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Delinquents, Reading, and Finding Bodies

Throwing Off Sparks by Michael Pool  | Delinquents, Reading, and Finding Bodies

“Delinquents, Reading, and Finding Bodies” features Rachel Howzell Hall, Alex Segura, the problem with reading in a pandemic, book reviews, and much more.

Conversation: Rachel Howzell Hall and Alex Segura discussed crime fiction (Writer’s Digest)

Article: A neuroscientist on why it may be difficult for you to read (Vox)

Short Story: “A World Full of Strangers” by Stephen J. Golds (Bristol Noir)

Book Review: “Love is a Grift” by Graham Wynd (Fox Spirit Books) (Sonia Kilvington)

Book Review: “We Need To Do Something” by Max Booth III (Perpetual Motion Machine) (Dead End Follies)

Book Review: “Dead Man’s Mistress” by David Housewright (Minotaur) (Kevin’s Corner)

Book Review: “Blacktop Wasteland” by S.A. Cosby (Flatiron) (So Much To Talk About)

Film: K.A. Laity watched “The Party’s Over”, directed by Guy Hamilton (Punk Noir)

Photographs: Dave Jordano (Fragments of Noir)

Book: “Throwing Off Sparks” by Michael Pool (PI Tales)

Thanks for stopping by Unlawful Acts and reading “Delinquents, Reading, and Finding Bodies.: For more Small Crimes, click here.

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Incident Report

Incident Report No. 84

What follows are some highlights from the Small Crimes posts I run almost every day, but it’s still the Incident Report. If you don’t have the time to read the daily missives then this might just be for you.


I am not a fan of American football and less of a fan of the National Football League’s yearly draft. Draft Day, which spans out several days, has approximately 50 million viewers. It’s a big deal with U.S. sports nerds. (For you non-Americans, Draft Day is akin to football’s Deadline Day.)

When I stumbled across Christoph Paul’s LitReactor essay “What Writers Can Learn From Watching The NFL Draft“, I immediately passed it by with nary a thought.1 But if Paul was willing to die on this analogy’s hill, I should at least give it a go. And I’m glad I did. It almost had me turning on the NFL Draft on Thursday night.


Michael Pool’s essay on the similarities and dissimilarities of the fictional and real private eye is worth your time. Pool talks about the clothes, the car, and, yes, the drinking.

Far from drinking on the job, real-life P.I.s are more likely to be snacking in the car between interviews. Or listening to podcasts to pass the time out on surveillance. Even after work, most of us tend to keep the alcohol intake lower than you might expect. Morning comes early in this job. Those early mornings can turn into long days, sometimes in the range of 15-18 hours. That’s a tall order with a hangover, so I rarely over-indulge.


In a Los Angeles Review of Books interview, Steve Weddle talked with William Boyle on the release of Boyle’s latest book “City of Margins”.

City of Margins is set between 1991 and 1994. I was ages 13–16 at that time, walking everywhere, taking the bus to school, making regular stops at my regular video store and pizza joint, getting into fights in the schoolyard, playing stickball at dusk, discovering the records and books and movies that would change my life, learning about evil. It was a really important, transitional time for me. I don’t know if it’s about the feeling of something being lost now that wasn’t lost then, but there was definitely a deeper sense of wonder and distance. 


K.A. Laity examined the origins of Patricia Highsmith’s most famous character Tom Ripley. In this Bristol Noir essay, Laity tied some of her thoughts of the literary Ripley, not the cinematic one, with “Eel in the Bathtub”, a short story she published in college literary journal in 1940.

Over at Punk Noir, Laity wrote about “Detour”, the book and the two movies–yeah, I didn’t know there was a remake of “Detour” in 1992. Martin H. Goldsmith’s 1939 is less famous than its 1942 classic film noir version, but like most books, in my opinion, it’s far better.

If you’ve never read or watched “Detour”, do yourself a favor. The movie is readily available, the book not so much.


I reviewed Jason Beech’s new novel “Never Go Back” (Close to the Bone, 2019). The book follows a man’s return to home and its ramifications.

“Never Go Back” is told from Vine’s perspective, a man driven by outside forces throughout, though he would disagree, he believes he is in complete control. This confusion between Vine’s reality and his interpretation is one of the great conflicts that propels the reader through this gritty crime novel.


