Skin & Bones Launch at The Mysterious Bookshop

Today the new anthology SKIN AND BONES, edited by Dana C. Kabel, is available from Down & Out Books, and it includes my story of the gastronomic excesses of the upper crust, “The Cronus Club.”

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Skin & Bones features stories by Patricia Abbott, Charles Ardai, Lawrence Block, Joe Clifford, Angel Luis Colón, the late Bill Crider, Glenn Gray, Tim Hall, Rob Hart, Tess Makovesky, Terrence McCauley, Marietta Miles, Richie Narvaez, Stuart Neville, Ryan Sayles, S.A. Solomon, Jason Starr, Liam Sweeny, Dave Zeltserman, and Dana C. Kabel.

And some of us–last I heard, Lawrence Block, Mr. Kabel, Suzanne Solomon, and Charles Ardai–will be attending the launch event on December 3rd at The Mysterious Bookshop. I don’t know if finger sandwiches will be served, but there’s usually beer and wine, so join us for libations at the cathedral to crime fiction. Things usually kick off around 6:30, and it should be a good time.

 

At Home in the Dark and Skin & Bones

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:

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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:

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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?

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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….

 

Louie the Cat Surgery Sale!

Let me tell you about my cats!

Louie is an 18 pound love beast that we rescued from a chicken wire cage in someone’s garage, where we were told he was “vicious.” He jumped into our arms and mauled us with nuzzles. We learned later that his meanness toward others was due to allergies causing chronic infections that ruptured his eardrums. We’ve tried expensive treatments, but the vet says the best course now is to permanently drain his bad ear.

So it’s time for a book sale! I have copies of Bad Boy Boogie, Life During Wartime, and Blade of Dishonor. $16 each shipped US, or $15 each for 2 or more. All signed or inscribed, plus a free gift from my hoard of books, comics, and silliness! And cat hair.

Contact me via this form if interested.DpolbuJW0AAynoG.jpg_large.jpg

 

Noir at the Bar Everywhere on 10/28 for the Swierczynski Family

Duane Swierczynski is a mensch.

I first met him at a Comics Day walk for charity in Flemington, where he showed up to help a fan raise money for victims of domestic violence. And he’s a hell of a writer, too. From the heist classic The Wheelman to the over the top action thrillers that make up the Charlie Hardy trilogy, to countless comics and the should-be-a-movie-already fun as hell Severance Package to his latest mystery Revolver, Duane has been at the cutting edge of crime for years. If you haven’t read his books, you’ve certainly read books by writers influenced and encouraged by him, like yours truly. He’s given us a lot. And now, we give back.

His daughter Evie has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. She is in the hospital out in L.A. and the crime fiction community has been helping by donating plasma and cash to their GoFundMe campaign, and you can give to that here:

Donate to Help Team Evie!

And on October 28th, dozens of writers across the world get together to help fund her treatment and recovery. In Los Angeles, St. Louis, Washington D.C., London, Queens New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Asbury Park New Jersey, you can hear grandmasters like Lawrence Block, stars like Megan Abbott, Jason Starr, Alison Gaylin, Christa Faust, Gary Phillips, and Attica Locke, rising rockets like Kellye Garrett, Jordan Harper.  Jay Stringer, and Rob Hart, and newer authors like myself and many many more. I wish I could generate clones to see all of these at once. I hope everyone records them! And we’ll be raffling off signed books and goodies at all the events. Please join us for an unforgettable night of entertainment and good will towards a crime family who’s given us so much.

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A Distinguished Deadbeat

No, not talking about ex-Congressman Joe Walsh, but my short story “Deadbeat”, which first appeared in Down & Out Magazine’s first issue, and is collected with 20 other stories in Life During Wartime.

I was thrilled when I learned that my story of ironworkers in the recklessly paced world of Manhattan construction was chosen as a Distinguished Mystery Story of 2017, in the honorable mentions section of The Best American Mystery Stories 2018, edited by Louise Penny and Otto Penzler. Thank you both for including me, and thanks to editor Rick Ollerman for helping hammer the story into shape! He knows what he’s doing.

