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Julius Katz and Archie by Dave Zeltserman

August 2, 2011 by  •
Julius Katz and Archie by Dave Zeltserman“How do we pick which one among a group of psychopaths is our killer?” – Archie

Julius Katz is an unquestionably brilliant private investigator who lives and works in Boston. Unfortunately, he’s also unquestionably lazy, only working when his cash flow dips below the point of sustaining his healthy interests in fine wine, upscale dining, and gambling.

Julius Katz and Archie finds Julius hired by famous crime fiction author Kenneth Kingston to participate in a publicity stunt to help launch Kingston’s upcoming release, and hopefully boost severely lagging sales. The idea is to gather six “suspects” together in Julius’ office and, with press gathered, reveal one of them as being behind a plot to kill Kingston.

Having recently hit a bad streak of luck at poker, and always with an eye on adding to his extensive wine collection, Julius reluctantly agrees. However, a funny thing happens on the way to the bestseller list.

As Julius has the six suspects gathered in his office awaiting Kingston’s arrival, Julius’ assistant, Archie, happens upon a Boston Police radio communication indicating a body has been found at Kingston’s residence. It seems someone really was out to kill Kingston, and what started as a publicity stunt has turned into a very real mystery for Julius and Archie to solve.


Dust Devils by Roger Smith

July 27, 2011 by  •
Dust Devils by Roger Smith“Welcome to the heart of goddam darkness, son.”
- Bobby Goodbread

A man who protested alongside black South Africans for the end of apartheid, freelance journalist Robert Dell is a devoted pacifist with a deeply ingrained sense of justice. When his wife and children are killed after a truck deliberately forces them off the road, Dell’s grief turns into outrage when he is accused of being the one responsible for their deaths.

Initially placing his trust in the justice system to set things straight, Dell quickly realizes those responsible for the deaths of his family have connections in both the police force and court; he’s being railroaded, and the only way he can prove his innocence is to bring down the real culprit. Not an easy task, and one with which Dell reluctantly accepts his father’s help.

Ironically, his father, Bobby Goodbread, was himself only recently released from prison, where he was serving time for his involvement with death squads under the apartheid government. Fortunately Goodbread is still connected to his old network, because the man he and Dell are after is big game.


Street Raised by Pearce Hansen

July 25, 2011 by  •
Street Raised by Pearce HansenSpeedy shrugged. For better or worse, he looked exactly like what he was: a savage motherfucker.

Having recently been released from prison in upstate California, Speedy hitchhikes home to Oakland to reunite with his brother, Little Willy, and best friend, Fat Bob. Unfortunately, during Speedy’s time away Little Willy has fallen into a life of crime and crack, and Fat Bob’s working as a bouncer in some of the area’s rougher establishments. Not exactly what Speedy hoped to find.

When two of the group’s longtime friends get rolled by a Mexican gang – tied up in chains and thrown into a river…alive – Speedy and the crew know things have to be put right and set out to make it so. Of course things aren’t that straightforward.

Along the way Speedy gets distracted by a woman, becomes the target of a racist gang, and the obsession of a very disturbed (and disturbing) killer. Matters are further complicated when the same cop who sent Speedy up the first time starts sniffing around the crew with ill intent. Taking place over the course of one tense, action-packed week, Street Raised by Pearce Hansen is a truly remarkable read.


Becoming Quinn by Brett Battles

July 22, 2011 by  •
Becoming Quinn by Brett BattlesOddly, the thing that really should have upset him – that he’d killed someone – barely bothered him at all.
- Jake Oliver

Jake Oliver is a bright-eyed, ambitious, twenty two year old rookie officer with the Phoenix Police Department. While out on patrol with his training officer one evening they are dispatched to the location of a 911 call requesting officer assistance. Upon arriving at the remote location they find a barn engulfed in flames and call in the fire department.

While waiting, Jake conducts a walk around of the property and notices some odd details – including a cable-like indention in the ground leading to the building – and takes photos of what he finds. After the fire is extinguished a search of the building reveals a dead body, one that wasn’t killed by the fire. The detectives investigating the case quickly chalk it up to something drug related, but Jake isn’t convinced.

So, with the assistance of another rookie officer, Jake begins his own investigation. Little could he have known that his search for the truth would reveal more than what happened to the victim, it would reveal Jake’s own future.


The Indie Journey by Scott Nicholson

July 21, 2011 by  •
Author Scott Nicholson has been doing this writing thing for quite some time. He’s collected his thoughts about it in a book called The Indie Journey, and today I’m pleased to turn the blog over to him to talk a little about his personal journey as an author.

