Monday, July 28, 2014

A quick peek online

and I found this. Jonathan, whom I have never met, is such a talented artist and writer, I had to share.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

Songs That Remind Me of Summer

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, July 18, 2014

 Todd Mason will collect the links the next two weeks as I take a break. Thanks, Todd.

Wake in Fright, Kenneth Cook

Saw the film of this a few weeks ago and my lovely library system sent away for the book, which was found at MSU. It is almost exactly like the movie, except for the end. And I think the ending of the movie is actually stronger.

A schoolteacher in the distant reaches of the outback in AU is on his way to Sidney when he is waylaid at one of the strangest towns on earth. The Yabba, as it is shortened, is full of gambling, boozing, hunting men, who bring our already susceptible hero to his knees in almost every way. And yet they really are hospitable in many ways, crazy about this forsaken town. Is the evil within or without?

This is a dark book but the writing is so crisp and clean, the pages fly by. You will both loathe and pity John by the book's end.

Sergio Angelini, THE TAMARIND SEED, Evelyn Anthony
Yvette Banek, D. E. Stevenson
Joe Barone, TO DARKNESS AND TO DEATH, Julia Spencer Fleming
Brian Busby, RETALIATION, Richard Rohmer
Bill Crider, LUST QUEEN, Don Elliott
Martin Edwards, THE HOURS BEFORE DAWN, Celia Fremlin
Curt Evans, THE LETHAL SEX, edited by John d. Macdonald
Ed Gorman, THE QUAKING WIDOW, Robert Colby
Rick Horton, THE NIGHT OF TEMPTATION, Victoria Cross
Jerry House, THE BEST OF WEIRD TALES, ed. Marvin Kaye and John Gregory Betancourt
Randy Johnson, BUBBA HO-TEP, Joe R. Lansdale
Nick Jones. THE ART OF NEIL GAIMAN, Hayley Campbell
Margot Kinberg, THE FRONT SEAT PASSENGER, Pascal Garnier
Rob Kitchin, WASHINGTON SHADOW, John Murray
B.V. Lawson, THE MIDNIGHT PLUMBER, Maurice Proctor
Evan Lewis, DAY OF THE RAM, William Campbell Gault
Steve Lewis/Marvin Lachman, ANGEL ESQUIRE, Edgar Wallace
Todd Mason, PS #1, April 1966
J.F. Norris, BLUE HORSE OF TAXCO, Kathleen Moore Knight
James Reasoner, DEATH DOLL HOUSE, Day Keen
Ron Scheer, THE SPOILERS, Rex Beach
Kevin Tipple/Patrick Ohl, THE FALSE INSPECTOR DEW, Peter Lovesey
TomCat, ODDITIES, Rupert T. Gould
Tracyk, DOUBLE FOR DEATH, Rex Stout
Zybahn, SHADOW OF A BROKEN MAN, George Chesbro

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Songs That Remind Me of Summer:

The Books of Summer

What book(s) do you remember reading in the summer--even if they weren't published then or about the summer? What book became a summer book for you?

The summer I was 19, and married less than a year, Phil and I discovered a used bookstore at the beach selling Agatha Christie's for a song. We sat in low chairs in the ocean and read them one after another. I will always associate Dame Agatha with summer.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Songs that Remind Me of Summer:

Back from the Dead

Happy to announce that Polis Books will be publishing my manuscript CONCRETE ANGEL in Spring-Summer 2015 and SHOT IN DETROIT the following year. Many ups and downs with this, but I'd like to thank Bryon Quertermous who stood by me through the demise of Exhibit A Books and the ms.' submission to Polis. And thanks to Jason Pinter for believing in the book enough to publish it.

From POLIS BOOKS: I'm thrilled to announce the latest talented author to join Polis Books. Sometimes every cloud has a silver lining, and it's with that in mind I'd like to welcome Patricia Abbott (aka Patti Nase Abbott) to our impressive and growing roster. We'll be publishing her debut novel CONCRETE ANGEL in Spring/Summer 2015 in print and digital simultaneously. Details from Publishers Marketplace:

Forgotten Movies: STARTING OVER

Caught this film a few weeks ago and was reminded that Burt Reynolds, in the proper vehicle, could nail a role--as he does here as the diffident, damaged, deserted husband of Candace Bergen. It is amusing in a low-keyed way and takes its time presenting its characters. Jill Clayburgh plays the more than slightly neurotic kindergarten teacher, nearly as timid as Burt. And Candace is quite funny in a role that probably won her MURPHY BROWN. A nice diversion. Am reminded that once upon a time they wrote romances for people in their thirties/forties that were playing people in their thirties/forties.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Songs That Remind Me of Summer

Best Episode of?

With some TV shows, it is very easy to choose your favorite.

But for many shows that I truly love I could not single out a single episode. THE WIRE stands out. Its strengths do not lie in single episodes.

