Friday, September 27, 2013

COMING SOON: The Shamus Sampler


An anthology full of exciting PI fiction written by popular names like Reed Farrel Coleman, Bill Crider, James Winter, Fred Zackel, J.L. Abramo, Keith Dixon and some newer names like Kit Rohrbacher, Peter DiChellis and others.
Of course there's a Noah Milano story in there as well.
It is edited by me and formatted by the talented Sean Dexter, who has a cool story in the anthology as well.
The Shamus Sampler will be available next week and will only cost you 99 cents.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Die A Stranger (Alex McKnight) by Steve Hamilton

This is one of the best Steve Hamilton novels. When his Native American friend Vinnie Leblanc is missing ex-cop and sometime PI Alex McKnight investigates. He is helped by Vinnie's dad, a dangerous ex-con and gets involved in a war between potsmugglers.
The pacing in this one is just excellent, a real page-turner. There's a bit of mystery, some violence, great descriptions of the surroundings and great insights into the character of Alex McKnight, one of the most believable tough guys in fiction.
I loved the ominous ending, making me anxious to read the next in this excellent series.

Q & A with Mike Faricy

After reading "Bite Me"  I just had to interview the author so I could get to know his thoughts about his protagonist Dev Haskell and PI fiction.

Q: What makes Dev Haskell different from other hardboiled characters? 
One of the major characteristics that makes Dev Haskell different from other Crime genre protagonists is he’s not perfect. I love the genre, but I really became tired of the format where the chief protagonist was take your pick; a former Special Forces individual who just wants to be left alone, only the bad guys have pushed him and now he’s coming back with a vengeance. Or, the guy who is on the outs with the authorities, but saves the day and in the process captures the heart of the gorgeous daughter of a millionaire. If you’re looking for a tale where the world is saved from terrorists, international banking conspiracies or a government coup you won’t be interested in my Dev Haskell series. Dev deals with the strata of society that is just below the surface of polite society. We all know a few of these sorts of people, but we wisely like to keep them at a distance. Dev, and the people he deals with find themselves in situations because they’ve made bad decisions, but then bad decisions make for interesting stories. Dev guesses wrong more than once. He can be a bit lazy. He often ends up with the wrong sort of women or, if he’s with a quality woman she usually throws up her hands at some point and decides that he is just too much work.

Q: How did you come up with the character? 
I wrote a half dozen novels before I began the Dev Haskell series, they’re all stand alone novels. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was honing my ‘Dev’ skills. I started writing the first Dev Haskell novel and it just kept coming and coming. There might be a bit of type casting in there. I wrote the Dev Haskell series with me as the reader in mind. Amazingly, to me, the vast majority of my fan base is female. I get emails daily telling me how much they like the books. I had two women email me regarding the same book, one wrote “Gee, I’m on page 130 and I’m not sure about the sex.” About a week later I got an email from a woman regarding the same title and she said, “150 pages and this is all the sex I get?” That told me I was probably just about were I should be in that department. I got an email from a woman a while back who summed up a number of comments I’d received. She said, “I love the series, but Dev always ends up with a young beautiful, well endowed woman and well, that’s just not me, anymore.” So I got to thinking and wrote Tutti Frutti, Dev becomes infatuated with a woman 10-12 years older than he is. You’ll have to read the book to learn what happens.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
 I think it’s fantastic. I led the league in rejection letters to traditional publishers. I’d write a book, send out my query letters, fifty to seventy per book, all with a self-addressed stamped envelope enclosed so I could get my rejection in a timely manner. The rejections were often times just printed on a form 4x5 card with absolutely no hint at a personal note. I kept writing. In between times I would read books and end up thinking I can write at least as well as this. Can’t I? Then one day one of my query letters was returned. I’d sent it to one of the (in those days) big six New York publishers. The envelope had a large purple stamp across the front that read “Return to Sender”. On the back was a hand written note that said, “This does not fit our needs at this time”. They never even opened the envelope to see what my book was about. It dawned on me that Mike Faricy, from St. Paul, Minnesota doesn’t have a snowballs chance in hell with these folks. But, the difference is now there is a side gate into the playground. It’s called e-books and e-publishing. I haven’t looked back. I would guess that the sort of individuals needed to pull traditional publishers into the new reality of the publishing world probably aren’t actually at a traditional publisher, or if they are they’re most likely not being listened to.

Q: What's next for you and Dev ? 
 Quite a number of things are in the works. The latest Dev title, Last Shot, is due out very shortly. All the Dev books are getting new covers. I love the covers I have, but I’ve been doing signings recently and it gave me the opportunity to chat with fans as well as people who had never heard of me. One thing was very apparent, readers, at least in the crime fiction genre, love a series. I would always be asked which was the first in the Dev Haskell series? I’d explain they were all stand alone works and you could read them in any order. An over whelming amount of people wanted to begin with the first Dev novel, Russian Roulette and read them all, in order. The new covers have an image of Dev along with the order in the series which will be listed as a case number. So, for example, Case 1: Russian Roulette is obviously the first. Case 6, Last Shot, as I mentioned, will be out this fall.

