Sunday, December 10, 2017

Chapter One: Murder Club

Murder Club is a crime noir novel that will be published in Germany with the title Everything Ends Here. I thought I'd give people a taste of this one and I've put the first chapter up on my website here.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

CRAZED Excerpt





He brought the steak knife and fork he had used to the bathroom so he could wash them—again, he didn’t want to leave any DNA or fingerprints behind. When he was done he brought them over to Claire, and sat down on the bed next to her. Her face had become wet with tears, and she pleaded with him with her eyes. He knew what she’d be begging him to do if he hadn’t gagged her. Take my money, but please don’t hurt me. Pathetic in a way, because of course he was also going to be taking her money afterwards.
“The coin came up heads,” he explained to her. “If it had been tails, you’d be alive tomorrow.”
She tried once more to scream, but only a low muffled noise escaped her gag, certainly nothing anyone in the hallway or a neighboring room would’ve been able to hear. As he watched her, he could see the terror within her becoming something palpable. It wasn’t just because she was afraid of what he was going to do to her, but because she could see that the beast that had been dormant for so many months had finally arisen within him.
For a long moment Griffin sat still and admired the long, willowy canvas that he had to work with. When her terror made her try screaming again, he didn’t bother to hush her, and instead went to work, using the fork and steak knife on her. The beast could be patient and meticulous, though, and as he had promised, he took his time. After all, even though the beast had been let loose, keeping his promise was still the gentlemanly thing to do.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cover reveal: German edition of Murder Club


 The brilliant cover for the German edition of Murder Club, with the title 'Everything Ends Here'. This is easily my best crime noir novel, and hopefully if/after Outsourced gets made (which is looking highly likely--more later on that) this will find a US publisher. I showed this book (the English version, not the German translation!) to my fellow crime writer and traveler into dark realms, Roger Smith, Roger's thoughts: "A great book. Dark and insidious. Gets the nerves on edge." I also showed it to an editor at Little Brown, who told me it was the best crime novel he's read in 5 years, and was excited about buying it until he talked to his boss. In the meantime, anyone who wants to read this--learn German!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Small Crimes picked again as a top crime novel in Germany

When Small Crimes was published in 2008, it received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly ("deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy"), was picked by the Washington Post as one of the best books of the year, and topped NPR's list of best mystery and crime novels of the year. In Italy, it was voted 3rd in their 2010 Bloody Mary award for best crime novel, and now that it has been published in Germany, it was selected by their crime fictions as one of the best 10 crimes in Germany for November and December. If you haven't read Small Crimes yet, isn't it about time you do? Or you can always see the recent Netflix movie based on the book that stars everybody's top 2 Lannisters (Nicolaj Coster-Waldau).

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

About CRAZED



That author's name on the cover, Jacob Stone? It's a pseudonym. I'm writing these. When I started this thriller series for Kensington, they wanted a different name for marketing purposes to differentiate this series from my other books. But these thrillers have the same twisty plots and darkness as my crime novels, with some of the humor from my Julius Katz stories. And I have to think my bull terrier Parker is as endearing a character as Archie from those Julius Katz stories. 

Originally I was going to make what became my third Morris Brick thriller, MALICIOUS, my follow-up to DERANGED, which is why DERANGED has the epilog that it does. But after the conclusion of DERANGED, which finds Sheila Proops not only alive but free, I decided I needed to bring her back, and so CRAZED was born.

The serial killer in CRAZED, Griffin Bolling, is quite a piece of work, to the say the least. At the beginning of the book, he decides he’s going to make Sheila one of his victims, and travels from Seattle to Los Angeles, leaving a trail of corpses in his path. When he finally meets up with Sheila, plans change, and I think readers will find his partnership with Sheila chilling. Added to the mix is a desperate wannabe filmmaker, Allen Perlmutter, and when Perlmutter stumbles upon what Sheila and Griffin are up to, he starts spying on them, thinking he’ll be able to get enough material to make a blockbuster movie, and that fame and fortune will soon follow. Perlmutter and his rationalizations is what I believe makes this thriller really sing.

