Category: Authors

THE BULLET GARDEN: An Earl Swagger Novel by Stephen Hunter is Coming!

On January 24, 2023, fans of Stephen Hunter’s Earl Swagger can get their mitts on his latest adventure, The Bullet Garden.  Here’s the 411…

The long-anticipated origin story of legendary Marine, fan favorite, and father of literary icon Bob Lee takes us to the battlefields of World War II as Earl Swagger embarks on a top secret and deadly mission—from Pulitzer Prize­–winning and New York Times bestselling Stephen Hunter, “one of the best thriller novelists around” (The Washington Post).

July, 1944: The lush, rolling hills of Normandy are dotted with a new feature—German snipers. From their vantage points, they pick off hundreds of Allied soldiers every day, bringing the D-Day invasion to its knees. It’s clear that someone is tipping off these snipers with the locations of American GIs, but who? And how?

General Eisenhower demands his intelligence service to find the best shot in the Allied military to counter this deadly SS operation. Enter Pacific hero Earl Swagger, assigned this crucial and bloody mission. With crosshairs on his back, Swagger can’t trust anyone as he infiltrates the shadowy corners of London and France for answers.

From “a true master at the pinnacle of his craft” (Jack Carr, author of the Terminal List series), The Bullet Garden is an electrifying historical thriller that is sure to become a classic.

If this is something you’d like, pre-orders are available now.

The Bullet Garden   Hardcover

The Bullet Garden  Kindle

TROOPER DOWN! by Anthony Neil Smith is Coming!

Anthony Neil Smith recently shared the cover of his next novel, Trooper Down!  It’s described as a…

Psychological thriller in the Hitchcock tradition told in first person by a South Dakota State Trooper who is shot in the head and tries to redeem himself.

Trooper Down! isn’t available for pre-order yet.  Once it is, I’ll let you know… right after I put in my order.

TOO MANY BULLETS: A Nathan Heller Case by Max Allan Collins is Coming!

It’s no secret. I’m a huge fan of Max Allan Collins’ Nathan Heller series.  In it, detective Nathan Heller gets involved with famous cases throughout history.  Max Collins does an exhaustive amount of research for each book and provides a solution to each case, that is sometimes at odds with history.  As the series progresses, Heller ages in real time.

Hard Case Crime has announced that a new Heller book will be out in the Fall of 2023.  Titled Too Many Bullets, it will have Heller investigating Robert Kennedy’s assassination.  That’s the cover above, and it’s a beauty painted by Paul Mann.

If you’re a fan of alternative history or detective stories, heck, if you’re a fan of well written books, then you owe it to yourself to check out the Nathan Heller tales by Max Allan Collins.

NIGHT FEVER by Ed Brubaker & Sean Phillips is Coming!

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have announced their next graphic novel, Night Fever.  Here’s the lowdown…

Who are you, really? Are you the things you do, or are you the person inside your mind?

In Europe on a business trip, Jonathan Webb can’t sleep. Instead, he finds himself wandering the night in a strange foreign city, with his new friend, the mysterious and violent Rainer as his guide. Rainer shows Jonathan the hidden world of the night, a world without rules or limits. But when the fun turns dangerous, Jonathan may find himself trapped in the dark… And the question is, what will he do to get home?

Night Fever is a pulse-pounding noir thriller from grand masters Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. A Jekyll-and-Hyde story of a man facing the darkness inside himself, this riveting tour of the night is a must-have for all Brubaker and Phillips readers!

Night Fever drops June 20, 2023.  Pre-orders are available now.  Deal me in!

HELL OF A MESS by Nick Kolakowski / Z-View

Hell of a Mess by Nick Kolakowski

Trade Paperback: ‎ 234 pages
Publisher: ‎ Shotgun Honey Books (August 25, 2022)

First sentence…

It was the worst possible timing – or maybe the best.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Fiona and Bill are back.

As a major hurricane bears down on New York, Fiona is on a mission to pull off a heist from a bad guy’s luxury penthouse.  She has a plan to get past the security team, grab the item and be gone before they know it’s missing.  What Fiona didn’t count on was what she found in the master bedroom.  Now she’s on the run with redacted due to spoiler.

Bill is riding out the storm in a “borrowed” penthouse.  The place is well-stocked and the owner left for safer regions well before the hurricane was scheduled to hit.  Bill plans to eat and drink, as he waits for Fiona to return.  Suddenly a group of dirty cops bust into the penthouse. They’re looking for redacted due to spoiler  but find Bill instead!  The cops are desperate.  Bill realizes they’ll kill him unless he can convince them he knows of money ripe for the taking.  Bill’s a good con man, but how long can he con these hardcore cops?

