Category: Authors

ALL SINNERS BLEED by S.A. Cosby / Z-View


Hardback: ‎ 352 pages
Publisher: ‎ Flatiron Books (June 6, 2023)

First sentence…

Charon County was founded in bloodshed and darkness.

The Overview:  Beware of Spoilers…

Titus Crown is the first Black sheriff in Charon County, Virginia.  Titus grew up there.  He then served ten years as a F.B.I. agent.  Now he’s come home. Hopefully to do some good. Although elected by a majority, there are still some who can’t get past Titus’ skin color.

When an active shooter call comes in, Titus and his deputies rush to the local high school.  They arrive to find one of the community’s most beloved teachers murdered by a former student.  As the young killer walks out, gun in hand, Titus attempts to take him in to custody without more bloodshed.  Unfortunately, one of Titus’ deputies fatally shoots the kid.

Titus’ investigation into the teacher’s murder uncovers evidence of more crimes.  The beloved teacher, a pillar of the community, was involved in sadistic crimes against children.  As Titus digs deeper it becomes clear that three people were torturing and killing children.  Two are dead.  But one is still alive.  Hiding in plain sight among the people of Charon County.

Things become even more complicated. Evidence surfaces that Titus’ Deputy may have had a secret reason to kill the kid.

Another person is murdered.  The killer stages the body to let the world (and Sheriff Crown) know it is related to the murders of the children.  The killer begins taunting Titus.  Publicity about the gruesome murders puts the town on edge.  It also gives those who oppose Titus as Sheriff a reason to remove him from office.

As Titus continues to dig into the evidence, he uncovers dark secrets hidden for decades.  Of course Titus has a secret of his own.  The real reason he left the F.B.I..


S.A. Cosby is one of my must-buy authors.  He won the Anthony Award for Best Novel two years in a row for BLACKTOP WASTELAND and RAZORBLADE TEARS.  Both get my highest recommendation.  As does Cosby’s MY DARKEST PRAYER.

ALL SINNER’S BLEED is another winner.  Titus Crown is a great lead character.  I was surprised by the ending, but it felt right.  Especially Crown’s last act.

Each novel that Cosby has created made me hope for a sequel.  Yet, each new book brought new lead characters that I come to love.  Perhaps a crossover is due.  Truth is, it doesn’t matter what Cosby writes.  I, like many, many others will be in line to buy it.


“The Most Dangerous Game” (1932) starring Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks & Robert Armstrong / Z-View

The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Director: Ernest B. Schoedsack, Irving Pichel

Screenplay: James Ashmore Creelman based on “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell

Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong, Noble Johnson, Steve Clemente and James Flavin.

Tagline: Arresting, strange and terrible in the story of the polished Russian sportsman who lured ships to their doom…then drove the male survivors into his inland jungle, to be hunted down like animals!

The Plot…

Bob Rainsford (McCrea) is a well known big game hunter on a ship traveling near an uncharted island.  The ship hits something that causes it to quickly begin sinking and explode.  Bob swims to the island only to discover he is the sole survivor.

Bob is surprised to find a huge house owned by Count Zaroff (Banks).  Zaroff welcomes Bob into his home. The Count introduces Bob to Eve (Wray) and her brother Martin (Armstrong). Eve and Martin survived an earlier ship wreck and made it to the island.

Count Zaroff is pleased to have the pleasure of hosting Bob Rainsford, the famous big game hunter.  Zaroff explains that he is also a hunter. Zaroff claims to have hunted every kind of animal and was getting bored until he discovered “the most dangerous” game.

When Bob and Eve are alone, she says that two sailors who survived their shipwreck have gone missing. Bob shares his belief that the ships were sunk on purpose.  As Eve and Bob go through Zaroff’s mansion they stumble onto his trophy room.  To their horror, they discover that Count Zaroff hunts humans.  They will soon be his prey.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

The Most Dangerous Game and King Kong share a lot in common.  Both films were produced by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack.  Ernest B. Schoedsack co-directed both movies. Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, James Flavin and Noble Johnson appeared in both films.  Both movies used the same sets!

