Incident Report

Incident Report No. 60

The Incident Report covers the world of small press crime fiction for the weeks of September 16th through September 22nd with links to news, reviews, and new releases.

Incident Report No. 60

This past week at Unlawful Acts, I reviewed Alec Cizak’s “Breaking Glass” (ABC Group Documentation). I wrote, “If you liked “Down on the Street” be prepared to love “Breaking Glass”.  I also read a cozy with the expected results. My essay about the inanity of fights scenes was published at Do So Damage. Jim Thomsen used “The Man Who Came Uptown” by George Pelecanos as a jumping off point about diversity issues in publishing.

The Incident Report covers the world of small press crime fiction for the weeks of September 16th through September 22nd with links to news, reviews, and new releases.


I’m not one for these types of articles but Sara Gran’s “My Best Friends Are Books” (CrimeReads) includes such wonderful books, I wanted to point it out to you. Gran has a new book out, “The Infinite Blacktop”.

But as writers, our best friends aren’t people; they’re books. If we got along with people so well, we’d be out there among them, instead of home alone, writing. Here’s some of my best friends, and the crime writing lessons I learned from them; I hope these introductions will make new friendships, and I hope these friendships will serve you as well as they’ve served me.

Fahrenheit Press is taking submissions for a new edition of Noirville, a short story anthology. I was a judge for the first edition. The absolute horrible news is that Fahrenheit is requiring a $10 submission fee. I know times are tough for small publishers and that we all should be buying books when possible from these small publishers, but charging a $10 submission fee is unacceptable. 

Other news you can use:

  • “Publishers Call Out Target for ‘Censoring’ Book Descriptions” by Claire Kirch (Publishers Weekly)
  • “Target Responds to Publisher Complaints, but Redactions Persist” by Claire Kirch (Publishers Weekly)
  • “The Power of the International Procedural: Global Crime Fiction Charts the Rise of Authoritarianism” by Tobias Carroll (CrimeReads)
  • Mary Kubica, author of “I Know You Know” (HarperCollins), interviewed by Gilly Macmillan, author “When the Lights Go Out” (Park Row Books) (CrimeReads)
  • “Librarians Must Weed Their Book Collection” by Sarah Ullery (BookRiot)
  • “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to ‘The Big Machine Eats'” by Beau Johnson (Do Some Damage)
  • “In Bid to Stop Drug Smuggling, Pennsylvania Ends Prison Book Donations” by Nate Hoffelder (The Digital Reader)
  • Caz Frear, author of “Sweet Little Lies”, interviewed (Crime By The Book)
  • “It’s Never Too Late to Be a Reader Again” by Peter Rubin (Wired)
  • Tracee de Hahn, author of the Agnes Lüth Mysteries (Minotaur) interviewed (Murder Books)
  • “The Old West: A New Frontier in Crime Fiction” by Terrence McCauley, author of “Where the Bullets Fly” (Criminal Element)
  • Scott Von Doviak, author of “Charlesgate Confidential” (Hard Case Crime), interviewed (Mystery People)
  • “Wonder Valley and Skid Row” by Ivy Pochoda, author of “Wonder Valley” (Indigo Press) (Shotsmag Confidential)
  • “Tayari Jones on Finding the Story” by Scott Adlerberg, author of “Jack Waters” (Do Some Damage)
  • Paul Heatley, author of Eye for an Eye Mysteries, interviewed by Paul D. Brazill
  • “20 of the best true crime books” (Dead Good)
  • Dietrich Kalteis, author of “Poughkeepsie Shuffle”, interviewed by Linda Richards (January Magazine)
  • Cleo Coyle, author of the The Coffeehouse Mysteries and Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, interviewed (Lesa’s Book Critiques
  • “How George V. Higgins Invented the Boston Crime Novel” by Scott Von Doviak (CrimeReads)
  • Michael J. Malone, author of “After He Died”, interviewed (Love Books Group)
  • Hank Early, author of “Heaven’s Crooked Finger”, interviewed (InkHeist)
  • Anthony Neil Smith, author of “The Cyclist”, interviewed by Will Viharo (Digital Media Ghost)
  • “Dramatic Infrastructure: Using Everyday Events to Deliver Emotional Impact” by Roger Johns (Killer Nashville)
  • N.M. Brown, author of “Carpenter Road”, interviewed (The Dorsett Book Detective)
  • “Five Reinventions of the Boston Crime Novel” by Scott Von Doviak (The Strand Magazine)
  • “15 Rules For Borrowing Books, So You Don’t Lose Your Friends In The Process” by Melissa Ragsdale (Bustle)
  • “When Criminals Solve Crimes” by Ryan Gattis (CrimeReads)
  • Lou Berney, author of “November Road” interviewed (Crime Watch)
  • “Bullet Points: Wednesday Supersize Edition” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet)
  • Edwin Hill, author of “Little Comfort”, interviewed (Mystery People)
  • “Before I Forget …” by J. Kingston Pierce (The Rap Sheet)
  • Brian Tucker, author of “Pokeweed”, interviewed (Steph Post)
  • “Immigration Narratives in Crime Fiction” by Aya de Leon (CrimeReads)
  • “Eric Ambler: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics” by Neil Nyren (CrimeReads)
  • Julia Borcherts interviewed (BOLO Books)

On Writing

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. – Anais Nin

“Outlining Your Novel” by Les Edgerton (Les Edgerton on Writing)

And I discovered something else. Those old writers were liars. Hemingway, Steinbeck and Shakespeare – they all claimed they didn’t outline, but they had to. Their stuff all held the kind of integrity that only comes in thinking through a project first before you pick up the saw. They just said they didn’t outline. All of a sudden, I knew better. Those guys probably didn’t think they outlined either. I doubt if any of them had Roman numerals on their notes either. I’d bet money they had notes, though, and copious notes…and copious notes organized into some kind of system. Before they ever picked up the ol’ writing quill and wrote “Chapter One”. Probably what a lot of them did was write a first draft…and then used that for their “outline”.

