Reviews During Wartime

Happy new year!

I’m getting over the flu, which I contracted while researching the next Jay Desmarteaux novel, wandering around Iberia and Vermilion Parishes in Louisiana. I visited the grave of bluesman Slim Harpo and the Louisiana Capitol Building, where Huey Long was assassinated. You can read about it at Do Some Damage, where I call it Research Without a Cause.

Which answers the question to the first review of Life During Wartime, my new story collection, up at Out of the Gutter: “Amazingly, the dialogue, settings, and situations all ring true. Either Pluck has done some serious research or he’s lived a life on the move!”
I love to travel, and I love writing stories that use what I see and learn from new places and people. If you haven’t pre-ordered Life During Wartime, Down & Out Books has a 60% discount on the ebooks. I will be signing the book at Mysterious Bookshop and Watchung Booksellers in February, and I will put the updates on my Events page. If you can’t get one in person, Down & Out Books has all the links to your favorite suppliers.

Life During Wartime Paperback

Some of my research had a cause, like dropping into Vermilionville, a living Acadian village rather like Colonial Williamsburg, stopping by to see the Evangeline Tree in St. Martinsville, a memorial to Longfellow’s poem of the same name, based on people who lived in the area.  One of them is name checked in James Lee Burke’s latest novel Robicheaux, which I reviewed for Criminal Element. I did stop to eat at Victor’s Cafeteria where Dave Robicheaux and Cletus Purcell grab breakfast in New Iberia. You read about my adventures in Cajun Country at SleuthSayers, and you can also see my pictures on Instagram, on Facebook, or Twitter.

Another story that drew from my travels is “Truth Comes Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind,” in Alive in Shape and Color. I’ve received a lot of emails about this one, which Liz French of Library Journal called “stunning,” and the reviewer at the New York Times found disturbing enough to call me out by name. Robert Lopresti loved it but wasn’t sure if it was “crime”, but I think murders at an archaeological dig in Germany are criminal enough.  So, if you haven’t jumped on Alive in Shape and Color, you don’t want to miss it. Like its Edward Hopper-themed forebear, it’s making a splash.

Life During Wartime events! Don’t say you weren’t warned…

Thursday, February 8th at 7:00 PM: The official launch of my story collection Life During Wartime at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair! Snacks and a brief reading and a Q&A.

Wednesday, February 21st at 6:30 PM: Life During Wartime  and Slaughterhouse Blues signing event with Nick Kolakowski at The Mysterious Bookshop. Join me and Nick for a night of noir. One week after Valentine’s Day, your heart will have recovered.

Thursday, March 8th at 6:00 PM: A Montclair Authors Meet & Greet at Sotheby’s, 32 Valley Rd, Montclair, NJ. Come join us for wine and cheese and rub suede elbow patches with local Montclair authors! I’ll be in the corner eating all the Gruyere.

Murder & Mayhem in Milwaukee!

I’m honored to be a guest at Murder & Mayhem in Milwaukee this year. Thanks to the Jordans and everyone involved. I was planning on attending anyway–I’ve heard so much about this great convention/party–but this makes it extra sweet. I’ll be on a panel moderated by Shaun Harris, author of The Hemingway Thief, which is a great fun read whether you love or hate Ernest, so check it out.

The Malmons will be there as will by publisher, Eric Campbell of Down & Out Books, with copies of Killing Malmon, where 30 writers (including myself) killed Dan in amusing ways, to raise money for the MS society. If you can’t make it for a signed copy, get yours here.

Of course I’ll have Bad Boy Boogie and I’ll be writing Born on the Bayou, so if you want to influence a scene that I’ll write hungover on Saturday or Sunday morning, or late in my motel Friday night, now is the time. I can’t incorporate the Bronze Fonz, as it is all set in Louisiana, but I may have Jay meet the statue of Ignatius Reilly from A Confederacy of Dunces… I’m 17,500 words in and having a blast. Which I hope means you will too, when you get to read it next year.

There will be a lot of beer. I’m going to the Lakefront Brewery to see the Schlitz bottling line filmed in the opening credits of Laverne & Shirley and I will only answer to the name The Big Ragu during this trip. I do not care if Milwaukee is “trying to shed the L&S image” as I read on one website… embrace it. You are so much more, I am sure, and I will see that, but come on. Hassenpfeffer Incorporated! Bah. It’s like Jersey trying to shed The Sopranos. It’s not like Laverne and Shirl were the cast of Jersey Shore.

And I’m jealous that your city has such a great song named after it. Written in 1903 by Dan Quinn before Jerry Lee Lewis made it (more) famous… I like this version:

What Made Milwaukee Famous Made a Loser Out of Me

And in case you missed it, I went as Bluto for Halloween. S.W. Lauden went as a California Highway Patrolman, mirror shades and all. If he brings his costume, we may walk around the con looking like half of The Village People.

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Sunday in Asbury Park with George, and Life During Wartime

This Sunday I’m reading in Asbury Park with a gaggle of great writers:

Noir at the Bar AP Poster

Yeah that’s Dennis Tafoya AND Wallace Stroby. Life goals.

All the details are above. Come join us, and then wait at the Stone Pony for Bruce to show up. I hear if you say “Jersey Freeze” three times he appears.

Also, my story collection LIFE DURING WARTIME from Down & Out Books has an official release date: January 29th! It collects stories from best-ofs and anthologies and defunct periodicals, and stories I’ve only read at Noirs at the Bar, new ones, and “The Last Detail,” which begins right after Bad Boy Boogie ends. And check out that snazzy cover:

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Bouchercon 2017: Elsinore Brewery Edition

I look forward to invading Canadia for the fourth time in my life this week. Sadly I will not be reenacting the greatest film of all time, Strange Brew. But I will try!