“The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell has been adapted and used as inspiration for countless movies.

A preview of “The Most Dangerous Game” contained a more detailed look at Count Zaroff’s trophy room.  It featured mounted human heads, heads in bottles and stuffed full figures of men Zaroff had murdered.  When several in the preview audience walked out, the scene was shortened.

Beware of bad copies. The Most Dangerous Game (1932).  Iy fell into public domain and there are some shoddy prints out there.

The Most Dangerous Game (1932) rates 5 of 5 stars.

A TURKEY DANCED DEATH: ANOTHER ROCK COBBLER CASE by Whiskey Leavins is now available!

Great news for Whiskey Leavins and Rock Cobbler fans – A TURKEY DANCED DEATH: ANOTHER ROCK COBBLER CASE is now available!

Most times I like crime fiction to be hardboiled and serious. But once in a while a bigger helping of humor is what the bartender offers.  You know, books like Whiskey Leavins’  MURDER IN GREASEPAINT (described as “equal parts Chandler, Christopher Moore, Bozo, and Bourbon”) or Leavins’ THE DEVIL’S OWN PISS AND OTHER STORIES‘.  I’ve read ’em both and each earned a 5 star rating – my highest recommendation.

Now Whiskey Leavins is back. A TURKEY DANCED DEATH: ANOTHER ROCK COBBLER CASE is out.  Here’s the lowdown…

Early morning. A wooded clearing. The body surrounded by a conga line of head-bobbing wild turkeys. Then Detective Rock Cobbler’s Thursday really starts to get weird. Before he can begin to dig into this turkey-murder, his attention is diverted by a soft-spoken young woman filing a run-of-the-mill missing person report. Santa Lacrimosa PD’s crack detective knows he should focus on the murder, but unexplainably finds his interest being drawn towards the routine case. The dual investigations will lead Cobbler through seedy residential motels, close encounters with local burlesque royalty Caramel Slice, and on to interactions with a bizarre mountain cult, its charismatic leader, and his bulldog-like henchman. Will the bourbon-loving Cobbler get to the bottom of both cases? Will he figure out the turkey angle? Or will he wind up getting stuffed?

A TURKEY DANCED DEATH combines equal parts Chandler, Christopher Moore, Carl Hiaasen, and a dash of Jim Jones into a quirky, tawdry, Whiskey’d up cocktail.

My order is in,



EERIE Archives Volume 6 featuring Tom Sutton, Ken Kelly, Richard Corben, Doug Moench, Basil Gogos, Carlos Garzon, Nicola Cuti & Doug Moench!

EERIE Archives Volume 6 will be released on June 4, 2024.  If you wonder what the 248 pages will contain, here’s the lowdown…

Let Cousin Eerie lead you through the shadows into total darkness in EERIE Archives Volume 6, now in a value-priced paperback edition.

Feel the fear of the frightening fables from creators Tom Sutton, Ken Kelly, Richard Corben, Doug Moench, Basil Gogos, Carlos Garzon, Nicola Cuti, and more. Also includes an in-depth interview with longtime Warren Publishing scribe Doug Moench.

Collects EERIE magazine issues #28–#31.

  Deal me in.  Pre-Orders are available now.

EERIE Archives Volume 5 featuring Steranko, Frank Frazetta, Archie Goodwin, Tom Sutton, Angelo Torres, & Reed Crandall!

EERIE Archives Volume 5 will be 272 pages of horror when it is released on April 9, 2024.  Here’s the lowdown…

Take a ride in the back of Cousin Eerie’s hearse and head for the cemetery in EERIE Archives Volume 5, now in value-priced paperback.

