Could America Collapse? by James R. Duncan

I’m pleased to welcome Jim Duncan to the site today. I had the pleasure of working with Jim on his novel Blood Republic, a book that looks more and more prescient as each day of our current election cycle passes. In Blood Republic, 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. Jim presents the story in a balanced manner, showing no discernible preference for either side. Instead, he leaves it to the reader to decide where their allegiance lies and with whom they sympathize, as well as challenges readers to question why that is. The book is available in both paperback and Kindle formats.

Write What You Know, Y’all by Neliza Drew

It’s a tremendous pleasure to welcome Neliza Drew to the site today. I had the honor of working with Neliza on her debut novel, All the Bridges Burning, which was released on July 1st. Accomplished authors and respected reviewers are already weighing in with raves and kudos for Neliza and her lead character, Davis Groves. Author Josh Stallings calls the book “heartbreakingly real. Neliza Drew understands pain and alienation. She sees the scars we inflict on ourselves and the ones the world gifts us with.” Author Thomas Pluck says Davis Groves is “tattooed, with scars inside and out, and armed with brutal experience, an unfazeable demeanor, and a wicked sense of humor.” And reviewer Benoit Lelievre calls All the Bridges Burning “a very good mystery” that has “a powerful sense of realism.” So how did Neliza create that pain and alienation for Davis Groves, that sense of realism that permeates All the Bridges Burning? I’ll let her explain.

Write What You Know, Y’all

“Write what you know.” If there were ever a piece of overblown advice or a piece of advice regularly taken too literally,

The Sequel: A Long Road to Book 2 by Eric Beetner

It’s a pleasure to welcome Eric Beetner back to the blog. You can check out all of Eric’s previous guest posts, as well as my reviews of his work, in the Eric Beetner archive. Eric’s most recent book, When The Devil Comes To Call (280 Steps), drops today. It’s the sequel to The Devil Doesn’t Want Me, and it took a bit of a circuitous route to publication. I’ll let Eric explain.

The Sequel: A Long Road to Book 2

There’s talk of making a sequel to Blade Runner, a film that debuted in 1982. That’s a long time between the original and the follow up, and sometimes it felt like it would take 34 years for the sequel to The Devil Doesn’t Want Me to arrive, even though I wrote it over 4 years ago.

You see, I wrote the second book in the Lars and Shaine saga right on the heels of selling the first book. I quite liked it, called it When The Devil Comes To Call, and submitted it

Shakedown of the CIA in Books and Movies by Tantra Bensko

Today author Tantra Bensko is here in conjunction with the release of Glossolalia: Psychological Suspense, the first book in her Agents of the Nevermind series. Both Glossolalia and the series use the shady history of spy organizations, like the CIA, as the jumping off point for a trip down the rabbit hole into areas like mind control, false flags, virtual reality abduction, cultural orchestration as espionage, the collusion of church and state and more. It’s bound to be a wild ride, so buckle up.

Tantra BenskoShakedown of the CIA in Books and Movies

Nearly every big spy novel and movie in existence has been based on the tired formula of black vs white, the good guys save the world against the terrorists, moles, and evil enemy nation. I personally have limited interest in reading books in which a simplistic glorious CIA saves the day, or a rogue agent (in a good agency) goes bad.

Since I’ve studied the CIA in-depth all my adult life, I want to see more narratives, such as the very popular Barry Eisler’s books, like Inside Out, which

Reboot/Reborn by Arlene Hunt

I’m very pleased to welcome Arlene Hunt back to the site today. Arlene is the author of numerous books, including one of my favorite reads ever, The Outsider, an emotional sledgehammer of a story that dissects life in a small, rural Irish village by delving into aspects of human behavior that are at times extremely unpleasant: bigotry, sexism, religious intolerance, callousness, casual cruelty. Arlene previously guest posted in conjunction with her book The Chosen, in which she talked about how an Irish author went about writing a psychological thriller set in North Carolina. Today she’s here to talk about how that same book came to have a second life with a new publisher, this time under the title Last to Die, available now in the US and in the UK.

Archer HuntReboot/Reborn

It was a typical wet dreary Irish day. I was flailing about my office trying to peal off sodden running gear (not as easy a task as one might expect). Archer, my trusty – also wet – GSD, was staring at his empty food

Women’s Humanity in Crime Fiction by Marie Crosswell

It’s a pleasure to welcome Marie Crosswell to the site today. Her novella Texas, Hold Your Queens was recently released by One Eye Press Singles. Today, Marie is here to talk about the treatment of women in crime fiction, both the victims as well as the heroines/leads, and the challenges presented in making sure neither group is there merely to serve as a prop or jumping off point for other events (and male characters) in the story.

Marie CrosswellWomen’s Humanity in Crime Fiction

The issue of keeping women human in the crime genre is one that I’ll wrestle with probably for the duration of my career. Writing Texas, Hold Your Queens challenged me to do it in the most difficult situation: taking an unidentifiable female victim of rape and homicide with a life and personality unknowable to the reader, and making her more than just a catalyst for the protagonists’ story.

