Bad Boy Boogie Summer Sale

My Anthony-nominated crime thriller Bad Boy Boogie is part of the Down & Out Books summer e-book sale!

Megan Abbott calls it “lean, smart, and irresistibly compelling,” and Mysterious Book Report calls it “one awesomely entertaining summer read.” So, hop on over to the Down & Out Books Summer Promotion page to get any e-book version for only $2.99!

Megan’s newest thriller, Give Me Your Hand, is out this week–and needless to say you should check it out. No one does it like she does. A PhD in noir and a pen like an obsidian sacrificial dagger, that one…

Prefer a paperback? Email me using this Contact Form, I’ll beat the Amazon price of $17.95 AND sign it for you for $15 shipped. Got it already? I also have a few copies of Unloaded edited by Eric Beetner with Joe Lansdale and others, Life During Wartime, and Blade of Dishonor all with their cover price of $17.95 slashed to $15 each, free shipping in the US48.

(And if you’ve bought books directly from me before, you know there will be Super Secret Surprise Gifts.)

If you like e-book bundles, they have cracking good crime by Albert Tucher, Marietta Miles, Jack Getze, Linda Sands, and more:

2018-07-18 10_18_19-SUMMER 2018 PROMOTION! – Down & Out Books

Elements of Crime – Thursday 7/11

Watchung Booksellers is a standout among local indie bookstores. Always a great selection of all genres. I even profiled them for LitHub’s feature My Favorite Bookstore.

They’ve had everyone from Judy Blume to Carol Burnett, and this Thursday at 7:00PM,  they host me, Alex Segura, Hilary Davidson, and Dave White for ELEMENTS OF CRIME. We’ll be discussing our influences, how we write suspense in this increasingly chaotic news cycle, and more.

Watchung Booksellers is located in Watchung Plaza, Montclair, at 54 Fairfield Street. Street parking is available, and it is footsteps away from NJ Transit’s Watchung Station on the Montclair-Boonton Line.

Everybody Watchung to(morrow) night!



We Got the Beat…and a Go-Go’s themed anthology, edited by Holly West

It’s a bit early to crow about, because this drops in March 2019, but I’m thrilled to have a story in Holly West’s first anthology: Murder-a-Go-Go’s, all stories inspired by the songs of the Go-Go’s, with an introduction by band member Janet Wiedlin.
My story is “We Got the Beat.” Originally I chose “This Town,” but my idea fizzled and I asked if this was taken. And it wasn’t! One of their big hits! I read my story at KGB Bar a while back and it killed. I channeled my inner 15 year old and went wild. The line-up is fantastic, check it out. And be patient….
Holly is a great story writer herself, having been nominated for an Anthony award (and the short story nom has a LOT of competition!) and had her story “Don’t Fear the Ripper” collection in Otto Penzler’s collection of the greatest Jack the Ripper stories. Her historical mysteries MISTRESS OF FORTUNE and MISTRESS OF LIES are great reads, check them out.

Murder-A-Go-Go's Line Up

The Femme Fatale Story Bundle

If you haven’t bought Bad Boy Boogie, or want to snag the e-book bundled with a great collection of crime novels by great writers like Lawrence Block, O’Neil Ledoux, and Libby Fischer Hellmann, check out the new Femme Fatale StoryBundle!

All Covers Large

There are two levels. For five bucks, you get Bad Boy Boogie and three other novels. You can also get a full ten e-books for $15, or more. StoryBundle gives you the option to donate 10% to a charity, as well. And you get to choose how much goes to the authors and how much goes to StoryBundle for setting it up. The power is yours.

Ramona is one of the most complex characters I’ve ever written, but she surely fits the femme fatale description. One of my inspirations was The Last Seduction, one of the first crime movies I watched where a woman had real agency and did things because she wanted to. While some fatales are sirens who lure men to their doom to make their living, she is a self-made woman who needs Jay Desmarteaux for her own purposes, and has a different set of rules… together they are explosive and dangerous, a legal mastermind and a cunning criminal cat’s paw. You’ll have to read Bad Boy Boogie to find out….

The Femme Fatale e-book StoryBundle


Two Saps at The Mysterious Bookshop…

This Wednesday, join me and Nick Kolakowski for a reading and signing at The Mysterious Bookshop, starting at 6:30PM. There will be beer!

2018-02-16 13_26_04-New this week at the Mysterious Bookshop - - Gmail


Nick will have his novella Slaughterhouse Blues and I’ve got Life During Wartime, a collection of 21 stories, from Denny the Dent, stories chosen for the Year’s Best Mystery and Crime, and the Jay Desmarteaux yarn that begins where Bad Boy Boogie leaves off.

