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Incident Report

Incident Report No. 85

Incident Report No. 85 features an interview with Colin Conway and Frank Zafiro, a chat with Paul D. Brazil, and the ridiculous price of ebooks.

Pasquale Paulo Cardo | Incident Report No. 85
Photograph by Pasquale Paolo Cardo (CC BY)

The Incident Report No. 85 features highlights from the Small Crimes posts I run almost every day. If you don’t have the time to read the daily missives then this might just be for you.


McSweeney’s is usually a good place to have a laugh, but Walter Jones’s “Philip Marlowe, Doordash Deliver Guy” is a step above the usual fair.

The phone buzzed the way babies cry when they’re hungry. I wasn’t available and didn’t want to be, but in the Dashing world you’re either available or you’re broke. I picked it up and read: Five Guys. Three bacon cheeseburgers with everything and one chocolate shake. I grabbed my hat and headed for the jalopy.


Chris Rhatigan, publisher of All Due Respects, sat down with Colin Conway and Frank Zafiro, authors of “Charlie-316” and the upcoming “Never the Crime” (Down & Out Books). There are so many crappy police procedural novels, so when Rhattigan spent the time to recommend one of books from this often-maligned genres, I took notice.

The concept and the original bones of the plot was all Colin’s idea. He asked me to collaborate based on my longer police background and the positions I held. Once we got started on the brainstorming, a lot of the details changed and a couple of characters emerged differently than we’d planned, but the bones of his original idea remained intact. I just loved the idea, the question of whether a city or a police department would be willing to sacrifice their favorite son on the altar of public opinion.


Over at The Big Thrill, Paul D. Brazill was interviewed about his new book, “Man of the World” (All Due Respect). The conversation bounced from violence, careers, music and novellas.

“Oh, I really don’t know why they’re not [more] popular,” Brazill said. “I love them! Though, apparently, Don Winslow is doing novellas now so that may change. For me, the novella is just the right length to tell a story without getting bogged down with exposition, soap opera, and holding the reader’s hand—without needless repetition and hammering home the point. A good novella is a short, sharp shock. Fast and furious.” And just to punctuate the point about music, Brazill added that novellas are “more like a Ramones single than a Genesis LP.”


Nate Hoffelder rightly skewers Macmillian CEO John Sargent and all other publishers, big and small, over the price of ebooks. What got Hoffelder going was Tor’s giveaway of the MurderBot series, four ebooks totaling 625 pages and a whopping $36 if bought individually.

John Sargent wonders why his ebook sales are down, and he has repeatedly blamed library ebooks. It’s really weird how he never seems to realize its his own policies (as evidenced by this series) that are causing the shortfall in sales.

I mean, Sargent was running Macmillan when he decided that the publisher’s first move into ebooks was to conspire with Apple and bring about agency pricing, raising Macmillan’s ebook prices in the process.  And he was still in charge when he brought about Agency 2.0 in 2014.

And now, as a result of Sargent’s policies, we have Macmillan charging $36 for a novel-length story.

The reason this is the perfect example of what is wrong with tradpub, folks, is that for the past decade trad pub has refused to sell the public what it wants at a price the public wants to pay. The whole point of agency pricing was to raise ebook prices and force consumers to buy the print books the publishers want to sell.


Some other quick links for you are “Leaving Home For Work with OCD” by Stephen J. Golds (Punk Noir), Kevin Tipple’s review of “Hosier Noir: One” (Kevin’s Corner), and “Going Down Slow“, a film by Eryk Pruitt.


featured books


“Recoil: Shotgun Honey Presents Vol. 4”
edited by Ron Earl Phillips (Shotgun Honey)


“Pushing Water”
by Dana King (Down & Out Books)


Rock and a Hard Place: Issue 2 (Winter/Spring 2020)


“The Girl in the Video” by Michael David Wilson (Perpetual Motion Machine)


“A Bouquet of Bullets” by Eric Beetner (Self-Published)


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