Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Suspense:13 Classic Stories by 12 Masters of the Genre-Review

Review The attraction for short stories for me is the mastery of telling a great tale in a small amount of space.

Top Suspense

The great attraction of short fiction for me is the sheer mastery it takes to develop a character, often many characters, lay out a plot that has to grab the reader right away and then tell a tale that will leave the reader not only entertained but thinking about it long after it is finished.  This is harder than it sounds and can be much harder than writing a full length novel.

Lucky for us readers, there are some authors out there that have mastered the form and in this book from CreateSpace and the Top Suspense Group 12 of those award winning masters have put together a collection of 13 Classic Stories that fulfill those requirements.

Unreasonable Doubt by the prolific Max Allan Collins is batting lead off. This is a tale of greed and murder taken from a real life story in the 50’s with Mr. Collins iconic hardboiled detective, Nathan Heller, from True Detective (November, 1983) and The Million Dollar Wound (1986). Nate is on vacation, but he is on the case. Max Allan Collins has written novels, screenplays, comic books, comic strips, trading cards, short stories, movie novelizations and historical fiction. He wrote the graphic novel Road to Perdition which was developed into a movie starring Tom Hanks.Road To Perdition

  Next up is Deaths Brother by Bill Crider, perhaps most famous for his  Sheriff Dan Rhodes series. Bill Crider has a PhD. and wrote his dissertation on the hardboiled detective novel. Deaths Brother  is the tale of a college poetry professor who has fallen in lust with one of his beautiful students and perhaps picturing himself as Dr. Jonathan Hemlock the Art History Professor and hit man  of The Eiger Sanction fame, decides to help her kill off her rich but terminally ill father..except her father isn’t the man he is sent to kill.

Next up is Poisoned by Stephen Gallagher who has written several novels and television scripts, including for the BBC television series Doctor Who. Poisoned is an eerie story about a “boy” bullied by the neighborhood kids except this story and this boy have a twist.

Poisoned is followed by perhaps my favorite, Remaindered by Lee Goldberg probably best known for his work on several different TV crime series, including Diagnosis: Murder, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, Hunter, Spenser: For Hire, and Monk.  Lee also  wrote and directed the short film Remaindered, based on this short story originally  written for Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

The story involves an author who was touted as“The Voice of a New Generation” after his first novel, but finds himself signing books in a K-Mart a few years later amongst the Kotex sales and the potato chip sales, and taking advice like, “write a book about cats if you want success.” He sees redemption when a young, beautiful fan shows up and asks him back to her place to “see her library.” After an afternoon of fan appreciation, she want him to sign her autograph book which is filled with the signatures of all the other authors she has “appreciated”. Kevin Dangler learns the price for artistic redemption, ardent fan appreciation, and just how hard it is to write, or live, the perfect crime.

Next up is Joel Goldman’s Fire In The Sky a tale of a couple of good old young boys who dream of breaking out of the hum drum life in the American Heartland and also of the seemingly unobtainable girl in the fountain at a local water park. They might just get their chance during Joel Goldmana fire which consumes not only the park, but a number of lives.  Joel Goldman is a fourth generation Kansas Citian, and spent twenty-eight years as a trial lawyer and plan to spend at least as many as a writer.  Check out his great novel, No Way Out.

The Baby Store is a futuristic story from Ed Gorman, the  award winning American author best known for his crime and mystery fiction. He wrote The Poker Club which is now a film of the same name directed by Tim McCann. I first became aware of Ed through his contributions to The Book of Noir . A collection that explores the sense of existential nihilism, where betrayal is how romance best expresses itself and fear is only another name for foreplay.

The Book of NoirThe Baby Store invokes a time when the upper classes design their children. When Kevin McKay and his wife lose their designer child, Kevin begins to plot on how to replace him.

