Thursday, June 25, 2015

KILLER Book of the Month


KILLER has been get outstanding reviews in German newspapers and by German readers, has twice been picked by their crime jury for their April and May top ten crime novels list, and now has been picked by the German Magazine KulturNews as the best book of the month.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Give an Archie for Father's Day!

I think anybody who's read any of my Julius Katz mystery stories would agree that there would be no better Father's Day gift than an Archie, for the following reasons:

1) He's compact, no larger than a tie clip, and can be worn as such!

2) Perfect for handling those annoying telemarketing calls! Very quickly your phone number would be put on the top of their Do Not Call lists!

3) Great at handicapping horse races. He'll make you a bundle!

4) No one's better at computer hacking. With a few changes to his neuron network, Archie would be willing to make Donald Trump unwittingly pay your credit card bills, or better yet, transfer all of Trump's assets to your bank, leaving him with only that clump of orange orangutan hair that he wears as a wig. And if you wanted to have that wig snatched from Trump's head, Archie could probably arrange that also!

5) While he's only Julius Katz's assistant, there's probably nobody better other than Katz in solving a murder! And Archie works a lot cheaper than Julius!

Of course, there's only one Archie, and I'm not sure Julius would be willing to sell him (and good luck trying to take him away by force given Julius's 5th degree black belt in Kung Fu). So if you can't have your own Archie, the next best thing would be reading about his exploits (as well as Julius's).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bad Moon Rising by Ed Gorman

I've long maintained that Ed Gorman is one of the best mystery, horror, Western, short story writer working today, and if his Sam McCain took place on either coast instead of the Midwest, these books would be best sellers. Well, Bad Moon Rising is on sale for only $2.99, so here's your chance to try one if you haven't already, And here's what PW said about this book in a starred review.

Social turmoil overshadows the sleuthing in Gorman’s excellent ninth Sam McCain mystery (after 2009’s A Ticket to Ride). In 1968, a hippie commune near Black River Falls, Iowa, both horrifies and entices the townsfolk with its uninhibited lifestyle. Sardonic lawyer and investigator McCain becomes involved after the discovery of the body of Vanessa Mainwaring, the teenage daughter of a well-to-do local, at the commune, and a Vietnam vet who’s one of its members flees. Interference by a bigoted sheriff, an opportunistic preacher, and a hysterical father makes matters even worse as Sam tries not just to solve the murder but to help the people around him caught in an intensely stressful situation. The real crime, as Sam eventually realizes, is how one generation exploits the next—while the younger generation devours itself. In turn mellow and melancholy, this book grapples with problems that are too complex for any detective to untangle.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Jildy Sauce on Demons

"A brilliant contemporary horror novel...An entertaining novel, dark and humorous, touching and often exciting, with lots of inventive demon lore." Jildy Sauce on THE BOY WHO KILLED DEMONS

Read what other reviewers have had to say.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

A new Demons review

From the UK site Crime Review:

The question readers of this stylish young adult fantasy thriller have to ask themselves is whether Henry is correct in his beliefs or simply delusional. There are no easy answers in Henry’s world, but I think you’ll enjoy his company.

Read the entire review here.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Intravenous Magazine on Demons

'The Boy Who Killed Demons' is a safe bet for a good, compelling read that is easy to pick up and hard to put down.


Read the rest of the review here.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Bookbag on Demons

The UK review site The Bookbag has plenty of good things to say about The Boy Who Killed Demons, including:

Talking of end, Dave ramps up the tension and turns dark into darker over the last quarter, leaving us breathless and behind a cushion. (Ok, the sudden need to be behind soft furnishings may just be me!) 

Read the entire review here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

New review for The Boy Who Killed Demons

A new review from book blogger Keith B. Walters sums up THE BOY WHO KILLED DEMONS as "Clever, witty, and dark as hell." You can read the entire review here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

MIND PRISON: Part 4

(MIND PRISON is also available as a kindle eBook. This is the 4th and final part.)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Part 4