Of course, Morris Brick is back, as is his charming wife, Natalie, their daughter Rachel, and the rest of the MBI (Morris Brick Investigations) team. So is the actor Philip Stonehedge, and Morris’s stubborn-as-hell bull terrier, Parker

Bill Crider on CRAZED:  Great stuff if you like serial killer thrillers with a difference and highly recommended.”

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Small Crimes in Germany!

Germany's crime fiction critics picked Small Crimes as the 6th best crime novel in Germany for November.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A couple of recent lists recommending The Caretaker of Lorne Field

It was nice to see The Caretaker of Lorne Field join Paul Tremblay's sick+twisted+very excellent A Head Full of Ghosts on this list from BookRiot. Those darn Aukowies also showed up on on this Book picks for Halloween.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Play casting agent and win a free copy of MALICIOUS!

Read CRAZED, have some fun playing casting agent, and win a free ebook copy of the 3rd Morris Brick crime thriller MALICIOUS! But that's not all! One lucky winner (if he or she wishes) will also be immortalized in a future Julius Katz mystery story that will be published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine by having a suspect named after you.

Send me your dream movie cast for the following characters in CRAZED, and I'll send the best 5 a free ebook for the upcoming MALICIOUS when it's available: Morris Brick, Natalie Brick, Philip Stonehedge,Sheila Proops, Griffin Bolling, and Allen Perlmutter. If you want to include actors to play other characters in the book, feel free!

All entries must be received by Oct. 22.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Small Crimes to Crazed



I sold my 3rd novel Small Crimes to Serpent’s Tail in 2006. Back then we had a different publishing and book world. Hell, ebooks didn’t exist, self-publishing was a dirty word, and it was chain stores putting pressure on independent bookstores, not Amazon. When I was first starting out, I was writing crime noir, then later horror and books that were a mix of horror and crime. All standalones. During this strange journey, I’ve been reviewed in major newspapers, both in the US and abroad. I’ve seen my books translated into six languages, and one of them made into a movie. 

Now in 2017, I’ve just seen my second Morris Brick thriller and 13th traditionally-published novel, CRAZED, be released. There’s not much chance I would’ve been able to write this series when I was first starting out. As long as you’re trying, you can’t help but grow as a writer, and that’s a big part of the reason. My publisher requires these Morris Brick thrillers to be at least 90k words long, which means I need to be able to outline plots where I know how long the book will be while not adding any fat or filler. The books need to be fast, and the complex puzzles I’m constructing need to tightly fit together regardless of the word length. That’s a skill that takes time to learn. Also, I understand the business side much better than when I started. If you’re writing a series, you need to play by a certain set of rules. It doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, or you’re not proud of the books—because I’m damn proud of these Morris Brick thrillers—it just means you’re more aware of writing within the genre’s boundaries.

13 books published, dozens of short stories, at least three more Morris Brick thrillers coming, three books self-published, one more noir novel that’s so far only coming out in Germany, and things are looking good for two more movies. It’s certainly been interesting so far. I’ll see how much longer I can keep this ride going.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Making a 'Crazed' Cocktail

To celebrate the publishing day for my second Morris Brick thriller (and 13th traditionally published novel) I'd like to offer up a recipe for a 'Crazed' cocktail: one lunatic wheel chair-bound serial killer who escaped prosecution for her previous crimes, one serial killer hell-bent on gaining notoriety, one desperate wannabe filmmaker who'll do anything to achieve his big break, one investigation firm headed by an ex-LAPD celebrity detective who will doggedly pursue his quarry, and one bacon-loving bull terrier. Sprinkle in some vicious Ukrainian mobsters, con men, and a few other unsavory sorts for seasoning. Mix until highly combustible, then pour.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Read Shamus-nominated story ARCHIE ON LOAN