Q: How do you promote your work?  
Any way I can. I mentioned I do a few signings at local book fairs. Obviously blog interviews like this are a great source. I’m on Facebook and I tweet, occasionally, but with all social media you don’t want to drown people in promotional material, that can have an adverse effect. I’ve been fortunate to move enough books in the course of the month that Amazon has offered me in their promotions, ‘If you liked this you may enjoy Mike Faricy’, that sort of thing. Word of mouth is still the best, getting an enjoyable title out there and having people tell their friends remains the best way I know.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like? 
I love history. I’ve read all of Stephen Ambrose, William Manchester, Jeff Shaara, David McCullough. I like to read a lot of current events and analysis, the Wall Street Journal, the Irish Independent, The Guardian. I sort of get on line and when I look up suddenly a couple of hours have passed.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike? 
I think they can be good, I’ve read all the Robert B. Parker novels with Hawk and enjoyed them, but there is that aspect of it just fits too perfectly and real life just isn’t perfect. At least that’s the way mine seems to work out. I like the fact that Joe Pike twitches. I think there are two or three earlier Elvis Cole novels where Joe does not appear and that was a disappointment, I missed him.

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation? 
 I would keep those names and add to them Carl Hiaasen. The recently departed  Elmore Leonard. I think possibly Stuart MacBride and Ian Rankin for sure, quite possibly Daniel Woodrell. I think one other author all though not in the crime genre that I would add is J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. Those books have introduced an entire generation of young people to the joys of reading. 

Q: Why do you write in this genre?
I write what I know. I enjoy the genre immensely. That said, it’s a Labor of Love, capitol ‘L’ on both words. I labor at the craft and constantly strive to make it better. Is it good or bad news that we never seem to be at a loss for a new crime? I hope your readers will take a moment to check out the Dev Haskell series as well as my other books on Amazon. Thanks for letting me drone on, Jochem please have me back. All the best to everyone.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bite Me (Devlin Haskell) by Mike Faricy

Now this is a funny book... Devlin Haskin sure isn't Sam Spade. A bit of an anti-hero with loads of exes who sometimes help, sometimes hinder him he's an interesting character.
In this novel he's chased by a lover wielding a knife before she ends up landing him a job doing security for a pirate radio station. When she later accuses him of raping her and dead bodies turn up Devlin has to prove his innocence, helped by an unusual public defender.
The writing style is pretty amusing, Dev is a great character. The mystery and plot twists are pretty good too, but in a way the ending seemed a bit rushed.
Will be sure to pick up another one in this series and will be publishing an interview with the author very soon.

Q & A with Paul Levine

Q: What makes Jake Lassiter different from other hardboiled characters?
Jake is a mixture. A tough-guy former linebacker with a tough bark….but a soft heart. He’s a sucker for a kid who needs help, like his nephew Kip. Or a wrongfully accused defendant. And he has a wicked sense of humor. “They don’t call us sharks for our ability to swim.”

Q: How did you come up with the character?
I wrote the first of the series, “To Speak for the Dead,” at a time in my life when I was not getting along with my then-wife, my law partners, my clients, even some judges. A troubled defense lawyer seemed to come naturally. And the fact that he might punch out a witness (or even his own client) appealed to me.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
It’s brought many more readers into the fold. No one wants to see brick and mortar stores fade away, but change is inevitable.

Q: What's next for you and Jake ?
I take the Fifth. After all, the tagline of “State vs. Lassiter” is: “Is this the end of the linebacker-turned-lawyer?”

Q: How do you promote your work?
Social media mostly. My new updated website:
My new Facebook Author page:

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
General fiction. Tom Wolfe. John Updike. The usual suspects.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
Well, it works for their stories. Jake Lassiter’s sidekick is a little less lethal: retired coroner Doc Charlie Riggs. Of course, as Jake points out, “Doc, you’ve never had a patient who lived.”

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI > writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, > Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
Oh, man. Tough one. WAY too many to choose from. James Lee Burke. Harlan Coben. Laura Lippman. John Grisham and Scott Turow in my field of legal thrillers. I’m leaving out dozens.

Q: Why do you write in this genre?
I love a good murder!

Loose Ends (Fenway Burke) by James Phoenix

I loved the debut of Fenway Burke in "Frame Up" so I was happy to see him return in this one. Hired by an organized crime figure to rescue his kidnapped daughter he, together with his sidekick Ax, ends up in Columbia.
James takes his PI a bit from Robert B. Parker into Lee Child territory with a bit more thriller-like action than most PI books have.
I like that Burke has a real family  now and think James manages to balance the family guy with the hardboiled PI pretty well. I like that Burke is every bit the hardass Ax is, dispensing some pretty rough justice when he thinks it is needed.
The writing is even more fast-paced and to the point than the first novel. James (like me) is a big fan of leaving out the parts people skip, making this a fast and enjoyable read.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Complex 90 (Mike Hammer) by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins

