, and philosophy in a startlingly unique novel. Whitelaw delights and entertains while leaving readers contemplating life’s important issues. Don’t miss this razor-sharp book.’ –International bestseller K.J. Howe, author of THE FREEDOM BROKER and SKYJACK

Life is hard for The Devil and he desperately wants to take a holiday. Growing weary from playing the cosmic bad guy, he resolves to set up a company that will do his job for him so the sins of the world will tick over while he takes a vacation. God tells him he can have his vacation just as soon as he solves an ancient crime.

But nothing is ever easy and before long he is up to his pitchfork in solving murders, desperate to crack the case so he can finally take the holiday he so badly needs…

This is a perfectly-pitched darkly comic crime novel that is ideal for fans of Christopher Fowler and Ben Aaranovitch. (Buy)


The Frightened Man
by Kenneth Cameron
(Felony and Mayhem)

London at the birth of the 20th century, the dying days of the old queen’s reign. It’s a city of chaos and fevered ambition, the dreams of empire mingling with the passions of scientific expansion, all to the shrill blast of industry’s factory whistle. Just the place for a man who wants to be invisible. And there are two such men. One is an American, Denton, a celebrated author desperate to escape his increasingly relentless memories. The other…may not exist at all. Jack the Ripper? He hasn’t been heard of for more than 15 years; he’s just a creature of bad girls’ bad dreams. But at least one ferrety little fellow claims to have seen him at his grisly work, and when a prostitute turns up dead, Denton can’t shake the notion that the frightened man may have something to be frightened about. Like Sherlock Holmes injected with some tough American moxie, Denton is an irresistible character – a deeply cynical romantic with a tragic past, a wisecracking manservant, and a startling respect for women. It’s a treat to make his acquaintance. (Buy)


The Bohemian Girl
by Kenneth Cameron
(Felony and Mayhem)

London at the birth of the 20th century, the dying days of the old queen’s reign. It’s a city of chaos and fevered ambition, just the place for a man who wants to be invisible. And there are two such men. One is an American, Denton, a celebrated author desperate to escape his increasingly relentless memories. The other…may not exist at all. Jack the Ripper? He hasn’t been heard of for more than 15 years: He’s just a creature of bad girls’ bad dreams. But at least one ferrety little fellow claims to have seen him at his grisly work, and when a prostitute turns up dead, Denton can’t shake the notion that the frightened man may have something to be frightened about. Denton is an irresistible character—a deeply cynical romantic with a tragic past, a wisecracking manservant, and a startling respect for women.


Potters Field
by Rob Hart
(Polis Books)

“Ash McKenna is my favorite kind of hero, a tough guy romantic with a smart mouth and a dark past.”―Chelsea Cain

The final book in Rob Hart’s acclaimed Ash McKenna series shows that Ash can go home again…but it might cost him everything.

Amateur private investigator Ash McKenna is home. After more than a year on the road he’s ready to face the demons he ran away from in New York City. And he’s decided what he wants to do with his life: Become a private investigator, for real. Licensed and everything. No more working as a thug for hire. But within moments of stepping off the plane, Ginny Tonic, the drag queen crime lord who once employed him―and then tried to have him killed―asks to see him.

One of her newest drag queen soldiers has gone missing, and Ginny suspects she’s been ensnared by the burgeoning heroin scene on Staten Island. Ginny wants Ash to find her. Because he’s the best, and because he knows Staten Island, his home borough. Ash is hesitant―but Ginny’s offer of $10,000 is enough to get him on his feet. And the thought of a lost kid and a bereft family is too much for him to bear.

He accepts, and quickly learns there’s something much bigger at play. Some very dangerous people are vying for control of the heroin trade on Staten Island, which is recording the highest rate of overdose deaths in the city. As Ash navigates deadly terrain, he find his most dangerous adversary might be his own past. Because those demons he ran away from have been waiting for him to come back. (Buy)


Eat the Rich
by Renee Miller
(Hindred Souls Press)

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city’s homeless population spikes.

So does the murder rate.

Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city’s wealthiest residents. he tries to warn the police, but they think he’s crazy.

The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.

He’s right about the aliens. They’re here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a Plan B:

KILL EVERYONE. (Buy)


Hope Never Dies: An Obama Biden Mystery
by Andrew Shaffer
(Quirk Books)

This mystery thriller reunites Vice President Joe Biden and President Barack Obama for a political mashup full of suspense, intrigue, and laugh out loud bromance.

Vice President Joe Biden is fresh out of the Obama White House and feeling adrift when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident, leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues. To unravel the mystery, “Amtrak Joe” re-teams with the only man he’s ever fully trusted–the 44th president of the United States. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Delaware, traveling from cheap motels to biker bars and beyond, as they uncover the sinister forces advancing America’s opioid epidemic.

Part noir thriller and part bromance novel, Hope Never Dies is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fanfiction–and a cathartic read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs. (Buy)


The Third Rule
by Andrew Barrett
(Bloodhound Books)

Looking for your new favourite CSI mystery? Then discover the unmissable The Third Rule today.

Propelled by a wave of atrocities, the government introduces a severe code of capital punishment. They designed The Rules to rid England of serious crime, but they failed. They said The Rules were infallible, but they lied.

Christian Ledger, an innocent man and a talented artist is charged with a fatal stabbing. Christian is heading for the ‘slaughterhouse’ because no one will listen to his pleas. Is the secret he carries enough to save his life?

CSI Eddie Collins, a reluctant hero with one failed suicide attempt behind him, suddenly wants to live when the police hunt him down for shooting a colleague. And now he’s on the government’s list too, and he’s running. But they’re getting closer by the minute…(Buy)


The Day I Lost You
by Alex Sinclar
(Bookoutre)

You only let her go for a second… Now she’s gone.

Erika Rice is in an elevator with her four-year-old daughter Alice when it stops on the wrong floor and her little girl runs out. The doors close before Erika can follow, and the daughter she loves more than anything is suddenly nowhere to be seen.

Erika can’t bear the thought of her daughter in danger or afraid, and will do anything to get her back. But with no sign of Alice, Erika has no idea where to begin.

The residents of the apartment block claim not to have seen anything, but Erika realises someone’s lying to her – and that there’s something darker at play.

How could a four-year-old disappear into thin air?

A gripping and addictive psychological thriller that will have you holding on tight to the ones you love. If you enjoyed Behind Closed Doors, Silent Child and I Let You Go, you won’t want to miss The Day I Lost You! (Buy)


I Only Killed Him Once
by Adam Christopher
(Tor Books)

A blend of science fiction and stylish mystery noir featuring a robot detective, I Only Killed Him Once is the newest stand-alone installment in Adam Christopher’s Ray Electromatic mystery series.

Another Hollywood night, another job for electric-detective-turned-robotic-hitman Raymond Electromatic. The target is a tall man in a black hat, and while Ray completes his mission successfully, he makes a startling discovery―one he soon forgets when his 24-hour memory tape loops to the end and is replaced with a fresh reel…

When a tall man in a black hat arrives in the offices of the Electromatic Detective Agency the next day, Ray has a suspicion he has met this stranger before, although Ray’s computerized boss, Ada, is not saying a thing. But their visitor isn’t here to hire Ray for a job―he’s here to deliver a stark warning.

Because time is running out and if Ray and Ada want to survive, they need to do exactly what the man in the black hat says.

A man that Raymond Electromatic has already killed.

“Robot noir in 60s Los Angeles? You had me at ‘Hello.'”―John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling novelist (Buy)


The Carrier
by Preston Lang
(Shotgun Honey)

It’s a bad idea for a drug courier on the job to pick up a woman in a roadside bar. Cyril learns this lesson the hard way when the sultry-voiced girl he brings back to his motel room holds him up at gunpoint.

In the meantime Danny, a fast talking sex-offender, has Cyril’s car remotely tracked. He enlists the help of his over-sized neighbor Derek to hunt down Cyril and grab the cash, but they run into problems of their own on the unfamiliar highways of the Midwest.

Soon Cyril’s sinister brother Duane and his mysterious partner Inez also join the chase, but no one seems to understand that Cyril hasn’t even made his pickup yet.

Willow and Cyril form an uneasy alliance based on necessity, lust, and the desire for a quick payday. But with so many dangerous players giving chase, will they nab their package? (Buy)


Murder Never Misses by Faith MartinMurder Never Misses
by Faith Martin
(Joffe Books)

Looking for a brilliant best-selling murder mystery with a feisty female detective?

DETECTIVE HILLARY GREENE IS SOLVING THE COLD CASES NO ONE ELSE COULD CRACK.

PLEASE NOTE THIS IS A REVISED EDITION OF A BOOK FIRST PUBLISHED AS “WALK A NARROW MILE.”

Three missing young women. One evil stalker. But Hillary doesn’t think it all adds up.

Hillary is recovering from the vicious attack by her stalker. It appears that he is also behind the disappearance and murder of three women. Her bosses want these unsolved cases closed, but Hillary has a theory that will shock everyone.

However, as the truth comes to light, Hillary and the team are faced with a dire emergency — can they prevent an imminent murder?