Next on our plate is a great crime story by Libby Fischer Hellmann, The Jade Elephant, a tale of a burglar who after escaping cancer, suddenly grow a conscience. After getting the good news in the hospital, he over hears a woman being given a death sentence because she can’t afford a kidney transplant. The woman is a past victim of Gus and his partner in crime. Because they cleaned her out when they robbed her apartment and left her tied up, she is now destitute and destined to die. Unless Gus finds a way to right wrongs and return the Jade Elephant they stole from her.This would allow her to sell it for money to pay the doctors. There is only one problem…or two….or three. Charlieman, the fence who has the artifact and Pete, his greedy partner. Blackleathersm Hellmann

Hellmann's first crime fiction novel, An Eye For Murder, was published in hardcover in 2002 by Poisoned Pen Press and in paperback by Berkley Books. It was nominated for an Anthony for Best First, and won the Best First Readers Choice Award at Chicago's ‘Love is Murder’ conference. Last years, Set the Night on Fire,  

was one of my favorite novels of the year.

  The Big O by the great “Tart Noir” writer, Vicki Hendricks is a white trash tale of a swamp, a couple of losers and a hurricane and how one not so innocent woman uses sex and her child to escape. if she can pull this off, she just give her son, Chance, a chance in life. It’s a memorable story of the extremes the “weaker sex” can employ. Ms. Hendricks is best known for her noir novels, MIAMI PURITY, IGUANA LOVE, VOLUNTARY MADNESS, and SKY BLUES.Iguana love Her novels invoke James M. Cain, the author of the noir classic, The Postman Always Rings Twice, but contain graphic sex that would never have gotten by the censors back in Cain’s day. Her work will give you many hot sweaty days and nights of reading fun, even in the dead of winter in Portland, Oregon surrounded by cold, drizzly, and damp that can’t even cut through her heat.

The Chirachi Covenant by Naomi Hirahara,  the 2007 winner of The Edgar Award for Snakeskin Shamisen is a tale taking place right after WWII when the Japanese-Americans were allowed to return to their homes and lives after the internment camps. Snake Skin

It’s an insightful tale of the clash of cultures, lust and honor. You’ll want to read more of Ms. Hirahara’s work after this story.

El Valiente En El Infierno is a border tale of a boy trying to reach his father in North America after the death of his mother in Mexico. he must pay a Coyote and make  a quick night trip over the fence, dodging vigilantes with rifles and cruel streaks. Along the way he meets and confronts xenophobes, his own manhood and pride as well as the unscrupulous coyotes who ply their trade by exploiting their own people. Paul Levine, as usual, writes a poignant story that you will think about many times over the next few days.

This was another of my very favorites from this marvelous collection. Paul is probably best known for his  Jake Lassiter Series.  Jake is Paul levine“Travis McGee with a law degree.” of crime fiction. Paul also writes the humorous "Solomon and Lord” series and moonlights on Facebook as a food critic….okay, I made that part up, but the man seriously knows the best restaurants anywhere in the world.

A Handful of Dust is the next story in this great collection. It is by Harry Shannon, the novelist, songwriter and entertainer who coincidentally lived in my home town of Pomona, California and attended Ganesha High School about the same time as my father. Besides being a great fiction writer, Harry co-wrote a number of songs recorded by artists such as Eddy Arnold (Cowboy), Reba McIntire (Small Two Bedroom Starter), Engelbert Humperdinck (Love You Back To Sleep), and Glen Campbell (Why Don't We Just Sleep On It Tonight). Harry Shannon

The immensely talented Mr. Shannon also writes the Mick Callaghan novels. In A Handful of Dust Harry tells the story of a professional hit man, a monster named Pike and a late night meeting with a client at a road side bar. Pike, more at home in Vegas in his Armani suits and city slicker shoes, may just have run into a killer more deranged than himself. He’ll find out as he runs through the desert and finds fear in a handful of dust.

The 12th author to entertain us here is Dave Zeltserman the winner of both the Shamus and Derringer awards for his novelette "Julius Katz" in 2010. His 'man out of prison' crime noir series features the novels Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer. Small crimes Small Crimes was one of my favorites of 2008, featuring  corrupt cop Joe Denton, just out of prison after serving seven years for a drug fueled assault that left a D.A. permanently scarred. The Canary, The story presented here, is the story of a big time bank robber and armored car robber Karl Haskell and his attempt to reclaim the key to the storage shed where the $300,000 is stashed. The key is hidden inside a painting that, until recently, was in the possession of his partner, Pete Sifer. Sifer has been busted for drugs, and all his property, including the painting where the key is hidden is to be sold at auction. When Haskell can’t buy the painting legitimately at auction, he resorts to nefarious means. A neat, tidy little tale proving that crime might pay, but the tax on greed can be your undoing.

