Thursday, February 19, 2015


Almost there. First typeset page proofs for the next Crissa Stone novel, THE DEVIL'S SHARE, coming in July from St. Martin's Press / Minotaur Books and already available for pre-order.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Joe Franklin: 1926-2015

No one who grew up watching N.Y.C.-era television will ever forget talk-show host Joe Franklin, who passed away yesterday at age 88. His show - which ran on WOR Channel 9 for 43 (!) years - is almost impossible to describe to anyone who hasn't actually seen it.

Where to start? The old-time showbiz patter? The cluttered, crowded set? Celebrities at the beginning - or often end - of their careers? Joe's on-camera commercials for Hoffman Beverages, Streit's Matzos and Martin Paints ("It ain't just paint")? The way the single static camera focused on a singer's face while one of their records played over the studio sound system, leaving them to squirm uncomfortably under its pitiless eye?

A showbiz legend, Franklin wrote jokes for Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson when he was just a teenager, and worked on Kate Smith's radio program. His show aired twice a day on WOR, and I seldom missed it.

Here's just a partial list of his guests over the years (the show ran from 1950 to 1993): Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, the Ramones, Bing Crosby, John F. Kennedy, John Lennon, Elvis Presley, Andy Warhol, Woody Allen, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Dario Argento, the J. Geils Band,Liza Minnelli, Dustin Hoffman and hundreds of others. We'll never see his like again.
The New York Times has an affectionate obit ("One of the most compellingly low-rent television programs in history.") here.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

"Be Angry At The Sun"

"The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack."

I first encountered this 1941 poem by Robinson Jeffers in Hunter S. Thompson's FEAR AND LOATHING ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL'72. It's stuck with me ever since, and is truer now than ever (click image below to enlarge).

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Michael Mann's THIEF

You have to subscribe to read the rest, but here's the first page of my feature in the latest Noir City e-magazine about Michael Mann's THIEF, as past of their "Prime Cuts: My Favorite Neo-Noir" series. It's a great (and heist-centric) issue, with contributions from Michael Connelly, Christa Faust and many others. And your subscription money goes to an excellent cause - the nonprofit Film Noir Foundation's efforts to rescue and restore classic noir films.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014


Above is a sneak peek at the cover for THE DEVIL'S SHARE, the fourth Crissa Stone novel, to be published by St. Martin's/Minotaur in July 2015. It's available for pre-order now. Here's a quick synopsis:

Crissa Stone, the cool-headed professional criminal last seen in Wallace Stroby's acclaimed SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST is back in THE DEVIL'S SHARE. This time she's acting as a thief-for-hire, partnering with a wealthy art collector to steal a truckload of plundered Iraqi artifacts before they're repatriated to their native country. But what's supposed to be a "give-up" robbery with few complications quickly turns deadly, and soon Crissa is on the run, with both a murderous ex-military hit squad, and her own partners-in-crime in pursuit.

THE DEVIL'S SHARE is an immediate sequel to SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST, and also features the return of characters from the first Crissa Stone novel, COLD SHOT TO THE HEART.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Star-Ledger Building: 1966-2014

Paid a last visit Wednesday night to the mostly-gutted and soon-to-be-vacated Star-Ledger office in Newark, where the paper's been since 1966 and where I worked for 13 years (1995-2008). The organization's been divided and dismantled, the staff decimated by layoffs, buyouts and attrition, and those remaining have been split up into smaller leased satellite offices in other cities. The building itself was sold to a developer and likely to be razed. Contrary to Thomas Wolfe, sometimes you have to go home again, if only to see that it's not there for you anymore.

(Above, stacked and discarded mailbox trays of former staffers.)
And a final photo, taken by Helen Twelvetrees the week of Sept. 22.