Incident Report No. 75

The Incident Report covers the world of small press crime fiction for the week of April 28th through May 4th.

We’ll start this week with a sale. Oh, no worries, nothing that I’m selling. Actually it’s more of a fundraiser for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Hard Case Crime is putting up 30 e-books for sale over at Humble Bundle. All 30 books can be yours for a price $15 or more. If you can’t swing $15 or more, they’ve have other packages available. Here’s an explanation from Hard Case Crime’s Facebook page.

To be clear about how it works: you decide how much you feel like paying. If you only want to pay $1, you get the first bundle of 10 ebook titles (so, just 10 cents apiece!). If you pay at least $8, you get the first 10 and the second 10 (so, 20 titles for $8, or 40 cents apiece). If you pay at least $15, you get all 30 titles (so, 30 titles for $15, or 50 cents apiece), plus a special bonus digital portfolio of the 100 best Hard Case Crime covers! Even if you already have some of the ebooks, you’re probably still looking at paying less than $1 per title. Just 13 days, 19 hours, and 10 minutes left, though!

The image used for this week’s Incident Report is by Glen Orbik and is used as the cover for Christa Faust’s “Money Shot” (Hard Case Crime, 2008) which is available in the Humble Book Bundle. There’s also a cool PDF that Hard Case Crime put together of 100 book covers from them.

For $15, how can you not?


Crime fiction has trouble shaking its past especially with lazy writers and magazines like Jacqueline Sheehan and The Writer, “Lee Child and Paul Doiron on strong, interesting, complex female characters“. The article begins this heading:

In a genre dominated by two-dimensional sexy sirens and damsels in distress, acclaimed thriller authors are creating realistic female characters that offer way more than sex appeal.

Not only is this article mired in misinformation, it’s about male writers writing great female characters. It doesn’t even mention some of the fantastic work by female writers in the genre.

I’ll let Nick Kolakowski explain in his piece “Ignorance About The Current State Of Crime Fiction Is Rampant” (Mystery Tribune).

But it’s stunningly clear that Sheehan doesn’t read many crime thrillers, otherwise she’d be well aware of the dozens of authors—popular and indie, of all genders—who are crafting “female characters who ring true as human beings” (her words). In fact, I’m confused about why she chose to focus on two male authors as the conduits to complex women characters when she could have devoted that space to Tana French, Kellye Garrett, Laura Lippmann, Val McDermid, Sophie Hannah, Monica Hesse, SJ Rozan, Jennifer Hillier, Lyndsay Faye, or a couple dozen other crime/thriller novelists who are making very serious inroads in the genre.


If you have a few minutes more, why not read Johnny Shaw’s “Finding your voice: The art of going too far“? Shaw is beginning to put together some essays on writing. Hopefully they’ll be in book form but here is a recent one that Shaw has released in the wild.

Believe it or not, a lot of writers write stories they would hate. It seems crazy, but I guarantee some of you are doing it. It is what happens when you write for other people as the audience, second-guessing what “they” will like. That’s a sure path to mediocrity. A distrust in one’s voice. If you’re going to fail, fail spectacularly, not ordinarily. Jump off the building, not the stoop.


Pleas check out the posts from last week which have links to other great articles, short stories, podcasts and books. Also, yesterday’s post “New Releases: Week of May 5” is just that, sixteen books from independent crime fiction publishers.

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