Hillary Greene has returned to Thames Valley Police HQ, acting as a cold-case consultant for the Crime Review Team, looking into murders which the police have never been able to solve.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to go back. But solving crimes is irresistible for Hillary Greene. And it doesn’t hurt that her new boss is devastatingly handsome.

This is a crime mystery full of well-observed characters, which will have you gripped from start to the absolutely thrilling conclusion.

MURDER NEVER MISSES is the fourteenth in a series of page-turning crime thrillers set in Oxfordshire. (Buy)


Upcoming Releases

Break Glass by Alec CizakBreaking Glass
by Alec Cizak
(ABC Group Documentation)

Chelsea Farmer is in hell. She’s addicted to opiates. She participates in home invasions with her fellow junkies to feed her habit. As things get increasingly violent, Chelsea realizes she needs to escape before her friends do something none of them will be able to walk away from … (Buy) July


Eviserator by Farah Rose SmithEviserator
by Farah Rose Smith
(New Bizarro Author Series)

Vex Valis—doctor. Vex Valis—rocker. Vex Valis—iconoclast. You would think Vex Valis has it all but what Vex has is a secret that rots away at her from her very core. Vex is infected with Gut Ghouls and will do anything to be rid of them, even if it means consorting with subterranean worms or blending science and the occult in dangerous and unsavory ways. You may envy Vex’s jet-setting Dark Wave scientist lifestyle but you won’t when you see the trials incurred when she catches the attention of a being that rends people and worlds alike, the scrutiny of…The Eviscerator. (Buy) 15 July


Unloaded Vol. 2
edited by Eric Beetner
(Down & Out Books)

The Anthony-nominated collection of crime stories without guns—the collection we didn’t want to be necessary—is back for Volume 2.

Two dozen more crime writers have come together to raise their voices and take pen in hand to call for a sensible and reasoned debate about guns in America. As the mass shootings continue, the avoidable accidents, the suicides, the gun violence that consumes our country rolls on unabated and unaddressed by our leadership other than to say, “Now is not the time to discuss it,” these crime writers have chosen to start the dialogue.

In stories of crime, mystery and suspense these authors have left the guns out to show for a short while that we can do without them and the plot doesn’t fall apart. Maybe, in a small way, we can show that the American way of life doesn’t cease to be, either.

Not anti-gun, Unloaded Vol. 2 is pro-reason. These authors comprise gun owners and non-owners, voters on both sides of the political aisle. The cause that unites us all is the desire to see the senseless killing stop and to be able to have the discussion without the divisive language, vitriol and name calling that too often accompanies this debate.

The top priority in these stories is to entertain with thrilling action and suspense that readers know and love about a crime story. To do so without guns leads to some creative leaps from writers who spin tales of simians on the loose, androids with buried secrets, punk rock shows and tattoo shops.

Bestselling authors like Chris Holm, Lori Rader-Day, Bill Crider, Laura McHugh, James Ziskin and John Rector along with many more join together to call for an end to the needless violence and a start to a reasoned debate. With a forward by legendary Sara Paretsky, Unloaded Vol. 2 is a book we wish wasn’t needed. But staying silent is no longer an option.

Proceeds go to the non-profit States United To Prevent Gun Violence. (Buy) 16 July


Go Go Gato by Max EverhartGo Go Gato
by Max Everhart
(Down & Out Books)

When Almario “Go Go” Gato, a handsome young Cuban baseball player, goes missing mid-season, his agent Veronica Craven hires a private investigator to track down her best client. No police. No press. Enter Eli Sharpe, an Asheville, North Carolina-based ex-ballplayer turned private detective who specializes in investigating professional athletes.

Eli begins by questioning Maria Gato, Almario’s roommate and fraternal twin. Maria watched while both her parents drowned on the boat ride from Cuba to America, so she is naturally desperate to get her only brother back. She tells Eli a secret: Almario may have a problem with drugs and alcohol.

Eli tracks down Almario’s supposed girlfriend, a rich sorority girl, but is soon led to another woman in his life, Sheri Stuckey, his cocaine supplier and fiancée who works in tandem with a gay bartender named Dantonio Rushing. Stuckey, a drug abuser and single mother, claims Almario split because she wanted the two of them to check into rehab. But Rushing, dazzled by Almario’s boyish good looks, tells a different tale: Almario has taken out a $500,000 life insurance policy on himself and named Stuckey as the primary beneficiary.

With the help of his mentor—a former homicide detective—and five ex fiancées who still care about him, Eli follows Go Go’s trail, determined to locate the elusive ballplayer before one of the nasty people in his life—or his own bad habits—do him in. (Buy) 16 July


Portraits of the Dead
by John Nicholl
(Bloodhound Books)

Looking for a serial killer thriller you won’t be able to put down? Then discover Portraits Of The Dead, by #1 best-selling author John Nicholl, today.

Emma didn’t know how long he hid in the large Victorian wardrobe to the side of her single bed. She didn’t know how long he peered between the two heavy oak doors, and watched, as she slowly drifted into fitful sleep. She didn’t know what time he pushed the doors open and crept towards her in the darkness of the night.

Detective Inspector Gravel finds himself faced with a difficult case when a local nineteen-year-old university student is abducted and imprisoned by a sadistic serial killer, who has already tortured and killed at least five young women.

Can Gravel find the girl and stop the murderer?

He will learn that the greater the evil, the deadlier the game… (Buy) 16 July


The Silent Sister
by Shalini Boland
(Bookouture)

‘You don’t deserve a sister…’

Lizzy Beresford is at home alone when she hears a strange noise. Running downstairs to check, she discovers a threatening letter addressed to her. But who sent it?

As Lizzy receives more unsettling messages, she begins to doubt those closest to her – her boyfriend, her neighbours, her friends. Because the mystery sender seems to know everything about her.

And they want to destroy her perfect life.

Desperate for answers, Lizzy contacts her sister, Emma. She used to be her best friend. But they haven’t spoken in years. Not since the terrible argument which tore their relationship apart…

Surrounded by secrets and lies, can Lizzy trust her sister? Or is the shocking truth more dangerous than Lizzy ever imagined?

From the bestselling author of The Secret Mother and The Child Next Door, this absolutely unputdownable psychological thriller will keep you guessing with every heart-stopping twist. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and The Sister, this book is for you. (Buy) 16 July


Understudy for Death by Charles WillefordUnderstudy for Death
by Charles Willeford
(Titan Books)

Charles Willeford’s legendary lost novel, unavailable since its original publication in 1961.

Why would a happily married Florida housewife pick up her husband’s .22 caliber Colt Woodsman semi-automatic pistol and use it to kill her two young children and herself? Cynical newspaper reporter Richard Hudson is assigned to find out – and the assignment will send him down a road of self-discovery in this incisive, no-holds-barred portrait of American marriage in the Mad Men era.

On the 30th anniversary of the death of the masterful novelist the Atlantic Monthly called the “father of Miami crime fiction,” Hard Case Crime is proud to present Charles Willeford’s legendary lost novel, unavailable since its original publication by a disreputable paperback house in 1961. One of Willeford’s rarest titles (copies of the original edition sell for hundreds of dollars), Understudy for Death still has the power to disturb, half a century after its debut. (Buy) 17 July


In The Vines
by Shannon Kirk
(Thomas & Mercer)

Family ties so strong you can’t escape…

Mary Olivia Pentecost, known as Mop, was born into one of the wealthiest families in the country—and one of the most guarded. Now, two years after her mother’s mysterious death, Mop is seeking closure on the disquieting tragedy by returning to the New England seaside estate of her cloistered Aunty Liv—once her closest relative and confidante.

But behind the walls of the isolated estate, the shadows of the past are darker than Mop imagined. The puzzles of the family history are not to be shared, but unearthed. With each revelation comes a new, foreboding threat—and for Mop, the grave suspicion that to discover Aunty Liv’s secrets is to become a prisoner of them.

How well do we know the people we love? How well do we want to know them? The answers are as twisted as a tangle of vines in this throat-clutching novel of psychological suspense. (Buy) 17 July


Soul Survivor
by G. M. Ford
(Thomas & Mercer)

PI Leo Waterman is back at it—investigating a very domestic crime that turns into a national nightmare in this upbeat page-turner of a mystery.

Why would a teenager with no prior record suddenly assassinate a city councilman? Retired PI Leo Waterman wouldn’t have bothered finding out if an old pal hadn’t asked. And after the man, who is also the boy’s grandfather, offs himself, the request becomes too personal to ignore.

But Leo’s girlfriend, Rebecca, thinks the investigation is too dangerous. Especially after Leo is beaten within an inch of his life. Fortuitously, however, the attack leaves him with a lasting clue about the case that the attackers carved into his chest. Now, this new lead brings Leo into the woods just north of Seattle to infiltrate the dark heart of an impressionable young boy’s sudden, violent turn—a white-power retreat that’s amassing an army for a far-reaching endgame.

What they have planned isn’t only putting Leo’s life at risk. Thousands of lives are going to be at stake. And the deeper Leo gets, the more he fears that he’s totally underpowered to save them. (Buy) 17 July


Pretty Ugly Lies
by Pamela Crane
(Bloodhound Books)

From USA Today Bestselling Author, Pamela Crane, comes an unmissable new psychological thriller.

What causes a woman to murder her whole family?
Jo’s idyllic life would make most people jealous. Until one day her daughter is abducted and the only way to find her is to unravel her dark past.

