Categories
Incident Report

Incident Report No. 99

Photo by Khoa Võ from Pexels

Features

Gabino Iglesias on the crime writing of Paco Ignacio Taibo II at CrimeReads.

“Why Is Publishing So White?” by Richard Jean So and Gus Wezerek at The New York Times.

Interview with Ron Rash, author of “In the Valley”, at Southern Review of Books.

Jay Wilburn live-streamed writing 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo.

KKUURRTT and Tex Gresham chat about Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s film “Greener Gass” at Babou 691.

Interview with Erika T. Wurth, author of “Buckskin Cocaine” (Astrophil Press, 2017) at Full Stop.

Tom Quiller, author of “Evergreen” (Dream Paladin Books, 2020), is interviewed by John Wisniewski at Punk Noir Magazine.

“The Long, Dark Legacy of William Hjortsberg’s Supernatural Neo-Noirs” by Andrew Nette at CrimeReads.

Interview with cartoonist Berkeley Breathed, creator of “Bloom County”, at The New York Times.

Interview with crime fiction master Janet Evanovich at CrimeReads.

Brian Morton on the politics of cultural appropriation at Dissent Magazine.

A fantastic essay in The New York Times by Ligaya Mishan, “The Long and Tortured History of Cancel Culture”.

Gabino Iglesias on agents, can’t live with them, can’t stuff them in a sack.

Everyone has a different journey to writing, and Chris Whitaker’s path was certainly odd.

Some new short story collections via Chicago Review of Books.

A short interview with Andrzej Sapkowski, the mind behind “The Witcher”, at Literary Hub.

CrimeReads presents us with a 1965 TV interview with John le Carré.

There’s some much juiciness in Joanna Scutts’s The Times Literary Supplement essay on self-help books and their relationship to literary criticism.

An appreciation of Alison Lurie at the Los Angeles Times.

Electric Lit’s Favorite Short Story Collections of 2020

Part II of LitReactor’s Best of 2020.

Taking a test spin of the Netflix of Books, BingeBooks.

Interview with Les Edgerton, author of “Hard Times” (Bronzeville Books, 2020).

Interview with science fiction master Kim Stanley Robinson at Los Angeles Review of Books.

The First Two Pages: “When the Wind Is Southerly” by Leone Ciporin at Art Taylor, Writer.

What the pandemic could mean to Arts in the United States.

Interview Judith Levine and Erica R. Meiners, authors of “The Feminist and the Sex Offender”, who talk about the history of the sex offender registry and explore how we can strive to reduce sexual harm without mass incarceration.

Longreads Best of 2020: Crime Reporting.

Quite a few stories and poems were released on Hypnopmp.

Reviews

Review of “The Wingspan of Severed Hands” by Joanna Koch (Weirdpunk Books, 2020) at Babou 691.

Kevin Tipple reviews “All Due Respect 2020” edited by Chris Rhatigan and yours truly.

Review of “The Aosawa Murders” by Riku Onda, translated by Alison Watts (Bitter Lemon Press, 2020)

Ian Ayris reviews “The Art of Serial Killing” by Mark Ramsden (Fahrenheit 13, 2015).

Review of “The Ancient Hours” by Michael Bible (Melville House, 2020) at Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

Review of “Saying Uncle” by Greg Gifune (2008) at Black Guys Do Read.

Scott Alderberg reviews of “Loveloid” by J.L. Morin (Harvard Square Editions, 2020) at Do Some Damage.

Fiction

New fiction from Daniel Torday at Guernica.

New flash fiction by Max Thrax at Bristol Noir.

New fiction by Phil Hurst at Punk Noir Magazine.

Bristol Noir presents us with new disturbing flash fiction from William R. Soldan.

New fiction from Bryan Costales at Close to the Bone.

Bristol Noir has new fiction from C.W. Blackwell.

New fiction by Rosemary McLean at Tough.

New flash fiction by Ted Flanagan at Shotgun Honey.

New fiction by Mark McConville at Bristol Noir.

New fiction from David Summers at Close to the Bone.

Fiction from Paul D. Brazill.

New fiction by Stephen J. Golds.

New flash fiction from Jeff Esterholm at Pulp Modern.

New fiction by Ian Ayris at Punk Noir Magazine.

Poetry

New poetry by Sharon Waller Knutson at The Five-Two.

Review of Alex Balgiu and Mónica de la Torre’s “Women in Concrete Poetry: 1959–1979” at BOMB Magazine.

New poetry by J.J. Campbell at The Rye Whiskey Review

New poetry by Ian Lewis Copestick at Punk Noir Magazine.

New poetry by Timothy Gager at Live Nude Poems.

New poetry by Brian Rihlmann at The Rye Whiskey Review.

New poetry from Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal at The Rye Whiskey Review,

Punk Noir Magazine has new poetry from John Patrick Robbins.

New poetry by Scott Ferry.