Fiona is on the run, slowed down by redacted due to spoiler.  Bill’s a prisoner of rouge cops driving to the promised “treasure”.  The weather’s getting worse.  What else could go wrong?  How about a hitman that Bill and Fiona had left for dead, ain’t.  And he’s back.  Yeah, it’s a hell of a mess and things are about to get worse.

Hell of a Mess rates 4 of 5 stars.  It’s a rollercoaster ride from start to finish.  I hope we’ll see a Love & Bullets Hookup Book 5.

Hell of a Mess Trade Paperback
Hell of a Mess Kindle

Rating:

BEACH BODIES by Nick Kowlakowski

Nick Kolakowski has a new novella that was just released.  It’s titled Beach Bodies.  Here’s the synopsis…

This billionaire’s luxury doomsday bunker has everything: spectacular ocean views, a full-service kitchen, three bedrooms, a broadband connection, and concrete thick enough to keep any kind of horror out.

Today, the bunker’s caretakers are about to discover those concrete walls are good—too good—at keeping them trapped with the horrors inside. Twenty feet below the world’s most beautiful beach, they’ll face the ultimate evil—one that transcends death itself.

If you want me, I’ll be in the bunker.

Beach Bodies Paperback

Beach Bodies Kindle

RIP: Leslie Jordan

Leslie Jordan, the actor, singer, writer and internet sensation, died this morning, the result of a car wreck.  Mr. Jordan’s car hit the side of a building.  Preliminary results indicate that a medical episode may have led to the crash.  Mr. Jordan was 67.

Leslie Jordan moved to Los Angeles in 1982.  Standing just 4’11”, speaking with a strong Southern drawl, and openly gay, Leslie Jordan was a memorable character.  Although he struggled for a few years, in 1986, Leslie Jordan got his first television role on The Fall Guy.   After that ice-breaking role, Mr. Jordan continued to act on television, in feature films, on the stage and he even branched out into writing and singing!

Some of Leslie Jordan television appearances include: The Fall Guy; Night Court; Murphy Brown; Newhart; The People Next Door (10 episodes); Pee-Wee’s Playhouse;  Top of the Heap (6 episodes); Perfect Strangers; Reasonable Doubts (16 episodes); Bodies of Evidence (16 episodes); Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman; Hearts Afire (27 episodes); Coach; Star Trek: Voyager; Wings; The Pretender; Dharma & Greg; Ellen; Maximum Bob; Nash Bridges; Alley McBeal; Boston Public (5 episodes); Monk; Reba; Boston Legal (6 episodes); Hidden Palms (5 episodes); Sordid Lives: The Series (10 episodes); 12 Miles of Bad Road (6 episodes); Desperate Housewives; Supernatural; Con Man (6 episodes); American Horror Story (10 episodes); Will & Grace (17 episodes); Fantasy Island and Call Me Kat (36 episodes).

Some of Leslie Jordan’s feature film appearances include: Moving; Hero; Jason Goes to Hell; Sordid Lives; The Help; Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel; The United States vs Billie Holiday and Until We Meet Again.

In addition to being an accomplished stage actor; Leslie Jordan was also a playwright.  Some of his plays and stage shows include:  Lost in the Pershing Point Hotel; Like a Dog on Linoleum; Hysterical Blindness and Other Southern Tragedies That Have Plagued My Life Thus Far and My Trip Down the Pink Carpet.

Leslie Jordan was also a singer.  His gospel album Company’s Comin’ was released in 2021.  Mr. Jordan was also a hit on Instagram with 5.9 followers at the time of his death.

Leslie Jordan was probably best known for his recurring role on Will & Grace.  Until his popularity reached the level where he was a well known actor/comedian; Mr. Jordan would appear on the screen and you’d instantly recognize “that funny guy”!  I never saw Leslie Jordan in a role where I didn’t appreciate his performance.  He was especially funny in his many Instagram posts.  He was the kind of Hollywood celebrity that appeared genuine.  I’m going to miss seeing him pop up in new roles, but I am thankful for his many, many performances that will be around forever.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Leslie Jordan’s family, friends and fans.

Jim Ivey: A Celebration of Life!

Jim Ivey died on July 13, 2022, at the age of 97.  Jim led an amazing life which you can read about here.  On October 9, 2022, 25 of Jim’s friends came together to celebrate him.