Ellie is a devoted wife… until she discovers the pain of betrayal. Now vengeance is all she can think about.

Party-girl Shayla knows how to hide her demons. But when she’s confronted with a life-shattering choice, it will cost her everything.

June knows suffering intimately, though the smile she wears keeps it hidden.

Soon the lives of these four women intersect and one of them is about to snap… (Buy) 18 July


Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by Gina KirkhamWhiskey Tango Foxtrot
by Gina Kirkham
(Urbane Publications)

‘Hilarious! It’s true, everyone needs Mavis in their life.’ Sherrie Hewson, actor, broadcaster and novelist

The laughter continues to flow in Gina Kirkham’s brilliant sequel to the wonderful Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong.

Our hapless heroine Constable Mavis Upton is preparing to step down the aisle with her fiancé Joe, but has to deal with her temperamental teen daughter, as well as investigate a serial flasher on a push bike. Throw a diva drag queen into the mix and readers can expect the usual hilarious Mavis mishaps that made the first book such a hit.

Revel in Gina Kirkham’s humorous, poignant and moving stories of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream. (Buy) 19 July


Her Mother’s Grave
by Lisa Regan
(Bookoutre)

When two young boys discover human bones buried beneath a tree in a trailer park, Detective Josie Quinn races to join her team at the scene. She used to play in those woods as a child, happier outside and away from her abusive mother, Belinda Rose.

Josie’s past crashes into her present when a rare dental condition confirms the bones belong to a teenage foster-child who was murdered thirty years ago. A girl named Belinda Rose…

Josie hasn’t seen her mother in years but, with an undeniable connection between her mother and the dead girl, does she dare track her down?

Just as Josie gets closer to uncovering a secret that will shatter her world forever, another body is uncovered. It’s suddenly clear that someone very close to Josie will stop at nothing to keep the truth buried forever.

As she battles the demons from her past, can Josie stop this killer before another precious life is taken? (Buy) 19 July


A Taste of Shotgun
by Chris 
Orlet
(All Due Respect Books)

Nobody likes a shakedown. Especially not Denis Carroll, proprietor of The Brass Lantern, a dive bar in a bleak southern Illinois town. Five years ago Denis gunned down a dirtbag who was attempting to hold up his bar. At least that’s what the cops think.

After the shooting, Denis’ hotheaded younger brother, Vince, insisted on taking the rap. No big deal. He’d plead self-defense. Case closed. What the Carrolls didn’t count on was the cops discovering a huge stash of weed in a back room, locally sourced marijuana the Carrolls peddled “to make ends meet.” Weed supplied by the psychotic Goodwin Brothers, Clay and Randy.

Vince ended up taking the fall for that, too.

With Vince behind bars and Denis promising to keep his nose clean, the Goodwins turn to blackmail to force the Carrolls back into the illegal drug trade. Play along or the Goodwin Brothers (one of whom witnessed the shooting at the bar) will finger Denis as a murderer.

Meanwhile the Goodwins have troubles of their own, specifically their niece, Erica. As a child, Erica witnessed her sister being sexually abused by her Uncle Clay. As a young woman, she saw her fiancé shot down at a local bar by one of the Carrolls. Erica is determined to get revenge on both men. How much better if she can kill two birds with one stone—get rid of her uncle and pin his murder on that murderous bar owner?

In this darkly humorous small-town noir everyone has something to hide and nothing is as it seems. (Buy) 20 July


Flight of the Fox by Gray BasnightFlight of the Fox
by Gray Basnight
(Down & Out Books)

An innocent math professor runs for his life as teams of hitmen try to prevent publication of their government’s dark history.

College professor Sam Teagarden stumbles upon a decades-old government cover-up when an encoded document mysteriously lands in his in-box, followed by a cluster of mini-drones programmed to kill him.

That begins a terrifying flight from upstate New York, to Washington, to Key West as Teagarden must outfox teams of hitmen equipped with highly sophisticated technology. While a fugitive, he races to decode the journal, only to realize the dreadful truth—it’s the reason he’s being hunted because it details criminal secrets committed by the U.S. in the 20th Century.

If he survives and publishes the decoded diary, he’ll be a heroic whistle blower. But there is no guarantee. He may also end up dead.

Praise for FLIGHT OF THE FOX:

“Flight of the Fox is an explosively paranoid thriller that pays homage to classics of the genre. Basnight delivers nonstop action and an everyman hero to root for.” —Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author

“Basnight’s novel does double duty. It’s both a fast-paced and furious thriller and a thought provoking commentary on a government gone wild. Read it.” —Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of What You Break

“Gray Basnight has written a clever, inventive, gripping, suspenseful tale that’ll have you up nights until you reach the final page. Skillfully weaving fact with fiction, Flight of the Fox taps into our worst nightmares about the potential excesses of power.” —Charles Salzberg, author of the award-nominated Henry Swann mysteries and Second Story Man

“Flight of the Fox is a quick-paced story that puts you in the passenger seat of a thrilling adventure featuring, cyber and techno villains, and a fight for justice. Great action thriller!” —Jerri Williams, retired FBI agent and author of Pay To Play (Buy) 23 July


Expose
by Daniell Girard
(Thomas & Mercer)

Examining the dead will help her solve present crimes and uncover past secrets in this page-turner thriller for fans of Patricia Cornwell and Rizzoli and Isles.

With her vindictive ex-husband out of prison, San Francisco medical examiner Annabelle Schwartzman is trying harder than ever to move on with her life—by focusing on her job to speak for the victims who can’t. Summoned to a homicide in Golden Gate Park, she realizes that she’d seen the victim just hours before, alive and well in a parked Jeep with a small boy. Now, the woman has been stabbed to death and stripped of her burka, and the child is nowhere to be found.

When an African American student is found dead, bearing knife wounds identical to those of the woman in the park, the press jumps on them as hate crimes. If only they were so easy to explain. There is a connection—but Schwartzman believes it’s something even worse. Her fears are confirmed with the discovery of the next victim.

Now, to stop a vicious killer whose work has only just begun, Schwartzman and Detective Hal Harris must untangle the twisted thread that links it all to the missing boy and a crime buried in the past. (Buy) 24 July


The Devil's Dust by James LovegroveThe Devil’s Dust
by James Lovegrove
(Titan Books)

It is 1884, and when a fellow landlady finds her lodger poisoned, Mrs Hudson turns to Sherlock Holmes.

The police suspect the landlady of murder, but Mrs Hudson insists that her friend is innocent. Upon investigating, the companions discover that the lodger, a civil servant recently returned from India, was living in almost complete seclusion, and that his last act was to scrawl a mysterious message on a scrap of paper. The riddles pile up as aged big game hunter Allan Quatermain is spotted at the scene of the crime when Holmes and Watson investigate. The famous man of mind and the legendary man of action will make an unlikely team in a case of corruption, revenge, and what can only be described as magic… (Buy) 24 July


Last Witness
by Chris Merritt
(Bookoutre)

What if you made one mistake and it came back to kill you?

Detective Zac Boateng’s old friend, Troy McEwen, is found dead in his home. The official verdict is suicide. But Boateng believes it was murder. And he thinks he might be next on the killer’s list.

If Troy didn’t take his own life, then who did? As he investigates, Boateng discovers a link to an incident from decades earlier. Mistakes were made that day. Lives were lost and secrets kept. Until now…

As more people who were there on that fateful day are found dead, Boateng knows that the killer is closing in on him…

A tense crime thriller for fans of Lee Child, Mark Billingham and Mark Dawson. Last Witness is a gripping, fast-paced thriller that will have you hooked from the first page. (Buy) 24 July


The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker
by Kerry Wilkinson
(Bookouture)

‘I will never forget the night I drowned…’

A village with something to hide.

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up cold and alone in the river that twists through her quiet village. She has no memory of how she got there. But she does know that another girl was drowned in the same river the summer before, held under the water by an unknown killer…

A community torn apart.

Eleanor is a normal, everyday teenager. She argues with her mum, spends her days with her best friend, and is looking forward to a carefree summer of sunshine and music. Who would want to hurt her?

A shocking secret.

Determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened to her, Eleanor can’t escape the feeling that something awful links her to the previous summer’s murder. But will she find out the truth before it’s too late?

A gripping and extraordinary coming of age novel that will make you question everything and keep you guessing until the very end. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars, Looking for Alaska by John Green and hit Netflix show Riverdale. (Buy) 26 July


the-annotated-big-sleepThe Annotated Big Sleep
edited by Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson, Anthony Rizzuto
(Vintage Crime)
The first fully annotated edition of Raymond Chandler’s 1939 classic The Big Sleep features hundreds of illuminating notes and images alongside the full text of the novel and is an essential addition to any crime fiction fan’s library.

A masterpiece of noir, Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep helped to define a genre. Today it remains one of the most celebrated and stylish novels of the twentieth century. This comprehensive, annotated edition offers a fascinating look behind the scenes of the novel, bringing the gritty and seductive world of Chandler’s iconic private eye Philip Marlowe to life. The Annotated Big Sleep solidifies the novel’s position as one of the great works of American fiction and will surprise and enthrall Chandler’s biggest fans.

