Saturday, December 31, 2011


The Rap Sheet likes the hardcover dust jacket of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, and names it one of the best book covers of 2011.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Lovers in the Cold on Nook

My short story "Lovers in the Cold" is now available for Nook as well. This is another of the songs that inspired it, an unreleased outtake from Bruce Springsteen's 1975 "Born to Run" album that forms sort of a sequel to his "Meeting Across the River". Musically, the song eventually morphed in "Thunder Road."

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Lovers in the Cold

My holiday-themed, Springsteen-inspired short story LOVERS IN THE COLD is now available for the first time on Kindle. An earlier version of it appeared in the now-out-of-print 2005 anthology MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER: Stories Inspired by the Haunting Bruce Springsteen Song." The editors of that anthology asked a number of crime novelists to submit short stories in some way connected to the song. which appears on Springsteen's 1975 album "Born to Run." The New York Times wrote about the collection in 2005.

Season's greetings ...

... from the real Jersey Shore. And best wishes to all in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Evil ways

COLD SHOT TO THE HEART gets an honorable mention in Jedidiah Ayre's "2011: The Year in Villains" column at the Ransom Notes blog.

Friday, December 02, 2011

More best of 2011

Flattered to be in such excellent company on this list of the best crime/suspense novels of 2011, as chosen by the editors of Murder, Mystery and Mayhem.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

COLD SHOT paperback on sale now

The trade paperback edition of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART (with a new cover) is on-sale today, online and at your finer brick & mortar stores.
In the meantime, Amazon is still offering a limited-time discount on the hardcover version, priced lower than the paperback.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ten best crime novels of 2011, Texas-style

Scott Montgomery, the mystery meister of Austin's great BookPeople store, offers his rundown of the 10 Best Crime Novels of 2011. I'm honored to be part of a list that also includes George Pelecanos, Duane Swierczynski, Reed Farrel Coleman, Megan Abbott, Ace Atkins and others.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Goddesses get dark

The Library Goddesses of the Garden State offer their "literary noir" picks here, putting me in the excellent company of Megan Abbott, James W. Hall, Jason Starr and others.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

COLD SHOT discount

In preparation for the trade paperback release of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, Amazon is offering a special discount on the hardcover edition this month, at a price lower than the trade PB.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


Amos Oz on the writing life:
"I sit by my desk and wait. In the kibbutz I felt very guilty. On my free day, on my writing day I felt very guilty because I would work for the whole morning and produce six sentences and then I'd share the table for lunch in the communal dining hall with people who milked 500 cows or plowed 500 acres and I'd say 'Look at me, I've only produced six sentences.'

But then I taught myself to think of myself as a shopkeeper, my job is to open the joint and sit and wait for customers. If I have customers it's a good day. If I don't have customers I'm still doing my job by just sitting there and waiting"

Friday, October 21, 2011

KINGS OF MIDNIGHT: The short version

This is early jacket copy for KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, out in April from St. Martin's/Minotaur:

“Crime fiction’s best bad girl ever”* is back in Wallace Stroby’s new thriller, KINGS OF MIDNIGHT. Crissa Stone, the cool-headed professional thief from Stroby’s acclaimed COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, is looking for one more big score, enough to bribe her lover’s way out of prison and reclaim the young daughter she once gave up. Benny Roth is an old-school wiseguy, still on the run after the bloody fallout from the 1978 Lufthansa heist, in which six armed men walked out of Kennedy Airport with some $8 million in untraceable cash. That money’s been missing all these years, but now Benny thinks he knows where it is, and Crissa may be just the person to help him get it ... if a murderous gang boss with a score to settle doesn’t get there first.

