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June 29, 2009

Beloved by BookPeople

Over the weekend, we hopped down to Austin and stopped by the very cool, independent bookstore BookPeople. We were delighted to see that they're digging Team DHS. Thanks go out to Scott M. for the reviews!

WHEELMAN: "Great action and hardboiled prose fuel this tale of a mute Irish getaway driver at war with the Philly mob after a botched robbery. With a mix of twisting plot, dark humor, and touch of pathos, Swierczynski delivers a great throwback to the 50s era crime novel with modern style.
If you liked this book, check out THE HUNTER and any Parker book by Richard Stark."

SEVERANCE PACKAGE: "The Office meets Grand Theft Auto when a group of white-collars go in for a special meeting to learn their company has been the front for a terminated black-ops project and they have to die. The black humor and body count pile up as everybody uses their office politics to survive in this tale from the modern master of pulp.
If you liked this book, check out GUN MONKEYS by Victor Gischler."

THE BLONDE: "The book opens with The Blonde telling our hero he's been poisoned, then things get worse. Our everyman has to deal with government conspiracies, assassins, and deadly experiments, finding out The Blonde could be his best ally in this fun throwback to the Gold Medal paperback thrillers of the 50s with modern twists and a wicked ending."

DAMN NEAR DEAD: "One of my my favorite crime anthologies with noir tales featuring the over sixty set. Tough, funny, and compassionate, from Steve Brewer's stone cold criminal coming out of retirement to Jason Starr's retirement home love triangle, these stories show that only the most hardboiled survive aging."

GUN MONKEYS: "Not only does it boast one of the best opening paragraphs about a severed head, this funny, shameless piece of high body count, tough guy pulp, about a hitman without a boss, moves breakneck to one of the craziest conclusions. Gischler takes many of the hardboiled standards and makes them fresh again"

GO-GO GIRLS OF THE APOCALYPSE: "Cormac McCarthy may have won the Pulitzer with his apocalypse, but did he have a well-armed, insurance salesman, survival fo the Jack Daniels distillery and lethal go-go dancers? Gischler packs action, black humor, and social commentary into this lean and mean tale, delivering one smart piece of pulp.
If you liked this book, check out the work of Joe Lansdale"

THE CLEANUP: "This funny, wild, sometimes violent tale kicks in a disgraced cop helps the check-out girl of his dreams dispose of her abusive boyfriend's body, but the trouble really starts when a bunch of really bad guys go looking for the loot the boyfriend was holding. The humor, vivid characters, and mundane look at crime reminded me of early eighties Elmore Leonard."

SAFER: "Sean Doolittle is finally getting his due with this tale of a couple that cross the "ruler" of the cul-de-sac, resulting in a frame-up, murder, and uncovering of a past crime. The story uses the relatable tension between neighbors and spouses as a foundation for suspense, with Doolittle demonstrating a master's technique of revealing information for one hell of a read."

THE JAMES DEANS: "The third and pivotal book in the Moe Prager series. Moe looks into the disappearance of a young female political aide to clear a senator's reputation, but the answers bring up more questions concerning a serial killer, an old gang and an old murder. Coleman is able to take you on a dark ride while holding onto humanity with the poignancy and depth of character we expect of him.
If you liked this book, check out BLACK MAPS by Peter Spiegelman"

EMPTY EVER AFTER: "The fifth and possible darkest of the Moe Prager series has someone from his past cases messing with his family. He turns up the villians and survivors of the four other books, discovering the changes in them and demons in himself. An emotionally rough read you get from gutsy writing."

June 23, 2009

June 22, 2009

In a fever

"Having just read Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, I can honestly say that THE FEVER KILL puts me in the mind of that kind of book, and Piccirilli's writing is as fine, and maybe finer, than McCarthy's.

The Fever Kill is just as deeply layered with moral ambiguities, just as peopled with characters trapped in orbits out of which they can't or won't break free. Riding along with Crease in his Mustang, revisiting old haunts, old grudges, old flames--none of which is the same, yet all of which is the same--evokes that same sense of desperation and inevitability all great noir writing aspires to.

