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December 30, 2009

Brothas in prose

The Holiday Issue #112 of Mystery Scene magazine praises Bruen and Coleman's hard-hitting novel:

"My top recommendation is Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman’s Tower.

I’m certain that at some point Ken Bruen has written bad prose, but I haven’t found it yet. Here the brilliant Irish noirist shares a byline with Coleman as they work in tandem, telling the story of two tough Brooklyn boys who eventually fall in with the mob. Bruen writes the voice of Nick in gorgeous, mean, Irish punk prose, while Coleman does a superb job with Todd, Nick’s less volatile Jewish friend.

Set before the events of 9/11, Nick’s father is a bitter, shot-up cop working security at the World Trade Center. 'Rage kept him grounded,' Nick comments. A battered child, Nick grows up taking out his frustrations on other men’s chins, and eventually winds up working for Boyle, a Bible-spouting psychopath.

But not all is grit and gloom. Nick’s interior monologues are quite amusing, especially when he says the exact opposite of what he thinks. Coleman’s Todd is deeply satisfying, too, but in a different way. While foregoing the music of Bruen’s prose, Coleman masterfully paints a picture of an essentially decent Todd whose petty-thief life forces him into a corner he’d rather not be in."

3 cheers for Piccirilli

BSC Reviews gave multiple nods to THE COLDEST MILE and SHADOW SEASON when listing their cream of the crime crop:

"I dug The Coldest Mile from beginning to end. A fun, fast-paced piece of noir from a writer who’s becoming one of crime fiction’s premiere stylists." - Keith Rawson

"With his searing prose and organic approach to storytelling, Tom Piccirilli has been kicking ass in the crime genre for a few years now. With this year’s Shadow Season, he truly came into his own, letting the crime world know that he is unafraid to take a horrible situation to its natural conclusion without blinking or pulling a single punch." - The Nerd of Noir

"Piccirilli’s embrace of the crime genre has been a match made in heaven, providing a good fit for some his reccurring themes and motifs. With Shadow Season Piccirilli came in to his own as a mystery writer, took it to a new level, and it shows." - Brian Lindenmuth

Choosy with comics

Greg Rucka and Duane Swierczynski both land on best of the year lists!

Rucka's STUMPTOWN #1 is "Highly 'Rucka-mended!'" by ComicsDC.

Comic Book Resources says "The most 'Sandman'-like kung fu comics miniseries in 2009 was easily the supergroup-crafted 'Immortal Weaspons' project from Marvel editors Alejandro Arbona and Warren Simons." Props to writers Jason Aaron, Duane Swierczynski, Rick Spears and David Lapham.

Doolittle deserves it

The News Tribune ran a poll and Sean Doolittle's SAFER came out as a top book of the year!

This is the suspense greatness that was featured in Details magazine, highlighted during Borders' Mystery & Thriller Month, AND was also a Midwest Booksellers Association's Midwest Connections Pick!

December 29, 2009

Moe Prager on NPR

"Any year in which I stumble on a terrific new mystery series is a bull market year for me; this past summer, a wise independent bookseller recommended that I read the Moe Prager mysteries set in Brooklyn and starring a Jewish former police detective."

Maureen Corrigan (NPR) taps Reed Farrel Coleman's Moe Prager series as one of the best!

Also take a peek at the Busted Flush Press blog for some exciting developments for Moe in 2010.

Take an early sip

Prepare to get goosebumps

David J. Montgomery (Chicago Sun-Times) calls Tom Piccirilli's newest book "one of the most chilling thrillers of the year... Shadow Season is an intriguing story of isolation and violence with a haunted man at its center.

Piccirilli uses Shadow Season’s unusual setting to ratchet up the tension, telling a story that is simple, but nevertheless very suspenseful. He also does a convincing job of portraying the life of a man who can’t see, adding a unique and inviting twist to what is already an exciting plot."

