Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

My talented niece and her equally talented boyfriend carved these pumpkins. 

My littlest charmer decided to take a break from scaring her family and watch some Paw Patrol.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Murder, He Wrote

The second George Smiley novel is an offbeat curio in the series and a damn good one at that. A unique entry because it isn’t a spy novel at all but rather an old-fashioned detective mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers. Later, more celebrated Smiley adventures certainly have mystery elements sprinkled in (as Smiley investigates a mole within the Circus Spy agency) but A Murder of Quality operates outside the espionage community altogether.

Plot: Miss Brimley is an old friend of George Smiley (from his WWII exploits) and when she receives a letter from a woman named Stella Rode, who claims her husband is trying to kill her, Brimley seeks Smiley’s counsel. Unfortunately, though, it’s too late.

Read the rest of my article at Criminal Element

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Church at Auvers by Vincent Van Gogh

My charmers and I have been enjoying painting during breaks in the day and evenings. Picasso's we are not but the youngest of us has great, great potential and I marvel at her ability to imagine something and recreate it faithfully on canvas ... well, paper. For me, its a relaxing break from reading, writing, and editing.

I went to the local library and grabbed several art books for kids on Monet and Van Gogh. Ava recognized The Starry Night from one of her favorite shows, The Little Einsteins, and I stopped on The Church at Auvers depicted here. Funny, when I looked at this classic again I immediately looked for the creature from a 2010 Doctor Who episode called "Vincent and the Doctor" where the time traveler notices a grotesque creature in one of the windows and so he goes back in time to help the artist triumph over the beast and only then does the painting resort to its normal appearance. Silliness for sure. Anyway, I'm enjoying Van Gogh's art these days and felt like posting The Church at Auvers.

In a letter dated June 5, 1890, Van Gogh writes to his sister:
... I have a larger picture of the village church - an effect in which the building appears to be violet-hued against a sky of simple deep blue colour, pure cobalt; the stained-glass windows appear as ultramarine blotches, the roof is violet and partly orange. In the foreground some green plants in bloom, and sand with the pink flow of sunshine in it. And once again it is nearly the same thing as the studies I did in Nuenen of the old tower and the cemetery, only it is probably that now the colour is more expressive, more sumptuous. [from Van Gogh's Letters].

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Angel Deeb

It's always a pleasure to have Patti at BEAT to a PULP and this time with "The Angel Deeb."

Swashbuckling Swagger!

In another time they may have sailed with Blackbeard or Captain Kidd but these anachronistic swashbucklers live in a future of droids, Daleks, and mutants. They are heroes who laugh in the face of death, live to do battle against impossible chances, and know when to toss that one-line quip that sends proceedings up with a wink. Quite often they are hesitant protagonists who seem more prone to shady dealings than noble pursuits, but when the chips are down they rise to the occasion and balance the odds.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Twain’s Other Steamboat Adventure

It was always nuts for Tom Sawyer—a mystery was. If you'd lay out a mystery and a pie before me and him, you wouldn't have to say take your choice; it was a thing that would regulate itself. Because in my nature I have always run to pie, whilst in his nature he has always run to mystery. People are made different. And it is the best way. —Huckleberry Finn
I'm at Criminal Element with Tom Sawyer, Detective: Twain’s Other Steamboat Adventure. Speaking of Twain, he had so many quotable quotes, right? Here's one of my favorites: "When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained." Or this one: "But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?"

Friday, October 24, 2014

Reexamining A Clockwork Orange

BEAT to a PULP's Chad Eagleton has an in-depth essay on Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange over at The Fall Creek Review. A thought-provoking piece on the relevance of this book and, honestly, if its actually any good.

I've always liked the Stanley Kubrick movie but can remember having a difficult time, myself, finishing the novel. Chad tackles thiscomparing book vs. filmplus highlights Rat Pack by Shane Stevens which is how he initially came to read the Burgess classic.

Btw some recent greatness at The Fall Creek Review includes "The Lizard's Ardent Uniform" by Chris Holm and Ron Scheer's  "My Dinner with Allen Ginsberg." TFCR sporadically updates but when they do you don't want to miss any posts. A good site to bookmark.

Free ebook! Carnosaur Weekend by Garnett Elliott

It’s a dirty job …

Policing the timelines has always been dangerous, but the brave agents of Continuity Inc. have arguably the most important job in human history. Protecting human history.

Newly promoted agent Kyler Knightly teams up with his uncle, Damon Cole, to stop unscrupulous developers from exploiting the Late Cretaceous. A luxury subdivision smack-dab in the middle of dinosaur country threatens not only the present, but super-rich homeowners looking for the ultimate getaway.

CARNOSAUR WEEKEND includes the original Kyler Knightly story, “The Zygma Gambit,” inspired by the dream journals of Kyle J. Knapp.

*This book will be a free Kindle download for several days and the print version will be released next week. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Crimespree Magazine reviews...