Piccirilli's horror credentials remain as an underlying current threaded between the traditional noir themes handled masterfully by a writer at the top of his game. Sardonic and sparse, there is simply no fat on these bones.... Perhaps the Coen Brothers should come calling."
– W.D. Gagliani, Cemetery Dance issue #60

June 17, 2009

Welcome to the Bayou

Victor Gischler's most recent issue PUNISHER MAX #71 has BSC Reviews raving:

"so well written and rendered, the resulting tension is near cinematic...this is great episodic writing, great art...great setup for entertaining issues. Gischler didn't take the obvious route on this one; he was creative, and brought something new to the table...I think Gischler is going to provide a raucous good time. It's a shame his arc has only three more issues to go."

You big tease

June 16, 2009

Just imagine Samuel L. Jackson reading this aloud

"Sean Doolittle's Safer is one agonizingly intense motherfucker of a crime novel...this is Sean Fucking Doolittle, a guy up there with Pelecanos when it comes to making "believable" crime plays like a brilliant horror novel of small relatable fears. There is no doubt that this is Sean Doolittle's most intense and suspenseful novel to date." -

Two Thumbs Up for Pintoff & Schwegel

These lovely ladies are on a roll!

The Denver Post enjoys Stefanie Pintoff's newest novel IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM:

"[a] superior historical mystery...The author has inevitably been compared to Caleb Carr, whom she certainly rivals in her meticulous research into the period and its fledgling forensics. For a first novelist especially, she does an outstanding job of blending historical detail with engaging characters and a suspenseful plot."

The stars line up for Theresa Schwegel's LAST KNOWN ADDRESS:

"Schwegel (Person of Interest, 2007, etc.) can out-hard-boil the best of them, from Chandler to Connelly, and the intensity of her character's father complex rivals Ross Macdonald's. Few women writers can match her, and few men either." - Kirkus *starred review*

See if Pintoff and/or Schwegel are touring near you!

THE DEPUTY walks tall

"At the start of this solid noir from Gischler (Suicide Squeeze), the police chief of Coyote Crossing, Okla., asks Toby Sawyer, a part-time deputy, to keep an eye on the bullet-ridden body of redneck Luke Jordan, found late one night lying half-in and half-out of an old pickup truck. Since a 17-year-old girl Toby's fond of lives nearby, he can't resist the temptation to take a break from his vigil. On returning to the truck and discovering the corpse gone, Toby fears his dereliction of duty will end his job with the sheriff's office. In the course of his desperate search for the cadaver, Toby encounters a truckload of illegal Mexican aliens as well as corrupt colleagues. Meanwhile, as the body count rises, Toby's wife, with whom he has a loveless marriage, leaves town. The ending may be a bit upbeat for true noir devotees, but it leaves the door open for a sequel, which would be a welcome prospect, given Toby's appeal as a protagonist." - Publisher's Weekly

June 12, 2009

Monkeying around in Hollywood

Quiet Earth reports that, "Famed director Ryuhei signed on to direct an adaptation of Victor Gischler's novel GUN MONKEYS, a hard-boiled mystery/action flick about Charlie a hitman whose targets turn out to be cops...Throw in the FBI and rivals and we get what is described as noir...The script is written by Lee Goldberg and slated for 2011."

A new era

Excitement is swirling around the upcoming release of the long-awaited BATWOMAN.

Click through for IGN's interview with Greg Rucka, in which he emphasizes the tough nature of this character, "I've said this before, and you'll see it early on – for everybody else, when they put on a Bat costume, it's a costume. For Kate, it's a uniform. That influences everything she does, and it tells you volumes about her."

A sit down with Swierczy

Check out this recent article "Double-X Update: Swiercyznski & Yost After the 'War'" where DHS author Swierczynski is interviewed concerning his high-drama work on the series he has penned for Marvel in the CABLE series. The newest issue is out now!

More Praise for Schwegel

"Schwegel's knowledge of Chicago and her depiction of life in this city, along with her fleshed out characters, sharp dialogue and sassy comebacks to the male characters make LAST KNOWN ADDRESS an appealing mystery perfect for any setting, whether reading on the beach or by bedside lighting. You will start it and won't want to put it down." - Fresh Fiction

June 11, 2009

Walking dead, Sitting pretty

WALKING DEAD is one of the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association's top 10 bestsellers for May 2009!