Author Brian Keene also saluted the thriller, naming it one of his Top 10 of 2009:

"Piccirilli is skilled at writing dark crime ... [Shadow Season has] a sinister, creepy undertone running throughout the book that will certainly leave the reader squirming. Piccirilli’s prose is as poetic as ever, and he does a remarkable job of 'seeing' through the main character’s eyes."

The superhero comic she's been waiting for

Kelly Thompson (Comic Book Resources) professes her love for Rucka's Batwoman:

"I've been wanting to talk about Batwoman/Detective Comics since I first started writing this column and I’d been resisting because I’d already written about Greg Rucka’s Stumptown. However, I realized this week that it’s silly to punish Greg Rucka for doing TWO great things. He should be rewarded, not punished.

I L-O-V-E Detective Comics. If I could buy only one monthly book, Detective Comics would be it. If I was buying two books I think it would be Detective Comics and Stumptown.

Detective Comics #860 marked the end of an arc, and also, sadly, the end of the powerful Rucka/Williams team up on Detective Comics...and all I can say at the end of this first arc, this first piece of the ongoing Kate Kane story is 'Thank you, can I please have some more?'"

For more Rucka goodness (and teasers!), check out The Rucka Debrief, pt 2, at Word Balloon.

December 22, 2009

Introducing Dr. Jennifer Ashton

We're excited about THE BODY SCOOP FOR GIRLS, which comes out next Tuesday, Dec 29!

As an ob-gyn specialing in adolescent care, Dr. Jennifer Ashton understands better than anyone that being a teenage girl these days is fraught with a special kind of angst. But in her practice she talks openly and nonjudgementally to her young patients like a good friend, answering each of their questions respectfully and with candor.

Now she shares this advice in a no-holds-barred guidebook, based on her passion to cut through the embarrassment that girls often feel about their changing bodies and to arm them with the knowledge they need to make smart choices. A comprehensive guide from head to toe, The Body Scoop for Girls covers the basics of puberty and beyond.

Check out an excerpt here.

Jen's thinking of The Silent Hour

... for her 2009 Crime Fiction Favorites.

"In my review I spoke to the study in character this book exemplifies, so it's a natural that a character-lover such as myself would relish this novel. It's introspective and readers get a view of Lincoln Perry we haven't previously been privy to.

Koryta has taken his characters through some harrowing physical experiences throughout the series, THE SILENT HOUR puts them through the emotional and psychological experiences. Prepare to take that ride with them."
-- Jen's Book Thoughts

Aunt Agatha knows what's best

LAST KNOWN ADDRESS makes the Top 10 books of 2009 for Aunt Agatha's Bookstore:

"Theresa Schwegel keeps getting better. She won an Edgar for her first...but every book since then has gotten better—fresher, tougher, tighter. They’re difficult books, told in the first person/present tense, but once you’re into them they’re impossible to set aside.

This one is the story of a serial rapist in Chicago, and Schwegel’s straight on look at what happens after a rape—almost as bad as the rape itself—ties in thematically with her central character, a female cop sometimes struggling in the macho police culture. Never told as a polemic, it’s instead almost as if an incredibly gifted reporter had gotten inside the heads of all the characters.

Schwegel’s true gift (aside from telling great police stories) is taking a hard look at the way human beings both treat and react to one another. A young woman, she seems to have the wisdom of someone much older. This is an original writer, one whose books should not be missed."

December 21, 2009

BSC Reviews gets passionate

"Victor Gischler is fast becoming a pulp renaissance man. [In VAMPIRE A GO-GO] Gischler keeps the body count high, the tone hilarious, and the ideas and satiric jabs sharp and smart.

In The Deputy we follow part-time policeman and failed musician Toby Sawyer as he has the most completely fucked night of his entire life. Now this is about as fast-fucking-paced as books get, one giant hair-raising game of out-of-the-frying-pan-and-into-fire.