Including:
-Personal letters and source texts
-The historical context of Chandler’s Los Angeles, including maps and images
-Film stills and art from the early pulps
-An analysis of class, gender, sexuality, and ethnicity in the novel (Buy) 27 July


The Secret
by K.L. Slater
(Bookoutre)

You think you can trust the ones you love most.

But what if one secret could make you question everything?

Every day, a woman like Louise passes you in the street: elegant, confident, determined. But underneath, she’s struggling.

She doesn’t know her sister, Alice, has been scared of leaving the house since their mother died.
She doesn’t know when Alice babysits her little boy, Archie, he sometimes sees things he shouldn’t.
She doesn’t know Archie has a secret.

A secret that could send cracks through the heart of Louise’s carefully constructed life…

The most gripping psychological thriller you’ll read this year from the Kindle top five bestselling author K.L. Slater. If you love The Girl on the Train or Gone Girl, you’ll be absolutely hooked. (Buy) 27 July


Head Count
by Judith Cutler
(Allison and Busby)

A head teacher’s work is never done, especially if, like Jane Cowan, you’re a victim of your own success. Having done well with Wrayford Primary, she’s now expected to bring other neighboring schools up to scratch as well. And all these responsibilities are compounded by an influx of children, most of whom do not speak English, following their families supplying cheap labor to surrounding farms. Jane can’t turn a blind eye to the conditions in which many of these families are living, even more so when some children simply disappear. When everything points to the shadowy dealings of people smugglers in the area, she has her work cut out for her seeing justice done. And that’s before a threat far closer to home rears his head. (Buy) 27 July


The Staveley Suspect
by Rebecca Tope
(Allison and Busby)

Simmy Brown has a lot on her mind. Not just keeping her florist business afloat, her father’s failing health, the challenge of developing a long-term relationship with Christopher, but also the approach of Mother’s Day, a busy and painful day for her.

But in taking an order for a retirement party in Staveley, she is pulled into her most challenging investigation. When a daughter starts accusing her own mother of murder, Simmy, Ben, and Bonnie find themselves taking different sides of the investigation.

With her relationships under strain, Simmy is tried on all fronts. However, she has to learn to leave her own concerns behind to discover just who the killer is. (Buy) 27 July


Fugitive From the Grave
by Edward Marston
(Allison and Busby)

1817. Upon receiving a letter from an old family friend, Catherine Van Emden returns from Holland to find her father dead. She refuses to believe the middle-aged man died of natural causes, and the suspicious circumstances of his life during the past few months compel her to ask Peter and Paul Skillen for help. Why would a successful engineer suddenly begin begging for alms on the streets? Had he refused to ask for help, or was he prevented from doing so? When his body is revealed missing from the casket, the twins embark on a chase of funerary agents, barmaids, and body snatchers trying to solve the mystery of George Parry’s alleged death before their Bow Street rivals. (Buy) 27 July


The Circus Train Conspiracy
by Edward Marston
(Allison and Busby)

Following a string of successful performances, the Moscardi Circus is traveling by train to Newcastle for their next show. Yet a collision on the track with a couple of sleepers causes pandemonium: passengers thrown about and animals escaping into the night.

When the body of a woman is discovered in nearby woodland, Inspector Colbeck is desperate to lend assistance, believing the two incidents might be connected. Who is the nameless woman and who is targeting the Moscardi’s Magnificent Circus? (Buy) 27 July


The Hidden Bones
by Nicola Ford
(Allison and Busby)

In search of a new start following her recent bereavement, widow Clare Hills is pleased when her university friend Dr David Barbrook asks for her help sifting through the effects of recently deceased archaeologist Gerald Hart. When Clare stumbles across the unpublished journals detailing Gerald’s most glittering dig, hidden from view for decades and supposedly destroyed in an arson attack, the discovery of the Hungerbourne Barrows archive is every archaeologist’s dream. Determined to document Gerald’s career-defining find for the public, Clare and David inspect the meticulously kept records of the excavation, but the dead rarely leave matters tidy, and soon the pair unearth unpleasant truths that would have been better left buried, putting them at the center of a murder inquiry. (Buy) 27 July


Pull & Pray
by Angel Luis Colón

(Down & Out Books)
Five years after surviving the most harrowing heist of her life, Fantine Park is lured back to the United States by her aunt. The bait: a lead on the identity of her mother’s killer and a score known as the ‘pension plan’, a piece of software that can literally pay out in perpetuity if they can get their hands on it in time

Working with a team of actual professionals with their own motivations; Fan’s loyalties and beliefs will be tested as nothing is as it seems; especially when one of the members of this crew may have been the last person to see her mother alive.

It’s going to be lies, murder, and gas station hot dogs all the way down as Fan races to get the answers about the day her mother died and maybe, just maybe, the kind of cash that will pull her away from a continued life of crime. (Buy) 30 July


Small Time Crimes by Paul D BrazillSmall Time Crimes
by Paul D. Brazill
(Near to the Knuckle)

Hit-men, con men, jewel thieves, career criminals, killers, crooks and cannibals. They all congregate between the pages of Paul D. Brazill’s Small Time Crimes – a brutal and blackly comic collection of short stories and flash fiction that views the world at its most askew. (Buy) 31 July


Murder on the Marshes
by Clare Chase
(Bookoutre)

Do you love twisty murder mysteries? Meet Tara Thorpe – the clue to a puzzling local murder has landed right on her doorstep. Perfect for fans of Faith Martin, LJ Ross and Joy Ellis.

As the sun rises, a wealthy young woman – Samantha Seabrook – is found drowned in the ornamental fountain of a deserted Cambridge courtyard, the only clue – an antique silver chain wound tightly around her throat.

It’s Tara Thorpe’s job to discover what happened to Miss Seabrook – but the case becomes personal when she learns that Samantha had been receiving death threats… rather like the one that landed on Tara’s doorstep the night the woman died.

Together with Detective Inspector Garstin Blake, Tara tracks the killer to the dank and dangerous fens on the outskirts of the city. But there’s something Tara can’t quite admit to Blake about her past – and it could make all the difference to whether they live… or die.

An absolutely gripping page-turner that will keep you hooked until the very last page. The first in a series of unputdownable Cambridge mysteries featuring Thorpe and Blake. (Buy) 31 July


Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna WaterhouseMycroft Holmes
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
and Anna Waterhouse
(Titan Books)

Fresh out of Cambridge University, the young Mycroft Holmes is already making a name​ ​for himself in government, working for the Secretary of State for War. Yet this most British of civil servants has strong ties to the faraway island of Trinidad, the birthplace of his best friend, Cyrus Douglas, a man of African descent, and where his fiancée Georgiana Sutton was raised.

Mycroft’s comfortable existence is overturned when Douglas receives troubling reports​ from home. There are rumors of mysterious disappearances, strange footprints in the sand, and spirits enticing children to their deaths, their bodies found drained of blood. Upon hearing the news, Georgiana abruptly departs for Trinidad. Near panic, Mycroft convinces Douglas that they should follow her, drawing the two men into a web of dark secrets that grows more treacherous with each step they take…

Written by NBA superstar Kareem Abdul- Jabbar and screenwriter Anna Waterhouse, Mycroft Holmes reveals the untold story of Sherlock’s older brother. This harrowing adventure changed his life, and set the​ stage for the man Mycroft would become: founder of the famous Diogenes Club and the hidden power behind the British government. (Buy) 31 July


Lost Films edited by Max Booth III and Lori MichelleLost Films
edited by Max Booth III and Lori Michelle
(Perpetual Motion Machine)
From the editors of Lost Signals comes the new volume in technological horror. Nineteen authors, both respected and new to the genre, team up to deliver a collection of terrifying, eclectic stories guaranteed to unsettle its readers. In Lost Films, a deranged group of lunatics hold an annual film festival, the lost series finale of The Simpsons corrupts a young boy’s sanity, and a VCR threatens to destroy reality. All of that and much more, with fiction from Brian Evenson, Gemma Files, Kelby Losack, Bob Pastorella, Brian Asman, Leigh Harlen, Dustin Katz, Andrew Novak, Betty Rocksteady, John C. Foster, Ashlee Scheuerman, Eugenia M. Triantafyllou, Kev Harrison, Thomas Joyce, Jessica McHugh, Kristi DeMeester, Izzy Lee, Chad Stroup, and David James Keaton. (Buy) August


glass slipper dreams, shattered
by doungjai gam
(Apokrupha)

from glass slipper dreams, shattered: Like a stupid girl with glass slipper dreams, I did everything you wanted with the hopes that one day, you would love me back.

glass slipper dreams, shattered the debut collection from doungai gam is filled with loss, sorrow, revenge and remorse.

gam delivers devastating punches in this collection of short-shorts, taking our breath away with a turn of a phrase, a dark play on words; every syllable paints unexpected shadows in our imagination.
—Linda D. Addison, award-winning author of How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend and HWA Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Reminiscent of Mercedes Yardley’s work, Doungai Gam’s stories and prose poems are small gems filled with heartbreak, sorrow, and longing, but they also hold light in the darkness and hope in the despair. Lovely!
—Damien Angelica Walters, author of Cry Your Way Home

Tales brimming with fear, dread and horror—a strong, unique new voice!
—Thomas Tessier, author of Phantom (Buy) 1 August


God's Mean Older Brother by G Arthur BrownGod’s Mean Older Brother
by G. Arthur Brown
(Eraserhead Press)
It’s The Hangover meets The Book of Revelation in one of the funniest bizarro fiction novels of the year.