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If you want to read the Best stories of last year, pick up the 2018 edition when it is released in October. If you would like to read “Deadbeat,” you’ll have to buy a copy of Life During Wartime at The Mysterious Bookshop or Watchung Booksellers–they both have signed copies–or from your favorite store or retailer. Here are links to most, at my publisher’s site.

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Congratulations to all the other honorees, but especially Reed Farrel Coleman, SJ Rozan,  and Al Tucher, they keep putting out the good stuff. And if you check out Reed’s novel Colorblind, latest in the Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone series, you’ll find someone named Tommy… my thanks for helping him with his laptop in Milwaukee last year. Surprisingly, he didn’t kill me, or make me a drunk demonstrating Krav Maga moves. Thanks, Reed!

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Or you can hear me read from it at Noir at the Bar on 9/28, at Kew & Willow books in Queens, with  whole bunch of great writers. I will also announce here that on March 23rd 2019, I will be moderating a panel of New Jersey crime writers at the Montclair Literary Fest, with Dave White, Jen Conley, and Wallace Stroby. Joyce Carol Oates will also be attending the festival and we may bring our cats on leashes. So please bring cat toys to keep them from running amok. (the cats. for the writers, bring booze).

Noir at the Bar Queens 9/28

I will be reading at Noir at the Bar Queens, September 28th! Held at Kew & Willow Books, hosted by Alex Segura and Scott Adlerberg. They have really raised the bar (no pun intended) and run a great reading series. I’ll be reading from Riff Raff, the second Jay Desmarteaux novel, which will be released by Down & Out Books in autumn 2019. A great line-up: Kelly Braffett, Radha Vatsal, SJ Rozan, Carrie Smith, Hilary Davidson, Dave White, Wallace Stroby, Lee Matthew Goldberg, Nick Kolakowski, Hector Acosta, David Gordon, Jen Doll, and our hosts. It’s always been a good time, and a very short walk from the train. 

It also looks like I’ll be reading at the New York Public Library on Halloween about writing supernatural stories–like “Truth Comes Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind” and “The Summer of Blind Joe Death” among others–and I’ll share more details once I know. Damn right, I will be in costume…

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Two Free Stories for your Reading Pleasure…

Summer is nearly over, but you can always use a summer read.

Here are two short stories you may have missed.

First, I’m very happy to have stories in two new venues, Tough Crime, edited by Rusty Barnes, and Retreats from Oblivion, the Journal of NoirCon. I was sad to see crime fiction mags close shop, and I’m grateful that these editors have given us new ones.

cement truck train crashThe Third Jump of Frankie Buffalo” is a pure hard-boiled crime story that draws on my days working at the docks in Newark, inspired by getting stuck in traffic at a railroad crossing. Tough Crime is publishing a lot of great stuff by new writers like Shawn A. Cosby and established authors, including one by Matthew Lyons that will appear in this year’s Best American Short Stories, edited by Roxane Gay. That’s amazing for such a new venue.

branch brook parkThe Forest for the Trees” first appeared in The Flash Fiction Offensive but didn’t reach a lot of people, so I am glad Retreats from Oblivion chose to reprint a new edit. It is a noir love story and very personal, set in the neighborhood I grew up in. I heard a lot of street racing stories growing up and a cousin totaled his Corvette and was scarred for life, hiding the wreck in a garage from police. I myself never raced, but I once wrapped my Mustang around a tree after hitting some ice, and drove it home, engine smoking. The police followed the smell. They wanted to charge me with leaving the scene of an accident, but I asked them if the tree was pressing charges and they let me go.

cover-pluck-life-during-wartime-1800x2700pxI hope you enjoy these stories. If you like them, I am selling signed copies of my story collection Life During Wartime for $16 shipped. You can reply to this email if you want a personalized copy. If you bundle it with Blade of Dishonor or Bad Boy Boogie, the books are $15 each (so, $30 for 2, $45 for all three).