Hell down in Texas, Willeford, Prison Fiction, and Plucklyn Plook Fest

Before anything else, my heart goes out to everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey. I was hit by Superstorm Sandy and my in-laws and Lousiana fam were hit hard by Katrina and the Baton Rouge floods last year. I gave to Team Rubicon and bought supplies for a local charity, and I hope you will, too. This is beyond politics. Some of my fellow New Jerseyans are pointing out that Senator Ted Cruz is still decrying Sandy aid as “pork”, but the point is, we are better than him. And Texans don’t deserve any ire meant for their senator, who even GOP politicians openly call names George Carlin was famous for reciting.

What I love about my crime family is they pull together and help each other. Murder by the Book, a Houston bookstore, dodged the flood this time (they weren’t as lucky a year or so ago, but recovered) and were giving out free WiFi, cookies, water, A/C, and phone charging to neighborhood people. Consider buying a book from them, they ship! And they sell this frickin’ awesome GO TO HELL, I’M READING shirt (also in red, green, gray, with other logos)
Go To Hell, I'm Reading T-Shirt

So, what have I been up to? Editing my hipster Nazi craft beer cozy. Anyone who says cozies are easy can consult the adage regarding flying donuts. I also wrote two articles this week, one regarding Charles Willeford’s rarest published book, A Guide for the Undehemorrhoided, which unfortunately was prescient as I headed in for a medical procedure this week that men of my vintage are supposed to get. Good news, no cancer! My mother’s side has a proclivity for it, so I’m glad. So glad, I wrote this post.

At SleuthSayers, I wrote about Prison Fiction and Prison Reality, because I want to read more stories about the 2.3 million Americans who are in or go through corrections facilities in the United States, whether it’s jail like Riker’s, private prisons, state run facilities, juvenile, immigrant detention, and so on. It’s too big a subject to ignore, and crime fiction is the genre that has always tackled such issues. I talk classics and new stories, such as Jordan Harper’s She Rides Shotgun, a cracking good read. The next Jay book is largely set around Louisiana’s Angola prison–I visited the rodeo for that reason–so I’ll put my money where my mouth is.

Last but not least, Brooklyn Book Festival (aka BKBF) is the weekend of September 16th, and I will be signing at two tables on Saturday 9/16, if you’d like to drop by. I’ll be at the Mystery Writers of America table from 10:00AM til noon, and at the Down & Out Books table from noon until 2:00PM. I’ll have copies of my books, some swag, and I’d love to meet you there.

You missed it, but Thursday we had a super-sekrit Noir at the Bar: Killing Malmon edition at Shade, to celebrate crime fiction fans and reviewers Kate and Dan Malmon. We all read stories from the upcoming anthology Killing Malmon, which benefits MS research (Kate has MS). And we all kill Dan in entertaining ways. Mine involves a deli dispute with a Jersey goombah who’s in Minnesoder, and criminal misuse of feminine hygiene products. A great time was had by all. Hector Acosta’s “Ketchup Lover” killed me, and I can’t wait to read more of Todd Robinson’s Studs Winslow story. It is insane pulp goodness. And there’s more by Rob Hart, Angel Colon, Hilary frickin’ Davidson (who kills it as usual… if you’re not reading Hil, check out Blood Always Tells), Dave White, Alex Segura, Josh Stallings, Holly West, Brad Parks, and many more. It will be released soon, here are the full details.

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Malmon swimming upstream

Have a lovely Labor Day weekend, and remember to help folks in Texas who will be having the worst Labor Day weekend, if you can.

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