God, a single father, is forced to move back home with his parents. He really just wants to focus on writing his indie rock zine and escape the responsibility of being the Supreme Being, which can be a real drag. He’s also got a mean older brother who never left home and never stopped tormenting God or humanity by interfering in events throughout history. Now, God finds out the bastard’s built himself a time machine. As visions of an apocalyptic future come to God’s attention, he devises a foolproof plan to stop his mean older brother from destroying the world… then gets so drunk he forgets what the plan is.

“Whether he’s scribbling on napkins, writing online, or penning fiction, G. Arthur Brown is interested in taking the world we think we know, cracking it open, slathering it with weirdness, and twisting it into odd shapes–which, surprisingly, resemble the world more accurately than the world we wish we had. Brown’s a prime example of how the weird and the bizarre can provide an active and irreverent critique of the real. This is fiction that’s fun to read and yet deeply resonant.” – Brian Evenson, author of A Collapse of Horses (Buy) 1 August


Touchfeather, Too
by Jimmy Sangster
(Brash Books)

The Stewardess with a License to Kill is Back! Katy Touchfeather is a fun-loving, British spy with a cheeky attitude and lethal skills who travels the world as a stewardess. Her latest assignment is to bring down what appears to be a gold smuggling operation…but is something far worse. It’s a globetrotting, espionage adventure that takes her from London to a lavish yacht on the high-seas, from the jungles of Africa to the beaches of the Bahamas, and that pits her against one of richest men on earth and a deadly torturess who loves to extract information in agonizingly creative ways…and can’t wait to try them all on Katy. Praise for the Touchfeather Thrillers “Bubbly, irrepressible… drawn by her breezy, chatty first-person narrative, readers will cheer Katy on as she skates around with flamboyant grace.” Publishers Weekly “Freshness and humor are rare qualities in a thriller nowadays. They’re here in plenty. Exhilarating verve and expertise. It’s a winner!” Irish Times “A clever, high-spirited story that ends with murder of exceptional ingenuity and panache.” Times Literary Supplement (London) “Nancy Drew superhormone-genized.” Kirkus Reviews (Buy) 1 August


Black Hats
by Max Allan Collins
(Brash Books)

Legendary lawman Wyatt Earp straps on his six-shooter to battle a new breed of bad man in a new land — rising gangster Al Capone and his machine-gun toting killers on the streets of New York City.

It’s the 1920s, the glittering jazz age, and the beginning of the blood-soaked prohibition-era. The wild west and the gunfight at the OK Corral are fading memories, even for aging lawman Wyatt Earp, who is toiling in Los Angeles as a private eye and a technical consultant on cowboy movies. When Doc Holliday’s son, who is running a glitzy nightclub in Manhattan, is targeted by the mob, Wyatt gladly leaves the tamed west for the wild east to defend him, pitting himself against a brutal, young gangster named Al Capone…

“Wyatt Earp versus Al Capone – a wild, exciting ride.” David Morrell, author of FIRST BLOOD

“Highly entertaining….Collins has outdone himself in this tale of bad guys, bullets, and booze set at the start of the Prohibition era.” Library Journal

“Wyatt Earp vs. Al Capone – it might seem an improbable situation, but it could have happened, and Collins makes it work in this wild blend of classic Western and gangster characters, all set in Prohibition-era New York City” Philadelphia Inquirer

This book was previously published under Max’s pseudonym “Patrick Culhane.” (Buy) 1 August


Night Driver by Marcelle PerksNight Driver
by Marcelle Perks
(Urbane Publications)
Heavily pregnant Frannie is facing a crisis. An English woman living in Germany, her marriage is failing, her language skills are hopeless, and she feels like a fish out of water in a foreign country.

In a positive effort to tackle her problems she learns to drive so she can cope when her baby is born and build a sense of independence. After passing her driving test she drives in the early hours of the morning to gain experience on the eerily empty streets.

But when she encounters a Polish motorcyclist looking for his missing sister, she becomes sucked into a terrifying world of shady nightclubs, autobahn prostitutes and organ trafficking. And when she crosses serial-killing truck driver Stigelegger, there’s no turning back.

A most unlikely heroine, this nervous Night Driver must stay one step ahead of her pursuer on the darkest of roads in order to survive. (Buy) 2 August


The Getaway List
by Frank Zafiro
and Eric Beetner
(Down & Out Books)

Bricks and Cam are back, this time fleeing from the East Coast after closing accounts with the mob. Planning a new life on the West Coast, the pair of hit men stop off in Ashton, a small, rural town in eastern Washington, only to immediately find themselves embroiled in trouble in typical fashion.

What starts in a bar as a simple intervention between an abusive boyfriend and his victim girlfriend quickly escalates into a blood feud between Bricks and Cam and the family of local backwoods royalty, the Crawfords. Once Bricks and Cam draw first blood, all of the force of the extended Crawford family and their militia-minded cohorts are brought to bear on them. The Crawfords have numbers and hometown advantage, but they’ve never gone up against anyone like Bricks and Cam before. Bricks’ lethal cunning and Cam’s penchant for successful messes wreaks havoc with the Crawford’s attempts to bring them to small town justice.

Despite their talents, though, the two big city assassins soon find themselves struggling not just to win this war, but to make it out of town alive. (Buy) 6 August


Down with the Underdogs
by Ian Truman
(Down & Out Books)

Gentrification is moving in hard and fast in Montreal’s South-Western districts. D’Arcy Kennedy finds himself out of breath, out of a job and raising a kid in a small home meant for another era.

As the bulldozers take away entire chapters of his life, he turns to old acquaintances for work, leaning in on his hard-earned reputation as a good PI to find employment with the Irish mafia.

But even organized crime is struggling to keep up with the changing landscape of the City. Weed is going legal, trust funds are pushing realtors and people who would have not dared cross the Irish not so long ago now defy them carelessly.

Navigating his past and staking his future on this new life, D’Arcy Kennedy will have to thread a razor thin line between the law, loyalty and his own family if he wants a place for him and his own at the end of it all.

Praise for DOWN WITH THE UNDERDOGS:

“A working class family man strikes a deal with the devil in Ian Truman’s fast-paced, volatile Down with the Underdogs. The result is class warfare on the streets of Montreal. Truman offers an unflinching portrait of a city caught in the throes of gentrification, and one person’s struggle to fight back. An excellent read.” —Sam Wiebe, author of the Wakeland novels.

“Truman captures life on the edges—of culture, of language, of the legal and illegal, of the sane and the mad. And he tells a great story in the process.” —Warren Moore, author of Broken Glass Waltzes (Buy) 6 August


Pinnacle City: A Superhero Noir
by Matt Carter & Fiona JR Titchenell
(Talos)
Pinnacle City is many things to many people. To some it is a glittering metropolis, a symbol of prosperity watched over by the all-star superhero team, the Pinnacle City Guardians. Beyond the glitz and glamour, there is another city, one still feeling the physical and economic damage of the superhero-villain battles of generations past. The lower class, immigrants, criminals, aliens, sorcerers, and non-humans alike call this city home, looking to make a living, which is becoming increasingly difficult as the two sides of the city seem prepared to boil over into a violent conflict.

Private investigator Eddie Enriquez, born with the ability to read the histories of objects by touch, still bears the scars of his time as a youthful minion for a low-level supervillain, followed by stints in prison and the military. Though now trying to live a straight-and-narrow life, he supports a drinking problem and painkiller addiction by using his powers to track down insurance cheats. When a mysterious woman enters his office asking him to investigate the death of prominent non-human rights activist Quentin Julian, a crime the police and heroes are ignoring, he takes the case in the hopes of doing something good.

Superhero Kimberly Kline has just hit it big, graduating from her team of young heroes to the Pinnacle City Guardians with the new codename of Solar Flare. With good looks, powers that include flight, energy manipulation, superhuman strength, durability, and speed, as well as a good family name, the sky is the limit for her. Upbeat, optimistic, and perhaps a little naïve from the upper-crust life she was raised in, she hopes to make her family, and the world, proud by being the greatest superhero she can be . . . but things aren’t always as they seem.

From the minds of Matt Carter and Fiona J. R. Titchenell, Pinnacle City is a pulpy, throwback noir of yesteryear, where two unlikely people from opposite sides of the track must team up to do good in a world full of so much bad. (Buy) 7 August


A Masterpiece of Corruption
by L.C. Tyler
(Felony and Mayhem)
Len Tyler has been shortlisted for two Edgar awards, won two of England’s “Last Laugh” awards, and racked up more great reviews than he’s had hot dinners: Why would he turn away from the stunningly funny “Elsie and Ethelred” series? Because the intrigues of Cromwell’s England were too juicy to pass up. Tangled in too many of them is John Grey, a newly minted lawyer and would-be ladies’ man with a bad habit of poking his nose into other people’s business. That’s unfortunate, because a mis-delivered letter has left Grey with more information about a murderous plot than it’s entirely safe to know. Can Grey prevent the murder? And of infinitely more importance, can he keep his mouth shut long enough to save his own skin? (Buy) 7 August


The Bouncer by David GordonThe Bouncer
by David Gordon
(Mysterious Press)

In David Gordon’s diabolically imaginative new thriller, The Bouncer, nothing and no one is as expected―from a vial of yellow fragrance to a gangster who moonlights in women’s clothes.