The final tale here is The Chase, this is a great little story written by all 12 of the authors. The deal was that each would write 250 words, then pass the story to the next author on the list. This sounds complicated, but these folks demonstrate why they are the award winners. The story is seamless! I seriously resorted to counting words trying to determine where one author stopped and the other took up the story. That didn’t help. Even once you figure out where the “breaks” must have been you can’t guess who wrote what. You’ll just have to buy this great collection, and read through the end to receive the link that will reveal who wrote what. Besides the “whodunit” of figuring out the last story, it is a great story and well worth the price of this great little book. get it here, today. Top Suspense

The Dirty Lowdown

Friday, March 25, 2011

House of Skin by Kiana Davenport

House of Skin K Davenport

Until a few hours ago I had never heard of this book or for that matter, the author, Kiana Davenport. But thanks to the power of the internet, and author and eBook revolutionary, J.A. Konrath I became very familiar with both. Joe publishes a blog, A Newby’s Guide To Publishing that pretty much charts his success with eBooks and ePublishing. He has probably become more famous for his venture away from traditional publishing and into ePublishing than he was for his great novels. A bunch of us aspiring authors as well as established authors follow Joes blog religiously.

So did Kiana. She recently wrote to Joe the following letter: “


"Dear Joe Konrath...this may never reach you. You must have millions of fans. Nonetheless, I need to write and express my gratitude to you.
My last three novels were pretty good sellers. Scribner's, Ballantine, you know the drill. A few years ago, sales dropped drastically, no more royalties, the recession hit and I started living on my meager savings. Other than that all I own are 3 acres of land here, which in this market no one wants to buy. I don't even own a house….please read the whole letter here at Joe’s site : A Newby’s Guide To Publishing it is damn inspiring.

But, beyond the inspiration and the Depression and Writers topic, here’s the amazing thing. When Joe posted his blog this morning, Kiana’s collection of short stories was ranked #134,555 on Amazon. In the past few hours the book has climbed to #305 and it isn’t done yet. It is up 40,071% today. No, I did not miss a decimal pint. It has risen 40,000 plus percent! Look here: Movers & Shakers in the Kindle Store and is now number 1. for the day. Did all that happen from Joe’s post? Maybe not, but the way things go viral on the net, it wouldn’t surprise me. If I was one of the Big Six that turned this lady down, I’d be scarred. I’d be very scarred.


The Dirty Lowdown

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Barry Eisler Explains Self-Publishing Decision - The Daily Beast


Bestselling thriller writer Barry Eisler shocked the publishing world with his decision to go it alone.

I’ve been reading Barry Eisler’s books since he published his first, Rain Fall, featuring Japanese-American assassin John Rain. I have read his blog, Heart Of The Matter almost as long. About a year ago, on another blog (Dear Author) I caught an article that made me laugh, but made me think too. The article more or less dealt with authors being afraid to speak out against their publishers, even when the covers of books were just wrong, for instance racial misrepresentation. The article stated that authors didn’t want to be labeled as troublesome for fear of losing future book publications. Barry Eislers part in the article concerned the recent foreign edition of his book, Fault Line which was being released with this coverEisler-Couv-fault-line-Connexion-fatale-e1264489030117 in that country….which shall remain nameless…..Barry’s complaint laid out in a letter to that publisher is reproduced at Dear Author and is quite fun, so give it a read, but the gist was “The cover you plan to use for my seventh novel, Fault Line, pictured below, is inexcusably bad. It’s not just bad for my book; it would be bad for *any* book.”

After I stopped laughing, I thought, you know, Mr. Eisler knows a whole lot more about “selling books” than the publisher! He should take over his own publishing and marketing. Well, he did. And turned down a big two book deal to do it. Read about it here at the Daily Beast

Barry Eisler Explains Self-Publishing Decision - The Daily Beast

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Jude Hardin: Starred Review!

