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Incident Report

Incident Report No. 88

“Late Night Decisions”, photograph by J Stimp, CC BY

How did last week go for you? The objectivity of time is losing its battle against the subjective interpretation of time during the quarantine, last week was both fast and slow for me. No prose recap this week, only links collected throughout the week. There are articles, book reviews, assorted other media links, and a few featured books. My one complaint — oh, I have many —, but my one complaint I’ll voice here was my inability to carve out some space to read more short stories. Maybe this week. Maybe not.


Articles

“Roller Derby and Mystery” by A.J. Devlin (Do Some Damage)

“Thrillers Bring The Light” by James Scott Bell (Kill Zone)

“25 Classic But Lesser-Known Crime Novels to Read in Lockdown, From King Dido to the Sam Dean Series” by Sarah Hughes (inews)

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/goldberg-slow-down/

Next stop for S.A. Cosby, the cover of Rolling Stone (Booklist)

“Legendary Paris bookshop reveals reading habits of illustrious clientele” by Alison Flood (The Guardian)

Submissions are open and what the editors are looking for (Longreads)

“‘This Is A Crazy Time, And It’s Okay If You’re Scared’ Says Man Burying Gagged Prisoner Alive” (The Onion)

“How I Hustled Hundreds of Dollars of Free Tacos for the Literary World” by MM Carrigan (Lit Hub)

More on Greil Marcus’s obsession with “The Great Gatsby” (The Baffler)

The First Two Pages: “Limited Liability” by Sarah Weinman (Art Taylor, Writer)

Otto Penzler’s out (The Crime Lady)

The beginnings of volume two is out now (The Exquisite Corpse)

“Murder in My High School” by K.A. Laity (Punk Noir)

Chapters by Ron Earl Phillips, Todd Morr, and Joseph S. Walker (The Exquisite Corpse)

“Robert Stone’s Bad Trips” by Scott Bradfield (The New Republic)

Submissions call for PM Press (Damppebbles)

Colman Keane interview Nigel Bird, author of “Let it Snow” (Col’s Criminal Library)

“Conflict Without Violence: How to Add More Depth To Your Fiction” by Autumn Christian (LitReactor)

“Tales From the Waffle House and other 24/7 Adventures” by Eve Fisher (SleuthSayers)

“A Day in the Life of a Detective” by Garry Rogers (Kill Zone)

I betcha that CrimeReads will continue to publish the old racist (Facebook)


Short Stories

“Against the Grain” by Rob McClure Smith (Tough)


Book Reviews

“Tommy Shakes” by Rob Pierce (All Due Respect Books) (Col’s Criminal Library)

“Rigged” by D.P. Lyle (Oceanview) (Lesa’s Book Critiques)

“The Only Good Indians” by Stephen Graham Jones (Saga Press) (Malcolm Avenue Reviews)

“Done Deal” by Tony Berry (Lume) (Kevin’s Corner)

“Throwing Off Sparks” by Michael Pool (PI Tales) (Kevin’s Corner)

“Cold Water” by Tom Pitts (Down & Out Books) (Criminal Element)

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

“We Don’t Talk About Her” by Andersen Prunty (Self-Published) (Just A Guy Who Likes To Read)

“A.P.B.” by David Pedneau (Col’s Criminal Library)

Two opposing views of “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins (Vox and NPR)

“Sorry for Your Trouble” by Richard Ford (Fiction Writers Review)

“Everything has Teeth” by Jeff Strand (Black Guys Do Read)

“Take Me Apart” By Sara Sligar (MCD) (LA Review of Books)

“Honky Tonk Samurai” by Joe Lansdale (Just A Guy Who Likes To Read)

“Dead Girl Blues” by Lawrence Block (Do Some Damage)

“A Rage at Sea / A Party Every Night” by Lorenz Heller (Bookgasm)


Podcasts

Podcast: “SILO” by Cameron Mount (EconoClash Review)

Podcast: Robin Burcell, ex-cop and writer, interviewed by Frank Zafiro (Wrong Place, Write Crime)

Podcast: Kimberly McCreight, Tom Pitts, Mary Keliikoa (Writer Types)


Other Media

Photographs: Big Lonely City #101 (Fragments of Noir)

Music: Drug dealers put up George Jones reel-to-reel tapes as bail decades ago (Saving Country Music)

TV Review: “The Cry” (BOLO Books)

Illustrations: Thomas Ott (Fragments of Noir)

Music: “Shelved: The Misfits’ 12 Hits From Hell” by Tom Maxwell (Longreads)

Photographs: Mosiac Noir #25 (Fragments of Noir)

Music: “Was 1973 the Greatest Year for Roots Music?” by Amos Perrine (No Depression)


Featured Books

“Raise the Blade” by Tess Makovesky (Amazon)


“Cold Water” by Tom Pitts (Down & Out Books)


“Benediction for a Thief” by LA Sykes (Close to the Bone)


“Slow Bear” by Anthony Neil Smith (Fahrenheit Press)


“A Rage at Sea / A Party Every Night” by Lorenz Heller (Stark House Press)


“Slow Down” by Lee Matthew Goldberg (All Due Respect Books)


Thanks for stopping by to read Incident Report No. 88. If you’d like to read more posts like this, please click here.