Now some of the shows above have arcs but FLY for instance, in BREAKING BAD steps outside that arc enough to write a memorable story with just the two men in their confined space. Another problem is that a show like BIG BANG THEORY, which I like a lot, is basically interchangeable from episode to episode. It is only the superb cast and writing that keeps it so good. I could also not name a single episode on JUSTIFIED that has stuck with me. MODERN FAMILY is the worst offender for offering the same antics week after week. Name me a episode of THE AMERICANS you particularly remember except for its shock value. It is episodes with shock value that are also memorable on HOUSE OF CARDS, HOMELAND, GAME OF THRONES. 

So if there is too much arc or too little arc, a show fails in some way for me. A way to get arond this a bit is the way ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, MAD MEN and SHAMELESS have. They offer a large cast that gets some individual story lines but also has an arc in terms of what the show is about. These are my three favorite shows at the moment.

I have talked about a lot of stuff here and I am not sure what my question is. What makes a great episode or a great TV show for you?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Songs That Remind Me of Summer

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, July 11, 2014-FEMME FATALES

Last night, I lost all my blog links so I may have missed a few posts here. Please let me know.  I will be in and out today.


Ah, yes, femme fatales. Not only are they fine to gaze upon they are also a crime writer's best friend. Make a list of your favorite hardboiled and noir movies and you likely find a fatale femme in many if not most of them.

  I mentioned "gazing upon"them. Well, in a unique twist there's a 1957 movie in which the femme sets a small town ablaze and nobody has even seen her for a long, long time.

The movie is "Decision at Sundown" and it's one of the justly famous Randolph Scott westerns directed by Budd Boetticher. The hallmarks of these pictures were the low budgets, the excellent scripts and the  inability to sometimes tell the bad guys from the good.

Here we have Scott returning to ruin the wedding of the powerful man Scott believes stole his wife before she disappeared. Scott was in the war and when he returned he found she'd run off with the man who was about to be married.

Scott has reasoned in his loneliness, rage and misery that his wife was so ashamed of what she'd done that she couldn't face the judgment of the townspeople let alone that of her husband.

Scott plans to spoil the man's wedding by killing him, pushing him into a gunfight. The Sheriff tries to run him out of town but Scott and an old friend hole up, Scott waiting for the right moment. 

What could have been a standard cowboy story becomes a fascinating drama as Scott gradually learns that the "innocent" wife he so loves had always cheated on him. The powerful man was only one of many.

We are near the end of the second act before Scott learns that his grief and madness--and Scott does a good job of portraying both--has been for a woman he knew nothing about.

A true femme fatale.

Ed Gorman is the author of both the Dev Conrad and Sam McCain series. You can find him here

THE HOT SPOT, Charles Williams

I read an awful lot of novels with multiple POVS, with fancy jumps in time and place, with a magician's hat of tricks. So sometimes it is very, very nice to reach back to say 1953 and read a straight forward narrative that succeeds on its good plot, great characters, and most of all, great writing. THE HOT SPOT filled that bill.

Madox is not the type of villain you find in most current books. He's a drifter, just looking for a cushion, or an easy way out of his dead-end job working for a car dealer in a small town. When he pulls off a heist that will give him this cushion, things appear to go wrong immediately until the boss's wife throws him a safety line. He's not sure why (is it just for the sex?) but he grabs it and worries about the why of it down the road. That's the kind of guy he is.

He quickly falls for the female accountant next door who has troubles of her own, and it is her troubles that eventually bring Madox down.

This is a beautifully written story told in the first person. The femme fatale deviates from the typical one in that he is never lured in by her sexuality ( in fact he criticizes her "blousiness" at ever turn) but rather by the gift of her alibi and her situation as the boss's wife. It is the girl he loves that brings him the most misery.

So who is the femme fatale? Highly recommended.

Lawrence Block, Mona (Gold Medal #1085, 1961)

I'm sure we all have our own mental picture of a "femme fatale" in a noirish book or movie, whether it is Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity or a more recent version.  In some cases the woman fleeces the innocents.  In others, the more interesting ones to my mind, the "victim" is like Joe Marlin here, our narrator and a self-proclaimed con man.  It's somehow more satisfying when the conner gets conned himself.

Mona (reprinted by Hard Case Crime as Grifter's Game, a better title) was, I believe, the first mystery by Block published under his own name.  Even though you might think you know where the book is going Block manages, even at that early date, to ring some changes on the theme. If the setup seems far fetched, well he tells you that himself.  Marlin flees a hotel bill in Philadelphia and lands in Atlantic City but as he can't check into a good hotel without luggage he grabs a couple of monogrammed suitcases at the train station, only to discover a whole lot of heroin inside.  Later that day on the beach he "accidentally" meets a beautiful if unhappily married young woman and they fall for each other.  Much to Joe's surprise (but not the reader's) her husband is...well, read it yourself.

Once Marlin discovers he's been had Block changes the usual scenario for something you probably won't see coming.  It certainly made for an ending I didn't expect.  As always, the book is tremendously readable.  One of the best parts for me was reading about life in 1960.  You could stay in the very best hotel in Philadelphia for ten dollars a night.  The prices in general are eye-opening.  Everyone smokes, everywhere - on an airplane, in a restaurant while eating, you name it.