Can’t make it? Order a signed copy from the store, to pick up or have shipped to you! They can even have books inscribed for you.

Pre-order Slaughterhouse Blues signed

Pre-order Life During Wartime signed


Short Story Challenge, January 2018

As I said in an earlier post, I have tasked myself with reading more short stories this year, and I’m off with a bang. Here are the rest of the stories I’ve read in January. I highly recommend subscribing to One Story and Down & Out Magazine in particular. I am also greatly enjoying The Unfinished World, a story collection by Amber Sparks. A * (think Vonnegut) means I liked the story especially much. What are your favorite short stories you’ve read recently?

On the Top, by Mark Budman. Sasson Magazine*
One at a Time, by Lissa Marie Redmond. Down & Out Magazine*
The Lizzie Borden Jazz Babies, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World
The Cemetery for Lost Faces, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World*
Jordan Teller, by Sheila Heti. McSweeney’s 50*
The Logic of the Loadad Heart, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World
Thirteen Ways of Destroying a Painting, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World
Closure, by Nick Kolakowski. Down & Out Magazine*
Hero, by Jeff Parker. McSweeney’s 50*
Puppet Master Made the Puppets, by Vauhini Vara. McSweeney’s 50*
Tell the Bees, by Bill Crider. Down & Out Magazine*
Extinction Therapy, by Bracken MacLeod.*
The Wife’s Story, by Ursula K. LeGuin*
Lancelot in the Lost Places of the World, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World*
Guerrilla Marketing, by Sanjay Agnihotri. One Story*
Last Night at Skipper’s Lounge, by Timothy J. Lockhart. Down & Out Magazine
A State of Decline, by J.J. Hensley. Down & Out Magazine
Scattered and Smothered, by Hector Acosta. Shotgun Honey*
And the World was Crowded with Things That Meant Love, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World
Birds with Teeth, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World*
For These Humans Who Cannot Fly, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World*
Take Your Daughter to the Slaughter, by Amber Sparks. The Unfinished World

Today is the day… Life During Wartime and Other Stories

“Pluck likes to explore micro-cultures–Mohawk skywalkers, elite Wall Street brokers, veterinary workers, MMA fighters, cruel middle schoolers, and single mothers from Harlem, among many other types and anti-types. 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!) ” —Out of the Gutter Online

To answer that wonderful review, I do a bit of both. I love research, and when I find something that interests me, I sack it away to explore late. Firecracker will tell you about road trips to visit strange places, like the former Nazi summer camp in Andover, New Jersey, where the American Bund marched. Or a museum to see a neolithic Venus fetish that looks like a woman holding a sword. Chatting with strangers to pick their brains, in bars, trains, elevators, and on the street. Driving over swamps in Louisiana to figure out where you could jump and have a chance of survival… I do research without leaving my desk, too, but you can’t depend on wacky wikis and Google all the time. You need to talk to people or observe them, and I’ve been lucky enough to know some very interesting characters, who I pay tribute to whenever I write.


Take a ride on the neuter scooter in “The Big Snip,” selected as one of the best crime stories of 2016. Follow a mountain man who’s not what he seems into a snowbound frontier town where evil has sunk its claws. Dine at the most exclusive restaurant in New York, where “Eat the Rich” takes on a whole new meaning. Meet Denny the Dent, a hulking 350 pounds of muscle who wouldn’t harm a fly…but who’ll gladly crush a bully’s skull like a nut. And read the Jay Desmarteaux yarn that takes off where Bad Boy Boogie ends.

These are stories that Wayne D. Dundee calls “hard-hitting bombs” and Johnny Shaw says are full of “gut punches and belly laughs” and I think you’ll enjoy them. A gonzo investigation to find the assassin of the almighty in “Six Feet Under God,” two lovers who practice the most unsafe sex of all in “GunPlay,” which Hilary Davidson read at Noir at the Bar and brought down the house, to the opener, “Freedom Bird,” one of my most personal and favorite stories, which you can read here om Criminal Element.

Available directly from Down & Out Books (they give you the ebook for free with a paperback purchase), at your local bookstore through IndieBound, and from the usual retailers:

• Barnes & Noble — Trade Paperback | eBook
• iTunes — eBook
• Kobo — eBook
• Amazon — Trade Paperback | eBook

If you would like a personalized copy, I have a few left. You can email me at the Contact Form above.