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Links

Violence, Waffle House, and Nigel Bird

Small Crimes: Friday Reads

“Violence, Waffle House, and Nigel Bird – Small Crimes: Friday Reads” features The Exquisite Corpse, Jeff Strand, Robert Stone, Writer Types, and much more.

Article: Colman Keane interview Nigel Bird, author of “Let it Snow” (Col’s Criminal Library)

Article: “Conflict Without Violence: How to Add More Depth To Your Fiction” by Autumn Christian (LitReactor)

Article: “Tales From the Waffle House and other 24/7 Adventures” by Eve Fisher (SleuthSayers)

Article: “A Day in the Life of a Detective” by Garry Rogers (Kill Zone)

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/goldberg-slow-down/

Article: Chapters by Ron Earl Phillips, Todd Morr, and Joseph S. Walker (The Exquisite Corpse)

Article: “Robert Stone’s Bad Trips” by Scott Bradfield (The New Republic)

Article: Submissions call for PM Press (Damppebbles)

Article: I betcha that CrimeReads will continue to publish the old racist (Facebook)

Book Review: “Everything has Teeth” by Jeff Strand (Black Guys Do Read)

Book Review: “Take Me Apart” By Sara Sligar (MCD) (LA Review of Books)

Podcast: Kimberly McCreight, Tom Pitts, Mary Keliikoa (Writer Types)

Book: “A Rage at Sea / A Party Every Night” by Lorenz Heller (Stark House Press)

Thanks for stopping by and reading “Violence, Waffle House, and Nigel Bird”. For more Small Crimes, click here.

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Incident Report

Incident Report No. 87

Photograph by Dacian Dorca (CC BY)

The Incident Report No. 87 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.


Several months ago, Chris Rhatigan, publisher of All Due Respect Books, asked if I’d like to help out his plan on resurrecting the All Due Respect zine. The idea was simple: we would publish hard-as-nails crime fiction with a touch of drinking money sent to the writers. I was already used to reading a slush pile. Years ago I use to read the slush pile for a literary magazine in Boston but reading so many stories again was definitely eye-opening with what makes or breaks a short story.

Luckily for y’all, over at Do Some Damage, Rhatigan lays down some guidelines that could be followed when writing short stories.

You don’t need a twist to construct a good short story. In fact, one of the most common mistakes I see is writers constructing stories that are built around a twist. In other words, the first three-quarters of the story seems to express, “wait for it, wait for it, the twist is coming!” Every part of a story should be engaging—not just the end. A related problem is that twists are so common that the law of diminishing returns kicks in. I would imagine most readers have seen plenty of twist endings. 

Simple plots that are handled with expert care and focus on a natural progression of events tend to make stronger stories.

Throughout Rhatigan’s “One Approach To Writing Short Stories”, he also recommends some great examples by Tom Pitts, Paul D. Brazill, and Stephen D. Rogers.

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/goldberg-slow-down/


Over at LitReactor, Max Booth III wrote about trigger warnings in horror fiction and, not surprisingly, there’s a lot of carryover to the crime fiction genre.

Imagine the following scenario: You are lounging on the couch wanting nothing more than to chill out with a cool-ass horror book. You are enjoying everything going on in the story until—whoa wait what the absolute fuck suddenly—you’ve come across a random rape scene, and now instead of having a good time you are reliving a past traumatic experience from your own life. Your entire goddamn day is ruined. Replace “rape” with “suicide” and it’s the same outcome. All you can think about now is a lost loved one who took their own life or perhaps the long struggle you faced overcoming personal suicidal ideations. Or, to continue with one more example, imagine reading a book where a young child dies in a gruesome manner soon after losing your own child. No way are you in any mental state to possibly continue reading. Shit like that is very likely to wreck you.

I feel I’m giving this essay short shrift, but it’s quality especially given Booth’s wearing of multiple hats in the horror genre: writer, editor, publisher, reviewer, and fan.