Make no mistake: this shit is just as fast and funny as what we’ve come to expect from the man who gave us such classics as Pistol Poets and Shotgun Opera; it’s just that this time out it hurts more, the characters dig under a couple more layers of your skin. The Deputy is Victor Gischler’s finest book to date, and you better fucking believe that’s fucking saying something. "

Crimespree picks

Mystery Readers Journal makes it easier for us by compiling some recent 'Best of 2009' lists and one of them is from Jon Jordan of Crimespree Magazine, who loves Greg Rucka's newest book WALKING DEAD.

Crimespree also includes Brian Azzarello's FILTHY RICH and Duane Swierczynski's IMMORTAL IRON FIST in its gift guide for the book and comic fans on your list.

TOWER makes the Top 10

Do Pam & Linda, at The Mysterious Bookstore, have great taste or what? They've both honored Reed Farrel Coleman & Ken Bruen's TOWER as a Top 10 book of 2009!

Reed will be on XM/Sirius Book Radio's "Cover to Cover Live!" tomorrow (Dec 22) at 3-4 p.m. EST. Tune in to XM 163 to hear more about TOWER & critically acclaimed private investigator Moe Prager, who Guns, Gams, and Gumshoes calls "three-dimensional, compelling, realistic".

A glorious review of The Long Division

"Here is a book to scorch the heart and freeze the blood. Here is a story that leaves the reader gasping in shock and sadness, dry-mouthed and damp-eyed, dragging in air as the final chapters detonate. Here, in abundance, is live-wire language pumping beauty, desire and violence like electric currents; here are characters so exquisitely textured, the pages nearly shudder with their breath...extraordinary...'The Long Division' appropriates signature themes and devices of American independent cinema: fight-and-flight road trips, staggered chronologies, grungy motels, even jagged cross-cutting.

Tiny truths glint in the flicker of Nikitas's prose, bright and crisp as flame...Above all, this is an opus of compassion. 'The Long Division' loves its characters, fears for them, and when, in a flawlessly choreographed ballet of violence, someone meets an abrupt end, the shock sears. In his acknowledgments, the author [Derek Nikitas] modestly dismisses himself as a writer 'of minor talents.' This is his only mistake. Here is a major talent."

Thanks go out to Daniel Mallory at the Washington Post for his high praise!

December 18, 2009

Mark your calendars

For all you HULK fans out there, New York Comic Con (NYCC) and are sponsoring a free, exclusive screening of the animated movie that Geek magazine calls "epic!"

PLANET HULK comic book writer Greg Pak will be at the January 14 NYC premiere to meet fans and answer questions about our favorite green hunk.

December 17, 2009

At the Death House Door

The poignant documentary makes Library Journal's list of the Best DVDs of 2009.

Carroll Pickett served as minister to death row inmates at a Texas penitentiary for 15 years, believing that the death penalty was just. Then he met inmate Carlos de Luna. As he talked with de Luna and recorded his conversations on the day before de Luna's execution, Pickett came to believe that de Luna was innocent.

Unlike Hollywood movies, de Luna was executed anyway, sending Pickett on a gut-wrenching quest to uncover the facts surrounding the poor man's highly questionable arraignment.

The Head Trip continues

Sneak a peek at DEADPOOL: MERC WITH A MOUTH #6.

Is it any wonder digs Gischler and Deadpool?

"[Gischler] gets dialogue. Deadpool’s doubletalk is a tightrope as the line between being too inclusive and being just hip and trendy is a fine one.

That Deadpool represents the most versatile major character at Marvel is nothing new. There is no change in that, indeed Victor Gischler’s Deadpool would have Jerry Cornelius in the LSC every Tuesday flipping, and thinking “Yo, now he nice”.

Admirably it is the character’s idiosyncrasies that remain a constant. One could surmise that such a characters presents the easiest task to write; after all is it even possible too stray too far into absurdism with the merc? I, however, find Deadpool to be the most deceptively dangerous of undertakings. Creative freedom is often a battle cry in the comics medium, but for the vast majority it is one that is often definable as and followed by noise. Once granted total freedom, once you pick up that brush, the blameable crutch is gone—your faults are your own. Gischler grabs crutches and beats their owners with them while telling them to walk on their own two.