Louise Glück’s Nobel Lecture.

New poetry by Lisa Reynolds at The Rye Whiskey Review.

Podcasts

Frank Zafiro interviews TK Thorne, author of “House of Rose” (Camel Press, 2020) at Wrong Place, Write Crime.

Interview with Christopher Golden, author of Red Hands (2020) at Ink Heist.

Film and TV

Nick Kolakowski thinks that “The Good Thief” might be the best heist movie you’ve never seen.

Growing up watching “Bewitched” and loving Elizabeth Montgomery in “The Legend of Lizzie Borden”, I’m interested in watching the TV movie “Mrs. Sundance” (1974) that was reviewed by David Cranmer in Western Fictioneers.

That’s a hell-a lotta words about Goodfellas.

The Babou 691 interview with Chris Kelso and Laura Lee Bahr, screenwriters of the short film, “Strange Bird”.

Music

New music from Sturgill Simpson.

Ambient composer Harold Budd has died.

Best Southern Albums of 2020 from The Bitter Southerner.

The importance of the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack 20 years later.

Art and Photography

Photography of Joan Colom at Fragments of Noir.

Fragments of Noir presents more photographs by Roger Schall.

The Dirty Femmes series continues at Fragments of Noir.

Books

Jason Parent’s “Eight Cylinders” (Crystal Lake Publishing, 2020) is out.

Scott Grand’s “The Girl with the Stone Heart” (All Due Respect, 2020) is out.

“Damaged Goods”, a short story collection, by J. Travis Grundon (2020).

“Killer, Come Back to Me” by Ray Bradbury (Hard Case Crime, 2020), a collection of crime stories.

All Due Respect is accepting short story submissions. We’d love to publish more stories from women, writers of color, and other marginalized voices. We pay $25 upon publication. Submission guidelines here.

Categories
Links

Jason Beech, Erika T. Wurth, and Elizabeth Montgomery

The second book of Jason Beech’s City of Forts series is out and it’s called “American Spartan” (2020). It’s going for .99¢ right now, so get on it.

Tom Quiller, author of “Evergreen” (Dream Paladin Books, 2020), is interviewed by John Wisniewski at Punk Noir Magazine.

Interview with Erika T. Wurth, author of “Buckskin Cocaine” (Astrophil Press, 2017) at Full Stop.

“The Long, Dark Legacy of William Hjortsberg’s Supernatural Neo-Noirs” by Andrew Nette at CrimeReads.

Kevin Tipple reviews “All Due Respect 2020” edited by Chris Rhatigan and yours truly.

Growing up watching “Bewitched” and loving Elizabeth Montgomery in “The Legend of Lizzie Borden”, I’m interested in watching the TV movie “Mrs. Sundance” (1974) that was reviewed by David Cranmer in Western Fictioneers.

KKUURRTT and Tex Gresham chat about Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe’s film “Greener Gass” at Babou 691.

All Due Respect is accepting short story submissions. We’d love to publish more stories from women, writers of color, and other marginalized voices. We pay $25 upon publication. Submission guidelines here.

Categories
& The Rest

Best of 2018

All the regular caveats and such. You’ll notice several short story collections and two books from 2017 I finally caught up with. But first, the Book of the Year.

Book of the Year

The rest of the Best listed alphabetically.

grant jerkins

Here are some books from 2018 that are worthy of your money as well and, again, listed in no particular order: “Know Me From Smoke” by Matt Phillips, “Welcome to HolyHell” by Math Bird, “The Science of Paul” by Aaron Philip Clark, “Fast Bang Booze” by Lawrence Maddox, “Down the River Unto The Sea” by Walter Mosley, “Accidental Outlaws” by Matt Phillips, “May” by Marietta Miles, “Knuckledragger” by Rusty Barnes, and “Breaking Glass” by Alec Cizak.

Here’s my 2017 list if you’re interested.

Categories
Interviews

Suspect’s Viewpoint: Preston Lang

A few months ago I reviewed Preston Lang’s “Sunk Costs” and wrote, “Unlike kids soccer teams that give out participation trophies like candy on Halloween, I don’t award five-star reviews that often, but Preston Lang’s Sunk Costs deserves each and every one of those stars.”

David: Is Preston Lang a pseudonym? I ask because finding information on you is difficult. Hell, pictures of you are almost non-existent. Is your limited internet footprint intentional or is it something that just happened?

Preston: Yeah, it’s a pseudonym. Not a huge deal or anything, but I’ve got a few reasons to stay low key.

David: The writing in “Sunk Costs” is spare but not bare bones. You made a comment about the quotes I used in my review edited by Chris Rhatigan, editor and publisher of All Due Respect Books. What are a few of the things you learned about your writing through the editing process with Chris?