Man, Greg Rucka is in some fine company.

June 10, 2009

In praise

Twelve Publishing recently recommended DHS all-star Bill Minutaglio. Jon Karp emphasized the significant nature of FIRST SON, Minutaglio's acclaimed biography of Former President George W. Bush.

Last but certainly not least

Theresa Schwegel's newest work is already creating quite the stir among reviewers and fans.

Genre Go Round Reviews adamantly notes that LAST KNOWN ADDRESS is "exciting" and will leave readers glued to the page as "the story line is fast-paced and never slows down." With such reviews, this is one book that you won't want to miss!


Victor Gischler's successful writing for Marvel's PUNISHER has led the Punisher to some unfamiliar territory with this week's issue that begins a four-issue storyline in Gischler's home-state of Louisiana. The storyline titled "Welcome to the Bayou," features some unexpected criminal encounters that differ rather greatly from the "usual haunts in the mob-infested streets of New York City." Pick up this week's issue "Punisher: Frank Castle Max #71"!

Look for more Gischler goodies, THE DEPUTY and VAMPIRE A GO-GO, in August and September, respectively.

Duane Swierczynski is making his own mark in the Marvel world as he authors the limited series "Immortal Weapons." Marvel News writes that, "Swierczynski & Simons harness all their chi to unlock all the secrets about this kung-fu packed new series, including the challenges the Iron Fist and his friends face on the road ahead!"

Check out the article and download an exclusive podcast where Marvel interviews Swiercyznski and editor Warren Simons about the upcoming series.

To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit

June 8, 2009

The early buzz gets the worm

The upcoming release of TOWER by Reed Farrel Coleman has already created quite the buzz:

“[A] small, intimate book with a limited cast and compact, explosive plot—and it is seamless… gritty, with sharply drawn characters and an unstoppable pace.”—Linda Brown, The Mystery Bookstore (Los Angeles, CA)

Tower is the crime fiction equivalent of Joe Strummer and Lou Reed collaborating on a concept album and going way past the concept. In fact, the story wouldn’t carry the emotional gravity of the two protagonists if only one writer was telling both their stories. It’s difficult to picture any other two craftsmen, besides Bruen and Coleman, doing this and balancing the book’s lyrical mood and crisp pace. I couldn’t wait to get a copy to read. Now that I have read it, I’m even more impatient to get copies to sell to the fans of both authors and to introduce them to a whole new audience.”—Scott Montgomery, BookPeople (Austin, TX)

"This book has everything going for it, and I think it's going to be a big seller. Grab it in September and see if you agree."—Bill Crider, Edgar Award-nominated author of Murder in Four Parts

Getting at the heart of things

With the local conference's history going back to 1990 at earliest, the annual gathering of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference from July 24 to July 26 is rumored to be one of the best yet. Skeptics have doubted the success of a nonfiction-centric event, but George Getschow, principal writer-in-residence and organizer for conference, notes in The Star Telegram:

"At a time when the newspaper industry’s in trouble, people ask, 'Aren’t you in trouble?’" Getschow says. "We’re not. We continue to enjoy robust registrations....I think we’ve tapped into a vein that there’s this deep, almost innate need to tell stories. Storytelling is alive and well despite the troubles newspapers are having today."

Indeed, excitement over the conference, as well of the location, has been high. Bob Shacochis, author of Easy in the Islands and Swimming in the Volcano, emphasizes the quality of the Mayborn gathering, and says that it is...

"the most compelling, remarkable writers’ conference I’ve attended in more than twenty years of writers’ conferences around the nation. And now, thanks and ever thanks to the Mayborn tribe of storytellers, I have to think of Dallas as a preferred destination, a center of literary gravity, perhaps the very heart of the universe these days for nonfiction writers in America."

At a conference featuring such names as Ira Glass (pictured above), Paul Theroux, Roy Blount Jr., one could expect nothing less.

