Saturday, August 27, 2011

Harry Shannon

It's been awhile since my last blog... so I thought I would say something about a new author I've discovered. He is Harry Shannon. Now before I continue, I have to confess that the book I am reading currently, is the only one I have read so far. So I'm no expert.

It is called One Of The Wicked and it is part of a series featuring the character Mick Callahan who is a war vet, a recovering alcoholic and all around former hell raiser. What I appreciate about this character is that instead of being a PI he is a psychiatrist and radio personality; something different. And it works. Normally I would shy away from a story like this because it would have the tendancy to be pretentious and pseudo intellectual.

What makes it successful is that Shannon has made his main character very manly and he has him deal with some very hard core bad guys and as a result, there is a lot of ass kicking, finger chopping etc.

I feel this book leans more towards the thriller/men's adventure side than say a noir. But that just means more action for those who like it. So, if you are interested in yet some more good crime fiction check out the Mick Callahan novels. You can buy them in either paper back or E Book format on .

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Random Thoughts about Writing, Noir and Crime Fiction.

Today I have Noir on the brain-- as I should everyday, since that is all I read and write about. But today it is stronger than ever. I think it has to do with getting through a tough and somewhat boring part in my story which was basically a bridge, well more like a gateway section to the meaty part of the plot.

But back to Noir. I guess it suits me because it goes really well with my love of all things retro: Old motels with neon signs, jazz clubs, basically all the things Tom Waits sings about.

I also like the spare and no nonsense way the stories are told. It is like someone is spoon feeding you a very bitter dose of medicine and for some reason you want more.

Crime fiction or Noir doesn't neccesarily leave you with truths. I would say it is more of an escape-- or better yet a dark journey that makes you appreciate your own boring life when you return.

This journey analogy is most fitting for the old stuff. Old stuff meaning Chandler, Hammet, Spillane, Jim Thompson and Ross Macdonald. In those stories the private investigator does take a very linear journey. And through out it all, deep down inside, he or she has a very strong moral compass that helps them wade through the sleaze and other urban slime.

My clown Huey Dusk follows that format. My stories are about him finding out and affirming that he does have a compass and the world can make sense if he takes it upon himself to set it back on the right track. He succeeds to a certain degree.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pulp Empire

It is nice to see true pulp fiction making a comeback. This is especially the case on the internet. I guess cyberspace is perfect for this type of literature to incubate because people who surf the web are usually looking for quick reads and pulp fiction fits that bill.  Although the internet is speckled with many sites that feature these kinds of stories, I have to say my favorite is Pulp Empire.

Pulp Empire is the brainchild of Nick Ahlhelm who in his mission statement states he is dedicated to bringing true pulp fiction back in fashion; true, meaning stories that are similiar to ones about Doc Savage and many of the serial action heroes of  the Golden Age.

Pulp Empire also features a diverse selection of genres as well: Horror, western, Sci Fi, Mystery, and action adventure.

What I especially like about this website and the magazine is that even though Pulp fiction leans toward the lurid side, Nick stresses that he is not looking for gratuitous violence, sex or language. To me that gives the writing a very authentic an almost retro feel.

Pulp Empire publishes quarterly, both a digital and hard copy of their magazine. The hard copy can be purchased at I would highly advise picking one up. I guarantee you'll be thoroughly entertained. For further details and sample stories, also go to

Friday, August 12, 2011

Max Allan Collins

One thing I have learned as a "budding" new author is that you have to be versatile and sometimes cross genres. Max Allan Collins is that kind of writer.

He is most famous for his graphic novel Road to Perdition which was made into a movie directed by Sam Mendes. Along with that, he written several TV tie ins for CSI and Criminal Minds. He also scripted the comic Dick Tracy from 1977-1993(this according to Fantastic Fiction).

What I like about Collins is that he is a lover of pulp fiction from the likes of Mickey Spillane and Richard Stark. In fact he cowrote at least two novels with Spillane and wrote forwards in many of Spillane compilations. If you are a fan of either Stark and Spillane than I would recommend  three of his series:


Nathan Heller

Frank Nolan

Quarry and Nolan are direct decendants of Stark's Parker while Nathan Heller is Mike Hammer reincarnated. So, if you are a avid reader of crime fiction, than Max Allan Collins is your man.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Hello everyone,

hope all is well. I am doing fine... right now I have the house to myself... miss my wife but I think the time apart makes us love each other even more than we already do... everytime she goes away I am reminded of how nice it is not to be bachelor. What a boring life that was... but back then, I didn't know anything different.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell was born in Newark New Jersey. Along with his crime novels, he wrote several screenplays for television series. However, it is his books that were his signature pieces.

He was the creator of three series featuring a detective of some sort.  His most notable characters are as follows:

Whistler, Private Eye

Jim Flannery, Sewer Inspector

Jake Hatch, railroad detective.

He also wrote a couple of other stand alone novels; his best was a book called "Juice".

While all of his books are good, it was his tales of L A as expressed in the books about Whistler and the book Juice that are my favorite. These would appeal to lovers of Chandler in that he picked up where Raymond left off. The stories, while set in the 1980's, read like books from the 1940's.

His characters were also magnificent and reminscent of the ones you would find in Damon Runyon's work. They were down on their luck hard guys who skulked around in the shadows and would stick a knife in you, when your back was turned. This description would apply to both good and bad people in his stories.

If you want to read this author I would start with following titles:

In La La Land We Trust

Alice In La La Land

The Wizard of La La Land

Sweet La La Land


These are fast reads and will leave you wanting more from this great writer of crime fiction.