The fifth book of Dana King’s Penns River series, “Pushing Water” (Down & Out Books), recently came out, and King has been busy. There’s his Do Some Damage article about writing police procedurals which is quite informative.

It bothers me that so many people think what they “learn” in cop and courtroom novels and shows are how things really are. It creates unhealthy ideas of how law enforcement works, or doesn’t. To feel one has to choose between realism and entertainment is a door to lazy writing. There’s no reason the story can’t be both.

Then King’s off to be interviewed by Dietrich Kalteis at Off the Cuff.

I read cop memoirs to get an idea of how they think. I still leaf through Connie Fletcher’s books of cops’ stories. Adam Plantinga’s books 400 Things Cops Know and Police Craft are wonderful resources. Ask some cops how cases get solved and they’ll tell you it’s usually because someone talks.

But wait there’s more!

King interviewed Tom Pitts on the eve of his upcoming release Cold Water (Down & Out Books). Pitts talked about his new book.

I think the Everyman facing insurmountable odds is a powerful theme, and very relatable. I wanted to write something akin to Joe Lansdale’s Hot in December or Cold in July, but my own version. And in Northern California. And I wanted it to play out in a few locations, not just San Francisco. I think the suburban sprawl is under-represented in fiction. Gentrification has made the big cities so banal. Where’s the hunger, where’s the struggle, where’s the passion? In the burbs, baby.


Other Articles

Adam Scovell on reading crime fiction during the pandemic (3:AM Magazine)

Alex George on letting it all burn, “Why Do Some Writers Burn Their Work” (Lit Hub)

“The Comprehensive Guide to Finding, Hiring, and Working with an Editor” by Chantel Hamilton (Jane Friedman)

“Author Spotlight: Andrew Davie” by Scott Cumming (Eight Million Books to Read)

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

“The Origins of Scandinavian Noir” by Wendy Lesser (The Paris Review)


Book Reviews

“This Letter to Norman Court” by Pabo D’Stair (All Due Respect Books) (Col’s Criminal Library)

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

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

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

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

“Sordid: Five Crime Stories” by Harry Hunsicker (Kevin’s Corner)

“Broken Dreams” by Nick Quantrill (Fahrenheit Press) (Ian Ayris)

“The Waiting Rooms” by Eve Smith (Orenda Books) (Crime Fiction Lover)

“Rock and a Hard Place Issue #2” (Eight Million Books to Read)


Featured Books

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


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


“The Good Book: Fairy Tales for Hard Men” by Tom Leins (All Due Respect Books)


“We Need To Do Something” by Max Booth III (Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing)


“Nightmare Asylum and other Deadly Delights” by Sonia Kilvington (Close to the Bone)


“The Brooklyn Trilogy” by Robert J. Randisi (Down & Out Books)


Thanks for stopping by to read Incident Report No. 87. If you’d like to read more posts like this, please click here.

Categories
Links

Trigger Warnings, Nightmares, and Writing

Small Crimes: Friday Reads

Nightmare Asylum and Other Deadly Delights by Sonia Kilvington | trigger warnings nightmares writing

Article: “Let’s Talk About Trigger Warnings” by Max Booth III (LitReactor)

Article: “One Approach To Writing Short Stories” by Chris Rhatigan (Do Some Damage)

Article: “Publisher Profile: How Three Rooms Press Operates” (Forbes)

Book Review: “The Waiting Rooms” by Eve Smith (Orenda Books) (Crime Fiction Lover)

Zine Review: “Rock and a Hard Place Issue #2” (Eight Million Books to Read)

Videos: “Celebrating Saul Bass’s centenary: 10 essential title sequences” (BFI)

Book: “Nightmare Asylum and other Deadly Delights” by Sonia Kilvington (Close to the Bone)

Thanks for stopping by and reading

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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?
Categories
Links

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)

Categories
Links

Small Crimes: Thursday Reads

K. A. Laity on “Detours”, the book by Martin H. Goldsmith and the two films based on the book (Punk Noir)

If you’re angry at a person and you want to kill them in your book, Peter Derk proposes an alternate way to deal with that anger (LitReactor)

Portrait Of The Artist As A Consumer: Renato Bratkovič (Punk Noir)

Interview with Max Allan Collins (Criminal Element)

Book Review: “Stay Ugly” by Daniel Vlasaty (All Due Respect) (This Desperate City)

Scott D. Parker to read and record the entirety of his book, “Wading into War” (Scott D. Parker)

“Revolver”, a short story, by Jim Hamilton (Shotgun Honey)

Podcast: James L’Etoile interviewed by Dana King (Wrong Place, Write Crime)

X release a new album called “Alphabetland” and you can listen to it for free (Pitchfork)

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