Pocket 47 picture (Small)

Hardin gets everything right in his powerhouse thriller debut, which introduces rock star–turned–PI Nicholas Colt. The sole survivor of a plane crash that killed everyone in his band as well as his wife and baby daughter 20-some years earlier, Colt now works out of an SUV in north Florida. Strapped for cash, he agrees to help 23-year-old Leitha Ryan track down her missing 15-year-old sister, Brittney.

Pocket-47, to be released May 2 by Oceanview Publishing, Pre Order Now!

Jude Hardin: Starred Review!


And from across the pond:

Candy Says Kill, TS O'Rourke

Crime Always Pays

TS O’Rourke is one of the unsung heroes of the current wave of Irish crime writing. A pioneer when it was neither profitable nor popular, he was writing hard-boiled police procedurals in the mid-’90s; as was the case with Ken Bruen, his first novels, featuring DS Dan Carroll and DC Sam Grant, were set on the mean streets of London. GANGLANDS (1996), on the other hand, was set in Dublin, as the lethal Costello brothers make their bid to control the burgeoning drugs scene.
He dropped out of sight, publishing-wise, for some years, but now O’Rourke is back with an ebook novella, CANDY SAYS KILL. Quoth the blurb elves:

When a stranger pulls into a roadside bar and motel he gets an offer he can’t refuse from a wily femme fatale intent on murder. Can she be trusted to keep her side of the bargain? Is anything ever what it seems?

Crime Always Pays

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Do Some Damage: California, Ray Banks

Now this looks like a fun, quick read. “California is everything we've come to expect from Ray Banks. It's taught, funny, human and deliciously fucked-up. “

Shuggie Boyle is fresh out of prison, and he's hell bent on doing things right this time. He avoids getting in fights, he counts to ten when he can feel his temper going, and he goes out of his way not to split your head open with a bottle. He's all about the long term goals these days.

Do Some Damage: California, Ray Banks

Monday, March 7, 2011

RUN by Blake Crouch

Picture this: A landscape of American genocide...

5 d a y s a g o
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country...
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.

Run Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch’s Run is an Apocalyptic Thriller on a small scale. A strange Aurora appears over the United States, only visible from parts of southern Canada south to northern Mexico. The effects are to ‘enlighten’ those who actually witness it. It is described as “the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see” and those who see it are driven to kill those who did not. Suddenly, 

They're reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they've just read yours.

Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family.

Jack, his wife Dee, daughter Naomi and son Cole pack the Land Rover quick and head out of town. Equipped with 8 gallons of water, whatever canned food was in the house, a Mossberg Shotgun, a .45 auto and a thousand dollars worth of never been used camping equipment, they run for their lives. Before they can get out of the garage, they are confronted by Kiernan. Dee’s lover. Kiernan has “seen the light” and in this tale those who have seen the light are driven to kill, maim, torture and extinguish those who have not. And they can automatically tell if you have seen the light, but you are not afforded that luxury. All you can do is Run. Trust nobody. Be very, very scarred.

I highly recommend this 80,000 word book. Fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz will love it. The novel opens, like a foot race in short ‘scenes’,  almost made for a movie  director and quickly, as the race progresses, finds a pace and a stride which is both fast and deliberate. Along the way a fractured, modern family comes back together and forms a bond that is more satisfying than any modern convenience or comfort and they learn to survive and rediscover those skills needed for survival. Jack and Dee heal their love, which will guide them back together when they are separated by time and space. The children, Naomi mid teens, and seven year old Cole learn to trust the instincts of their parents and to work together. They learn to sacrifice for each other, to endure pain and hard ship, to each contribute beyond their personal limits. They learn or relearn what it means to be a family and just how important that is.

Along the route of this race, towards Canada (where they have heard people didn’t see the aurora and aren’t ‘effected’), they must replenish their supplies, find sanctuary, search for answers- learn who to trust and who to avoid. This is no Independence Day where the President will heroically call the survivors together -it is very much what you could expect in an apoplectic scenario. Your world gets very small and time is tight now and you don’t make plans beyond the next can of cold beans. There is no communications, no cell phones, no radio, no nightly news. There is no micro waves and no fast food or even electricity.There are no leaders to guide you out of the wilderness, there is just you and those you love and slowly rediscover the value of. They also must learn who they can trust, and discover that even those unaffected people may not have their survival at the top of their personal To-Do List.

