‘A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps’ Pre-Order

So the Amazon pre-order for my new noir novel, “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps,” is live. Here’s a shot of the cover in all its spangly-suited, rifle-toting glory:

Here’s the description:

Bill is a hustler’s hustler with a taste for the high life. He pulls off big scores for one of New York City’s more vicious gangs…until he suddenly grows a conscience. However, living the clean life takes a whole lot of money, and so Bill decides to steal a fortune from his employer before skipping town.

With a bag of cash in the trunk of his car, Bill heads west, ready for a new life. But all that money makes him a tempting target for some bad people he meets on the road—and if that wasn’t dangerous enough, some old friends are close behind him, and they intend to make a trophy of his head.

Pursued by crooked cops, dimwitted bouncers, and a wisecracking assassin in the midst of a midlife crisis, Bill will need to be a quick study in the way of the gun if he wants to survive his own getaway. Who knew that an honest attempt at redemption could rack up a body count like this?

‘A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps’ is a gonzo noir journey into obsession, violence, and the power of love.

Release date is May 12. Pre-order for the e-book version will go live before that.

Word Crimes Podcast/’A Nice Pair of Guns’

On the excellent Word Crimes podcast, Mary Wilson (you may know her voice from NPR) reads my short story “A Nice Pair of Guns,” which originally appeared in ThugLit in late 2015. (Shameless plug alert: if you’re filling out your Anthony Award ballot, I have another ThugLit story, “A Bad Day in Boat Repo,” that’s eligible!) Seriously, her reading is amazing; I wish she could narrate all my stuff.

My next book, “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps,” now has an official release date: May 12. More (believe me, much more) on that later, including a cover.

Writer Types and Hard Sentences

If you’re in the mood for a crime-fiction podcast, noir authors Eric Beetner and S.W. Lauden have launched a new one titled, “Writer Types.” Episode 1 features bestselling authors Megan Abbott, Lou Berney, and Steph Post. I also read from my short story, “Whoops,” which appeared in Shotgun Honey this time last year. Give it a listen if you’re so inclined:

Update #2: Editors (and fantastic authors) David James Keaton and Joe Clifford are throwing together an anthology of crime fiction centered around the island of Alcatraz. It’s due this summer, and I’m in it with a little tale titled, “Live at Alcatraz.” The main character is one of the 20th century’s most iconic musicians, thrown into a situation best described as “The Rock” (the iconic ’90s action movie, not a certain ‘roided-up wrestler-turned-actor) mixed with a bit of the supernatural. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. Release date TBD.

All Dog

In the latest issue of Plots with Guns, a short story: “All Dog.” What happens when a Mississippi detective decides that behaving like Rust Cohle in ‘True Detective’ is a good way to pick up women? Short answer: nothing good. The longer answer involves everything from poisoned meat and fighting dogs to junkie love and shotguns.

In the latest issue of Cleaver Magazine: a poem, “Illuminati Dance,” and a short story about the fallout of 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, “Alone with Your Own Disaster.”

Bloodshed and “Drive”: New Nonfiction Noir

On his excellent blog, S.W. Lauden and I recently chatted about the current state of the noir short-story market, the writing process, and how comedians like Patton Oswalt inspired the order and rhythm of tales in “Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me.”

Speaking of blogs, I have a guest posting at Do Some Damage about the ethical implications of writing fictional violence in a world that already sees enough (real) bloodshed.

And speaking of bloodshed, over at All Due Respect, I have a piece on “Drive” (2011) and the all-American tradition of the psychopathic anti-hero. If there’s one thing that’s always weirded me out about that film, it’s how many people regard Ryan Gosling’s character as a straight-up hero, when he has more in common with the great white shark from “Jaws.”

If you’re interested in potentially winning free books, we’re also hosting a giveaway on Amazon through August 18.

Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me

Over the past couple years, I’ve published a series of crime-fiction stories in a number of venues, including Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Carrier Pigeon, Crime Syndicate Magazine, and others. Those yarns were fun to write, but the downside of short stories is they have a tendency to fall off the collective radar after a few weeks, doomed to the archives sections.

With that in mind, I made a point a couple of months ago to start assembling a collection of these stories in one place. The result is “Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me,” which includes 17 noir tales. Some of these are flash fiction; others are much longer; the titular story is a full-fledged, never-published novella that takes place in gentrifying Brooklyn (with the requisite seedy underbelly). The book’s rogues’ gallery includes college dropouts who decide to go full Bonnie & Clyde, tattooed freaks, damaged supermodels, hipsters who can’t shoot straight, and many more.  

The book is available in paperback and Kindle, although if you order the paperback version, you get the wraparound cover designed by award-winning editor (and incredible graphic designer) Michael Bailey:

Somebody's Trying to Kill Me

The Last Redemption of Bill

Last week, as part of the monthly “Noir at the Bar” readings at Shade in NYC, I read an abridged version of “The Last Redemption of Bill,” a hardboiled story narrated by an ultra-intelligent parasite living inside a corrupt public-health inspector. Noir meets Cronenbergian body horror, in other words. You can check the live reading out in the video clip above; the full version of the story appears in Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me, a book of noir tales coming out next month.

A Bad Day in Boat Repo

The newest (and last, unfortunately) issue of ThugLit, that bimonthly compendium of noir and hardboiled fiction, features my short story “A Bad Day in Boat Repo.” And that story features your daily recommended intake of snarky dialogue, explosions, and doomed characters. Available in Kindle and paperback, and includes eleven other stories from some damn great writers.

And available August 2, but ready for Kindle pre-order now: “Somebody’s Trying to Kill Me: 17 Noir Tales.” Some of these yarns have been published in Shotgun Honey, Thuglit, Crime Syndicate Magazine, Carrier Pigeon, and other magazines; the title novella, a murder mystery set in hipster Brooklyn, is all new. Paperback edition will be out in mid-August.