Boogie on into the MysteryPeople Top Ten!

If you don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I’m currently touring Germany, Luxembourg, Salzburg, Belgium, and the Netherlands (and yes, there will be a novel or two inspired by this trip). Firecracker and I are having a great time, but was topped by finding that Scott Montgomery not only gave Bad Boy Boogie a stellar review which you can you read here, but also put it among his top ten books of 2017  with The Force by Don Winslow, She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper, and Where It Hurts by Reed Farrel Coleman!

Peruse his list for some great reading. The Force is amazing, and Shotgun kicks off with a blast… Paper Moon meets Pulp Fiction.

Scott’s Top Ten of 2017 (So Far)

I may celebrate with a beer… Prost, Scott!

 

Two stories on Great Jones Street

If you love reading short stories, there’s a great new app by Great Jones Street that has a thousand of them, all free. They’re calling themselves the NetFlix of short fiction, and their app is a lifesaver any time you’re trapped in line or on a train, and you’ve left your book at home.

My stories “Mannish Water,” a Caribbean crime caper, and “The Big Snip,” my neuter-scooter noir from Lawrence Block’s Dark City Lights that was also chosen for The Year’s Best Mystery & Crime 2016, are both available on Great Jones Street.

Get it in the app store for Apple or Android, and read away!

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Don’t Make Hiring a Private Eye One of Your New Year’s Resolutions

A must-read blog is Writing PIs, for writers and everyone. Great advice on protecting your privacy from stalkers and thieves here:

Guns, Gams & Gumshoes

We once got a call from a woman who wanted to know how her abusive ex-boyfriend had learned her new home address. We ran a quick search of her address on Google, and guess what? She’d listed it on an online resume, which meant anybody could find that home address by simply searching for her name.

Let’s go over a few resolutions you can make to protect your confidential information so you don’t need to add “Hire a Private Investigator” to that list.

Tip #1: Stop sharing your home address

It’s your home, your private residence, the center of your family life — you don’t need to share this address with anybody other than friends, family and trusted business contacts. One way to protect your home address is to provide your business address instead.

Another way to protect your home address is to purchase a private mailbox from a US post office, or from a…

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Advance Praise for Bad Boy Boogie, a Jay Desmarteaux yarn

The advance praise is coming in for Bad Boy Boogie. I’m thrilled that authors whose work I’ve admired for years–Ken Bruen, Wallace Stroby, Megan Abbott, Dave White, and Adrian McKinty–have kind words about my crime thriller, out in April 2017 from Down & Out Books.

When Jay Desmarteaux walked out the gates of Rahway Prison, the sun hit his face like air on a fresh wound. The breeze smelled different, felt charged, electric. He had spent twenty-five years as a monk locked inside a dank Shaolin temple dedicated to violence and human predation while the men who put him there lived free from fear.

Men who needed killing.

When Jay Desmarteaux walks out of prison after serving 25 years for the murder of a vicious bully, he seeks his family and follows the advice of his convict mentor: the best revenge is living well.

But old friends want him to disappear, and new enemies want him dead. With his wits and fists, Jay unravels a twisted tale of small town secrets and good old New Jersey corruption.

 Advance Praise:

“Thomas Pluck has with this novel launched himself into the rare category of … must-read novels … must re-read … must tell all and sundry about. It is that fine, that compelling. Made me relive all that a wonder novel yields. Just tremendous.”
Ken Bruen, author of the Shamus and Macavity Award-winning Jack Taylor mysteries

“Thomas Pluck’s BAD BOY BOOGIE is a vivid dose of New Jersey noir with heart, soul and muscle.”
– Wallace Stroby, author of the Crissa Stone series

“Thomas Pluck is a crime writer to watch. Steeped in the genre’s grand tradition but with heart and bravado all his own, his writing is lean, smart and irresistibly compelling.”
–Megan Abbott, author of You Will Know Me and Queenpin

“Jay Desmarteaux is a worthy addition to the list of crime fiction protagonists.  He’s Louisiana heart mixed with pure New Jersey grit.  Thomas Pluck’s prose is taut, muscular, and pulls the reader through the book’s violent bursts at a light speed clip.  Look out for this one.”
– Dave White, Shamus Award Nominated writer of the Jackson Donne series

“My first Thomas Pluck novel won’t be my last. Bad Boy Boogie is a superb, taut, little thriller that hits all the right notes and sustains its central conceits to the very last page.”
– Adrian McKinty, author of the Sean Duffy crime novels

“Beautiful Bad-assery. Full of lyrical longing for a youth unfulfilled and the brutal truth of an adulthood gone dangerously wrong. Brilliant. Thomas Pluck may well be the bastard love child of James Lee Burke and Richard Stark.”
– Josh Stallings, author of Anthony and Lefty Award nominated Young Americans, and the Mo McGuire series

Unloaded makes Oline Cogdill’s best of 2016

Looking for gifts for the crime lover in you? Reviewer Oline Cogdill published her list of the best of 2016, and among the many fine books is the charity anthology Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns, the brainchild of Eric Beetner, from Down & Out Books. Thanks to Hilary Davidson for the head’s-up:

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My Denny the Dent story “The Final Encore of Moody Joe Shaw,” is available only here. It also contains stories from Hilary Davidson, Joe Lansdale, Joyce Carol Oates, Reed Farrel Coleman, Alison Gaylin, Kelli Stanley, Tom Pitts, S.W. Lauden, Grant Jerkins, Holly West, Angel Luis Colon, and many more.