The only fault I could find with the novel is that a few times I wanted to grab Jack by the shirt front and shake him. Here he is, low on ammunition, and Walmart is not exactly selling ammo anymore, and he leaves guns and ammo, as well as other potential supplies and equipment, behind. Once when he has to kill a couple that have chased him into the cold foothills bent on taking his and his families life. And again when they discover an out of the way mountain cabin where the elderly couple that own the place have committed murder-suicide instead of trying to survive. It seems to me that even the most naïve city slicker would instinctually pick up the guns! Come on, Jack! get with it.

I was wholly impressed with this novel, though and Blake’s other worksBlake Crouch will be added to the top of my reading list. he builds suspense, writes an engaging thriller that demands to be read in one sitting, and he knows a thing or two about creating realistic characters and pacing a story. Blake attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, but I won’t hold that against him-I’m a U of Maryland alum and we usually hate Tar Heels- but, unlike a lot of those Tar Heels, he graduated in 2000 with degrees in English and Creative Writing. 2004 and 2005 saw the publications of his first two novels, DESERT PLACES and LOCKED DOORS. You can get Run in a number of formats: $2.99 Kindle ebook • Print version from Amazon • $2.99 Sony ebook • $2.99 Nook ebook$2.99 Smashwords ebook • $2.99 Diesel ebook • $2.99 Kobo ebook • PDF copy • $2.99 Google ebook • Autographed hardcover. Whichever suits your reading habits, get this book!

The Dirty Lowdown

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

National Women’s History Month-Race For The Cure

This month is National Women’s History Month, and a friend, Maria K. also asked me for our help in The Race For The Cure. So follow the links Maria Provides below and Save the boobs! You know you want to.


                           Breast Cancer. Isn't It Time To Stop
                              This Disease in Its Tracks?


                         Maria K. Accepted the Challenge

Walk for the Cure:
The Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure® is an amazing 60-mile walk that helps mothers, sisters, spouses and friends get one step closer to a world without breast cancer. Join us for three inspirational days where together we’ll walk so long, so far and with so much hope, the world will hear our footsteps.
What YOU can do:
There are many different opportunities to be a part of the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure®.
1. Register as a walker or as a crew member
2. Volunteer
3. Support a participant with a donation or come out and cheer them on
4. Sign up for updates and newsletters to learn more
Follow Maria's journey as she trains for the 3-day 60 mile walk:
A Mind Lively and at Ease


March is also National Women’s History Month which may sound strange after reading what the Republicans have planned for women with their defunding of Planned Parenthood. “Big money has co-opted conservative activists for its agenda, but scratch the surface and it's the religious right that rears it’s head. The Republicans who seem to have been co-opted by the Tea Party tell us they are not interested in social issues but just economic ones. It must have been quite a surprise, then, to have the new Republican-dominated House of Representatives, which rode in on a sea of Tea Party energy and funding, to immediately put most of their efforts into controlling the uteruses of America, through a series of bills that  defund Planned Parenthood, end all private insurance funding for abortion, and even allow doctors to refuse to save the lives of pregnant women if doing so would require performing an abortion.” There are two great articles that were recently published that lay this out, one by Amanda Marcotte in The Guardian which I have quoted from above. The other was in this mornings Alternet News. Both point out how the Tea Part/Republicans/Religious Right intend to marginalize women and there by marginalize the Democratic Party. This seems a tragedy when women in America have fought so long and hard for equal footing in the U.S.