June 5, 2009

Duane Swierczynski: Say It Three Times Fast

Recently profiled and interviewed in Northeast Magazine, Duane Swierczynski may have the most difficult name to spell in the literary world, but his true claim to fame is the astonishing number of accomplishments and upcoming works the man has under his belt.

A native of Frankford, PA Swierczynski notes that much of his inspiration for his crime-ridden, unexpected plotlines comes from the gradual deterioration of his childood neighborhood. Indeed, Swierczynski hints at the nature of his next novel where "Frankford's going to play a huge role...It's a murder mystery that plays out over 50 years." He keeps a lot of details under wraps, but notes that the book should be out within the next year.

Mission Statement: Madness

Gischler is no stranger to the world of graphic novels. His most recent character creation, Deadpool, who made a splash this summer on the silver screen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, is now receiving his own series. The fan favorite's much-hyped first edition DEADPOOL: "Merc With a Mouth" hits shelves July 1st. Expect hilarity to ensue as Gischler remarks in a recent interview with Marvel News that,

"Some of the funniest things are also the darkest things...I suppose that shows you where my warped little brain is. Bad things are funny when they happen to other people. I think the key is knowing the Deadpool character. If you know Wade well enough, then the rest balances itself."

June 3, 2009

Greg Rucka: The Busiest Man in the Literary World?

Recently, Greg Rucka has been making quite the splash in, not only the publishing world, but in the realm of cultural change and progress. The release of the seventh installment to his highly successful series profiling the hard-knocks "bodyguard-turned-fugitive Atticus Kodiak" Walking Dead already has media outlets buzzing over the implicit and undeniable moral undertones present in Rucka's work. Known as a man of many talents and opinions, Rucka is insistent on maintaining a sense of moral culpability in writing his novels. Perhaps he says it best--simply, “I write about things that piss me off." This is best exemplified in the upcoming release of Walking that tackles the issues of modern-day slave trades--an issue that immediately plagued Rucka following his reading of Benjamin Skinner's 2008 book on the topic.

Though Walking has already begun to establish itself on bestseller lists nationwide, Rucka's work is not nearly done. The driving force behind much of Rucka's work has been to not necessarily provoke, but incite change. Oftentimes, this does not slip under the cultural radar--a fact that has been best exemplified in the much-hyped, impending release of DC comics' new take on Batwoman: namely, that she is now an openly queer woman. This fact of her personnae, however, does not serve as a principal lynchpin to any storylines--rather, Rucka emphasizes that:

“there was a choice made: You know, the time has come. We’re gonna take arguably the most recognizable symbol that we have — that’s the bat — and we’re going to associate it with a character that from the start is going to be known as gay. It’s not going to be an after-school special story, we’re not going to do a pull back the curtain and duh-duh-duh, it’s from the word go. What we want is a new member of the bat family: We want this character to be female, viable and strong and among all those things she is also gay. And that is part of the character-making, right, as opposed to an evolving self-discovery story.”

As the new Batwoman has begun to appear sporadically in recent comics, consumer demand has risen for her own series. Appropriately, "Batwoman's run in DC's flagship title Detective Comics begins Wed, June 10 with issue 854." Rucka goes on to emphasize that his agenda is nothing short of exposing the inescapably, wide-range of human characteristics. Indeed, something as simple as that has put Rucka at the forefront of a major change in the world of graphic novels--namely that "Batwoman is the highest profile queer character in mainstream, genre fiction ever."

Yet, Rucka's work continues. He has been instrumental in the challenging task of introducing new superheroes in DC's Action Comic series without the presence of the ever-iconic Superman. Rucka has worked intensely on constructing two entirely novel characters to the DC family: Nightwing and Flamebird--both of which he predicts will have a lasting appeal to readers. Rucka notes, I like the characters. I think they are compelling. I want to read their stories. That’s why I’m writing them." The first publication involving his new characters was available April 15 as "Action Comics" issue #876, while the next "Action Comics" Annual #12 will be available June 17.

June 2, 2009

Just your type

Stefanie Pintoff's debut novel makes the list for DailyCandy's "Best New Summer Books"!

(Hop over to Moments in Crime, where Stefanie is blogging this week.)

Greg Rucka also rises to the top. WALKING DEAD is tied for #1 at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop.