Archive for September, 2016

Very pleased to have been given this bit of news from Brash Books:

Outside-02-215x330“Outside The Law is a winner in the tradition of Justified and Walking Tall. There’s right and there’s wrong and the no man’s land in between. Thompson explores them all, but it’s the reader who gets the big payoff in the end.”
–Reed Farrel Coleman, New York Times bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Debt To Pay



Crime Fiction links and stuff

Novelist Carl Hiaasen: You can scream about injustice or you can use humor: Carl Hiaasen’s home state of Florida gives him a lot to laugh about.razorgirl

How to be a best-selling crime writer: “I like to think about the back of my head as a compost heap – you chuck everything in there and what survives is the really interesting stuff,” says award-winning author Val McDermid

Tana French’s novel ‘The Trespasser’ begs us to take crime fiction seriouslyIt has become increasingly clear that American-born, Dublin-based Tana French is the most interesting, most important crime novelist to emerge in the past 10 years.

Val McDermid on PD James: ‘She faced the darkness head on’Like so many crime writers, PD James was drawn to her vocation out of love. Before she took up her pen, she was a keen reader of detective novels, and over her long career she remained fascinated by the so-called golden age that followed the end of the first world war.

Spectator launches new books podcast



peepland_2_cover_b-1-530x804Via Crime Fiction Lover: Christa Faust and Gary Phillips interviewed

Deep South Crime: Author writes fictional tale about sensational 1932 Natchez crime  — On a 1997 book tour stop in Natchez (Miss.), Michael Llewellyn said he was so intrigued by the city’s rich history that he hoped to write a book some day.

Why Banned Books Week is increasingly a good thing for graphic novels: It is a sign of its elevated status and popularity that graphic novels have grown to own more shelving within your local library — and likewise, a more prominent place in national conversations about literature.

honeyinhismouthVia Crime Fiction Lover: 10 OF THE BEST PULP CRIME BOOKS — The pulp fiction phenomenon began early in the 20th century and its heyday was in the 1920s and 30s when hundreds upon hundreds of quickly written titles were released each year promising adventure, danger and romance for anyone brave enough to open up the dramatic covers.

Book Review: A Deadly Thaw by Sarah Ward: A body found in a disused mortuary in Derbyshire opens up an old murder case – and a poisonous can of worms – for the local police force.

How Graphic Novelist Jill Thompson Is Reinventing The Most Iconic Superheroine Of All Time: Jill Thompson is an Eisner Award winning artist and writer, and she’s reinventing Wonder Woman with her latest graphic novel, Wonder Woman: The True Amazon.

Graphic sex: intimate cartoon history of sex translated into English
Ranging from Cleopatra’s invention of the vibrator to a Dutch shopkeeper’s accidental discovery of the existence of sperm, a comic book detailing the history of sex, which became a surprise hit in France earlier this year, is due out in English in October.

A round-up of links that interest me … maybe you, too, as we kick off Banned Books Week.

From CrbulletimeSpree: J. A. Jance’s Downfall reviewed

Two Down & Out Books Titles Win Major Literary Awards during Bouchercon 2016: Earlier this month, Down & Out Books celebrated two major literary award wins during the annual Bouchercon in New Orleans. Circling the Runway, the fourth Jake Diamond mystery by J.L. Abramo, won a Shamus Award for Best Paperback Original PI Novel, and Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015, edited by Art Taylor, was honored with an Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection.

Graphic Novel Review, Daredevil Back in Black: Supersonic — Having established ol’ Hornhead’s new status quo in the first volume of this series, writer Charles Soule now takes steps to reassert Daredevil’s role in the wider Marvel Universe.

Banned Books Week 2016: the 10 most challenged titles – in pictures: As the American Libraries Association’s annual celebration of the right to read kicks off, peruse the titles most frequently “challenged” in 2015, and some of the reasons behind calls to ban them.

Tana French’s intimate crime fiction: Crime novels are social novels. They can’t help it; without a society to define, condemn, and punish it, crime itself wouldn’t exist.

From Crime Fiction Lover, INTERVIEW: WARREN ADLER: Best known as the author who wrote The War of the Roses – adapted for film starring Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner – Warren Adler is a writer who has dabbled in a variety of genres.

Items of interest from  the world of crime fiction:

rogersVia Crime Fiction Lover: Pick, the Spade and the Crow by Bill Roger is one of our new crime releases this week.

‘The Night Of’ Couldn’t Outrun Its Genre : The Night Of finale delivered the ultimate ambiguous, unsatisfying, no-one’s-life-is-better-for-this-except-the-cat’s ending we all should’ve expected. And to get there, it used all the beats of the dyed-in-the-wool procedural that this series spent eight weeks stressing it was not.

More from the world of crime fiction…

plComic book legend Chuck Dixon has written a crime novel and it’s set in Philadelphia.

Shrinkage is a about a shoplifter named Jeff who gets involved in a series of escalating adventures in Dixon’s take on the City of Brotherly Love in the 1970s.


Along the Edge – an Interactive Graphic Novel: Bordeaux, France. Nova-box SARL has announced their latest game, “Along the Edge” will be released on Steam and on Apple iPad on Wednesday, October 12th 2016. Along the Edge is a narrative game, set in the European countryside, where your choices impact the main character’s personality and appearance. It takes place in an adult and slightly fantastic universe painted with the vibrant colors of the European countryside.

Murder in Atlanta: race and crime in a criminal time: Thomas Mullen’s Darktown is set in 1948: a year almost equidistant between the end of slavery and today.