Join legendary creators Frank Frazetta, Archie Goodwin, Jim Steranko, Tom Sutton, Angelo Torres, Reed Crandall, and more as they devise the most dastardly tales in the heinous history of horror. Foreword by CREEPY author, screenwriter, and director Don Glut.

Collects EERIE magazine issues #23–#27.

  Deal me in.  Pre-Orders are available now.

EERIE Archives Volume 4 featuring Archie Goodwin, Frank Frazetta, Reed Crandall, Tom Sutton, Al Williamson, Ambrose Bierce & Edgar Allan Poe!

EERIE Archives Volume 4 will be 256 pages when it is released on February 6, 2024.  Here’s the lowdown…

Follow your Cousin Eerie on a funeral march through the haunted halls of comics history in EERIE Archives Volume 4, now in a value-priced softcover format!

Join an all-star lineup of comics creators—Archie Goodwin, Frank Frazetta, Reed Crandall, Tom Sutton —as they mine your nightmares for ghoulish gold. Includes the adaptations of “The Death of Halpin Frayser” by Ambrose Bierce and “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe and a lengthy interview with legendary comics illustrator Al Williamson.

Collects EERIE magazine issues #16–#22.

  Deal me in.  Pre-Orders are available now.

CREEPY Volume 6 featuring Harlan Ellison, Neal Adams, Archie Goodwin, Don Glut, Frank Frazetta, Tom Sutton, Ernie Colon & Vaughn Bodé

Creepy Archives Volume Six will drop on March 26, 2024.  Clocking in at 288 pages it will feature…

The Eisner Award winning horror anthology series is now available in value-priced paperback editions!

Creepy Archives Volume 6 conjures a blood-curdling assemblage of shock, havoc, and nightmares by top comics fearmongers Archie Goodwin, Don Glut, Frank Frazetta, Tom Sutton, Ernie Colon, Vaughn Bodé, and more, and including “Rock God” by Hugo Award winning scribe Harlan Ellison, and illustrated by comics legend Neal Adams. Turn your happy home into a treacherous tomb with this terrifying tome!

Collects Creepy magazine issues 26–32.

  Deal me in.  Pre-Orders are available now.

John Benteen’s FARGO: HELL ON WHEELS – Adapted by Howard Chaykin

I can not wait for this to go live.  Deal me in.

A 96 page prestige format, action packed, hardcover graphic novel starring soldier of fortune Neal Fargo, based on the legendary ‘Fargo’ paperback series by John Benteen! Imagine if Conan was an American in the early 20th century. He still wouldn’t be as hard as Neal Fargo! Written and illustrated by the inimitable HOWARD CHAYKIN!

Exclusive Cover by DAVE JOHNSON.

Contributing artists also include Gary Frank, Butch Guice, Jordi Bernet, Enrico Marini, Robert Tanenbaum, Ron Garney, and more!

Who is Neal Fargo? Fargo has been described as “a combination of Robert E. Howard‘s Conan mixed with Sam Peckinpah‘s The Wild Bunch.  He was a big man, with wide shoulders, narrow hips the long legs of a born and bred horseman. His hair was close-cropped and snow white, though he was only in his thirties. He had grown up hard and never looked back. He’d punched cattle, rough-necked in the oil fields—even fought in the prize rings. He joined up with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and found his true calling—combat. His face was so battered, scarred, weathered and remarkably ugly that it was almost handsome. He drew helplessly admiring looks from the women and cautious, wary looks from the men. He was a soldier of fortune, for sale to the highest bidder—he was Fargo.

What’s the story? Fargo is hired to protect a small railroad on the verge of going out of business from being sabotaged by a larger ruthless and corrupt competitor. Fargo always enjoyed a challenge, and payback was fair play in his book. Fist fights, gunfights, women and whisky, ‘Hell on Wheels’ is a prime example of what makes Neal Fargo a timeless character in the world of adventure graphic novels. Combine that with the unique creative sensibility of Howard Chaykin, no stranger to tough, smart protagonists (with an eye for the ladies) and ‘Fargo: Hell on Wheels’ will be one of the most exciting independent graphic novels of the year!


