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.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

On Raymond Chandler - and Robert Altman's - THE LONG GOODBYE

Scott Montgomery, master bookseller at Mystery People, the mystery division of the great Austin, Texas, bookstore Book People, asked me for some thoughts on Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel THE LONG GOODBYE, as well as Robert Altman's 1973 film adaptation. You can read Scott's column here.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Forty years at The Stony Pony

For their summer issue, INSIDE JERSEY magazine asked me to write something about the 40th anniversary of Asbury Park's legendary nightclub The Stone Pony, where I spent more time and money (not to mention hearing and brain cells) over the years than I care to admit. It's now available on-line here.

Above: Steve Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen make an impromptu appearance at The Stone Pony in 1977.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dashiell Hammett, the not-so-simple sorcerer

Dashiell Hammett, putting the whole writing biz in metaphorical - if somewhat cynical - perspective.

"In this nonsense you've learned you'll find the satisfaction a man has in doing what - however silly - he can do skillfully. There will be days when you find a pleasure in the thought of things you have done for your clients, though that will come only on optimistic days ... You'll have your skill, and your craftsman's pride in that skill, and the money it brings you, and presently you will be middle-aged and old. .,. But in the end you will become - as I hope - a simple-minded sorcerer with childish pride and faith in your utility."

From "Magic," collected in THE HUNTER AND OTHER STORIES, published by The Mysterious Press.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

NPR interview

Got a chance to talk Crissa Stone, literary and real-life influences, journalism, SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST and much much more in this interview with NPR's Vick Mickunas. You can listen here.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The world according to Al Swearengen

One of DEADWOOD's finest moments. Words to live by from Al Swearengen.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sam Fuller's introduction to journalism

For everyone who loved and left the newspaper business - by choice or otherwise - this late Valentine. Director Sam Fuller remembers his first visit to a newsroom, circa 1924. Sixty-one years later, I did the same, and felt much the same way.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Crime Thriller Hound's Best Books of the 21st Century

The U.K. website CRIME THRILLER HOUND picks SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST as its Best Book of 2013. Details here.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sleuthfest 2014 schedule

I'll be keeping busy at Sleuthfest 2014 in Orlando, Fla., next month, with a full schedule of events over the four days.

– On Thursday 2/27 at 1:15, I'll be conducting a "Third Degree" workshop on "Good Bad Guys and Bad Good Guys: Giving Depth to Your Sterling Characters and Humanity To Your Nasty Ones."

– On Friday at 3:40, I'll join Twist Phelan, Jennifer McMahon,and Amanda Kyle Williams for the panel "What You Say Can Be Used Against You: Creating Smooth Dialogue."

– On Saturday at 11 a.m., I'll be back with Amanda for the panel "Urban or Rural Settings: Appraising the Merits of Each" along with Michael Sears and Lisa Unger, moderated by the fabulous Hank Phillippi Ryan.

– That same day, at 3:40, I'll be talking about "Why I Write About Him/Her/Them: Characters Who Monopolize Our Time," again with Lisa, as well as Jamie Mason and Guest of Honor Laura Lippman. Signings will follow each panel.

Registration and hotel info can be found here.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


Here's the cover art for Blackstone Audio's forthcoming unabridged audiobook of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, the first Crissa Stone novel, read by the award-winning Coleen Marlo. Blackstone has also released an unabridged audio version of SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST, with KINGS OF MIDNIGHT to come later this year.
(Click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Anthony Lee's MARTIN QUINN reissued

Anthony Lee's NYC-set MARTIN QUINN is one of my favorite crime novels, the story of fatherless Irish-American street kid coming of age in a Russian mob family. Originally published in 2003, it was sadly out of print for many years. I was glad to hear a new edition was in the offing, and honored to be asked to write an introduction for it. You can find that edition, with a new cover and a slightly tweaked title (the book was briefly reprinted in 2005 as a trade paperback called THE FIX) here.
I've written about the book in the past, first in 2007 as an off-shoot of The Rap Sheet's "One Book Project," and then later as one of the titles in my list of "The Five Best Crime Novels You've Never Read." It's highly recommended, and it's great to have it back in print.