October 11-15th, Toronto: Bouchercon. I am booked and eager to visit Toronto again. I’m moderating a panel on Friday at 8:30am, Beautiful Brutality? The panel consists of Chris Holm, Joe Clifford, E. C. Diskin, Amy Stuart, and Sara Jayne Townsend.

On Wednesday I’ll be reading at the Bouchercon Noir at the Bar hosted by Rob Brunet and Tanis Mallow, 9:00PM at Rivoli, 332 Queen Street West, Toronto: 21762633_879082205601399_491421483206650408_o

And that’s it. I’ll have copies of Bad Boy Boogie in the book room at Sleuth of Baker Street’s table, and I’ll be carrying copies of it and Blade of Dishonor around with me if you want a signed one. And I’ll be at the bar and the lobby and various panels, when Sarah and I aren’t exploring museums and breweries and the delicious poutine mines.

Hope to see you there, eh?

If you got any Elsinore beer, bring it along.

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Noir at the Bar DC: There Can Be Only One

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This Saturday I’ll be in D.C. joining this great line-up of writers reading our most hilarious shocking tales, battling for a prized sword… a blade of “dishonor” if you will.

Join us, it is sure to be a memorable evening.

 

Writing at the End of the World, and Where I’ll Be…

Over at SleuthSayers, I write about how we write in an age of chaos and fear. Dance Band on the Titanic, at SleuthSayers.

Had a good time at Brooklyn Book Festival, and I can’t wait for the next one. There’s just a great atmosphere there, hipsters and haredim and old-school Brooklyn weirdos all mashed together in a sea of books! I met Jonathan Lethem, author of Motherless Brooklyn. We first corresponded in 1994 when I reviewed his noir/SF dystopia Gun, With Occasional Music on the nascent internet, and he sent me a broadsheet from Moe’s Books with a short-short story called “Hardboiled Coda” in thanks. I still keep it on my desk. But if you missed me there, here’s where I’ll be in October and November:

On October 7th at 7pm, it’s Noir at the Bar DC at the Wonderland Ballroom. Host Ed Aymar is running the show and giving away a SWORD to the audience favorite, so I’m gonna bring my A-game (A stands for “ass.” So I’ll be using my whole ass instead of half-assing it). There can be only one! What a great lineup, and a terrifying, Hieronymous Bosch inspired poster for the event.

The week after that I’ll be in Toronto for Bouchercon, from Wednesday 10/11 until Sunday. On Wednes, I’ll be reading at Noir at the Bar Bouchercon at 9pm. It’s at pin
Rivoli, 332 Queen Street West, and a bunch of great writers will be kicking off the International crime fiction convention. On Friday I’m moderating the panel Beautiful Brutality, with Chris Holm, Bryon Quertermous, E. C. Diskin, Amy Stuart, and Sara Jayne Townsend. Other than that I’ll be free to schmooze and booze with y’all! And Firecracker’s coming with me, to bring the Southern sass.

Closer to home, I’ll be reading at Noir at the Bar Asbury Park on Sunday 10/29 at 6:00PM at Capitolines bar, with Jen Conley and many others, including Dennis Tafoya and Wallace Stroby! Jersey can bring the crime…

and lastly I’ll be at Murder and Mayhem in Milwaukee on November 4th. I’m honored to be one of the invited guests, and look forward to chumming it up with the mighty Jordans and the crime fiction fans of the north, eating squeaky cheese curds, wrestling a hodag, and so on.

No Sleep Till Brooklyn Book Festival

Just mailed out the swag from the book giveaway–did you miss out because you don’t get The Plucking News? Sign up here and you won’t miss the next one.

In other news, my story collection from Down & Out Books, LIFE DURING WARTIME, is coming together and I’ll have a cover reveal for you soon. It collects the best of my stories and includes a few unpublished ones, and others that were difficult to find.

This weekend, on Sunday September 17th, I will be at Brooklyn Book Festival. In the morning I will be sitting at booth #310 with the Mystery Writers of America from 10:00 until noon, and from noon until 14:00 I’ll be at the Down & Out Books table with Lawrence Kelter, and several other authors. I’ll be wearing the snazzy Down & Out Magazine polo shirt in Black(Like My Heart!) black, so I’ll be easy to spot. I’ll have books to sign and swag to give away, and I hope you’ll stop by if you’re at the festival.

I’m not on any panels, but I will be going to see Sarah Weinman moderate the Killer Crime-Fiction panel with Joyce Carol Oates, Nelson George, and Ben H. Winters, and the comics panel Shapeshifters: Novelists Write Comics! with two of my favorite writers: Victor LaValle, and Gabby Rivera. Victor’s novel THE CHANGELING is brilliant, and I am really enjoying his miniseries comic DESTROYER, a modern update slash sequel to Frankenstein (the novel, which I’ve always liked more than the Hollywood versions). Rivera’s AMERICA comic is a blast and her novel JULIET TAKES A BREATH is great as well.

He won’t be at the fest, but I am looking forward to Laird Barron’s new crime novel BLOOD STANDARD, out in March 2018. He’s one of my favorite short story writers, and his novel THE CRONING made me shiver and laugh with its bizarre mix of weird cosmic horror, fairy tales, and Pynchonian ’50s paranoia.

As for me, I’m putting the final touches on the next novel and ready to dive into Jay Desmarteaux #2, where he boogies on down to the bad blood bayou…