She fought feebly for a few moments and then her arms went limp. After it was done, a wave of nausea rolled over me. My knees buckled and I collapsed to the ground. It was a long while before I could push myself back to my feet and dig her grave. Afterwards, I went back to the house and had a few drinks to steady myself. Then I took a shower, put on some clean clothes, and got in the car to meet Svetlana.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the way Cheryl looked when I had choked the life out of her. I just kept seeing her the way she was during those last few moments; her eyes wide-open, bulging, her tongue thickening as it pushed its way through blood-red lips. And those wide-open eyes, Jesus, staring at me with nothing but sadness. There was no fear or hatred in those eyes, only sadness. Then the sadness just sort of dried up and there was nothing left in them. After a while it was like looking into empty glass.
I pulled over to the side of the road and stopped the car. I had to get that image out of my head. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to concentrate, tried to stop that image from playing through my mind. But I couldn’t. It was like a movie that was wrapped around in a loop, playing over and over again. With a start I realized I had seen it before, maybe hundreds of times, maybe thousands.
The air became still. It was so damn quiet. I couldn’t hear anything, not even my own heartbeat. I realized why the scene of Cheryl being choked to death seemed so damn familiar. It all finally hit me. I wasn’t Graham Winston.
As I sat there I could remember every detail about my life with Cheryl. I could remember us meeting when I was twenty-two and she was twenty-nine. I remembered how beautiful she was then. I remembered how much she loved me almost from the start. I could see the years of us together and all the things she did to care for me and support me. I felt ashamed thinking about the last few years, and about all the little things I had said to her, all the snide comments, the innuendos. There was no wonder Cheryl was always running on her treadmill and doing aerobics. Anything to try to keep her body trim for me—to try to keep me from growing bored with her. I remembered other things. Really horrible things, things that I just wouldn’t want to admit to. The one thing I couldn’t remember, though, was her supporting me through medical school. Because I never went to medical school. And I sure as hell never went to engineering school. I had no memories growing up as Graham Winston.
I remembered that my real name was Bob Coggins. That I had bought a chain of supermarkets in the Denver area with Cheryl’s money. I remembered killing Cheryl at our summer home near Estes Park, not the White Mountains.
As I sat there other memories came rushing forward. They were memories of events that hadn’t happened yet but were going to happen. I remembered the phone call I received from France notifying me about Cheryl’s death. And I remembered how Svetlana and I waited a year after that before getting married. And then how she betrayed me only a few days later. She had called the police, claiming that I had bragged to her about murdering Cheryl. With Svetlana’s help they were able to dig up Cheryl’s body. There wasn’t much I could say or do after that. There was really no evidence to implicate Svetlana. She had been careful to make sure that there was no evidence.
They charged me with first degree murder. The trial was quick and the jury took less than an hour to convict me. Svetlana ended up with the millions that Cheryl had left me, and I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
I remember being taken to prison, or at least what had become prison. It was really nothing but a large warehouse filled with coffin-sized containers. They had me drugged at this point, so I couldn’t really do much of anything but look around. But I remember those containers, one stacked on top of the next. There must have been tens of thousands of them in that room. They placed me in one of them and attached electrodes all over my body. Then they stuck an intravenous feeding tube into me and attached a catheter. And then they drilled those holes in my skull.
I sat in the car with my eyes shut, trying to concentrate, fishing for more memories, but that was all there was. And I realized I was now living a simulation. I guess either because of ego, or because Graham Winston had a hell of a sense of humor, he had developed a simulated script of his own life. So all I was doing now was living his script. Except there was a flaw in the system. Instead of simply reenacting the script, my old memories were bubbling through and changing it. The script had been perverted and merged with my own past.
The image of Cheryl dying was so damn vivid. Probably every simulated life I lived got corrupted with memories of Cheryl and Svetlana. Probably every single one ended with me choking the life out of my wife. And I knew every future one was also going to end that way. I knew there was no escape from it.
I looked down at my hands and watched as I clenched and unclenched my fingers. I didn’t know how much time was left before I’d be switched into a new simulated life, but I hoped I had at least enough time to meet up with Svetlana. I knew it wouldn’t do any good, I knew what I was living now wasn’t real, but I wanted Svetlana to go through once what Cheryl had gone through all those countless number of times.
I started the car up and pulled it back onto the road. Svetlana was waiting down the road for me. With a little bit of luck I’d meet up with her. With just a little bit of luck.

The End

Thursday, April 23, 2015

MIND PRISON: Part 3

(MIND PRISON is also available as a kindle eBook. The story is being presented on this blog in four parts)