Amazing women

As Black History Month comes to a close, Women's History Month begins.
Women's History Month is a relatively new invention, dating back to the 1970s, when women were fighting for greater recognition of female accomplishments. (Also at that time, the Equal Rights Amendment debate was in full swing.)
According to the National Women's History Project, the idea for a month dedicated to women's history sprouted in 1978.
That year, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women declared the week of March 8 "Women's History Week," selecting March 8 because it isInternational Women's Day. The event was a success, with schoolchildren learning about women's contributions to history, and a parade bringing the week to a close.
The following year a member of the Sonoma County commission told colleagues at the Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College about the Women's History Week experiment. Excited by the idea, the Sarah Lawrence group decided to replicate the efforts in schools across the country and to begin pushing for National Women's History Week.
Their efforts paid off quickly: In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a message asking people to recognize National Women's History Week from March 2-8. He said, "[T]he achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well."
But National Women's History Week was still not yet formally recognized. So then Rep. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Sen Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, co-sponsored legislation to ask that the president make National Women's History Week official in 1981. It passed, and in 1982, President Ronald Reagan issued the first official proclamation naming the week including March 8 as National Women's History Week.

For the next five years, Congress continued to pass the legislation, and the president continued to issue his proclamation. Then, in 1987, organizers decided to be expansive and changed the week to National Women's History Month.
Since 1987, the president has proclaimed March to be Women's History Month; for the first few years, Congress was involved, but since 1995, our presidents have done so without congressional prodding.
This year, the National Women's History Project has declared Women's History Month's theme to be "Our History Is Our Strength."

I’d like to suggest to all the guys out there, take sometime this month to acknowledge the contribution of women in this country. If you’d like to take a moment to contribute to a cause by contributing to  Maria K.’s Race for the Cure, please do so, if you’d like to read some good books, Amazon has a great selection here:  and almost more importantly, don’t let the Tea Party, The Republicans and the Religious Right get away with killing these important services for women.


The Dirty Lowdown

The Dirty Lowdown for …March:Self Abuse

This month, I’d like to talk about self abuse: That’s right, I confess. I’ve taken up self abuse again. Two or three years ago I had vowed to give up this practice. To become more zen-like, to make every experience more meaningful by devoting my pleasure to one love interest at a time. After all, I was older. More mature and this is an activity for the young as they rush for instant fulfillment and try to experience all that life has to offer.

But even in maturity, you can lie there at night, can’t sleep, tossing and turning, your restless and know that only one thing will allow you to relax and get the rest you need. So, you give in to that “old black magic”. You turn on the bed side lamp. You fluff up the pillows, you decide a glass of wine might just be appropriate for an hour or so of pleasure. You toss on your robe, dash down the stairs, then head back to the bed and…you find that, just for tonight, you want something different.

So, you ignore the book (what did you think this was about?) you have been devoted to the last day or so, and just that easy you are reading two books again. At the same time. It doesn’t matter that you feel you are cheating one one of them. Not giving it all the attention it deserves, you’ve just got to have your cake and eat it to.

Cultural detective

My two current love interests are The Cultural Detective by Christopher G. Moore.

Christopher G. Moore is a Canadian writer who once taught law at the University of British Columbia. After his first book His Lordship’s Arsenal was published in New York to a critical acclaim in 1985, Moore became a full-time writer and has so far written 22 novels, a non-fiction and one collection of inter-locked short stories.

Moore has attained somewhat of a cult status among his readers in Asia and Europe and has an increasingly strong following in North America. Moore is probably best known by his cult classics, Land of Smiles Trilogy, his behind-the-smiles study of his adopted country, Thailand, and his highly popular Vincent Calvino Private Eye series. I received this book in the mail just a day or so ago, from PETER ROZOVSKY who keeps a great blog, Detectives Beyond Borders. Peter’s blog is the premier destination for readers interested in books of the “crime fiction” genre beyond the U.S.. It is a great place to get exposed to some great writers that you maybe wouldn’t find if your reading is confined by the borders of America.

The book, which I am just barely into, interested me mainly because I have always been fascinated by other cultures. Maybe it has to do with my interest in history, but from a young age whenever I got to travel, I would immerse myself in the local culture. It started way back in high school when they offered History of Mexico and the American Southwest as a course. Then there was History of Black America. These were other cultures I could immerse myself in and never leave school, and I ate them up. I continued this interest when the military sent me over seas, and as they say the rest is history…..and cultures.