There’s a new Twitter parody account everyone should follow, it’s @PublishrsWeakly. The folks at Electric Literature interviewed the duo behind the account.

There’s an elitism to publishing that stems from the product it produces. Books are “art,” books can “change the world,” and therefore publishing is necessarily good and just, that we’re all doing noble work, when that’s not exactly the case. Publishing is a business like any other, and so that comes with the trappings of many other industries, i.e. wealth inequality, mistreatment of workers, and racially segregated workforce, often determined by the disparity in wages. Publishing is an industry that very much believes in paying one’s dues, and then once those dues have been paid, they expect you to turn around and uphold that same system.


Daniel Vlastay’s “Stay Ugly” (All Due Respect Books) was reviewed at This Desperate City.

If you didn’t get a chance to read Greg Levin’s essay, “Why We Read (and Write) Dark Fiction Even During Terrible Times“, please do so.

If you’re looking for some fun to read, there is, of course, “The Exquisite Corpse”, a multi-author novel at Do Some Damage. The ebook, edited by Nick Kolakowski and Steve Weddle, is available for as a free download.


featured books


Never Go Back
by Jason Beech (Close to the Bone)


The Exquisite Corpse
edited by Nick Kolakowski and Steve Weddle (Do Some Damage)


Some Awful Cunning
by Joe Ricker (Down & Out Books)


All Kinds of Ugly
by Ralph Dennis (Brash Books)


Southern Cross Crime
by Craig Sisterson (Old Castle Books)


The Last Scoop
by R.G. Belsky (Oceanview Publishing)


The Aosawa Murders
by Riku Onda,
translated by Alison Watts (Bitter Lemon Press)


  1. People don’t say “nary a thought”, but man do they write it. Is it one of those phrases that make the reader notice the writing too much?
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Small Crimes: Friday Reads

Must Read: “What Writers Can Learn From Watching The NFL Draft” by Christoph Paul (LitReactor)

Book Review: “Man Standing Behind” by Pablo D’Stair (All Due Respect) (Col’s Criminal Library)

Book Review: “Punk Novelette” by Nick Gerrard (Punk Noir)

Essay: “Re-Covered: A Black Female Beat Novel from the Sixties” by Lucy Scholes (The Paris Review)

Short Story: “A Last Look From The Half Moon Hotel” by Stephen J. Golds (Bristol Noir)

Photographs: Big City #97 (Fragments of Noir)

Featured Book: “Southern Cross Crime” by Craig Sisterson (Old Castle Books)

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Small Crimes: Monday Reads

K.A. Laity on the roots of Ripley and Patricia Highsmith (Bristol Noir)

Andrew Nette on Carter Brown and the Australian craze for faux American crime fiction (Pulp Curry)

Steve Weddle interviews William Boyle, author of “City of Margins” (LA Review of Books)

Gabino Iglesias on Ten Types Of Authors Who Can Go Fuck Themselves (Mystery Tribune)

Review of Graham Black’s “Lying and Dying” (2017) (Col’s Criminal Library)

Amazon Crossing gives nine translated books away for free for World Book Day, you have until Thursday or so to download them (Amazon Crossing)

Big Lonely City #96, a series of black and white photographs (Fragments of Noir)

“The Exquisite Corpse: Lockdown Noir” edited by Steve Weddle is available for free in your favorite ebook format (Do Some Damage)

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Small Crimes: Thursday Reads

Interview with Art Taylor, author of “The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74” (Writers Who Kill)

Podcast interview with Paul D. Marks, author of the forthcoming “The Blues Don’t Care” (Wrong Place, Write Crime)

Review of “True Dark”, a novel by Mike Miner (Col’s Criminal Library)

Review of “H.R.F. Keating: A Life of Crime”, a biography by Sheila Mitchell (The Venetian Vase)

“Homecoming”, short fiction by John Timm (Close to the Bone)

“In The Cold, Cold Night”, short fiction by Paul D. Brazill (Bristol Noir)

“Exquisite Corpse”, a multi-author serial that has nothing to do with the pandemic (Do Some Damage)