Gischler and Deadpool Dancin till the the end of time and go go going until the Apocalypse... Sweet Muzak to my ears."

Hulk on top

Greg Pak's PLANET HULK is one of Comics Should Be Good's "Top 100 Storylines"!

"Planet Hulk was an interesting idea for a storyline in that it tried to finally address the whole "Hulk just want to be left alone" idea. In Planet Hulk, the Illuminati (led by Reed Richards, Tony Stark and Doctor Strange) decided that it would be best if they finally DID put Hulk somewhere where he could be left alone. So they tricked him on to a spacecraft headed for a peaceful uninhabited planet....

Greg Pak did a very impressive job setting up this epic storyline slowly, and he did an especially cool piece of work developing Hulk's "Warbound" compatriots.

The art was strong, from a number of different artists.

The story ends with a cliffhanger leading into the follow-up crossover, World War Hulk (as Hulk gets his revenge)."

And, selects ROBOT STORIES for their "20 Greatest SF Movies of the Past Decade"!

Comic Attack gets sexy with Detective Comics

"Greg Rucka is known for bold and risky story telling, and Go may be among the most bold stories ever published in the pages of Detective Comics. While Rucka brings an HBO television series style to the Bat-universe, J.H. Williams III’s art keeps both a classic and contemporary look ... making this arguably THE most visually pleasing book on the rack.

I never thought I would say this about Detective Comics, but with a Greg Rucka and J. H. Williams III behind the wheel with a character like Kate Kane, it has to be the coolest and all around sexiest comic by DC" - Comic Attack

Pull the trigger


On The TODAY Show, Elizabeth Somer shared the connection between food and mood with an excerpt from her newest book, and a quiz to help you evaluate your own eating habits.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

December 11, 2009

DHS in the Reading Room

D Magazine's Reading Room blog highlights the books, websites and periodicals that Dallasites are eyeballing lately. Featured today are DHS, Jane McGarry and T. D. Jakes.

(Photo from Bouchercon '09: DHS enjoying the company of some fine minds)

A sure-fire, end of the year, top 10 book

The generous folks at BSC Reviews continue to profess their love for SHADOW SEASON, by Tom Piccirilli (pictured here with James Ellroy).

"I would even go so far as to say that one of the chapters, where Finn meets his wife for the first time, is perfectly written. The chapter is as carefully written and deeply felt a showcase of skills as you are likely to find anywhere, making astute observations with a clarity of vision that cuts right to the heart of the characters and situation. In many ways it’s a microcosm for his skill set at large and proves that he has an O’Nan-like ability to willingly turn and face emotional confrontation rather then avoid it or simplify it like a lot of other crime fiction does.

Not only does Tom Piccirilli have a fierce imagination, but he also has the skills to back it up."

December 10, 2009

Runnin' the tunes

DHS is today's featured runner in the Dallas Morning News!

Here's a sampling of his playlist for the 2009 White Rock Marathon on Sunday:

Bob Schneider -- C'mon Baby
Gnarls Barkley -- Gone Daddy Gone
White Stripes -- Seven Nation Army
Lupe Fiasco -- Kick Push
The Dead Weather -- I Cut Like Buffalo

December 9, 2009

From Guadalajara With Love

Visit Gary Phillips in the Zócalo Green Room for a chat, and more photos.