Preston: First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to read and review. I just went back and looked at the original of one of the passages you cited in the review, and it was really long and barely comprehensible. Chris and Nigel Bird were both great. They did an excellent job of pointing out logical errors, redundancies, and clunky sentences, and I felt very comfortable that what we were putting out was an actual professional-looking book. This wasn’t a surprise or anything because it was the second time I’ve been through the process with ADR.

Maybe the biggest thing I learned was that it’s important to find the right place for your books. As you say, the writing in Sunk Costs is pretty spare. A lot of editors might have had a problem with that—needs more fleshing out, description, internal monologue—but ADR got that it’s all right for a novel to go light on these elements.

David: “Sunk Costs” is a throw-back to the pulp books of the 40s and 50s, but it never feels dated or false. Set in today’s world, “Sunk Costs” has a drifter come in touch with a criminal conspiracy in a small town. I’m thinking that there are obvious influence of Jim Thompson and James Cain. Not that “Sunk Costs” is solely an homage to those earlier books, but what are some of the influences that drove you to write this book?

Preston: A few people have told me that it feels old-fashioned, which is really cool but not something I completely understand. Characters have cell phones and airports have serious security. A while back, I tried to write something set around 1950, but it wasn’t really coming together.

So Thompson and Cain are influences, though I don’t think I had them in the front of my head writing this. There was probably an element of those old TV shows where someone just wanders around getting into weird adventures. I remember as a little kid watching Starman, where Robert Hays from Airplane was traveling America getting into scrapes. It turned out he was an alien, but it took me a few episodes to figure that out. There was also a similar show in Canada called The Littlest Hobo that’s also pretty good.

I like the freedom of introducing a character into a situation where he’s has no past and very little context and then seeing what he can make out of it.

David: Shotgun Honey recently re-released “The Carrier” and you have some short stories published in Pulp Modern and Switchblade. When you write are you focused on one thing such as a short store or novel or are you able to move between different projects?

Preston: Mostly I work on novels, and I try to keep going until the one I’m writing on is done. But sometimes if I have a decent idea for something shorter, it can be a real relief to get away from the big mess for a few days.

David: Give me five books to read, genre doesn’t matter.

Preston: Just some I got to recently:

Three Kinds of Fools, Matt Phillips
Tussinland, Mike Monson
Two Down, one Across, Ruth Rendell
Hard Knocks, Ruby Lang
American Static, Tom Pitts
The Magic Barrel, Bernard Malamud

That might be six, but books are good.


Thanks for reading this Unlawful Acts interview.

Categories
Books

Sunk Costs by Preston Lang

sunk_costs_preston_langPreston Lang walks among the giants Thompson and Cain with his new book Sunk Costs. A hitchhiker, Dan, comes into town and gets involved in a scheme to steal money that’s already been stolen.

More than a mimicking of the greats, the cadence of Lang’s writing is what makes Sunk Costs worth reading. Lang’s voice belies a calmness that mirrors Dan’s ability to take everything in from the boring to the dangerous. Things happen to Dan outside of his control but lest you think Dan might be an unwilling participant, he also makes decisions that move the story along. In the first chapter, Dan is picked up hitchhiking by a middle-aged woman somewhere in Central Illinois.

She looked at him again, longer this time, studying his eyes carefully. A lot of people think America’s highways are flush with serial killers and Satanists. They’re not, but they can be pretty well stocked with mean, drunk bastards and sadistic jokers. This woman didn’t seem to fall into either of those categories, yet all Dan’s instincts told him she was dangerous. He had jumped out of moving cars before, but on a cold morning like this one, he was just too tired. The idea of busting a leg on the highway was the kind of thing he was willing to balance with the idea of dodging a kitchen knife coming from a fire-eyed woman driving sixty miles an hour. They were both quiet for a while. The driver turned back to the road and relaxed her gaze.

Dan has a long history of bumming around the county as well as doing things that are not on the up and up. When he gets this opportunity to try a make a score, he figures why not. Throughout Sunk Costs, the outside world encroaches on the plans to steal the stolen money and it doesn’t come off as heavy-handed. Lang’s words occur only to convey the situation at hand, “Crazy. All of her words sounded crazy, but the woman was calm and steady. She was a whole lot of trouble, but it was a rational, calculated, indoor kind of trouble.”

There is a remarkable balance in Lang’s sentences, we never see Lang sweat, the words just are. Lang can give us needed information and descriptions of people or the places around them with ease and artistry.

He might not trust Kate, but he felt confident that she wouldn’t do anything on purpose to wreck her own life, and that was enough to go on for the moment—riding and thinking and sweating in the overheated car. The scenery grew flat and grassy.

Lang doesn’t skimp on the story as Sunk Costs has its share of crazy moments, but it’s the beauty of his prose that will make me remember this book at the end of the year. Unlike kids soccer teams that give out participation trophies like candy on Halloween, I don’t award five-star reviews that often, but Preston Lang’s Sunk Costs deserves each and every one of those stars.

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