Joe Brody is just your average Dostoevsky-reading, Harvard-expelled strip club bouncer who has a highly classified military history and whose best friend from Catholic school happens to be head mafioso Gio Caprisi. FBI agent Donna Zamora, the best shot in her class at Quantico, is a single mother stuck at a desk manning the hotline. Their storylines intersect over a tip from a cokehead that leads to a crackdown on Gio’s strip joint in Queens and Joe’s arrest―just one piece of a city-wide sweep aimed at flushing out anyone who might have a lead on the various terrorists whose photos are hanging on the wall under Most Wanted. Outside the jailhouse, the Fed and the bouncer lock eyes, as Gordon launches them both headlong into a nonstop plot that goes from back-road gun show intervention to high-stakes perfume heist and manages to touch everyone from the CIA to the Flushing Triads. Beneath it all lurks a sinister criminal mastermind whose manipulations could cause chaos on a massively violent scale.

For readers who like a heavy dose of fun with their murder, this is crime fiction at its freshest, from a virtuoso of the “darkly comic, stylish literary thriller” (Associated Press). (Buy) 7 August


Baghdad Noir by Samuel ShimonBaghdad Noir
edited by Samuel Shimon
(Akashic Books)

Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct location within the geographic area of the book. One of the world’s most war-torn cities is portrayed though a noir lens in this chilling story collection.

Brand-new stories by: Muhsin al-Ramli, Nassif Falak, Hadia Said, Ahmed Saadawi, Salima Salih, Roy Scranton, Hayet Raies, Mohammed Alwan Jabr, Dheya al-Khalidi, Hussain al-Mozany, Sinan Antoon, Salar Abdoh, Ali Bader, and Layla Qasrany.

From “I Killed Her Because I Loved Her” by contributor Muhsin al-Ramli:

The neighborhood, timeless with its narrow, smelly lanes, seemed to have been forgotten since it came into being with the foundation of Baghdad in Abbasid times. The streets were pocked with potholes, noisy with the clamor of children playing and the clatter of peddlers’ carts. On the pavement there were piles of putrid, smoldering garbage: the smoke mixed with the smell of spices, grilled meat, and other foods cooking. The houses were crammed with people and were built of old bricks and planks of wood. If they hadn’t been leaning on each other, the only reason they didn’t collapse was that there wasn’t enough space on the ground between them.

From “Post-Traumatic Stress Reality in Qadisiya” by contributor Hadia Said:

What I’m telling you is that Baghdad is coming back. Yes. We’ve resumed the necessary insanity. Yes, yes, by God. We removed our suits and stripped to T-shirts and shorts–just like the old days. Exactly like the old days.

From “Getting to Abu Nuwas Street” by contributor Dheya al-Khalidi:

Baghdad’s streets are desolate after midnight. The dark gathers in front of shops and alleyways. Wooden stalls for selling produce are laid down and intertwined like a broken-down train at a station. I’d always watch the cats chase each other, hiss and fight by the butcher’s shop. But odd there weren’t any stray dogs around, since I used to hear them bark in the capital every day. Maybe they sensed something grave that night, so they were hiding, putting off the hunt for another time. (Buy) 7 August


Marrakech Noir edited by Yassin AdanMarrakech Noir
edited by Yassin Adan
(Akashic Books)

Akashic Books continues its award-winning series of original noir anthologies, launched in 2004 with Brooklyn Noir. Each book comprises all new stories, each one set in a distinct location within the geographic area of the book. Northern Africa finally enters the Noir Series arena with a finely crafted volume of dark stories, all translated from Arabic and French.

Brand-new stories by: Fatiha Morchid, Fouad Laroui, Taha Adnan, Mohamed Zouhair, Lahcen Bakour, Mahi Binebine, Halima Zine El Abidine, Hanane Derkaoui, Allal Bourqia, My Seddik Rabbaj, Abdelkader Benali, Mohamed Nedali, Mohamed Achaari, Karima Nadir, and Yassin Adnan.

From the introduction by Yassin Adnan:

Only palm trees remember that remote dark past, when highwaymen lay in wait behind their trunks for passing caravans…According to some stories, this is where the city’s name originated. Over the centuries the name has lost much of its caution and blackness…Moroccans today call Marrakech “The Joyful City,” or simply “The Joyful.” For the city is pledged to joy. The seekers of happiness and soirées head for it. Its nights are well lit and its days are bright. The city’s lovers are ready to read every type of story about it except those garbed in black. Even the city’s leading authors, the storytellers of Jamaa al-Fana, have always avoided in their fascinating halqas dark tales and stories…

In all their variety these stories remain rooted in the Moroccan soil. Marrakech, the ancient Moroccan city, the country’s capital of tourism, the city of joy and sadness, the city of simple life, the city linked to the most international capitals through daily flights from its international airport, the city of the new European community, a winter resort for French retirees, and a refuge for immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa, the city of red nights and sex tourism, the city of the new generation of crimes… (Buy) 7 August


Death in Shangri-La by Yigal ZurDeath in Shangri-La
by Yigal Zur
(Oceanview Publishing)

Ex­­–Israeli operative turned private investigator, Dotan Naor—to settle a bet—agrees to locate the missing son of former acquaintance, now ruthless Israeli arms merchant, Willy Mizrachi. Willy, who does not hesitate to sell killing machines to the most heinous players in the world, is desperate to find his only son, Itiel, who has headed to an ashram in the Himalayas.

The Himalayas are also host to groups of young Israelis who have completed their mandatory military service—a sort of rite of passage. Now, those innocent kids are being hunted down by violent terrorists.

India and the disputed Kashmir region between India and Pakistan is familiar territory to Dotan, as he searches for Itiel and for the source of these heinous attacks on Israeli youth.

Unwilling to leave this quest in the hands of Dotan, Willy also travels to India, where he is beheaded in Delhi, triggering international repercussions capable of ripping the world apart at one of its most dangerous flashpoints.

Nothing is as it seems in this region of the world. Betrayal reigns everywhere.

But love, in its purest form, does manage to shine through in this story of brutal international corruption (Buy) 7 August


Implant by Ray ClarkImplant
by Ray Clark
(Urbane Publications)

The perfect read for fans of Peter May, Mark Billingham and Peter James.

Bramfield, near Leeds, a sleepy little market town nestled on the borders of West and North Yorkshire. Detectives Stewart Gardener and Sean Reilly discover the naked corpse of Alex Wilson, nailed to the wall of a cellar in his uncle’s hardware store. His lips are sewn together and his body bears only one mark, a fresh scar near his abdomen.

Within forty-eight hours, their investigation results in dead ends, more victims, no suspects and very little in the way of solid evidence.

Gardener and Reilly have a problem and a question on their hands: are the residents of Bramfield prepared for one of history’s most sadistic killers, The Tooth Fairy? The detectives race against time to stop the trail of horrific murders… (Buy) 9 August


Boise Longpig Hunting Club
by Nick Kolakowski
(Down & Out Books)

When you want someone found, you call bounty hunter Jake Halligan. He’s smart, tough, and best of all, careful on the job. But none of those skills seem to help him when a shadowy group starts taking his life apart piece by piece.

First Jake comes home to find a dead body in his gun safe. He thinks it’s a warning–and when you drag people back to jail for a living, the list of people who want to send that kind of message is very long indeed. With backup from his sister Frankie, an arms dealer and dapper criminal, Jake plunges into the Idaho underworld, confronting everyone from brutal Aryan assassins to cops who want his whole family in jail.

But as Jake soon discovers, those threats are small-time compared to the group that’s really after him. And nothing–not bounty hunting, not even all his years in Iraq–can prepare him for what’s coming next. Jake’s about to become a player in the most dangerous game ever invented…

Boise Longpig Hunting Club is a wild ride into the dark heart of the American dream, where even the most brutal desires can be fulfilled for a price, and nobody is safe from the rich and powerful. (Buy) 13 August


Fortunate Son
by J.D. Rhoades
(Polis Books)
Years ago, the Jakes brothers were found alone, hungry, and freezing, in a trailer where they’d been left by their mother. One found a happy home. The older son never did, but he always dreamed of the day when they would be together again.

Thirteen years later, big brother appears, and he’s determined to reunite the family, even if he has to do it by kidnapping his younger brother. The mother they haven’t seen in years is in New Orleans, and she’s in trouble. Her sons are coming to the rescue, even if one of them is doing it at gunpoint.

But things are rapidly spinning out of control in New Orleans. The Jakes boys, the disgraced former sheriff trying to chase them down, and an ambitious Louisiana deputy investigating the mother are in for far more danger than any of them bargained for. As they’re caught between two sides in a vicious drug war, everyone’s fighting to survive, no one knows who to trust, and it’s anyone’s guess who’ll be left standing at the end.