* Kirkus Reviews

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

King Curtis: Beyond the pale

I was first introduced to King Curtis' sublime version of this Procol Harum tune by Jim Fusilli, on a long drive home from a lackluster book-signing event in upstate N.Y. in 2006. Hearing this track, recorded live at the Fillmore West in 1971, was almost worth the trip.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

B'Con Pt. 2: So many films, so little time

For me, one of the highlights of BoucherCon 2011 in St. Louis was my Friday panel "Shadows Rising: Films for Crime Fiction Readers." With my stellar panelmates Megan Abbott, David Corbett, Todd Ritter and Russel McLean, and ably moderated by Crimespree Magazine's Jeremy Lynch, we talked about some of the crime films we found most essential and interesting (and in some cases, overrated) broken down into eras.
The discussion sometimes grew heated, and at least one audience member roundly - and loudly - booed one of my choices. Time ran short though, and we barely got through half of our picks before the hour-long panel came to a close. Some of my panelmates have already posted their personal lists elsewhere. Here's my complete list, divided by era, with top choices first, and annotated where appropriate. Feel free to boo me.

THE CLASSICS (Pre-1945):

Crime in a social context: Prohibition and the Depression, and how American gangsters are made. Career-making performances for James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart, respectively.
THE MALTESE FALCON (1941): Dashiell Hammett’s world view invades popular culture. An obvious pick, but any film you can easily name multiple characters from 70 years after its release deserves to be included.

COLD WAR CRIME (1946-1965):
THE KILLING (1956): The heist as a complex machine, slowly breaking down. Stanley Kubrick plays with time, directing a cast of noir veterans in a script co-written by Jim Thompson, based on a novel ("Clean Break") by Lionel White.
RIFIFI (1955): Influenced by American gangster dramas, this brilliant French heist film (directed by a blacklisted American from a French novel) went on to influence a generation of crime novelists (Donald E. Westlake, etc.) and filmmakers (Stanley Kubrick), who in turn influenced more French films, etc., etc.
KISS ME, DEADLY (1955): Atom-age noir: Thuggish detective Mike Hammer chases the “Great Whatsit” and nearly unleashes the Apocalypse. The best Mickey Spillane adaptation ever, and the one he disliked the most.

REVOLUTION (1965-1980):

GET CARTER (1971): Brit gangster Jack Carter (Michael Caine’s greatest performance) comes home to Newcastle to avenge his brother’s death. An almost perfect film, without a single false note.
MEAN STREETS (1973): DEAD END, ‘70s style. Smalltime hoods in Little Italy make choices that seal their fates.
ROLLING THUNDER (1977): Vietnam vet returns to a world he doesn’t understand, hits the vengeance trail with a sawed-off shotgun and a sharpened hook for a right hand. Half arthouse, half grindhouse.

REACTION: Reagan, Glasnost and the Tech Boom (1980s & 1990s):

GOODFELLAS (1990): The greatest film about workaday gangsters ever made. Brutal, funny, invigorating, exhausting.
AT CLOSE RANGE (1986): Crime as a family affair. Sean Penn and Christopher Walken give two of their best performances as father and son criminals who come to a violent parting of the ways.
THIEF (1981): Michael Mann’s first look at the inner life of the high-end professional criminal, vastly superior to his later HEAT.

THE REIGN OF TERROR (2000 to present):
ZODIAC (2007): Real-life noir, scrupulously faithful to the facts of the case. It gets under your skin in a way few movies do, not immediately, but stealthily and insidiously. A puzzle without an answer, a door without a key, an obsession with no release.
THE PUSHER Trilogy (1996-2005): Three films about the Danish drug trade, following different characters in the same environment, hot-wired and supercharged by “Drive” director Nicholas Winding Refn.
GOMORRAH (2008): The real Godfathers. A multi-storyline crime epic, based on a nonfiction book, about how organized crime corrupts nearly every strata of Italian society.

THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995): Half-smart, and nowhere near as clever as it thinks it is. Doesn’t play fair narratively. A piffle of a film, hanging on a single fine performance by Kevin Spacey (this is what got me booed).