New Jo Nesbo Novel Coming next May: Harvill Secker is publishing a new Harry Hole detective novel in May 2017. The Thirst continues the story of the last novel to feature maverick cop Harry Hole, Nesbo’s 2013 novel Police, which saw him protecting those closest to him from a killer bent on revenge on the police. The latest 11th installment of the series will see Harry drawn back to the Oslo police force when a serial killer begins targeting Tinder daters with a signature killing method that leads Harry on the hunt of a nemesis from his past.

From Publishers Weekly: Bookstore News: Amazon moves into Southern California; a Wisconsin bookstore considers going co-op; Macmillan expedites holiday shipping; and more.

A round-up of stuff that interests me … in no particular order

Graeme Macrae Burnet on ‘His Bloody Project,’ Crime Writing and Eloquent Murderers

When Graeme Macrae Burnet’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlisted novel “His Bloody Project” was first released, it had an initial print run of just 1,500 copies.

Recommended Read (courtesy of Ron Earl Phillips over at Shotgun Honey): The Night Cyclist, by Stephen Graham Jones, a horror novelette about a middle-aged chef whose nightly bicycle ride home is interrupted by an unexpected encounter

Colson Whitehead is finalist for Kirkus fiction prize

Colson Whitehead is up for another literary honor, the Kirkus Prize for fiction. Whitehead’s acclaimed “The Underground Railroad,” a novel set during the Civil War, is among six nominees announced Tuesday for the $50,000 award. Whitehead’s book is also on the longlist for the National Book Awards and last month was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club.

From Glasgow — Interview: Douglas Skelton on Crime, Fiction, and Byres Road

The inaugural Byres Road Book Festival arrives this September weekend with a celebration of the written word and a plethora of award-winning authors and innovative events.

sherlock-holmesRetracing the Moorland Steps of Sherlock Holmes Writer Arthur Conan Doyle

Lindsay Turpin retraces the steps taken by Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle as he penned his most famous work.

It’s here at last … the final cover for my latest novel, Outside the Law, coming in February from Brash Books. Feel free to leave a comment.


hohwOne of the most enduring mythologies in American culture is that of the romanticized gangster — especially the reckless bank robber of the Dust Bowl during the Great Depression. In this myth, a down-and-outer from the lower castes of our society brazenly lands a mighty blow against The Man (exemplified by the U.S. banking system), and his brashness endears him to the masses with whom he shares the burden of being put-upon and demeaned by a feckless society.

David MacKenzie’s Hell or High Water breaks little new ground in his updating of this myth, but his superbly acted morality play is easily the best movie of the summer.

From Rotten Tomatoes: Texas brothers–Toby (Chris Pine), and Tanner (Ben Foster), come together after years divided to rob branches of the bank threatening to foreclose on their family land. For them, the hold-ups are just part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that seemed to have been stolen from under them. Justice seems to be theirs, until they find themselves on the radar of Texas Ranger, Marcus (Jeff Bridges) looking for one last grand pursuit on the eve of his retirement, and his half-Comanche partner, Alberto (Gil Birmingham). As the brothers plot a final bank heist to complete their scheme, and with the Rangers on their heels, a showdown looms at the crossroads where the values of the Old and New West murderously collide.

Foster carries the torch of the wild-eyed bank robber of the Wild West days, but with a West Texas redneck charm instead of the suit-and-tie oiliness of Dillinger. And, unlike the outlaws of old, Toby and Tanner learn — up close and personal — that today’s populace, especially in Texas, isn’t intimidated by some asshole in a ski mask carrying a gun. As with most outlaws, Tanner’s volatility is a liability, and Foster stays on that edge of near-crazy even as he remains steadfastly loyal to his brother. He knows who — and what — he is and accepts his fatalistic view of the world with the aplomb of the condemned.

Pine steps away from the Star Trek enterprise as the “noble” one in the story (echoed in the tagline: “Justice isn’t a crime”). Faced with impossible odds after his mother’s poor financial decisions and/or the evil machinations of greedy bankers (perspective is everything), he makes even more dubious choices with a scheme that makes sense only in the world of noir: rob enough banks to get the money needed to save the family farm (and launder the money through an amateurish casino scam). He’s the brains behind Foster’s brawn, and he plays Toby as low-key as Foster plays Tanner’s manic psychotic. The brothers share a determination and a resoluteness of purpose, each on his path, and Pine earns, if not your sympathy, then certainly your empathy (because we all want to strike a mighty blow at The Man, after all).

Jeff Bridges proves once again why he’s a force of nature as the grizzled Texas Ranger Marcus, who is one very reluctant step away from retirement and stuck in a world of two generations ago as he incessantly rides his half-Indian partner (a brilliantly understated Gil Birmingham). When Alberto informs Marcus, “You do know I’m half Mexican, too, right?” Marcus laconically informs him that he has plenty of Mexican jokes he’ll get to after he’s used up all his Injun jokes. “And that,” he growls, “could take a while.” Which sets up a devastatingly poignant moment in which we learn that Marcus has a soul after all.  It’s a brief moment in the film, like a lit match that flickers out in high wind, but it serves as one of the most arresting moments of the movie.

HOHW is one of those movies that allow the actors to fully explore and embody the characters they play and show us exactly who they are, without a lot of special effects or explosions or gunplay. It’s a solidly crafted, engrossing film that,though it tries, isn’t really about the decay of the American economy or culture or the evils of the banking system. It’s really about desperate men making life-or-death decisions in desperate times and taking care of things on their own — come hell or high water.