Cold War Canoe Club Author Jeffery Hess Interviewed by James R. Duncan

Doing something a little different here today, in which I welcome two authors I’ve had the pleasure of working with, Jeff Hess and Jim Duncan, for an interview between the two of them. I worked with Jeff on his novel Beachhead and the just released collection Cold War Canoe Club, both from Down & Out Books, as well as on a couple of projects in the pipeline. In what turned out to be a somewhat prescient manuscript, I had the pleasure of working with Jim on Blood Republic, a story in which America descends into a second civil war, one driven by conservative vs. liberal ideology run amok in the wake of the most hotly contested presidential election in history. Jeff and Jim know each other from their work on the award-winning Home of the Brave anthologies, which Jeff edited and Jim contributed to as an author. Today, Jim interviews Jeff about Cold War Canoe Club and how Jeff used his six-year stint in the Navy to fuel the stories therein.

Dancing Fingertips Over A Skull by Court Merrigan

It’s a pleasure to welcome Court Merrigan back to the site. Court’s short fiction has been in publications such as Thuglit, Pulp Ink, Crime Factory, Plots With Guns, Beat To A Pulp, and Needle over the years, and he was a contributor to the collections Trouble in the Heartland and Home of the Brave: Somewhere in the Sand. His first solo work, the collection Moondog Over the Mekong, was well-received by readers. Today, Court stopped by to talk about the role the pseudoscience phrenology plays in his debut novel The Broken Country.

A Brief Primer on Martial Arts for Writers by Brian Klingborg

Brian Klingborg’s recently released debut, Kill Devil Falls (Midnight Ink), is racking up five-star reviews and was described by Mystery Scene magazine as “truly scary” and “deliciously creepy.” Reviewers consistently point to the book’s “intrigue and action,” with one reviewer saying Klingborg had his foot on “the adrenaline pedal until the very end.” It should come as no surprise then that Klingborg takes getting the details of his action scenes seriously, and today he’s here to share some tips from his nearly thirty years of experience practicing and researching martial arts.

Experiencing A Book through Virtual Reality by Khaled Talib

I’m pleased to welcome Khaled Talib to the site today. Based in Singapore, Khaled is a former journalist whose articles were syndicated worldwide. His short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines, he is a member of both UK Crime Writers Association and International Thriller Writers, and Khaled’s debut novel, Smokescreen, was met with great reviews from both readers and Khaled’s peers. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Khaled on two novels, the first of which, Incognito, drops today from World Castle Publishing. Look for Gun Kiss later in 2017.

Revisiting Rural Noir by Nick Kolakowski

It’s a pleasure to welcome Nick Kolakowski to the site. Nick’s work has appeared in publications including The Washington Post, McSweeney’s, North American Review, Thuglit, and Crime Syndicate Magazine, and he previously released the well-received collection Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me. Today, Nick’s here to talk about rural noir and small-town classics in support of his newest, A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps (Shotgun Honey), billed as “a gonzo noir journey into obsession, violence, and the power of love.”

Remo Went Down

“I’ve worked with Elizabeth on both self-published and traditionally published books. Each time I found her to be extremely professional, timely and she provided a great knowledge of the genre of crime fiction, as well as fixed my grammatical travesties. I could go with any number of people to correct my spelling, but Elizabeth gave my writing a bit more that I feel really helped push it to its final stage.” — Mike McCrary


Crazy Reads by S.W. Lauden

S.W. Lauden is back on the site today, this time to talk about his newest, Crossed Bones (Down & Out Books), the sequel to Crosswise, the book that introduced readers to series characters Tommy and Shayna. It seems several people, including me, have used the word “crazy” (in a good way) as part of their description of Crossed Bones, which got Lauden thinking about what that word means when describing art, what some of the craziest books he’s ever read are, and he invites you to share your “crazy” book thoughts.