The photos above are of the front and back covers of a booklet that Charlie Moffitt put together.  It contained photos, drawings and remembrances of Jim by many of his friends.  Thanks to Charlie for putting the booklet together and also Mike Kott & Sue Cornwell who paid for the printing costs so that everyone got a copy.

Our celebration was at an Outback Steakhouse. Twenty-five of Jim’s friends attended. John Beatty wanted to, but his mother passed away two days prior.  I printed a sheet of Jim Ivey caricatures for everyone.  Jim liked to say if 100 artists drew the same person, the drawings would all be different, yet each would capture an aspect of the person.  It reminded me that Jim had friendships with each of us, but like the caricatures, the relationships were all slightly different.

It was great seeing so many of Jim’s friends who were also friends with each other because of Jim.  We shared a meal, and many wonderful memories.  There was a lot of laughter and we kept things low key – just as Jim would have wanted.

Mike Kott shares a Jim Ivey story!

Charlie shows Frank the proper way to hold a baby.

Everyone ignoring the waitress when the bill comes.

Cliff prepares to strangle Doralya.

The All-American Boy (we might have to revisit that nickname) tells the story of Jim Ivey’s slow motion fall during a poker game.

Bill and Rob recreating the Keep on Truckin’ pose.

Rob found Joy’s homemade cookies… so did everyone else!  Yummy!

Joy shares an art book that Jim gave her.

Cliff’s smile means something is up.

Wild Bill Black and me… it looks like my hair had a stroke.

When Jim was approaching his mid-80s, he sent me a letter that contained the full page below.  Jim came up with advice for himself  since he was over 80. I always thought it contained great advice for any age, so I made a copy for everyone attending.

Jim will be missed, but never forgotten.

THE FAFHRD and the GRAY MOUSER OMNIBUS is Coming!

The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Omnibus will be released on June 27, 2023.  Here’s the lowdown:

Fritz Leiber ranks among the giants of fantasy and science fiction visionaries, capturing multiple Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards and influencing a generation of writers.

And his most renowned creations are the swashbuckling Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories.

Collected here are adaptations of some of the finest of these tales—including the Hugo and Nebula Award winning “Ill Met in Lankhmar”—by comics legends Howard Chaykin, Mike Mignola, Dennis O’Neil, Al Williamson, and more. Join the hulking barbarian and the diminutive rogue as they battle swordsmen, necromancers, and flagons of strong drink!

Collects Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser: The Cloud of Hate and Other Stories.

Pre-orders are available now!

How to Survive Being Buried Alive!

Although our focus is usually on entertainment, from time to time I like to include something that might be more useful than the latest preview or review.  So, for the roughnecks among us who run with tough crowds, I give you…

Source:  Eric Beetner. (If you enjoy great crime fiction, then you probably already know Eric Beetner… but if you don’t know, well, now you know.)

THE BURGLAR WHO MET FREDRIC BROWN by Lawrence Block is Coming!

Lawrence Block’s new novel, The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown is a Bernie Rhodenbarr tale.  Bernie is a burglar and his adventures are humorous (for the reader, not as funny for Bernie) and a nice change of pace if, like me, you lean into more hardboiled yarns.  Here’s the lowdown on The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown

Suppose you’re Bernie Rhodenbarr.

You’ve got a dream job, running your own cozy secondhand bookstore, complete with Raffles, your caudally challenged cat. It’s in Greenwich Village, and your best friend’s dog grooming salon is two doors away, and the two of you lunch together and meet for drinks after work.

And you’ve got another way to make a buck. Every once in a while you put your conscience on the shelf and let yourself into someone else’s residence, and you leave with more than you came with. You’re a burglar, and you know it’s wrong, but you love it.

And you’re good at it. You’ve got two ways to make a living, one larcenous, the other literary and legitimate, and you’re good at both of them.

Nice, huh?

Until the 21st Century pulls the rug out from under you. All of a sudden the streets of your city are so overpopulated with security cameras and closed-circuit TV that you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to have an undocumented moment. And locks, which used to provide the recreational pleasure of a moderately challenging crossword puzzle, have become genuinely pickproof.

Meanwhile, internet booksellers have muscled your legit enterprise into obsolescence. The new breed of customers browse your bookshop, find what they’re looking for, then whip out their phones and order their books online.

Wonderful. You had two ways to make a living, and neither of them works anymore.

But suppose you keep on supposing, okay?

Suppose you wake up one morning in a world just like the one in which you fell asleep-but with a couple of differences.