A story of loss and redemption, of love and betrayal, and above all of how far some will go to be part of a family, FORTUNATE SON will keep you up all night and leave you unable to forget it. (Buy) 14 August


The Line That Held Us
by David Joy
(Putnam)
From critically acclaimed author David Joy comes a remarkable novel about the cover-up of an accidental death, and the dark consequences that reverberate through the lives of four people who will never be the same again.

When Darl Moody went hunting after a monster buck he’s chased for years, he never expected he’d accidentally shoot a man digging ginseng. Worse yet, he’s killed a Brewer, a family notorious for vengeance and violence. With nowhere to turn, Darl calls on the help of the only man he knows will answer, his best friend, Calvin Hooper. But when Dwayne Brewer comes looking for his missing brother and stumbles onto a blood trail leading straight back to Darl and Calvin, a nightmare of revenge rips apart their world. The Line That Held Us is a story of friendship and family, a tale balanced between destruction and redemption, where the only hope is to hold on tight, clenching to those you love. What will you do for the people who mean the most, and what will you grasp to when all that you have is gone? The only certainty in a place so shredded is that no one will get away unscathed. (Buy) 14 August


The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories
by Teresa Solana
(Bitter Lemon Press)
An impressive and very funny collection of stories by Teresa Solana but the fun is very dark indeed. The oddest things happen. Statues decompose and stink out galleries, two old grandmothers are vengeful killers, a prehistoric detective on the verge of becoming the first religious charlatan trails a triple murder that is threatening cave life as the early innocents knew it. The collection also includes a sparkling web of Barcelona stories–connected by two criminal acts–that allows Solana to explore the darker side of different parts of the city and their seedier inhabitants. (Buy) 15 August


Sort 'Em Out Later by Jim WilskySort ‘Em Out Later
by Jim Wilsky
(Down & Out Books)
Malefactors is defined as “those who commit an offense against the law”, or more simply put, “one who does ill toward another”. This collection of short stories from Jim Wilsky is chock full of them. Tales that are all different, yet all the same.

The locales and characters range from rural to urban. Office buildings, swamps, wealthy estates and corn fields are some of the places. The people range from folks with money to flat broke, from those who have a lot on the line to those who have nothing to lose, old and young alike. There are stone cold killers to good guys and those in between. Those walking on that shaky bridge, that thin tightrope that connects good and evil.

The stories all share the same common ingredients though. Plots that are brutal, chaotic, desperate, vengeful and violent. These pages paint the rage and burning fire that dwells within almost everyone but only surface and re-erupt in some.

From guns, to knives, to swords and bare hands, this collection will push all the right buttons for crime fiction readers. These specially selected stories touch every base. So, buckle up and read on. (Buy) 27 August


In Loco Parentis by Nigel BirdIn Loco Parentis
by Nigel Bird
(All Due Respect Books)

Joe Campion is the kind of teacher any child would want for their class. He’s also the kind of teacher who never turns down a drink, a smoke or a lay.

When Joe finds out some of his students are suffering abuse, he doesn’t trust the system to take care of it. His impulsive nature, dedication to his pupils and love of women lead him on a long, strange and bloody trip.

Praise for IN LOCO PARENTIS:

“In Loco Parentis is terrific, start to finish.” —Charlie Stella, author of Tommy Red

“Beautiful, painful and excruciatingly brilliant writing.” —McDroll, crime fiction author

“A unique voice that sets the writing head and shoulders above and apart.” —Anonymous-9, author of Hard Bite and Bite Harder

“The writing is beautiful and spare and by the end I felt a cathartic relief. This story is a roller coaster ride of emotion, but a ride well worth taking.” —Mike Miner, author of Hurt Hawks (Buy) 27 August


Scar Tissue
by Patricia Hale
(Intrigue Publishing)

Ashley Lambert jumped eighteen stories to her death. It’s a clear-cut suicide. And Ashley’s parents want to know why their flawless daughter would take her life. They’ve hired the PI team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan to find the answers. When the investigation leads to performance enhancing drugs and blackmail, Ashley’s coaches, peers and even her parents come into question. The disturbing truth is testimony to the lines that are crossed, and risks taken…in the name of love. Meanwhile, when Britt sees the bruising on her neighbor’s arm she can’t let it go, and is working overtime to bring to light the violent behavior next door. The neighbor, Rhea McKenzie, has a secret. Bruises aren’t the only thing she’s hiding. When an off-hand comment discloses a connection to Ashley Lambert the two cases become entwined, setting off an unstoppable chain of events. Britt is sucked into an alliance with Rhea and forced to make decisions that challenge her ethics, threaten her relationship and in the end, may cost her everything. (Buy) 1 September


American History
by J.L. Abramo
(Down & Out Books)

The families of Salvatore Leone and Luigi Agnello had already been long-time bitter enemies in Sicily by the turn of the twentieth century.

In 1914, Vincenzo Leone, Salvatore’s oldest son, emigrates to Philadelphia to start a new life for himself and his family in the promised land. Several years later, Giuseppe Agnello, Luigi’s eldest, secretly marries Francesca Leone, Vincenzo’s sister, and the couple escape to New York City. Giuseppe leaves to serve his new country during the First World War. Francesca, alone and in need of support for herself and their infant son, Louis, travels to Philadelphia to live with her brother, his wife, and his two daughters.

The Spanish Flu takes the lives of Vincenzo’s wife and sister in 1917, and Leone moves with his daughters and Francesca’s son to San Francisco. Vincenzo Leone decides to raise Louis Agnello as his own child.

When Giuseppe returns from the war, he finds his wife and son gone. It takes more than five years for Agnello to learn the whereabouts of his family. Giuseppe travels to San Francisco with hopes of a reunion with Francesca and Louis, and becomes a victim of the hatred between the two families that has been recently transplanted in America by Vincenzo’s younger brother, Roberto. Vincenzo learns that Giuseppe had traveled to San Francisco to locate his wife and son, but Agnello had never reached Vincenzo’s door. Vincenzo begins to worry about the safety of sister’s son, and decides Louis will accompany him to New York City and to Sicily.

A failed attempt on the boy’s life results in Vincenzo’s death, and instigates a fresh and fierce hostility between the Agnello and Leone families that rivals the hatred and vindictiveness experienced in the old country.

American History is the epic, generational saga of the Agnellos and the Leones (in the Italian language the lambs and the lions)—a one-hundred-year conflict between Giuseppe’s descendants in New York City, law enforcers, and Vincenzo’s descendants in San Francisco, lawbreakers. (Buy) 3 September


Spirit Play
by Barbar Ismail
(Felony and Mayhem)
Jamillah has not been herself of late. A market-trader, and one of the well respected village “aunties,” she is clearly in need of main puteri, a traditional Malaysian form of exorcism. The ceremony is a stunning success: A clearly enraptured Jamillah throws off her depression, dancing wildly. And the next morning she is dead.

Osman, the new chief of police, is happy to go along with the widespread belief that Jamillah was killed by sorcery, a victim of the spirits, but Mak Chik Maryam is not convinced. A venerable “auntie” herself, she knows how many secrets there are in even a little village. And while she’s got plenty of respect for the spirits, she’s inclined to lay the blame just a little closer to home. Besides, she got a taste for sleuthing in Shadow Play. Murder, she’ll tell you, is simply too important to leave to the men.

First published in Singapore as Princess Play, Spirit Play was a finalist for the prestigious Star People’s Choice award. (Buy) 4 September


The Cold Summer by Gianrico CarofiglioThe Cold Summer
by Gianrico Carofiglio
(Bitter Lemon Press)

The summer of 1992 had been exceptionally cold in southern Italy. But that’s not the reason why it is still remembered. On May 23, 1992, a roadside explosion killed the Palermo judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three police officers. A few weeks later judge Paolo Borsellino and five police officers were killed in the center of Palermo. These anti-mafia judges became heroes but the violence spread to the region of Bari in Puglia, where we meet a new, memorable character, Maresciallo Pietro Fenoglio, an officer of the Italian Carabinieri. Fenoglio, recently abandoned by his wife, must simultaneously deal with his personal crisis and the new gang wars raging around Bari. The police are stymied until a gang member, accused of killing a child, decides to collaborate, revealing the inner workings and the rules governing organised crime in the area. The story is narrated through the actual testimony of the informant, a trope reminiscent of verbatim theatre which Carofiglio, an ex-anti-mafia judge himself, uses to great effect. The gangs are stopped but the mystery of the boy’s murder must still be solved, leading Fenoglio into a world of deep moral ambiguity, where the prosecutors are hard to distinguish from the prosecuted. (Buy) 4 September


Death at Whitewater Church by Andrea CarterDeath at Whitewater Church
by Andrea Carter
(Oceanview Publishing)

Perfect for fans of Louise Penny, P. D. James, and Donna Leon

When a skeleton is discovered in the hidden crypt of a deconsecrated church, everyone is convinced the bones must be those of Conor Devitt, a local man who went missing on his wedding day six years previously. But the postmortem reveals otherwise.

Solicitor Benedicta “Ben” O’Keeffe is acting for the owners of the church, and although an unwelcome face from her past makes her reluctant to get involved, when Conor’s brother dies in strange circumstances shortly after coming to see her, she finds herself drawn in to the mystery. Whose is the skeleton in the crypt and how did it get there? Is Conor Devitt still alive, and if so, is there a link? What happened on the morning of his wedding to make him disappear?