Part 3
I didn’t get home that night until past eight. As I made myself a drink in the kitchen I could hear the droning and thumping noise from the basement of Cheryl running on her treadmill. She must have heard me because the noise stopped. A minute later I could hear her clumping up the stairs. Another minute and she joined me in the kitchen.
“Hi, Honey,” she said as she reached over to give me an overly wet kiss on my cheek. “I just finished three miles on the treadmill.”
Cheryl was wearing her workout leotards. It kind of firmed her up some, but even still her body over the last few years had lost most of it’s definition and was becoming shapeless. To be fair, she was forty-six, a good seven years older than me and twenty-one years older than Svetlana. Still, all the countless hours running on her treadmill and performing aerobics didn’t seem to stop her body from spreading and growing small unsightly bulges. As I looked at her, I noticed how puffy her face had become. Maybe the sheen of her sweat exaggerated the puffiness, I don’t know, but it almost seemed as if a layer of stucco had been applied. I took a sip of my martini, wished I had put in a little less Vermouth, and muttered something about how great she looked.
Cheryl put a sweaty hand on my drink hand—she was really sweating all over, dripping in it really—and twisted her body around to give me a slobbering kiss on my lips. All I could think of during it was how she smelled like sweat socks and how much that contrasted with Svetlana’s sweet jasmine scent. Even when Svetlana was sweaty after making love, she still smelled of jasmine.
“How’d the meeting with the Corrections Board go?” she asked.
She had a sweaty hand resting on my arm. I took a sip of my martini, using that as an excuse to disengage myself from her, and then took a few steps away.
“I think I sold four of the five members. But even if I hadn’t, it wouldn’t matter. I’ve got the Governor and the State Senate behind me. The clinical trials are a go. Sometime in the next few weeks the first human test subject will be connected.”
I could tell Cheryl was both happy and a bit disappointed by the news. She knew once the clinical trials started she’d see even less of me. For a moment I felt sorry for her. And for a moment I even felt a pang of regret about how I now felt about her. But the regret was fleeting.
Cheryl warmed up some dinner that she had prepared for me earlier. Later, when we were in bed she was all over me. I tried to pretend I was sleeping but she wouldn’t give up and after a while I couldn’t ignore her. I tried my hardest to think of Svetlana and somehow got through it.
The next morning I received a call from Svetlana and we arranged to meet. When I saw her, her eyes and skin were flushed with excitement and it drove me crazy. It just made me feel weak in my knees. She gave me a long hard kiss, letting me taste her, letting me feel her warmth. Then she told me how we were going to get rid of my wife.
Her plan was for me to arrange a trip to Paris for me and my wife. I would explain to Cheryl that I wanted to squeeze the trip in before things got too crazy at work. We would first spend a long weekend at our summer home in the White Mountains and then fly to Paris. I knew Cheryl would be thrilled with the idea and I knew she’d tell her friends about it. At the last minute, while in the White Mountains, I would have to postpone my flight for a few days due to an emergency at work. I would insist that Cheryl still leave on her original flight and that I would catch up with her later. Of course I’d have to make sure she told her friends about the change in plans. Then I’d kill her and bury her. Svetlana would find a Russian look-alike for Cheryl. She wouldn’t have to look exactly like my wife, just enough to match Cheryl’s passport and for people on the flight to remember her. Later, she would disappear back to Russia. Svetlana would also arrange with her Russian contacts for a corpse to be found in a car crash along with Cheryl’s passport and suitcase.
As Svetlana told me her plan, her voice came out in a breathless whisper. I touched her cheek and felt a hotness from her skin. She was burning. Before I knew it I had her in my arms and could feel her body tremble and push into mine. I told her we would do it. It seemed like an eternity before we separated. She told me she’d need a photo of Cheryl, and I told her there was one on my company’s web site.
That night I told Cheryl about our trip to Paris and she burst out crying. She gave me a flurry of wet kisses and then told me how happy she was. Later that night, I overheard her calling her friends, telling them about how we were going to spend the weekend at our home in the White Mountains and then fly to Paris.
The next day I got a call from Svetlana letting me know that the look-alike was en route from Moscow. We arranged the final details of where and when she would be waiting for me with Cheryl’s look-alike. Then I hung up.
The rest of the week felt rather normal. I was surprised at how indifferent I was about what was going to happen. I was able to focus on work and really felt no nerves or anxiety. Thursday before leaving I modified a software module so that our weekend test would fail. I knew that sometime around Sunday morning I would get a panicked call from my assistant, Hanson.
Friday morning Cheryl and I headed off to the White Mountains. It was a beautiful fall day and Cheryl could barely contain her happiness. I felt oddly at peace. The whole ride up Cheryl rested against me.
The weekend went according to plan. Sunday morning I got a frantic phone call from Hanson that the weekend test had failed. I told Cheryl that I would have to book myself a later flight. I could tell she was disappointed, and she started to argue that she would postpone her flight so she could be with me, but I insisted that she fly out Sunday night as planned. I’d rather have her enjoying herself in Paris than sitting around waiting for me to fix a critical software bug. In the end she relented.
I had a few mildly anxious hours waiting for her to relay the bad news to her friends, but by four o’clock I heard her on the phone. After she put the phone back down, I walked over to her and gave her a kiss. My hands were resting on her shoulders and slid slowly up to her neck. Before she realized what was happening, I was choking the life out of her. I just stared at her indifferently and kept squeezing, putting all my muscle into it. There was something about the look in her eyes that got to me, though. And there was something about how blood-red her lips became, and her tongue, the way it just sort of thickened as it pushed through those lips. Something oddly familiar about it all …

Part 4 tomorrow