Truly Like Going Home by Dana King

It’s an honor to welcome two time Shamus Award-nominated author Dana King to the site. In addition to his Nick Forte private investigator series, King is also author of the acclaimed Penns River series set in Western Pennsylvania. The third book in that series, Resurrection Mall, is out now from Down & Out Books, and today King has stopped by to talk about what it’s like to write a series based so closely on the area where he grew up.

God’s Radio Transmitter by Gavin Scott

It’s a pleasure to welcome Gavin Scott back to the site today. Gavin has extensive experience in radio, film and television, having spent twenty years working as a reporter for the BBC and ITN, as well as in Hollywood as a screenwriter on projects with such film royalty as Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. Gavin’s newest novel, The Age of Olympus, second in the post-WWII England set series featuring ex-Special Operations Executive agent Duncan Forrester, is out now from Titan Books.

Changing Horses by Susan C. Shea

It’s a pleasure to welcome Susan C. Shea back to the site. Susan is the author of the Dani O’Rourke mystery series: Murder in the Abstract, The King’s Jar and Mixed Up With Murder. Though critically well received, the series had a bit of a nomadic existence as far as publishers go. Inspired by visits with friends in France, Susan started playing around with a new mystery set in a small French village. Before she knew it, Susan had a two-book offer from a publisher for a new series. The first book in that series, Love & Death in Burgundy, is out May 2nd from Minotaur Books. But what about Dani? Susan explains what it’s like to make the decision to leave old friends behind…at least for now.

Cold War Canoe Club

“At some point in the revision process, writers inevitably lose sight of the words they’ve written. The sharp eye and mind of Elizabeth White can help you see your work anew. She tells you where you’ve done your job well, and where you’ve made a mess of things—story notes, line edits, fact checking, you name it. And all this feedback comes with the vibe of a smart friend who gets what you’re doing.” — Jeff Hess


The Accidental Series by J. L. Abramo

It’s an honor to welcome Shamus Award-winning author J.L. Abramo to the site. A longtime fixture in the crime fiction community, Abramo is probably best known for his Jake Diamond PI series (Catching Water in a Net, Clutching at Straws, Counting to Infinity and Circling the Runway). Today, Abramo stops by in conjunction with his latest release, Coney Island Avenue (Down & Out Books), which revisits the denizens of Brooklyn’s 61st Precinct Abramo introduced readers to in 2012’s acclaimed Gravesend.

The Bad Boy Boogie by Thomas Pluck

You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated member of the crime fiction community than author Thomas Pluck. In addition to being known for his own hard-hitting writing, including Blade of Dishonor and The Summer of Blind Joe Death, Pluck has spearheaded three anthologies of crime fiction to benefit the organizations Children 1st and PROTECT: The Lost Children: A Charity Anthology, Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT, and Protectors 2: Heroes. Crime fiction fans can also frequently find Pluck taking part in the Noir at the Bar events held in NYC. Today, Pluck stops by to talk about his latest novel, Bad Boy Boogie (Down & Out Books), and to explain why “there’s no one better than an outsider to see the ugly truth of a place.”

Lake City

It was a pleasure to work with Theolyn Brock on Lake City: Stories From a Country-Ass Town, a collection of fiction based on her family’s lore. And though fiction, you’ll recognize the truths contained in the stories of love and loss, quirkiness and quiet resolve, ambition and desperation that unfold between the covers.


Leadfoot by Eric Beetner

What’s ahead of you is always more dangerous than what’s behind. — Calvin McGraw

Eric Beetner first introduced readers to the Iowa-based McGraw and Stanley clans in Rumrunners (280 Steps), in which eighty-six-year-old McGraw patriarch Calvin had pretty much garaged his ride for the last time and the family business—driving for the Stanley clan’s off-the-books enterprises—was being handled by his son, Webb. And even though Calvin was drawn back into things over the course of the wild ride that was Rumrunners, you couldn’t help but wonder what he was like in his prime. Well, wonder no more.