Friday, September 22, 2017
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
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
Friday, September 1, 2017
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
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
Saturday, July 8, 2017
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
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
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.”
Sunday, May 21, 2017
When SMALL CRIMES was filmed last summer, my wife and I spent a day at the set. This was when they were filming at Joe's parent's home with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Robert Forster, and Jacki Weaver, and when we got there we were put in a girl's bedroom on the second floor while they were blocking out the first scene of the day, which is when Joe stormed up to his parent's bedroom. So we were sitting around talking to one of the producers, and all of a sudden we heard all this foot stomping and yelling, and I was feeling goosebumps hearing my book come alive. Rumble Films, the crew, all the actors couldn't have been nicer. Probably my best day as an author. This beat out getting a call from John Williams at Serpent's Tail that they wanted to publish SMALL CRIMES, probably even beating out NPR picking SMALL CRIMES as one of their top 5 crime & mystery novels of 2008.
So what was it like when I finally got to watch the movie? I'd been prepared for the changes between the movie and the book--I'd read the script, and knew up front what had been changed. There always has to be changes for a number of reasons, including movie length, budgetary concerns, director's vision. But even with all the changes and the last third of the book gone, the movie still feels very much like my book, and the film's Joe Denton feels very much like my Joe Denton. As good as all the actors were (Robert Forster, Jacki Weaver, Robert Cole were all pitch perfect, and Molly Parker gave an amazingly nuanced performance as Charlotte Boyd), Nikolaj's performance was brilliant. He played Joe as someone desperately trying (and failing) to con those around him that he just wants to be a better person, but at times cracks show through, revealing the true Joe. In all sincerity, I think this is a smart, brilliantly acted film, and Evan Katz and Macon Blair did a masterful job merging their vision with mine so that both exist simultaneously.
So what was it like to see my book made into a movie? A thrill. No other way to describe it.