This book addresses some of the details that an author needs to pay attention to if he wants to take his fiction across cultural lines. Mr. Moore sets his Calvino Private Eye series in Thailand and discusses some of the differences that a PI would deal with in, for instance, investigating a crime in Bangkok as opposed to investigating the same crime in New York or Los Angeles. Now, you may be saying, great but I’m never going to write a story set in Thailand. Well, that doesn’t matter because what the book does is teach you to recognize that as you cross cultures, any cultures-whether it be Thailand to Cambodia or Brentwood to South Central, the cultures change. The voices of the characters, the motivation and the methods of your detective. I can’t wait to finish this book so I can write a full review.

My other late-night paramour is Run by Blake Crouch  Run Blake CrouchBlake is the author of DESERT PLACES and LOCKED DOORS. Blake's short fiction has appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Thriller 2, and other anthologies, including SHIVERS VI from Cemetery Dance. In 2009, he co-wrote "Serial" with J.A. Konrath, which has been downloaded over 350,000 times and topped the Kindle bestseller list for 4 weeks. That story and ABANDON, have also been optioned for film. Blake is often a contributor on J.A. Konrath’s blog A Newbies Guide To Publishing which should be at the top of any aspiring writer/authors list of bookmarks.

With me suddenly bouncing between loves, I have only read the first chapter but I am thoroughly seduced and know I’ll be sneaking away to explore all that this 80,000 novel has to offer. here’s the synopsis:

For fans of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris, picture this: a landscape of American genocide...
5 D A Y S A G O
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country...
Senseless. Brutal. Seemingly unconnected.
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike.
A mass of school shootings.
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality.
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.
4 D A Y S A G O
The murders increased ten-fold...
3 D A Y S A G O
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace...
2 D A Y S A G O
The killers began to mobilize...
All the power went out...
They're reading the names of those to be kille d on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they've just read yours.
Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family. You don't know why, but you don't have time to think about that any more.
You only have time to....

Now tell me you can resist…go ahead, lie to me.

I am so in love with my two-timing ways, I am seriously considering a Ménage à trois. Especially since Declan Burke at Crime Always Pays informed me this morning I had won the new Nicci French novel.Complicit. Complicit, Nicci FrenchSo, providing it arrives in time, look for a review of what I am sure will be a great read.

Also on this months must read list is Deadly By The Dozen which is a collection of Twelve Short Stories of Murder and Mayhem written by an eclectic group of writers.Deadly By The Dozen Ranging from tough and gritty to light and comic. Contributors to this collection include some of my favorite writers and people; Jude Hardin, Natasha Fondren, and Mark Terry amongst some other great authors. This looks to be one of the best compilations of short stories of the year, so download it NOW!

On The Music front: I discovered an artist I hadn’t been exposed to, Adele. I know, where the hell have I been? But seriously, this is the first time I had heard anything by her, even though she has been Number 1 on the British Charts for awhile. She’s  won two Grammy Awards, Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, she can sing a ballad like few out there, she writes her own songs which are wholly original and she can deliver a bluesy number like I haven’t heard in a long time.

And, finally, March is National Women’s History Month 

Although women’s history is intertwined with the history shared with men, several factors - social, religious, economic, and biological - have worked to create a unique sphere of women's history. 

The stories of women’s achievements are integral to the fabric of our history.  Learning about women’s tenacity, courage, and creativity throughout the centuries is a tremendous source of strength.  Until relatively recently, this sphere of women's history was overlooked and undervalued. Women’s achievements were often distorted, disdained, and denied.  But, knowing women’s stories provides essential role models for everyone. And role models are genuinely needed to face the extraordinary changes and unrelenting challenges of the 21st century.

While women’s history is a relatively new field of study, one important scholar is Gerda Lerner. She is credited with teaching the first women’s history course, establishing the first graduate program in women’s history, and publishing numerous books and treatises on women’s history. In recognition of Gerda Lerner’s  pioneering role in establishing the field of women’s history as well as her generous role in mentoring women’s history scholars, the National Women’s History Project is honoring Gerda Lerner by offering her latest bookLiving with History/Making Social Change at a 30% DISCOUNT

And that’s

The Dirty Lowdown for March.