S. Craig Zahler is best known as an award-winning screenwriter and director.  He’s the guy who wrote and directed Bone Tomahawk, Brawl and Cell Block 99 and Dragged Across Concrete.  Zahler is also an accomplished cinematographer, and musician.  But none of those things are what this post is about.

S. Craig Zahler is also a novelist.  His book THE SLANTED GUTTER came to my attention through Stephen J. Golds’ review on Twitter.  Gold said:

Just finished this crime novel by S. Craig Zahler and it may be one of the best-written noir stories of the last decade.
So noir it borders on absolute nightmare.

Don’t read anything about it. Just go into it blind. This book will lure you in and then pulverize you.

Here’s the synopsis on Amazon…

Take a roller coaster ride through the gutter in this gripping pull-no-punches thriller from S. Craig Zahler

He knows what you’ll do – including what you’ll sacrifice for protection.

Darren Tasking is an entrepreneur whose business is people, and when it comes to people he specializes in risk, pleasure, and fear.

He knows what will break you – before you even feel a second of pain.

Tasking has everything and everyone, in his orbit, under control. If there’s something he wants he will alter your life, elaborately and maliciously, until you yield to his wishes.

He knows what makes the Machos tick – and how to keep them in the dark.

The police tried to keep Tasking down with their macho modus operandi, sent him away long ago, but they couldn’t keep him incarcerated forever. Now he’s older, uncommonly careful, and keeps the machos oblivious to his enterprises. But when he meets a dancer named Erin Green at the Cherry Red strip club everything changes.

He knows the streets of Great Crown, Florida can only be dominated by the remorseless insights of a relentless slick like him.

The brothels and gambling parlors secreted behind iron doors keep the slick autonomous and successful, but Erin proves to be the variable that could put him on a collision course with unrepentant sadists, machos, and a trap created by the slick’s own extortionist machinations.

THE SLANTED GUTTER is a devastating character study painted with the darkest shades of noir, penned by a hand as unflinching as Tasking’s steely-eyed pursuit of his large dollar goal, as unforgiving on the reader as those who seek retribution against the slick for his nocturnal misdeeds.

Step into this gutter at your own risk.

THE SLANTED GUTTER has gone on my to-be-purchased list.  Oh, and how about that cover!




“Batman & Bill” (2017) / Z-View

Batman & Bill (2017)

Director: Don Argott, Sheena M. Joyce

Stars: Marc Tyler Nobleman, Bill Finger, Fred Finger, Portia Finger, Thomas Andrae, Jerry Bails, Otto Binder,
Athena Finger, Judy Flam, Stacey C. Friends, Carmine Infantino, Stan Lee, Todd McFarlane, Daniela Nobleman  
and Bob Kane.

Tagline: None.

The Plot…

For decades one of the biggest “secrets” that insiders knew was that Bob Kane wasn’t the sole creator of Batman. Despite this knowledge, every appearance of The Dark Knight contained the credit “Created by Bob Kane”.  The truth of the matter is Bill Finger was the creator of Batman’s costume, Robin, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, Commissioner Gordan, the Batcave, Gotham City and more.  Yet Bill Finger received no credit or compensation while Bob Kane got rich and famous.

Batman & Bill is the story of one man’s quest to right this wrong.  Despite overwhelming odds justice finally prevailed.  This is that story.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Although the general public didn’t know about Bill Finger, it wasn’t a secret among comic book professionals and many fans. Bob Kane for years claimed he was the sole creator of Batman.  The publishers of Batman and all its spinoffs knew differently.  It wasn’t until after Bill Finger’s death that Kane started to give Finger some credit.  Still, Kane was the only one listed on any Batman comic, movie or merchandise.

