The Incident Report covers the world of small press crime fiction for the weeks of January 19th through February 1st.
If you are a subscriber to my newsletter, you may have noticed that you haven’t received one for a couple of weeks. That’s because I’ve been adding links at Death steals everything but our stories or type in your browser: deathstealseverything.com. Yes, you’re correct, that is a Jim Harrison line from his poem “Larson’s Holstein Bull“.
If you follow me on Twitter or Unlawful Acts on Facebook, you’ll start to see some activity in the beginning of February.
If you haven’t heard Shotgun Honey has opened submissions for Shotgun Honey Presents Volume 4. The first three volumes have included work by, among others, Patricia Abbott, Jedidiah Ayres, Frank Bill, and Steve Weddle. Deadline is March 31st. Not only will I be submitting to this, I will also be purchasing a copy regardless whether my story is selected or not.
Two other anthologies released (not by Shotgun Honey) are Switchblade‘s all women issue, “Stiletto Heeled”, and “Strangers in a Strange Land: Immigrant Stories” edited by Chris Rhatigan and Katherine Tomlison (Down & Out Books, 2019).
When I hunted down the Shotgun Honey submission link, I saw the Beau Johnson’s latest short story at Shotgun Honey, “Patience and Rage“, which I hadn’t read as of this writing. I took care of that problem.
Last week celebrated the 93rd birthday of artist Robert McGinnis who illustrated the image above. J. Kingston Pierce wrote of McGinnis in Crime Reads:
[McGuinnis] has produced more than 1,000 unique paintings employed on American paperback book covers. His works are distinguished by their precise use of color, the artist’s preference for portraiture over depicting story scenes, and especially the lithe and luscious women who are so often the focal point of his canvases.
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Rhatigan, a free-lance editor, wrote a piece, “The Toughest Guy in the Room“. It’s about the tough guy trope, something Rhatigan knows about since he’s the publisher of All Due Respect Books and the author of “Squeeze”, “Race to the Bottom”, among others. He writes:
You’ve seen this guy (and, yeah, it’s a guy) more than once. He’s the one who no one fucks with–or when they do, they get fucked up. He works on the wrong side of the law. He’s a hit man or an enforcer or a dirty cop, yet he also operates according to “his own code,” frequently defending a tradition against young upstarts. He’s “a man of few words.” He always comes with a blue-collar pedigree and he “isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty.” He may be juxtaposed against a weaker, less-experienced character, a fellow criminal who’s a poser, who’s brash and loud but quick to either run away or stay and get his ass kicked.
Rhatigan’s article is in juxtaposition to Bruce Riordan’s “The Evolution of Harry Bosch” (CrimeReads) which ignores the tropes and the lazy fascism of Michael Connolly’s Bosch.
In Not The Onion news, Otto Penzler is working with Pegasus Books on a new imprint that focuses on female readers of the psychological thriller genre. Given Penzler’s letter of tolerance and understanding send to the Mystery Writers of America (pdf) this will surprise no one.
I’ll follow up that crappy news with I wrote a piece for Do Some Damage about Allan Guthrie’s writing rules. Here’s a taste of one of Guthrie’s rules, “Give your characters clear goals. Always. Every scene. And provide obstacles to those goals. Always. Every scene. If the POV character in a scene does not have a goal, provide one or cut the scene. If there is no obstacle, add one or cut the scene.”
Have I found a way to monetize this site?
Steve Powell has an interesting piece on the popularity and unpopularity of James Ellroy with the critics.
While some Ellroy readers cite “American Tabloid” as the apotheosis of his writing genius, for me he achieved this with its follow-up “The Cold Six Thousand” despite the lukewarm critical response. Reviewers began to mock his writing style, as Tom Cox put it, “James Stops. James Thinks. James Writes a Sequel”, and many fans gave up on it long before reaching the final page. I think the novel was lumbered with a notoriety it never truly deserved. I’m not just saying that to sound like the type of critic who defends “Finnegan’s Wake”. It is genuinely one of my favourite Ellroy works. There is not a sentence present which does not propel the story forward, and what an incredible narrative it is.
Thanks for stopping by and reading Unlawful Acts’s Incident Report.