The first one you notice doesn’t amount to much. The Metrocard in your wallet has somehow changed color and morphed into what seems to be called a SubwayCard. That’s puzzling, but you swipe it at the turnstile same as always, and it gets you on the subway, so what difference does it make?

But that’s not the only thing that’s changed. The Internet’s up and running, as robust as ever, but nobody seems to be using it to sell books. Doors are secured not with pickproof electronic gizmos but with good old reliable Rabson locks, the kind you can open with your eyes closed. And what happened to all those security cameras? Where’d they go?

All of a sudden you’ve got your life back, and your bookshop’s packed with eager customers, and how are you gonna find time to steal something?

Well, just suppose one of the world’s worst human beings has recently acquired one of the world’s most glamorous gems. When the legendary Kloppmann Diamond is up for grabs, what can you possibly do but grab it?

And what could possibly go wrong?

THAT is one strange set-up.  I trust Lawrence Block to make it work.  Pre-orders for the October 18th release are available now.

The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown Paperback

The Burglar Who Met Fredric Brown Kindle

“Things to Come” (1936) / Z-View

Things to Come (1936)

Directors:  William Cameron Menzies

Screenplay:  H. G. Wells based on The Shape of Things to Come by H. G. Wells

Stars:  Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson and Cedric Hardwicke 

Tagline:  A hundred years ahead of its time.

The Overview:  Beware of spoilers…

Things to Come is based on H.G. Wells’ novel The Shape of Things to Come.  Wells reportedly considered the book less a novel than his thoughts on what the next 100 years could hold for mankind.  That’s a big story for any movie, and maybe it’s too big.

The film starts in 1940.  We’re on the brink of another World War.  There are mixed opinions on if the war will happen, but of course it does and rages for over 20 years. Most cities around the world are destroyed.  Technology ceases to advance.  In the 1970s, a city known as Everytown is governed by “the Boss”.  His people live in bombed out buildings and wear tatters for clothes.  One day a modern airplane lands.  John Cabal (Massey), the pilot emerges.  He wears futuristic garb and says that he’s from a community known as Wings Over the World.  He offers “the Boss” a chance to join this community.

Instead “the Boss” takes Cabel prisoner.  When Wings Over the World realizes this, they send an air armada for rescue.  The advanced airplanes drop sleeping bombs.  Once the population is unconscious Paratroopers drop for the rescue.  “The Boss” dies from a reaction to the sleeping gas.  John Cabal announces that “The Boss” and the old world ways are dead.

The movie then has a montage showing the advancements made by the new world order.  Technology makes life better for all.  As plans are made to go to the moon and later the stars, there is a group who see more advancement as bad.  As the astronauts prepare for liftoff, rioters charge to destroy the rocket.  They’re too late to stop the launch.  The movie ends with two characters discussing mankind and progress…

Things to Come bites off perhaps more than it can chew.  Having a story that spans over 100 years with the focus on all of mankind is a tall order.  If this story were to be done today, it would be best served as a tv series. It was interesting to see how H.G. Wells and the filmmakers perceived the future.  The one thing that they got right, was that even when things are going well, there is always a group that finds fault.

Things to Come earns 3 of 5 stars.

THE GIRL WITH A CLOCK FOR A HEART by Peter Swanson / Z-View


The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson

First sentence…

It was dusk, but as he turned onto the rutted driveway he could make out the perimeter of yellow tape that still circled the property.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

George Foss is having a drink in his favorite tavern with his on-again off-again girlfriend when he sees a beautiful woman seated at the bar.  The woman looks like an older version of George’s first love from his freshman year in college twenty years ago. The first love who suddenly disappeared without a trace.  The first love who may have been a murderer.

It turns out that the woman is truly George’s first love, Liana Dector.  Liana says she’s back because she needs a favor. Liana stole money, a lot of money, from a rich man. The man hired some terrible people to get it back and to teach her a lesson.  Liana wants George to return the cash she has left and ask the man to call off the dogs.  Despite everything, including that Liana could be a cold blooded murderer, George feels compelled to help her.  Maybe he’ll learn why she left all those years ago, if she truly loved him… and if she still does.

George’s decision to help Liana, puts him in way over his head.  Some very bad people now have their sights on George and the police want him for questioning in a murder.  Did Liana set him up or are they both victims?

Peter Swanson has created a roller-coaster ride in the tradition of Double Indemnity or Body Heat.  Swanson has created a page-turner that should satisfy both the mystery lover and noir fan.  The Girl with a Clock for a Heart easily earns 4 of 5 stars.

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart Hardcover
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart Paperback
The Girl with a Clock for a Heart Kindle