When Marc Tyler Nobleman learned of this injustice, he made it his life’s mission to right that wrong.  He had nothing to gain, but like a true superhero wanted justice to be served.  And it finally was.

Batman & Bill (2017) rates 4 of 5 stars.

FLIPPING BOXCARS by Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles with Alan Eisenstock

Here’s one I didn’t see coming.  Cedric “The Entertainer” Kyles (with Alan Eisenstock) has a book coming out on September 19th.  It’s titled FLIPPING BOXCARS.  Here’s the lowdown…

The first novel from one of the original Kings of Comedy, Cedric “The Entertainer,” an engaging and entertaining crime caper that is a valentine to close-knit black families and tightly woven communities struggling to get by during the Depression and World War II.

Babe is a charismatic and widely loved man, a gambler with a gift for gab that often gets him out of tricky situations. He’s also a dreamer, something he shares with his patient and loving wife, Rosie. They both yearn for financial stability and see the land they own as insurance for future generations. But when Babe and a few comrades enlist in a scheme that improbably falls apart, he endangers the little security the family has.

On the verge of losing everything, what’s a family man to do?

If you’re a gambler like Babe, you double down and risk it all for one big score—this time, a plan involving railroad boxcars.

Will Babe succeed? Will Rosie continue to support her husband? Are the Feds on to his make-or-break scheme?

FLIPPING BOXCARS is Cedric “The Entertainer” at his most engaging best—a charming, fast-paced novel that pays homage to his beloved grandfather and a generation past, anchored by rich, multi-dimensional characters and oozing with irresistible charm.



KRAJ the ENFORCER: STORIES by Rusty Barnes

I’ve never read anything by Rusty Barnes.  That’s about to change.  I’m going to put in my order for KRAJ the ENFORCER: STORIES.  Check out the synopsis below,  It may be something you’d like as well.

Meet Kraj—pronounced krai—a low-level errand boy and hitman masquerading as a bouncer for Tricky Ricky Gutierrez, nefarious owner of the Twist, a club in upstate Elmira NY. A place that has both a LGBTQIA night and a cowboy country night, this cockeyed corner bar in northern Appalachia supports Ricky’s illegal schemes, and serves as a rural balm for Croatian-war refugee Kraj.

Kraj plies his trade over a short span, moving from petty theft to strong-arming tips from people at the door, breaking up redneck fights, protecting the club’s nubile female staff and collecting gambling debts owed Tricky Ricky. Kraj eventually gets sucked further and further into Ricky’s underworld plans, where he wants to be seen as a man on the come-up, but he has problems moving up in Ricky’s organization will never solve. His sister Ana, missing since the Croatian War for Independence, never strays far from his mind.

Kraj, together with his sometime girlfriend Cami, newly become manager of a franchisee McDonald’s, and his manager Mikael. negotiates his way through underground fight clubs, prostitution rings, drug deals, petty thievery, and of course, murder. Tricky Ricky gives Kraj a great deal of rope and autonomy to operate.

Will he hang himself with it or swing?



TOO MANY BULLETS (Nathan Heller) by Max Allan Collins!

Max Allan Collins’ Nate Heller series is one of my favorites. Collins takes famous murders, thoroughly  researches them and then sticks Nate Heller in the middle of things.  It’s cool seeing Heller (who ages in real time through the series) interacting with famous people in cases and often with an ending not quite like what we’ve come to believe.  Collins always includes an afterward with insights and a bibliography.

Collins latest Nate Heller yarn is TOO MANY BULLETS.  Here’s the lowdown…

Acclaimed “True Crime” detective Nathan Heller, whose cases have sold more than 1 million copies, returns to uncover the secrets behind Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 assassination in this brand-new novel from bestselling ROAD TO PERDITION author Max Allan Collins.