My first Julius Katz mystery story titled simply JULIUS KATZ was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009 and later won the 2010 Shamus Award. Now with ARCHIE ON LOAN, my 10th Julius Katz mystery, I've received my second Shamus nomination! Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has made this story available free on their new and improved website, and it can be found here.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Win a copy of CRAZED

 The good folks at Kensington Books are giving away 100 copies of my second Morris Brick thriller CRAZED. This is one that I'm particularly fond of and might have my favorite character from all my novels. Not the killer, but a desperate and wannabe filmmaker named Perlmutter. While thus crime thriller is a different genre than my crime noir novels, I'd also put this one up against SMALL CRIMES. The book will be published Sept. 5th, so if you win this will give you a chance to read it sooner.


Monday, July 17, 2017

PI sidekicks

Sherlock had his Watson, Nero Wolfe his Archie Goodwin, Julius Katz his own version of Archie, Morris Brick's sidekick? A bull terrier named Parker.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Julius Katz news

I'm happy to report that my Julius Katz mystery story 'Archie on Loan' which appeared last year in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine's 75th anniversary issue was nominated for a Shamus Award.

This year's nominees:

"Keller's Fedora" by Lawrence Block (e-publication)
"A Battlefield Reunion" by Brendan DuBois (June 2016, AHMM)
"Stairway From Heaven" by Ake Edwardson (Stockholm Noir)
"A Dangerous Cat" by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins (Feb/May 2016, The Strand)
"Archie On Loan" by Dave Zeltserman (Sept/Oct 2016, EQMM)

When you look at the competition I'm up against, this is a case where in all honesty I can say it's an honor just to be nominated!

And that's not it for Julius Katz news--the latest Julius Katz mystery 'Julius Katz and the Terminated Agent' is available now in the July/August issue of Ellery Queen.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Origin of Manny Vassey

Manny Vassey, my dying mobster from SMALL CRIMES, first appeared in one of my very early short stories TRIPLE CROSS, and instead of being from my fictional Bradley, Vermont, this version of Manny is from Chicago. Here's a short excerpt that shows Manny's first appearance in Triple Cross:

They tied me to the table, securing the wire through the steel rings. They then left me alone. Shortly after that, a wide heavyset man entered the room. He was wearing a purple running suit and about five pounds of gold chains, and had a broad smile stretched across his face. His complexion reminded me of chipped glass. The other two men joined him. One of them was carrying a large metal case. I heard the heavyset man addressed as Manny Vassey.
 
The idea of Junior's playroom from SMALL CRIMES also first surfaced in this story. For some reason I liked Manny enough to include him in two more of my early stories: NEXT TIME and NOTHING BUT JERKS. Years later when I wrote SMALL CRIMES, I brought Manny back--really two versions of him--a sick and dying version, and the way he was from these early stories, except I made this version his son, Junior. In a way, I now had two Manny's for the price of one!

And if you've seen the movie, and you're wondering what happens in Junior's playroom, here's an excerpt from the book that will give you an idea:



Dan stopped to push a hand through his hair and scratch the back of his head. When he looked back at me, he gave me a faint, almost apologetic smile.

“Let me tell you about this special room he built,” he continued. “This college kid up in Burlington was supposedly manufacturing and distributing crystal meth without Junior’s blessing. A few months ago this kid disappears without a trace, and then a rumor starts circulating about Junior’s special room and how Junior had this college kid brought there and tied to the butcher’s table. According to the rumor, Junior chopped the kid up with a meat cleaver and burned the body parts in the furnace. I had to investigate it. Even though I knew it could end up biting me in the ass with Manny, I had to look into it. So I got a search warrant and sure enough I found a soundproof room with nothing in it but a butcher’s table and a furnace. Forensics went over it with a fine tooth comb but Junior must have scrubbed it clean.”