Too often in crime fiction, women are props, one-dimensional characters limited to the roles of sex object and violence object. They exist only in relation to men: the men who kill them, the men who

Wake From Death and Return to Life by Andrez Bergen

It’s always a pleasure to welcome Andrez Bergen back to the blog. Andrez is one of my all-time favorite authors, and someone who I believe consistently produces some of the most creative, complex, and challenging fiction around. He’s also a machine when it comes to producing said fiction, so much so it’s hard to keep up with the guy. His latest, Black Sails, Disco Inferno, co-authored with Renee Asher Pickup, is out now and he’s here to talk about an old friend who makes an appearance in it.

Andrez BergenWake From Death and Return to Life

Ever had a character you’ve channeled that it hurt to let go? Once I finished writing One Hundred Years of Vicissitude in 2012, that was how I felt about Kohana, one half of identical twin geisha born on the first day of the Great Depression in 1929. I pulled an all-nighter to complete copy-editing, sent the finished thing to my publishers Perfect Edge Books, lay down – and dreamed about the woman.

She’s been hovering (on precarious geta clogs) in the peripheral

A Lot of the Story Left to Tell by Joe Clifford

It’s an honor to welcome Joe clifford to the site today. Anyone with even a passing acquaintance with the crime fiction community has known about Clifford’s work for quite some time. From getting short stories published places like Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, and A Twist of Noir, to working as the editor of the The Flash Fiction Offensive, to his first two novels Wake the Undertaker and Junkie Love, Clifford has been a mainstay in the crime fiction community. He took things to the next level, however, with the release of the first book in his Jay Porter series, Lamentation, in late 2014. Lamentation was well received by readers and critics alike, garnering a starred review from Publishers Weekly and earning an Anthony Award nomination for Best Mystery Novel. Now, with the second Jay Porter book, December Boys, about to drop and the writing of the third already under his belt, Clifford has stopped by to talk about what it’s like to settle in to writing a series.

Joe CliffordA Lot of the Story Left to Tell

A week from today, December Boys,

My Journey With Hard Times by Les Edgerton

It’s truly an honor to welcome Les Edgerton to the site today. There are a lot of people out there writing noir, but Les is the real deal. His life experiences give his writing a verisimilitude you can’t learn from a book or earn via an MFA (though he also has one of those), and his razor-sharp way with words and highly tuned sense of pacing is nothing short of masterful. I’ll be reviewing his latest novel, Bomb, in the next couple of weeks, but not one to let grass grow under his feet, Les is already deep in the writing process for his next book, Hard Times. In fact, it’s a story that’s been haunting him, waiting to be written, for over sixty years.

Les EdgertonMy Journey With Hard Times

Elizabeth has given me a wonderful opportunity to appear on her blog, and she told me I could talk about anything I wanted to except I wasn’t to even mention a certain basketball player who I won’t name, but whose initials are Stephen Curry… So, I won’t.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to talk about

Terminal by Marshall Karp

“You started out this morning in the morgue, and you ended with a room full of people who are getting ready to take the big dirt nap. If you work homicide, it doesn’t get any more fun than that.” — Terry Biggs

As much as Detective Mike Lomax really doesn’t want to undergo his prostate exam, finding himself in the middle of an active shooter situation is not the way he’d have preferred to get out of it. Yet, in perhaps the ultimate case of being in the wrong place at the right time, Lomax springs from the exam table and responds, complete with ass hanging out of a flimsy exam gown, to the unmistakable sound of shotgun fire in the medical office complex where his doctor is located.

He arrives just in time to witness the shooter kill himself while standing over the body of the doctor he’s gunned down. Investigation reveals the shooter, Cal Bernstein, was terminally ill with a brain tumor, and though there was no connection between him and his victim, a fertility doctor, it still seems like an open and shut case.

That is until a

Hustle by Tom Pitts (Down & Out edition)

Hustle by Tom PittsIf you missed Hustle by Tom Pitts when it was first released, good news—a new edition is now out from Down & Out Books! Jacket copy:

Two young hustlers, caught in an endless cycle of addiction and prostitution, decide to blackmail an elderly client of theirs. Donny and Big Rich want to film Gabriel Thaxton with their cell phones during a sexual act and put the video up on YouTube. Little do they know, the man they’ve chosen, a high-profile San Francisco defense attorney, is already being blackmailed by someone more sinister: an ex-client of the lawyer’s. A murderous speed freak named Dustin has already permeated the attorney’s life and Dustin has plans for the old man. The lawyer calls upon an old biker for help and they begin a violent race to suppress his deadly secret.

I reviewed the book when it first dropped, and here’s a taste of that:

Author Tom Pitts pulls no punches, uses no filters, and offers no apologies or excuses for the behavior of the people who inhabit the world of Hustle. The result is a strikingly stark, in no