In 1968, Nate Heller is there when Robert Kennedy is shot at the Ambassador Hotel. Heller takes it upon himself to investigate the murder when a friend of his and Bobby’s raises doubts about the LAPD’s investigation. Heller strongly suspects the involvement of Jimmy Hoffa (currently imprisoned), but Hoffa seems to be in the clear as the private eye looks into the possible presence of CIA enemies of RFK’s on the murder night, the apparent manipulation of Sirhan Sirhan into a Manchurian Candidate-style assassin, and a probable second shooter.



“Fences” (2016) written by August Wilson, directed by Denzel Washington, starring Denzel Washington & Viola Davis / Z-View

Fences (2016)

Director: Denzel Washington

Screenplay: August Wilson based on his play Fences

Stars: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby,
Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sidney, Christopher Mele, Lesley Boone
and Rachelle Beinart.

Tagline:  Some people build fences to keep people out – and other people build fences to keep people in.

The Plot…

Troy Maxson (Washington) is a bitter, angry, 56 year old black man.  Once a talented baseball player, Troy was never given a chance to play in the big leagues due to his race.  Then World War II came.  Now that Troy is older, the color-barrier in baseball has broken.  But Troy is too old to play.  So he makes his living as a garbage collector.  Even there Troy see discrimination.  All the drivers are white.  All the workers doing the heavy lifting are black.

Troy’s wife, Rose (Davis) sees times are starting to change.  Cory (Adepo), Troy and Rose’s son, is a bright student and talented football player.  A college is interested in giving Cory a scholarship, but Troy won’t sign the paperwork.  He wants Cory to get educated in a job that will always provide an income.

Troy sees barriers everywhere and is bitter about how life has treated him, never realizing that he is building barriers for himself and his family as well.  Despite Troy’s flaws, Rose loves him.  Sadly Troy’s choices are going to have terrible consequences for his family and friends.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

Fences (2016) was honored at the Academy Awards:

Academy Award Wins:

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Viola Davis

Academy Award Nominations:

  • Best Motion Picture of the Year: Todd Black, Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Denzel Washington
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: August Wilson

“Fences” was first a Broadway play.  It opened in 1987 and went on to win Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Actor (James Earl Jones), and Best Featured Actress (Mary Alice).  “Fences” was revived in 2010.  It won Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Play, Best Actor (Denzel Washington), and Best Actress (Viola Davis).  All five adult actors from the revival reprise their roles in the film.

Although August Wilson is the only credited screenwriter for the film, Denzel Washington, Spike Lee and Tony Kushner did uncredited work.  They didn’t want their names on the credits to insure that Wilson alone received any writing honors or awards.

Denzel Washing and Viola Davis were rightfully nominated for Academy Awards.  Their roles in Fences may be their best performances ever.  Everyone in the supporting cast is wonderful.

It was fun to see Saniyya Sidney as a very young girl.  Sidney would go on to co-star in The Passage a few years later.

Fences (2016) rates 5 of 5 stars.

A TROLL WALKS INTO A BAR: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novel (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) by Douglas Lumsden

I usually like my crime fiction to be hardboiled and realistic.  Well, as realistic as hardboiled fiction usually is.  Still, sometimes it’s fun to venture off into some crazier territory. A TROLL WALKS INTO A BAR: A Noir Urban Fantasy Novel (Alexander Southerland, P.I.) by Douglas Lumsden looks to fit the bill.

When a troll speaks–listen up! Hardboiled P.I. Alexander Southerland just wants to enjoy a quiet drink when a 500-pound troll walks into the bar. Next thing he knows, Southerland is navigating his way through rogue cops, a gang war, beautiful nymphs from the ocean depths, a were-rat, the mayor’s corrupt fixer, the sleaziest (and cleverest) gnome in Yerba City, and creatures right out of legend. At the center of it all is a mysterious locked box. Can Southerland discover its explosive secret–and survive long enough to pay his rent on time?

I read the Amazon sample and liked what I saw.  Check it out.  You may as well.