This might not be the typical femme fatale story but it is one well worth your time, especially for fans of Lawrence Block, which should include all of you.

                                                                                                                   Jeff Meyerson

Brian Busby, NO PLACE IN HEAVEN, Laura Warren
Bill Crider, A TOUCH OF DEATH, Charles Williams
Randy Johnson, SO YOUNG, SO WICKED, Jonathan CraigGeorge Kelley, FATALE, Jean-Patrick Machette
Evan Lewis, THE VOICE, Cleve F. Adams
Todd Mason, BEYOND THE NIGHT: SIX TALES, Cornell Woolrich
J.F. Norris, TWISTED CLAY, Frank Walford
James Reasoner, THE BITCH, Gil Brewer
Ron Scheer,THE LADY DOC, Caroline Lockhart

And other reviews

Joe Barone, HELL HOLE, Christ Grabenstein
Martin Edwards, WHERE EVERY PROSPECT PLEASES, Robertson Halkett 
Curt Evans, THE ORIGIN OF EVIL, Ellery Queen
Rick Horton, THROUGH SPACE TO MARS, Roy Rockwood 
Nick Jones, THE ART OF NEIL GAIMAN, Hailey Campbell
Margot Kinberg, A BLUNT INSTRUMENT, Georgette Heyer
Rob Kitchin, DOG ON IT, Spencer Quinn
Gerard Saylor, THE THIN MAN, Dashiell Hammett 
Kevin Tipple,/Barry Ergang, NOT SLEEPING, JUST DEAD, CharlesAlverson

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Songs That Remind Me of Summer

Phil's Garden in July

Scariest Real Life Femme Fatales

Here is my pick.
Myra Hindley

From Wikipedia
The Moors murders were carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley between July 1963 and October 1965, in and around what is now Greater Manchester, England. The victims were five children aged between 10 and 17—Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans—at least four of whom were sexually assaulted. The murders are so named because two of the victims were discovered in graves dug on Saddleworth Moor; a third grave was discovered on the moor in 1987, more than 20 years after Brady and Hindley's trial in 1966. The body of a fourth victim, Keith Bennett, is also suspected to be buried there, but despite repeated searches it remains undiscovered.
The police were initially aware of only three killings, those of Edward Evans, Lesley Ann Downey and John Kilbride. The investigation was reopened in 1985, after Brady was reported in the press as having confessed to the murders of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett. Brady and Hindley were taken separately to Saddleworth Moor to assist the police in their search for the graves, both by then having confessed to the additional murders.
Characterised by the press as "the most evil woman in Britain",[1] Hindley made several appeals against her life sentence, claiming she was a reformed woman and no longer a danger to society, but she was never released. She died in 2002, aged 60. Brady was declared criminally insane in 1985, since when he has been confined in the high-security Ashworth Hospital. He has made it clear that he never wants to be released, and has repeatedly asked that he be allowed to die.

Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley and her husband, Ian, killed quite a few children in England in the 1960s. The nefarious couple gained fame as the perpetrators of the ‘Moor Murders,’ named for Saddleworth Moor, a location in the northern part of the country where some of their victims were buried. Myra, the future serial killer, met her partner in crime just after he was released from prison (always a good sign in a relationship). Ian made her prove her absolute love for him by involving her in rape and murder, and thus turning her into one of England’s most vicious and famous femme fatales.

Read More: 10 Real Life Femme Fatales Through the Ages |

Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley

Myra Hindley and her husband, Ian, killed quite a few children in England in the 1960s. The nefarious couple gained fame as the perpetrators of the ‘Moor Murders,’ named for Saddleworth Moor, a location in the northern part of the country where some of their victims were buried. Myra, the future serial killer, met her partner in crime just after he was released from prison (always a good sign in a relationship). Ian made her prove her absolute love for him by involving her in rape and murder, and thus turning her into one of England’s most vicious and famous femme fatales.

Read More: 10 Real Life Femme Fatales Through the Ages |

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Songs That Remind Me of Summer


I think Kevin is a pretty amazing kid. Of course, I'm his grandmother. This post is to help me remember him at age seven but I would love to hear what you or your kids were like at seven too.

 There have been lots and lots of lego kits in Kevin's seven years. He can't be persuaded to take them apart once built. His pleasure, immediately, was in following the directions rather then free-form styling.

Kevin's favorite thing to read right now is CALVIN AND HOBBES. He likes comic strips and does a few of his own. 

Kevin is interested in art in general.

He is a selective eater and chocolate ice cream cones and warm pretzels are his favorites. 

One of his favorite TV shows is RABBIDS INVASION and we are waiting for the first books to appear in two weeks. 

Kevin loves board and video games of every kind and won a trophy for coming in third place in chess.

                             Sportswise, Kevin likes to skate, swim, bike and ski. As yet, the charms of baseball have eluded him.

One of his very favorite activities is making up games to play. Understanding the rules is sometimes difficult for we adults.

We love you so much, Kevin. Stay the smiling, sweet, generous, eclectic boy you are. And thanks to Josh and Julie for making a grandson that is so special.