ONE FALSE MOVE (1992): Flawless blend of character and action in Arkansas-set crime story about a trio of killers coming home one last time, and a local sheriff who’s in way over his head.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where I'll be at B'Con

Tomorrow kicks off BoucherCon 2011 in St. Louis, and I'll be appearing on two panels and haunting a few others.
On Thursday at 4 p.m, at 4 pm, I'll be moderating "I Got the Right to Sing the Blues," a panel on pop music in crime fiction, with panelists (and sometime musicians) R.J. Ellory, Mark Billingham, Rochelle Staab, Bryan Gilmer and Jonathan Hayes.
On Friday at 1 p.m., I'll take part in "Shadows Rising: Movies for the Crime Fiction Fan," moderated by Crimespree Magazine's Jeremy Lynch and featuring an all-star panel of Megan Abbott, David Corbett, Russel McLean and Todd Ritter.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Talking trash with George Pelecanos

Today over at the Mulholland Books site, my conversation with George Pelecanos about his new book, THE CUT, masculinity in crime fiction, the films of Sam Peckinpah and lots of other topics.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Early cover art for the new book, KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, to be published by St. Martin's/Minotaur in April 2011, but available for pre-order now. It's a sequel to COLD SHOT TO THE HEART. More details soon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

From Asbury Park to St. Louis

As part of this year's BoucherCon World Mystery Convention in St. Louis next month, I've put together a "Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J.!" basket for the convention's Charity Auction, this year benefiting the St. Louis County Library System. Any attendees can bid. Contents are:

- Signed first edition hardcovers of my first two novels THE BARBED-WIRE KISS (St. Martin’s Press, 2003) and THE HEARTBREAK LOUNGE (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), both set at the Jersey Shore.

- A signed copy of “MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER: Stories Inspired By the Haunting Bruce Springsteen Song,” (Bloomsbury 2005), containing my Shore-set short story “Lovers in the Cold” (also featuring stories by David Corbett, Eddie Muller and others).

- An authentic t-shirt from the one and only Stone Pony. Brand-new, black, XL (comes with authentic Stony Pony merchandise bag).

- An autographed copy of the new updated edition of ROCK & ROLL TOUR OF THE JERSEY SHORE, an exhaustive guide and map to the places Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Jon Bon Jovi and others made famous (and not so famous) at the Jersey Shore. Signed by authors Stan Goldstein and Jean Mikle (and me). The definitive book on Shore rock ‘n’ roll history.

- “MORE GREETINGS FROM ASBURY PARK: The B’Con 2011 Mix.” A one-of-a-kind personal mix CD gathering 16 classic tracks and lost gems from the Jersey Shore music scene, past and present. Compiled, mixed and mastered exclusively for Bouchercon 2011. All songs copyright their respective artists.

7.) “LOST TRACKS: Springsteen Rarities 1975-2005.” A one-of-a-kind personal mix CD featuring 17 rare Springsteen recordings. Compiled, mixed and mastered exclusively for Bouchercon 2011. All songs copyright Bruce Springsteen.

8.) Two vintage Asbury Park postcards.

9.) Handmade Palace Amusements bookmark featuring the iconic ”Tillie” face.

10.) Authentic Salt Water Taffy from Asbury Park’s Criterion Candies.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Golden Age of Movie Tie-Ins. Pt. 4

The Man With No Name Edition (Part 1):

(Click on the "Movie Tie-Ins" tag at the bottom of this post for Parts 1-3)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Good company

MysteryPeople, the crime fiction division of the great Austin, Texas, bookstore BookPeople, picks its 10 best novels of the year (so far).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Golden Age of Movie Tie-Ins. Pt. 3

Paul Schrader Edition (click on images to enlarge)

(click on "Movie Tie-In" tag for more tie-in covers)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Lois Lane's secret life

Because some things are better out of context: A panel from DC Comics' LOIS LANE, Issue 14, Jan. 1960.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Golden Age of Movie Tie-Ins

Recently I've been going through some boxes of books, and have uncovered my collection of 1970s' movie tie-ins and novelizations, many of which I'd forgotten about, and all of which are out-of-print. Thought I'd post some covers. More to come.