“Do Authors Expect Too Much?” by Melodie Campbell (SleuthSayers)

But expecting your friends and extended family to celebrate your success in continual ways is a road to disappointment.

I’ve come to realize this: if you work, say, in a bank and get a massive, very difficult project done, there are no parades. Your friends and family don’t have a party for you. They don’t insist on reading the report. Your paycheck is your award.

  • “Fiction is Truth Serum” by James Scott Bell (Killzone)
  • “The First Two Pages: ‘Stars the Color of Hope'” by Carol Gyzander (Art Taylor, Writer)
  • “Put Some Feeling Into It” by Barb Goffman (SleuthSayers)
  • “The Importance Of Creative Process: 5 Key Conditions To Help You Thrive” by Joanna Penn (The Creative Penn)
  • “The Loneliness of a Long Distance Writer” by Allen Watson (Ann Bonny Book Reviews)
  • “Apparently … You Need to Lose Your Crutch Words” by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Career Authors)
  • “Just Write the Story” by Laura Benedict (Kill Zone)
  • “A Writing Career Is A Series Of Cliff-Mitigation Exercises” by Chuck Wendig (Terribleminds)
  • “Fiction Writing from A to Z” by DiAnn Mills (The Strand Magazine)
  • “Is Crosstalk Killing Your Feedback” by Peter Derk (Lit Reactor)
  • “Talking about Dialogue (Some DON’Ts and DOs)” by Rob Burnet (The Thrill Begins)
  • “Handling the Action (Scenes)” by Wallace Stroby (Career Author)

Short Stories

Some short fiction to read.

Book Reviews

Review of “Broken Windows” by Paul D. Marks (Down & Out Books) (Criminal Element)

If you enjoy old-school PI tales, you’ll love getting to know L.A. PI (and former Navy SEAL) Duke Rogers. 


Marks expertly drops readers (returning and new) into Duke’s world—1994 Los Angeles—from the start, and the prologue is a doozy. In it, a young woman climbs to the top of the Hollywood sign and jumps off. The scene isn’t exploitative, but it is realistic and heart-wrenching in its realism. What would make this woman do this? What could have made her lose all hope? After all, she came to L.A. to be a star.

Review of “Tough” edited by Rusty Barnes (Redneck Press) (Kevin’s Corner)

The stories in TOUGH: Crime Stories cover a broad spectrum in crime fiction. In a couple of cases the stories tend more towards the horror genre than crime fiction. In most of the cases, the situations the characters face are extreme violence or day to day drudgery as whatever promise they had, if any, was never fulfilled. These tales don’t feature kittens, balloons, or happy time thoughts—unless serious drugs are involved. These are stories of lives coming apart at the seams or lives dying a slow death in the day to day drudgery of just getting through the day. Not an easy read and certainly not for all readers, the stories in TOUGH: Crime Stories all showcase the idea that noir can come in many different flavors.

Review of “Blood Standard” by Laird Barron (Putnam) (Dead End Follies)

Blood Standard’s best asset is Isaiah Coleridge himself. Career criminals are dime a dozen in literature and they’re too often derivative of the same kind-hearted outlaw archetype. There is some of that in Coleridge, but he’s much more complicated and, let’s say it better crafted character than most. He has personal stakes outside of the job, feuding with his father, who’s also a dangerous and shadowy type, over the death of his mother. He has a personality, you know? Fears and desires that make us bond with him and give a shit when his life is endangered. Coleridge might’ve not chosen this life if he hadn’t been ushered into it by an abusive father a shady uncle.

“Screen Test” by Jerry Kenneally (Down & Out Books) (Col’s Criminal Library)

I enjoyed the landscape of the book, with the city and its bars, restaurants and sleazy sex shops coming alive in Kennealy’s hands. It’s a different time and a different world…… favours traded, cops consorting with and cultivating criminal contacts, small bribes accepted, and a few more liberties taken in the pursuit of information and the questioning of suspects and cops alike.

One of the main attractions and highlights was the main character, Johnny O’Rorke. He’s a decent cop and a dogged investigator, but not above bending and breaking the law to further his investigation and protect his family. He’s someone I’d be interested in spending more time with in the future. That Kennealy has written a further book – Dirty Who? – with O’Rorke is a cause for celebration.

Review of “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (Serpent’s Tail) by Horace McCoy (The Rap Sheet)

Sometimes the most overlooked and criminally forgotten mystery novels hide in plain sight. That’s the case with They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy. Very few people today will recognize the author’s name. Yet his most popular title is widely known, primarily by baby boomers, because of the 1969 film starring Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin. Therein lies a problem typical to our era. We know the movie and we know the story, but we do not know the novel or the novelist.

New Releases

Other places to find new releases:

Thanks for stopping by and reading The Incident Report at Unlawful Acts.

Incident Report No. 60

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