Negotiating between the official investigation—headed up by the handsome but surly Sergeant Tom Molloy—and obstructive locals with secrets of their own, Ben unravels layers of personal and political history to get to the truth of what happened six years before. (Buy) 4 September


The Real Lolita by Sara WeinmanThe Real Lolita
by Sara Weinman
(Ecco)

“The Real Lolita is a tour de force of literary detective work. Not only does it shed new light on the terrifying true saga that influenced Nabokov’s masterpiece, it restores the forgotten victim to our consciousness.” —David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is one of the most beloved and notorious novels of all time. And yet, very few of its readers know that the subject of the novel was inspired by a real-life case: the 1948 abduction of eleven-year-old Sally Horner.

Weaving together suspenseful crime narrative, cultural and social history, and literary investigation, The Real Lolita tells Sally Horner’s full story for the very first time. Drawing upon extensive investigations, legal documents, public records, and interviews with remaining relatives, Sarah Weinman uncovers how much Nabokov knew of the Sally Horner case and the efforts he took to disguise that knowledge during the process of writing and publishing Lolita.

Sally Horner’s story echoes the stories of countless girls and women who never had the chance to speak for themselves. By diving deeper in the publication history of Lolita and restoring Sally to her rightful place in the lore of the novel’s creation, The Real Lolita casts a new light on the dark inspiration for a modern classic. (Buy) 11 September


Black Diamond Fall by Joseph OlshanBlack Diamond Fall
by Joseph Olshan
(Polis Books)

From the acclaimed author of CLARA’S HEART and CLOUDLAND comes a rich, literary mystery based and united by two real events that occurred at Middlebury College; the disappearance of a student during winter break; and the vandalism of the Robert Frost Homestead located on one of the outer campuses.

Luc Flanders has just finished playing a game of pond hockey with his college roommates when he realizes he has lost something precious and goes back to the ice to find it. He never returns, and the police department in Middlebury, Vermont are divided in their assessment of what may have happened to him. Some feel that Flanders left on his own accord and is deliberately out of touch. Others, including detectives Nick Jenkins and Helen Kennedy, suspect that harm may have come to him. As the search for Luc Flanders widens and intensifies, suspicions about several different people, including his Middlebury College roommates and ex-girlfriend arise. Unfortunately, Sam Solomon an older man with whom Luc has been having a secret relationship, cannot prove his whereabouts during the hours when the younger man may have disappeared and Solomon, too, comes under suspicion.

As Luke Flanders disappears, the Robert Frost house near the Middlebury campus is vandalized. And there seems to be a link between the two events that the police are determined to discover. Alternating points of view between Luc Flanders Sam Solomon, Luc’s mother and detective Nick Jenkins, BLACK DIAMOND FALL races to a disturbing and astonishing conclusion in a lush, literary mystery that could only come from the mind of acclaimed author Joseph Olshan. (Buy) 18 September


The Good Messenger by John Simmons.jpgThe Good Messenger
by John Simmons
(Urbane Publications)
1912: Tom Shepherd reluctantly stays for two weeks at Hardinge Hall. Mr and Mrs Hardinge are trying to arrange a marriage for their son Teddy to Iris, daughter of a local businessman. Tommy becomes the innocent messenger who delivers the secret arrangements.

Armistice Day 1918: The First World War has changed everything, especially the closeted world that Iris, Teddy and Tom existed in.

1927. Tom is now a journalist investigating the discovery of a baby’s bones in the woods around Hardinge Hall. Past and present move towards a resolution that might still bring everything crashing down.

John Simmons, author of the bestselling Spanish Crossings, delivers another powerful saga of love, deception and emotion. Perfect for fans of Pat Barker, William Trevor, and Sebastian Faulks. (Buy) 20 September


Faith by Chris ParkerFaith
by Chris Parker
(Urbane Publications)

The final page-turning act in the Marcus Kline trilogy!

After the terrifying events of Belief, Ethan Hall has been charged with multiple homicides. His trial is about to begin – will it bring closure for Marcus Kline and those he loves?

Ethan has been in solitary confinement in the medical wing of a prison for several months. However officers still have to interact with him and he has hypnotised two of them, forcing them to kill ex-offenders. He has also chosen to defend himself in court.

Despite his powers of influence, surely justice will prevail? Can Marcus Kline ultimately triumph over his deadly nemesis? (Buy) 20 September


Wecome Back Jack by Liam SweenyWelcome Back Jack
by Liam Sweeny
(Down & Out Books)
When Jack was six years old, his parents were brutally slain by a serial killer. The police later found drifter Clyde Colsen driving a stolen car, his clothes soaked in blood. He was tried, convicted and executed. Jack grew up knowing the police got their man. Now a decorated homicide detective in New Rhodes, Jack arrives at the third crime scene of the “South End Killer” murders and finds his name. He will soon find out something else: thirty years ago, they got the wrong guy. And now the right guy’s come back to pay Jack and New Rhodes his bloody respects. As Jack struggles to stay on the case, his cat-and-mouse game with the killer makes him wonder if he’s the cat or the mouse. His family and everyone in his life is fair game. As the killer escalates and threatens the entire city, Jack has a question he must answer in his desperation: can he stop the monster without becoming one? (Buy) 29 September


I Detest All My Sins
by Lanny Larcinese
(Intrigue Publishing)

Bill Conlon’s lust for a high school girl has caught him a stretch at Graterford Prison and led to his kid brother’s suicide. And when Bill witnesses his young friend, Mikey, get shanked in the yard of the prison, his guilt comes into high relief. Catching Mikey’s killer would make everything right. Or would it? After his release, Bill begins to stalk Deadly Eddie, a former fellow inmate who Bill suspects is the killer. But like a late afternoon shadow, trouble is glued to Bill’s shoes. As bodies pile up, Detective Sam Lanza is brought on to investigate and he points to Bill as a strong suspect in the murders. Meanwhile, Bill’s girlfriend, Louise, goes missing and he is against the clock to find her before anything happens to her. Can Bill find Louise before she is damaged beyond repair, and finger the real killers before Lanza takes him down for crimes he didn’t commit? (Buy) 1 October


Pulp- According to David Goodis by Jay GertzmanPulp, According to David Goodis
by Jay Gertzman
(Down & Out Books)

Pulp, According to David Goodis starts with six characteristics of 1950s pulp noir that please editors because they obviously fascinate mass-market readers. Extremely valuable is an urban setting, which Goodis provided chiefly in his home town, Philadelphia. There, as factories moved to the suburbs, employers, police, and politicians abandoned postwar working-class and underclass neighborhoods. Declared “blighted,” they endured the racketeering of the local mob boss. Only Goodis saw, in this Street of the Lost and in Down There and Night Squad, a still-vibrant community solidarity. He dramatizes all this in the language of the streets, the way a great film director would, and in fact Delmar Davies, Paul Wendkos, and Jacques Tourneur did produce films of his novels.

As a Hollywood script writer, his most prestigious assignment was for an unproduced film on working class vets. It eventually became a prose poem in pulp paperback format, The Blonde on the Street Corner, set in the Depression-era Philadelphia of row houses and corner hang-outs. We become intimate with the manic-depressive protagonist, his drifting friends, his street corner, and the enigmatic wintry moonlight of a park in north Philadelphia.

The writer departs radically from pulp crime conventions with themes of brother-sister incest (Of Tender Sin, The Moon in the Gutter). This gives him a chance to reveal the desperation of people who do not dare to examine their psychosexual desires and the nuclear family dynamics that nurtured them. Instead, they attach themselves to sexually aggressive women who add to their humiliation and guilt. They damn themselves to substituting pain for mutuality, as if the only feeling that arouses them is guilt.

In many novels, Goodis’ sympathy extends beyond the common man to the murderous crime boss, whose brutal success has deprived him of connection with a lover or a community. The successful gangster is “alone and guilty and defenseless amongst enemies; one is punished for success” (Robert Warshow). Night Squad and Black Friday are exemplary. It is yet another example of how a crime writer can teach his mass readership how to think beyond the expectations for the pulp thriller. It also helps explain why “Goodis did not choose the pulp crime genre, it chose him.”

Pulp According delineates the noir profundity of Goodis’ work in the context of Franz Kafka’s narratives. Goodis’ precise sense of place, and painful insights about the indomitability of fate, parallel them. The Burglar, Down There, and Street of No Return are especially close. Both writers mix realism, the disorienting, and the dreamlike; both focus on horrific vistas of entrapment; both describe the protagonist’s apparent degeneration to a sub-human condition.

Goodis wrote his final novel, Somebody’s Done For, after the death of his parents, alone and bereft in the family home. This underappreciated story recapitulates his major noir preoccupations: the noble, doomed loser and the inaccessible nature of intimacy and mutuality.

The writer never told anyone he was more than an “entertainer.” But so were Faulkner, Steinbeck, and Hemingway, all of whom are echoed by David Goodis. If there is one writer of mass market pulp literature who exemplifies the intensity of post-World War II experience among readers of noir crime pulp, it is this “poet of the losers.” The emphasis is on “poet.” (Buy) 29 October


Thanks for visiting Unlawful Acts and reading the latest Incident Report.

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