Scott NicholsonI used to think I was a decent writer.

That was back before the Internet, when I was pecking out my stories on an IBM Selectric that used a print cartridge and a wheel that kept breaking the E key. Those suckers were expensive, and I eventually calculated it was costing me about 20 cents a page to print out my stories. But that was okay, because my first-ever fiction check was for $10, so that…hey, wait a minute. That was pretty dumb.

But at least I was happy, because all I had to compare myself to was Stephen King, Lawrence Block, James Herbert, Shirley Jackson, John Steinbeck, Mark Twain, Raymond Chandler, James Lee Burke…you know, people who were so good that I never had to worry about catching up to them.

Even after I got a New York book deal, I still lived somewhat in a vacuum, because all I had to compare myself to were all the other moderately published midlist writers around, and few of us were breaking big.


Gun by Ray Banks

July 20, 2011 by  •

Gun by Ray BanksHe had to remember – his heart pumped too fast, he’d bleed out quicker; too slow, and he’d pass out. Had to maintain a balance if he was going to make it out of this.

Richie has recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for ABH (actual bodily harm) committed during the course of doing a job for local crime boss/drug dealer, Goose. Richie’s girlfriend wants him to make a fresh start and get a proper job, but only 18 and with no real education Richie soon finds himself back on Goose’s doorstep looking for work.

Though at first Goose doesn’t even remember him – rather insulting since Richie did more time than he otherwise would have had to because he wouldn’t tell the police who he was working for – Goose soon assigns Richie the task of dropping by another lowlife’s place, picking up a gun Goose has arranged for, and bringing it back. Sounds simple enough. But of course it’s not. It never is.

Things go sideways for Richie almost immediately, and the matter-of-fact manner in which the violence that ensues is portrayed speaks to the brutal environment Richie and those around him similarly situated function in as they attempt to improve their lives through the only path they see as being a realistic means to an end: crime.

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Absolute Zero Cool by Declan Burke

July 19, 2011 by  •

Absolute Zero Cool by Declan BurkeThe latest novel from Declan Burke, Absolute Zero Cool, will officially be launched in The Gutter Bookshop, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 on Wednesday 10 August by none other than John Connolly. Anyone fortunate enough to be in the area should drop in, as all are welcome. Here’s what can you expect from this killer blast of Absolute Zero Cool:

Who in their right mind would want to blow up a hospital?

“Close it down, blow it up – what’s the difference?”

Billy Karlsson needs to get real. Literally. A hospital porter with a sideline in euthanasia, Billy is a character trapped in the purgatory of an abandoned novel. Deranged by logic, driven beyond sanity, Billy makes his final stand: if killing old people won’t cut the mustard, the whole hospital will have to go up in flames.

Only his creator can stop him now, the author who abandoned Billy to his half-life limbo, in which Billy schemes to do whatever it takes to get himself published, or be damned . . .

With most of the country sweltering under record breaking heat this summer we could all use a blast of Absolute Zero Cool.

Absolute Zero Cool will soon be available from Liberties Press (ISBN: 9781907593314), and those outside the UK can also keep a lookout for it on The Book Depository, which has free shipping worldwide.

Declan Burke is one of Ireland’s leading crime fiction authors. He reviews regularly for a variety of national newspapers and magazines, and hosts the website Crime Always Pays. His previous books include Eightball Boogie, The Big O, and Crime Always Pays. He is also the editor of the Liberties Press-published Down These Green Streets, a collection of essays, interviews, and short-stories on Irish crime fiction from a variety of well-known and award-winning authors.

Speedloader by Snubnose Press

July 12, 2011 by  •
Speedloader by Snubnose PressI don’t know how to pray but I close my eyes and ask God for help anyway. God doesn’t answer, doesn’t even send happy thoughts, just reruns of nightmares. – “Plastic Soldiers”

Snubnose Press is the new e-publishing arm of Spinetingler Magazine, and they’ve come roaring out the gate with their first offering, Speedloader.

Edited by Sandra Ruttan and Brian Lindenmuth, Speedloader is a collection of six hard hitting crime fiction stories from an impressive group of authors.

In You Dirty Rat by Nigel Bird a powerful combination of festering guilt and a quest for justice drives a soldier to take action years after a series of tragic events occurred on the battlefield.

Mori Obscura by Nik Korpon and Herniated Roots by Richard Thomas both use addiction and what its overpowering pull can do to a man as their backdrop.

Crash & Burn by Jonathan Woods is an amazingly intricate story for short fiction, one which has the plans for revenge of several players unfolding on a collision course of epic proportions.

