Bouchercon 2018 – where I’ll be

I’ll be on the Bouchercon panel for Anthony award nominees for Best Paperback Original with James W. Ziskin, Lori Rader-Day, Eryk Pruitt, and Nadine Nettmann on Friday Sept. 7th at 3pm, moderated by Greg Herren! Come meet us, we don’t bite. Unless that will buy your vote.


I am not on or moderating any other panels this year. I will be in the audience at Noir at the Bar on Thursday, and attending the awards ceremony of course. Other than that, I’ll be wandering various panels, the book room, and the bar when I’m not out taking in the sights. If I am found dead in a ditch, it is because Pruitt lured me to a fried food joint and poisoned me. Check under my fingernails for his DNA. I will scratch him good.

Panels and whatnot that I am likely to attend…

1:00 PM Thursday: Bang Pow! with Neliza Drew, Wallace Stroby

5:00 PM Thursday: Tim Dorsey interviewed by Jersey Girl Amy Stewart, author of the killer Ms. Kopp mysteries. Dorsey writes some wild stuff himself. Those two in a room? I’m there.

11:00 AM Friday: Criminal Protagonists. My buddy Josh Stallings and other crook lovers like Eric Beetner.

12:00 PM Friday: The Sex Panel, to hang with Hilary Davidson. Catriona McPherson, and Christa Faust.

4:00 PM Friday: Fight Me! Unpopular opinions about Crime Fiction, with Kristin Sullivan, Renee Pickup, Danny Gardner, Kieran Shea.

5:00 PM Friday: Lawrence Block interviews Ian Rankin.

4:00 PM Saturday: The Building Blocks of Crime Fiction, with Laura Lippman, Peter Blauner, Robert Olen Butler, Lawrence Block, and Jill Block.

There are a lot of new faces on the panels, for which I am glad. Looking forward to seeing you there!



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

Writer’s Mog – Thomas Pluck

Nic Parker asked me to contribute to her ongoing series, Writer’s Mog, about writers and their cats. Learn all about Charlie and Louie and Cat Loaf!

devoted to thrills

26219665_10213766951300689_8883333762655910216_n Louie keeping informed about world politics

Tell us a tiny bit about yourself and a whole lot about the mog(gies) that share your current and/or past life.

My name is Thomas Pluck and I am a powerlifter and martial artist who Joyce Carol Oates calls “a lovely kitty man.” I write both funny and “tough” tales, from the rollicking adventure novel Blade of Dishonor, which was called “The Raiders of the Lost Ark of pulp paperbacks” to Bad Boy Boogie, a “tough slice of New Jersey noir,” about ex-con Jay Desmarteaux, who served time for killing a vicious school bully, and has only learned how to get away with it. Two cats have the run of my domain, a rescued Siamese named Charlie, and an enormous shorthair tabby named Louie. Charlie is older, and curls up near me while I read or write, sometimes on the back of the sofa…

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Short Story Challenge! what have you read lately?

I didn’t mention any resolutions this year, but one I made to myself was to read more short stories. I subscribed to Down & Out Magazine, Tin House, The Strand, Crimespree, One Story, and McSweeney’s. I’ve always liked what McSweeney’s does with its designs, even if I don’t enjoy all of the stories.

Short stories are enjoyable, little capsule worlds where you can escape for a few minutes or an hour, and I love writing them as well as reading them. Here’s what I’ve read this year, so far:
* means I especially liked it.

Safety Rules, by Jill Block (Alive in Shape and Color, aka AISAC)*
Pierre, Lucien, and Me, by Lee Child (AISAC)
Charlie the Barber, by Joe R. Lansdale (AISAC)*
Bulletin Board Dragon, by Lilly Hunt (One Teen Story)
Lights Out, by Rebecca Williams (Spelk Fiction)
At Night, by Etgar Keret (McSweeney’s 50)
Details, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (McSweeney’s 50)*
Deliver Me, by Sherman Alexie (McSweeney’s 50)*
Nancy, All Too Nancy, by Jonathan Lethem (McSweeney’s 50)
Internal Life, by Corinna Vallianatos (McSweeney’s 50)
The Lace Shirt, by Carrie Brownstein (McSweeney’s 50)
He Only Died, by Raymond Chandler (The Strand)*
Are You Mine and No One Else’s?, Danny Lorberbaum (One Story)
Little Big Horn, by Thomas McGuane (M50)
The Sure Cure, by Diane Williams (M50)
Ten Commandments: How to Spot a Hoax, by Kevin Young (M50)
Random Balloons, by Bud Smith (Maudlin House)*
Pups, by Kate Folk (One Story)*
The Janitor in Space, by Amber Sparks (her collection, The Unfinished World)*

Next Monday I’ll post a new update.

What great short stories have you read recently?

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

happy holidays

Life During Wartime available for pre-order at 25% discount

My story collection LIFE DURING WARTIME is now available for pre-order! It will be published on January 29th 2018 by Down & Out Books. It includes “The Big Snip,” which was chosen for the Best Mystery & Crime Stories 2016, new unpublished stories, the best of Denny the Dent, and “The Last Detail,” a Jay Desmarteaux yarn that picks up directly where Bad Boy Boogie leaves off. Some of these have only been experienced at Noir at the Bar.

It is available at the usual suspects in e-book and print format, but if you order directly from Down & Out Books, they have a 25% off Holiday coupon that’s good for every book in the store. So you could buy Bad Boy Boogie and Life During Wartime for 25%, or Unloaded, or any of the great books in their catalog. (For more Jersey crime fiction I’d recommend Cannibals by Jen Conley)

The 25% off coupon code is 25dob2017

If you’d like signed copies of Bad Boy Boogie, I ship free in the USA. Just reach me with the contact form.