Why hello there, Dear Readers!
I hope November is treating you well. I binged on horror movies last month, and a favorite of mine is Night of the Creeps, where the exasperated detective fighting the deadly menace answers the phone with “Thrill me.” What’s thrilled you, lately?
I’m thrilled to have a story in Lawrence Block’s latest anthology, At Home in the Dark, a cross-genre dark fiction collection including stories by LB himself, Joe Hill, Joyce Carol Oates, Hilary Davidson, Richard Chizmar, Duane Swierczynski, Warren Moore, Wallace Stroby, Ed Park, Laura Benedict, Joe R. Lansdale and more. My story is the first in a new series, “The Cucuzza Curse,” following mob fixer Joe Cucuzza as he investigates a deadly pizzeria rivalry, where the mal occhio–the evil eye–has been employed. Inspired by my time working at the docks and a tribute to the late Anthony Bourdain, this story was a joy to write, however dark it may be, and I think you’ll dig it. At Home in the Dark will first be issued in a limited edition of 500 hardcovers from Subterranean Press, and will be available for pre-order soon. For now, you can check out the snazzy cover:
LB always puts together a fine anthology and I’m honored to be in my third. Getting asked for a story by one of your literary heroes turns up the pressure to write your absolute very best, and the critics agree. “The Big Snip” from Dark City Lights was chosen for The Year’s Best Crime & Mystery Stories 2016, and Library Journal singled out “Truth Comes Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind” in Alive in Shape and Color as “stunning,” in a collection full of gems by literary legends. So I hope you’ll enjoy “The Cucuzza Curse” as much as I enjoyed writing it, because you’ll be seeing more of Joey Cucuzza…
What’s a cucuzza? It’s a large green Italian squash shaped like a baseball bat, that we make into a savory vegetable stew, but thanks to its size and shape, it is also slang for the male member, by those who indulge in wishful thinking:
Hold onto your cucuzzas! (or the nearest similarly shaped object) there’s one more book to talk about. This one’s been in the works for five years or so, and I’m glad it is finally seeing the light. Skin & Bones, edited by Dana Kabel, will be released this month from Down & Out Books. It includes stories by Lawrence Block, Patti Abbott, Jason Starr, Angel Luis Colon, Stuart Neville, Marietta Miles, Joe Clifford, S.A. Solomon, Rob Hart, Tess Makovesky, Tim Hall, Charles Ardai, Glenn Gray, Liam Sweeny, and the late Bill Crider, among others. My story is “The Cronus Club,” about an exclusive society of extreme epicureans. You can pre-order it from your local bookstore or the usual online suspects like Barnes & Noble, in ebook or paperback. Another snazzy cover, don’t you think?
That should get you hungry for Thanksgiving, which I’ll be spending in Louisiana, as I put the final edits on Riff Raff, the second Jay Desmarteaux novel. Our two-fisted smart-cracking bruiser wades hip deep into the swamp to bushwhack his way to the heart of darkness in the delta, following the blood trail of his own evil lineage, and kill the tree at the root….