Classic Matthew C. Funk, Cuffs is a New Orleans set tale of mistaken identity – or is it? – that starts off with a feeling of confusion which quickly develops into an increasing sense of dread.

And while those five stories are all outstanding, Plastic Soldiers by W.D. County absolutely leveled me. Told through the eyes of a kidnapped ten year old boy, Plastic Soldiers showcases both the worst and best that the human soul is capable of. County manages to pack a novel’s worth of pain and desperation and hope into five of the most compelling pages you will ever read. This was the first story of County’s that I’ve read, but it damn sure won’t be the last. You can read County’s “Dancing With Myself” interview on Nigel Bird’s blog to learn more about him.

Interesting note: Boden Steiner, who did the cover art for Speedloader, created an alternate version based on the story “Plastic Soldiers.” His vision is as powerful as the story itself.

Speedloader is available from Snubnose Press for only $0.99.

Snubnose Press has set a goal of publishing a book a month, and hot on the heels of Speedloader their second title, Harvest of Ruins by Sandra Ruttan, has just been released.

To learn more about Snubnose Press, visit their website.

Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan

July 7, 2011 by  •

Gone Bad by Julie MorriganA weak hand grabs at my ankle. I look down and his face is turned to look at me, all pleading eyes and bleeding nose. Why does he think I’d help him? – “Keeping It Real”

Why indeed, as it quickly becomes apparent that the folks in the eighteen blistering stories in Julie Morrigan’s collection, Gone Bad, are far from a warm, fuzzy, altruistic bunch.

No, Morrigan has chosen instead to write a wickedly good group of stories which all revolve around some of the worst behavior and emotions which people are capable of. Greed, deceit, torture, murder, jealousy, lust, rape? Step right up, Gone Bad‘s got you covered.

The stories in the collection range in length from true “flash fiction” to a couple that are quite meaty, and though there is honestly not a dud in the group – no mean feat with as many stories as are included – there were a few that I found especially enjoyable.

“Searching” starts the collection off on a decidedly creepy note as a young boy joins in the search for a missing neighborhood girl. It’s not the first time he’s participated in such a search, his sister having gone missing recently as well, and it’s soon clear that’s not the only thing it isn’t his first time doing.

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Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. Watson

July 6, 2011 by  •

Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. WatsonI am not the person I thought I was when I woke this morning. – Christine Lucas

Christine Lucas is having more than some existential “Who am I?” moment when she says she’s not the person she thought she was when she woke up. She honestly doesn’t remember the majority of her life.

Severe head trauma has left Christine with both anterograde amnesia, in which the sufferer can’t form new memories, and retrograde amnesia, in which the sufferer can’t remember events from the past. She literally wakes up each day as a new person, a blank slate, having to discover over and over again who she is and what happened to her.

As disturbing as that is in and of itself, once Christine starts keeping a journal of her daily activities and discoveries at the behest of her doctor she begins to realize something even more disturbing; she’s not getting the same story consistently from those around her… including her husband.

Sometimes the variations on detail are subtle, other times she’s told outright lies. With a building sense of dread Christine begins to wonder if anything she’s been told has been true, even the version of events about the accident that caused her condition to being with. Now, not only can’t Christine trust herself, she’s not sure she can trust anyone else either.

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Out There Bad by Josh Stallings

July 1, 2011 by  •
Out There Bad by Josh Stallings“I don’t believe some higher force is planning this life for me. If I did, I’d give up, lay down and die right now. Because it would be clear, that fuck in the sky hates my ass.” – Moses McGuire

Well, even if there is no “fuck in the sky” that hates Moses’ ass, there are plenty of people right here on terra firma ready to step up and fill that role. It’s not that Moses tries to piss people off, he just can’t help it.

As he remarks at one point in Out There Bad, Josh Stallings’ mind-blowingly spectacular follow up to Beautiful, Naked & Dead, “You know me, if there’s any shit in a ten mile radius, I will step in it.” And, oh my, has Moses stepped in it this time.

When we last saw forty-three year old suicidal strip club bouncer Moses McGuire his life looked like it had finally turned a corner. He’d avenged the death of his best friend and, along the way, fallen in love with her twin sister. Off to Baja they went to settle down and live happily ever after. Yeah, well, life doesn’t work like that for Moses.

As Out There Bad opens Moses is once again alone and working as a bouncer in that same old strip club in LA. When a misunderstanding – one involving a patron’s broken jaw and ribs – lands Moses temporarily out of a job he decides to go hit another strip club and see how things are going on the other side of town. And that’s when Moses’ cosmically bad karma kicks into high gear.