Recently, while writing my work in progress, THE DEATH BUSINESS I had to admit I am probably influenced more by Mickey Spillane than Raymond Chandler. I mean, in my neweste novella Noah Milano faces strippers, nymphomaniacs, nude models and is in a deadly firefight in the first fifty pages. Yeah, I like my Mike Hammer. So, this is another treat.
When Mike bodyguards a political figure in the Russia of 1964 he ends up in a lot of trouble and is forced to fight his way over the Iron Curtain. Back in New York City he discovers the Russians aren't accepting the fact a man who killed so many of theirs is allowed to walk around a free man.
Hammer decides to uncover a KGB agent in the States as leverage while some dangerous men are after a secret formula.
Yep, this is a Cold War story. Mike Hammer doing the Matt Helm / James Bond / UNCLE route, not surprisingly because the roots of this story are in the sixties when spies were all the rage. Mickey Spillane wrote a large part of this manuscript forty years ago that Max Allan Collins finished in the way he, as Spillane's friend and biggest fan can only do.
As always Mike Hammer is THE tough guy and the fights, witty banter and dames are all there and excellent. What really intrigued me in this one is the secret story of why Velda and Mike won't have kids. I wonder if Spillane thought this up or Collins.
I must admit I like the Hammer stories that deal with more straight-up crime better, but when it comes to hardboiled fiction Spillane and Collins are alway a killer combination.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Q & A with Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis might be better known for his work on series like The Outlanders or his wonderful Justice Machine comic. It turns out he's a fan of the hardboiled PI as well, so with a new novella out I felt compelled to interview him...

Q: What makes Bone Mizell different from other hardboiled characters?
First and foremost, Bonaparte "Bone" Mizell is not a PI in the conventional sense. He took early retirement from the Tampa office of the DEA for mysterious reasons I only allude to in "Rag Baby". He also refused to go into the Witness Protection Program.
 Instead, he returned to his small Central Florida hometown and set up a security systems company...installing burglar alarms and video surveillance for local businesses, like used car dealerships.
 He's been doing that for about a year when "Rag Baby" opens.

Q: How did you come up with the character?
Basically, I wanted a protagonist who was more of a western-type character...that's one reason I placed Bone in Central Florida, which is a huge cattle ranching area, probably the second or third largest cattle-rearing region in the entire country.
So, I figured with Bone in that rather lawless area, he would contend with modern-day western type situations--outlaw bikers, Klansmen, Mexican drug cartels and the terrain itself....thousands of acres of swampland and rattlesnake-infested palmetto scrub.

Q: What are your thoughts on the whole eBook revolution?
Having been "traditionally" published for most of my career, I have to admit I resisted ebooks initially. It wasn't until we made CRYPTOZOICA available as an ebook that I had a "hand-slap to the forehead" revelation.
The sales on the ebook edition far outstripped those of the CRYPTOZOICA TPB. Even after the first surge, the sales still keep a steady pace.
 "Rag Baby" is my first work that I released as an ebook edition first, mainly because it's of novella length and there simply is no traditional fiction market for novellas--especially in genre fiction--any longer.
 With ebooks, you can put out any length or any format. It's quite the game-changer, and it apparently has made a lot of people nervous...from publishers to even some writers.

Q: What's next for you and Bone ?
I'm crafting another short story with the working title of "Black Nails." It plants Bone atop a racial powder-keg with a group calling themselves the White Warrior Empire who are trying to light the fuse. I intend to get a novel done, too.

Q: How do you promote your work?
Not as well as I should...I have my own site (, Facebook page and Twitter account but promotion is almost a full-time job.

Q: What other genres besides crime do you like?
I'm known mainly for SF and action-adventure, as evidenced by my best-selling OUTLANDERS series. I love westerns, too. I need to get one of those written ASAP, as well. And of course, there are all of those comic books I've written, like Doc Savage and The Wild Wild West.

Q: What's your idea about the psychotic sidekick in PI novels like Hawk and Joe Pike?
Eh...I guess it depends on whether they serve the story. I'm not as familiar with Pike as I am Hawk and Mouse, but I never liked Hawk until I saw how he was portrayed by Avery Brooks on the Spenser For Hire TV show. The character in the books seemed a little too contrived for my tastes, a middle-aged white man's idea of a black badass.
Walter Mosely's Mouse seems like less of a conscious creation to act as Easy Rawlins' foil.

Q: In the last century we've seen new waves of PI writers, first influenced by Hammett, then Chandler, Macdonald, Parker, later Lehane. Who do you think will influence the coming generation?
I don't know, really. Writers like Timothy Harris and Loren Estleman who came along in the late 70s and 80s and who I thought were superior to Parker and Lehane didn't get the kind of mainstream attention they should have.
 So your guess is as good as mine. 

Q: Why do you write in this genre?
 It's a genre I've always enjoyed and in fact, a hardboiled detective novel was my first full-length "serious" work. After 50 books, it's about time I returned to the genre. Anyone who is curious can read more about that and Bone's genesis here: