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.”
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:
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.
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.
Later this year, One Eye Press will also publish my noir novella, “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps.” Here’s the plot rundown from their site:
Bill spent his whole life thinking he could stay one step ahead of trouble. His hustling skills on the streets of Brooklyn and Queens earned him a lot of money, respect from his fellow criminals, and the love of a woman known for breaking arms as well as hearts. But trouble got a little too close, and now Bill is on the run, pursued by an assassin with a penchant for sick jokes and Elvis tunes.
Midway through his cross-country flight, Bill stops off in a small town, thinking he can rest for a few hours. Pausing for a beer, though, just gives trouble a chance to finally grab him by the neck. Waking up in chains after a hard knockout, his cash and gun stolen, he discovers some local folks who are even more brutal than the hoodlums he left behind in New York.
Stripped of everything but his wits, Bill needs to figure out how to save his money and his life. Because if he fails, he’s headed back to the Big Apple… in a bag.
Cover reveal, publication date, etc. all coming soon.
In Issue 21 of Thuglit, my short story, “A Nice Pair of Guns.” Murder, mayhem, monkey masks, and rocket launchers, kicking off with this opening paragraph:
“We came home from the movies to find our front door kicked open, both floors ransacked, half the food in the fridge missing. My five-year-old daughter ran into her bedroom, screaming, to make sure her toys were safe. She loves her two Pink Princess dolls, which I won for her at the trick-shooting booth at the state fair. Her toys were safe, but when I went into my bedroom, I found that the frisky varmint had stolen my favorite playthings: a pair of AR-15s with very expensive scopes.”
Things just go downhill from there.
And in the newest (and first) issue of Crime Syndicate, my short story, “Dee The Friendly Grizzly’s Little Miracle.” I read an earlier version at November’s NYC Noir at the Bar, but this update features a new (and slightly more hopeful) ending for the sad-sack protagonist.
Nothing like starting the New Year with a little bit of crime and punishment…