The Big Ugly by Jake Hinkson. Dan Malmon says in part: "He gives us a protagonist that has every right to be boiling with vengeance, but is cool and even tempered. He gives us supporting characters that should fall neatly into typecast roles, but sidestep cliché at every turn." Read the full review here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Talking McQ, Brannigan, and The Shootist

We are talking the later John Wayne films over at Criminal Element today. Jake Hinkson reviews one of my favorite Westerns, The Shootist. And I tackle The Duke’s cops and robbers films from the 1970s, McQ and Brannigan. Stop over and join in the conversation. If you’re a diehard Duke fan you may disagree with my take on his police films but you’re still more than welcome.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Laughter in the Dark

“Once upon a time there lived in Berlin, Germany, a man called Albinus. He was rich, respectable, happy; one day he abandoned his wife for the sake of a youthful mistress; he loved; was not loved; and his life ended in disaster.”

That succinct paragraph opens Laughter in the Dark before Vladimir Nabokov dutifully unfolds the spiraling downward fall of middle-aged art critic Albert Albinus and his gripping obsession with the 16-year-old Margot Peters. The novel was first published in Russian in 1932 under the far more captivating title Camera Obscura, and twenty-three years later Nabokov would tackle a similar theme of an older man with a young girl in the groundbreaking Lolita. But, whereas the famed nymphet of the 1950s gains a certain amount of pity for her situation, Margot comes across for what she is: a spoiled, conniving, and ultimately quite cruel femme fatale.

Read the rest of my article at Criminal Element.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Further Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles

This is my first new collection of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles short stories in almost three years. Wayne D. Dundee, Heath Lowrance, and Nik Morton have done such a fantastic job while I’ve been away that I knew I needed to dig deep to live up to their recent exploits.

The story of Cash and Gideon begins in the 1880s Wyoming Territory, then thunders through to 1930s New Orleans, and the two Deputy U.S. Marshals continue to find themselves on the outside of societal norms.

My buddy Chuck Tyrell helped me considerably with several stories in Further Adventures, and, in fact, I dedicated this collection to him.

Further Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles is available in print and for the Kindle.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

FREE eBook: The Big Ugly by Jake Hinkson

The Big Ugly is now available through BEAT to a PULP books and will be offered as a free download for two days. But I recommend the beautifully bound paperback with cover design by Michael Kronenberg—a nice addition to any noir book lover's shelf.

Ellie Bennett is an ex-corrections officer who has just served a year inside Eastgate Penitentiary for assaulting a prisoner. She’s only been out for a day when she accepts a strange job offer from the head of a Christian political advocacy group. He wants her to track down a missing ex-con named Alexis. Although no one knows where Alexis has gone, it seems like everyone in Arkansas is looking for her—from a rich televangelist running for Congress to the governor’s dirty tricks man. When Bennett finds the troubled young woman, she has to decide whether to hand her over to the highest bidder or help her escape from the most powerful men in the state.

Here's what others have said about The Big Ugly:

“Keep an eye on Jake Hinkson. He's taking the notion of the sacred and the profane to an entirely new level in noir.” —Lou Boxer co-founder of NoirCon

The Big Ugly is a jolt to complacency, a spur to the psyche -- a novel that starts simply enough, but expands and suddenly consumes the reader. Jake Hinkson is a master at creating, not characters, but people -- and then putting them through Hell.” —Steve Weddle, author of Country Hardball

“Jake Hinkson is a thunderhead on the horizon of crime fiction, and you can take The Big Ugly as confirmation that this storm isn't going to blow over any time soon. Batten down the hatches, take shelter and prepare for nasty weather. My favorite kind.” —Jedidiah Ayres, author of Peckerwood

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Hardboiled Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway is one of the biggest names of 20th century literature. He won the Pulitzer Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954, and his star seems in no danger of burning out even with tastes shifting away from the controversial sport of his beloved bull fighting and his outdated machismo. Though he didn’t write for the pulps, his spare dialogue and trim storytelling strongly influenced many hardboiled crime writers of his time and extending to crime-scrawling word slingers on the Internet today. Below I’ve selected six stories and two films that exemplify why, along with impresarios like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, he helped define a genre directly with classics like “The Killers” and indirectly with more literature-infused offerings like “In a Clean, Well-Lighted Place.”

Read the rest of Edward A. Grainger's Hardboiled Hemingway here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Some Real Ugly

Hey, I'm at twice today! The latest:Twelve Doctor Who Villains and Why They Hate Him So Damn Much.

The Flash

I grew up reading The Flash comic and am looking forward to the new show. So, I'm at with A Barry Allen Primer: What You Need to Know Ahead of The Flash’s Series Debut. Looking forward to talking to you over there.

Free eBooks!

Two Jack Laramie, The Drifter Detective, novellas are free for the Kindle over the next several days: The Girls of Bunker Pines by Garnett Elliott and Wide Spot in the Road by Wayne D. Dundee.