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 - tpluck@gmail.com - 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.

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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.

Life During Wartime pre-order discounts and events

For years, readers wanted my stories in print. Well, now’s your chance!

Life During Wartime is a blackjack 21 of my best stories, including “The Big Snip” which appeared in The Best Crime & Mystery 2016, edited by Kristin Kathryn Rusch (and originally in Dark City Lights, edited by Lawrence Block). It has the Jay Desmarteaux story that begins where Bad Boy Boogie leaves off,. and three Denny the Dent tales, as well as new stories you haven’t seen before, like “The Cronus Club” and stories that were only in anthologies and hard to find out of print zines, like “Firecracker” and “Freedom Bird” and “The Story of O Street,” or crowd pleasers like “GunPlay” that were only heard at Noir at the Bar events. It snagged a great review from Out of the Gutter, and you can read the first story, “Freedom Bird,” here on Criminal Element.

Life During Wartime coverLike the song the title story gets its name from, this book is a van loaded with weapons, locked up and ready to go.

And the best thing is that Barnes & Noble has decided to bless me with a 30% discount on the paperback! A mere $12 for a 364 page collection. Vhat a bargain! as they say in Havaii…. (you’ll have to read “Six Feet Under God” to get that joke).  Down & Out Books has a generous 60% discount on the ebooks if you prefer digital. That’s practically a Kindle matchbook price, if you want both.  The book drops January 29th, so who knows how long Barnes and/or Noble will keep this low price.

Here are the events I’ll be attending in 2018, so far. I WILL be at Bouchercon in St. Petersburg, hopefully with the second Jay Desmarteaux novel, RIFF RAFF, either in print or about to be released, so there will be ARCs or books, we shall see. I’m not rushing this one, it’s set in Louisiana and encompassing that big beautiful state and its many people is taking all I’ve got. But I’m loving it!

I hope to see you at one of these events. If you can’t make it, and would like a signed copy of Life During Wartime, reply to this email. They are $21 shipped, but I bundle them with Blade of Dishonor for $35 or all three books- Bad Boy Boogie, Blade, LDW, for $50 shipped.

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.

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.

My favorite books read in 2017

Most of these were published within a year or so. I’ve never been good at jumping on new books, I prefer to wait until the dust settles. But I did enjoy “Cat Person” by Kristen Roupenian.

Right now I’m reading Robicheaux by James Lee Burke, if I finish it before the ball drops, I’ll add it to the list if it makes the cut. So far, it will.

Hard Rain Falling, by Don Carpenter

Fat City, by Leonard Gardner

I’ll Bring You the Birds From Out of the Sky, by Brian Hodge, illustrated by Kim Parkhurst

The Hemingway Thief, by Shaun Harris

Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube, by Blair Braverman

Fire on the Mountain, by Terry Bisson

The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake

Since I Laid My Burden Down, by Brontez Purnell

Tales from the Loop, by Simon Stålenhag

Made for Love, by Alissa Nutting

She Rides Shotgun, by Jordan Harper

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

The Changeling, by Victor LaValle

Two and Two: McSorley’s, My Dad, and Me, by Rafe Bartholomew

The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

Krazy: The Black and White World of George Herriman, by Michael Tisserand

Hunger: A Memoir, by Roxane Gay

The Long and Faraway Gone, by Lou Berney

A Negro and an Ofay, by Danny Gardner

The Whiskey Rebels, by David Liss

The Imago Sequence and Other Stories, by Laird Barron

Girls on Fire, by Robin Wasserman

Kings of Midnight, by Wallace Stroby

The Devil of Nanking, by Mo Hayder (aka Nanking)

The Trees, by Ali Shaw

Wonder Woman v.1: The Lies, by Greg Rucka

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead

Falling Angel, by William Hjortsberg

The Pugilist at Rest, by Thom Jones

The Midnight Line, by Lee Child

Ultraluminous, by Katherine Faw