"As usual, Gary Phillips is the star of any panel he’s on." - Dick Adler

December 7, 2009

Meet the minds behind MAGNETO TESTAMENT

From the Simon Wiesenthal Center's official announcement:

Please join us TONIGHT for a conversation with GREG PAK and WARREN SIMONS
Author and Editor of X-MEN: MAGNETO TESTAMENT

Moderated by Mark Weitzman
(SWC Director of Government Affairs and Historical Consultant to X-Men: Magneto Testament)

Today, the whole world knows him as Magneto, the most radical champion of mutant rights that the world has ever seen. But in 1935, he was just another schoolboy - who happened to be Jewish in Nazi Germany. The definitive origin story of one of Marvel's greatest icons begins with a silver chain and a crush on a girl - and quickly turns into a harrowing struggle for survival against the inexorable machinery of Hitler's Final Solution.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009, 6:30 pm
New York Tolerance Center
$20 per person
The lecture will be followed by a reception and book signing (books will be available for purchase)

To RSVP or for more information, please contact Carly Sorscher at 212-370-0320 /

Guadalajara International Book Fair

On the left is noir sensei Gary Phillips, for the panel "What makes an L.A. writer?"

Zócalo Public Square has also posted the live action and audio.

December 5, 2009

A Texas Maverick

Hats off to Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir! Their fantastic adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON has been selected for the Texas Library Association’s 2010 Maverick Graphic Novel List.

This inaugural list recommends 54 exceptional and educational titles for middle school and high school readers.

December 4, 2009

Dick Adler's Best Mysteries & Thrillers of 2009

Looky, looky... we spy 2 DHS superstars shining bright on the list!

Across the Atlantic

Rob Kitchin gives Reed F. Coleman 5 stars, and names WALKING THE PERFECT SQUARE a Book of the Month!

"Walking the Perfect Square shuttles back and forth between 1978 and 1998, with Moe reflecting back on the case as he waits to meet a dying man who holds the promise of adding the final piece to a puzzle that has shaped the course of his life over the previous twenty years. It’s a plot device that works well; indeed, the plot unfolds and twists cleverly, hooking the reader in early and never letting go ... multi-textured, with excellent characterisation, sparkling dialogue, and a philosophical undertow that pervades the text without explicitly dominating it.

In Prager, Coleman has created a character with rare emotional depth; someone whose life seems worth exploring further. Some books are all surface, telling an entertaining story but little more, others demand you reflect on the moral complexities of life. The first kind fizzle for a moment, the second hangs round to haunt you. Walking the Perfect Square is the second kind."

December 3, 2009

The Jay-Z & Linkin Park of Noir

Busted Flush Press has a fabulous anecdote on their blog. Sounds like the honorable Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman have been knighted!

Have you read TOWER yet?

'Tis the season

BSC Review gives it to you straight:

"Shadow Season, marks the moment where [Piccirilli] fully embraces straight-up fucking stone-cold noir ... what puts this release into must-read territory is Piccirilli’s unflinching and gleefully noir ending ... Shadow Season should be your first choice"

December 2, 2009

First looks

IGN has a preview of BLACKEST NIGHT: Wonder Woman #1, out on Dec. 3.

"Fan-favorite writer Greg Rucka returns to chronicle the adventures of the Amazing Amazon in the DC Universe's darkest hour!

Black Lantern Maxwell Lord has risen and he seeks revenge and retribution for his murder at the hands of Diana. Look for unexpected changes to await Wonder Woman in the course of this series as she plays a major role in the War of Light against the Blackest Night."

Check out the preview of Greg Pak's INCREDIBLE HERCULES #139 at Newsarama too.

Hercules leads the New and Mighty Avengers against the overwhelming forces of Hera's New Olympus -- but these are no ordinary foes our heroes face, but the gods themselves! Can the superpredator Wolverine outfox an immortal Huntsman? Can Spider-Man out-webspin the divine Arachne? Can Henry Pym outgrow the giant Argus? And with his love Delphyne Gorgon prepared to slay his mentor Athena, Amadeus Cho must make a final, fateful choice!

P. S.

The delightful and debonair Mr. James Hime will be signing ARMADILLOS at Legacy Books in Plano, TX tomorrow night.

7 pm, Thursday, Dec. 3

Good times shall be had by all.