The book can be bought from Amazon in paperback or for Kindle, and you can also order it from your local bookstore or Barnes & Noble.

A Protectors Bargain and a Plucking Holiday Gift Guide

The answer is always more books. What was the question?

Oh, with the holidays coming, what to buy for your friends and loved ones? Books, of course. They don’t read? Well that’s just wrong. How do you fix it? More books!

For example, you can get nearly 100 stories from authors all over the globe if you buy the two Protectors anthologies. Generally they cost forty bucks plus shipping, but in the giving spirit of the season, you can buy them directly from me for $30 shipped (in the continental US. Email me for elsewhere).

Just click the “Contact” button up there and email me, and we’ll work from there. I can take checks or Paypal, but I’d recommend Paypal if you need the books by the holidays. I will take orders until December 20th.

If you want to buy the books from Amazon instead: Protectors 2: Heroes and Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT are available there. BookPeople and Watchung Booksellers also have copies.

I’m in those anthologies, but not in what’s possibly the best anthology of the year,  In Sunlight or in Shadow: Stories Inspired by the Paintings of Edward Hopper, edited by Lawrence Block. A beautiful book with 18 paintings and stories to go along with them, by Stephen King, Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, Megan Abbott, Warren Moore, Joe Lansdale, Craig Ferguson, and LB himself. I loved this book, couldn’t get enough of it. And next year, LB’s doing another. My story “Truth Comes Out of Her Well to Shame Mankind,” inspired by the painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, will appear in the sequel Alive in Shape and Color.

Want a Christmas story? My story “Letters to Santa” appears in ThugLit Presents Cruel Yule, edited by Todd Robinson, with stories by him, Hilary Davidson, and many more. The story is only available here, and it’s my take on “be careful what you wish for” … with a visit from the Krampus.

Cruel Yule cover

 

I wish you all the best of holiday seasons with your friends and family. I’ll be in Louisiana celebrating with the in-laws, and looking for lost Carcosa. If I don’t return, blame the Yellow King…

 

 

 

The Simpsons and The Tube Bar Tapes

The day after Thanksgiving, FX channel puts on a 13-day marathon of “The Simpsons,” the animated satire that is set to become America’s longest-running television series, defeating “Gunsmoke”‘s 25 year run, unless it is cancelled. Confession, I haven’t watched it regularly in well over a decade; I watched the John Waters episode, and a few scattered here and there, but the last one I remember watching was the “soul mate” episode with Johnny Cash, where Homer eats the Guatemalan Insanity peppers and hallucinates. I’m not sure what changed, but I just lost interest, the show seemed less subversive. They had won. The show had broken a lot of barriers and was accused of making us more crass and vulgar when often, it was one of the more realistic portrayals of family life on the boob tube.

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Bart got his start on the Tracey Ullman Show, and took over the nation with his battle cry of “Cowabunga,” “I’m Bart Simpson, who the hell are you?” and of course, “Eat My Shorts.” It all seems so silly now, but it was a breakthrough at the time. One of Bart’s favorite pastimes was prank calling the bartender at his father’s gin mill, Moe’s, and tormenting its owner, Moe Szyslak. “I’d like to speak to Al.” “Al who?” “Al Coholic.”

Well, that gag had its origin in New Jersey. Matt Groening was a fan of “The Tube Bar Tapes,” a series of prank calls made to The Tube Bar in Jersey City, a dive in Journal Square run by a retired heavyweight boxer named Louis “Red” Deutsch. Red had a voice like Tom Waits in a cement mixer, and whether punchy or rummy, he fell for some of the oldest prank calls in the book. And when he realized he was being pranked, his colorful rejoinders, ranging from profanity to poetics such as “I’ll cut open yer belly and show ya the black stuff inside” made for entertainment in the early ’80s, when “the Red tapes” made the rounds among sports journalists and then the larger world. Once they hit the Internet in the early ’90s they became known as The Bum Bar Bastards, and went on to inspire The Jerky Boys, who were more of a performance comedy team. (The Jerky Boys Movie is more entertaining than it has any right to be, maybe due to cameos from Tom Jones singing Lenny Kravitz, and Alan Arkin playing a cranky mobster.)

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Red Deutsch with Rocky Marciano. Photo credit Jon Rowe

We listened to the Red Tapes in high school, when parody songs only heard on Dr. Demento were passed around on mix tapes and treasured for those long cruising drives around at night when you had nothing to do. My friends and I wanted to visit The Tube Bar, but Old Red died in 1986, before we could legally enter. Here’s a picture of the Tube Bar:

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If you want to listen to the infamous “Red Tapes,” they are now on YouTube. Be warned, Red and the pranksters are pretty foul-mouthed fellows.