Sunday, December 30, 2012

LOVERS IN THE COLD on Kindle, Nook

My Christmas-set, Springsteen-inspired short story "Lovers in the Cold," is again available for download via Kindle and Nook.

An earlier version of the story first appeared in Jessica Kaye and Richard Brewer's 2005 anthology "MEETING ACROSS THE RIVER: Stories Inspired by the Haunting Bruce Springsteen Song." Kaye and Brewer asked a number of crime novelists, including C.J. Box, Eddie Muller and David Corbett, to submit short stories using the song, which appears on Springsteen's 1975 album "Born to Run," as a springboard. The New York Times wrote about the collection in 2005, and Publishers Weekly reviewed the audio edition.

"Lovers" is set in Bradley Beach, N.J., and N.Y.C. in 1974, and finds two Jersey Shore guys caught between friendship and fate, and in way over the heads in the city across the river. The title comes from an early Springsteen song recorded for "Born to Run" but never released.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

An Xmas song for always

One of the great modern Christmas songs, from Steve Earle. Been thinking about this song a lot lately, especially after the events of the last couple weeks.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Rutgers Alum-Knights profile (click on image to enlarge)

A new profile in Alumni-Knights, the alumni newspaper of Rutgers University, proving, possibly, that my six undergraduate years there weren't a waste.

UPDATE: The on-line version of the story is now available here.

GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER audiobook on iTunes

The unabridged audiobook version of GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER, wonderfully read by actress Karen White, is now available for instant download on iTunes, as are the e-book editions of NOVEMBER, KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, THE HEARTBREAK LOUNGE and THE BARBED-WIRE KISS. Links for all can be found here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

MysteryPeople's 10 Best Books of 2012

MysteryPeople, the crime-centric store-within-a-store at Austin's great indie BookPeople, picks KINGS OF MIDNIGHT as one of the Best Books of 2012. You can find the full list here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Marilyn's Mystery Reads on KINGS OF MIDNIGHT

"Wallace Stroby has written a thriller that has you cheering for the 'bad guys' ... It’s a tightrope act for an author, but Stroby handles it perfectly." Read the full review here.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

KINGS OF MIDNIGHT on Kirkus' Best of 2012

KINGS OF MIDNIGHT finds itself in some excellent company on Kirkus Reviews' year-end list of the Best Books of 2012. You can find the complete Fiction list here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Next Big Thing: Alison Gaylin

(NOTE: Last week, I tagged Alison Gaylin as part of this week's NEXT BIG THING blogathon – a blog-hopping collection of writers answering questions about their latest works, or works in progress. As Alison is currently blogless, I'm hosting her here. - W.).

I was thrilled to be tagged for this by the wonderful and very talented Wallace Stroby for THE NEXT BIG THING – along with great writers Andrew Nette and Scott Adlerberg, and great writer/fellow true crime enthusiast Dennis Tafoya! The one problem is, uh ... I'm between blogs at the moment. So Wallace – whose books are fantastic and should be read repeatedly – agreed to post my responses. (Right, Wallace?)

Here goes:

1.) What’s the title or working title of your new/next book?

The new book is called INTO THE DARK. The sequel to AND SHE WAS, it’s the second book in the Brenna Spector series and it’s out Jan. 29!

2.) Where did the idea for the book come from?

The idea for the whole series came from an article I read about hyperthymestic syndrome – perfect autobiographical memory. To me the most fascinating aspect of this disorder wasn’t so much the ability to remember everything, but the inability to forget. I think forgetting is one of our most important survival mechanisms. So I decided to create Brenna Spector – a detective afflicted with this syndrome that may improve her performance on the job, but wreak hell on her personal life.

The idea for this book – about Brenna’s search for a missing “performance artist”/webcam girl who talks about memories only she or her missing sister could know about – comes from a whole bunch of ideas about memories and intimacy and guilt and obsession and, uh, porn.

3.) What genre is your book?

Crime fiction. Suspense. Whatever you want to call it.

4.) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Or TV series?

I think Rashida Jones has the right look and sensibility to play Brenna. My 11-year-old daughter says Brenna’s brilliant young douchebag assistant Trent should be played by Adam Levine – which I think is a fantastic idea. There are many other characters – and I’m open to any and all casting suggestions. (I love hearing from readers about this.)

5.) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Brenna Spector’s quest for a missing webcam girl brings her closer than ever to her long-lost sister – as she uncovers a decades-old web of deception, sex, guilt and murder. (Okay, I have to take a breath now.)

6.) Is/will your book be self-published or traditionally published?

INTO THE DARK is my sixth traditionally published book – and my second for HarperCollins.

7.) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

About five months.

8.) What other books within the genre would you compare this story to?

Hmm… Got me there. I do love what Laura Lippman has done in many of her books with the idea of memory, and if this comes remotely close, I would be honored.

10.) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

There is a long arc story to this series about Brenna’s missing sister, which this book focuses more on than the previous. Like AND SHE WAS, the plot is pretty intricate with, I hope, a lot of surprises. And there’s guilt and murder and sex in it too.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Next Big Thing blogathon

I was quite chuffed (as the Brits say) to be recruited by the lovely and talented thriller writer Alexandra Sokoloff to take part in this week's edition of The Next Big Thing blog hop, a series of brief interviews with various authors about their current book or work-in-progress.

I was even more pleased to discover the company I was in, as I'm sharing this week's theme – strong women in crime fiction – with some strong and admirable women indeed: (above, from top) Christa Faust, Michelle Gagnon and Zoe Sharp.

By way of prologue, Ms. Sokoloff explains all here. And you can read this week's entries by clicking on the links below:

Christa Faust

Michelle Gagnon

Zoe Sharp

My contribution follows:

1.) What’s the title or working title of your new/next book?

The most recent is KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, published in April by St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur. It’s the second in my series about Crissa Stone, a professional thief and career criminal.

2) Where did the idea for the book come from?

Writing a series about a fictional thief, I wanted to connect her to a famous real-life robbery, in this case the 1978 Lufthansa heist at New York’s Kennedy Airport. A crew of local gangsters walked away with $8 million from the Lufthansa cargo terminal without firing a shot. At the time, it was the largest cash robbery ever on American soil. Most of the money was never recovered. Seemed time someone found it.  

3) What genre is your book?

Crime. Hard-boiled I guess, if you go for those sort of labels.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  Or TV series?

Writing a continuing series, I never do that because it might mess me up in writing about the characters going forward. That said, I have broken that rule a few times. I imagined Sara Cross, the single mom and sheriff’s deputy in GONE ‘TIL NOVEMBER, as looking very much like Sarah Polley,
an actress I admire a lot. I was always impressed with her determined, slightly otherworldly quality. But when I met her briefly at a New York Film Critics Circle Awards dinner a few years back, she was actually quite cheerful and girly.

For Eddie “The Saint” Santiago in COLD SHOT TO THE HEART, I always envisioned the late character actor Al Lettieri,
who brought an authentically edgy and dangerous quality to his roles in THE GODFATHER, THE GETAWAY and MR. MAJESTYK.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

A female professional thief and an old-school ex-mobster team up to recover millions in stolen money from a 1978 robbery.

6) Is/will your book be self-published or traditionally published?

St. Martin’s Press has published all five of my novels to date, and I’m under contract with them for a sixth.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

My writing process is always mixed up, with different sections being rewritten multiple times before moving on, so there’s no clean chronology of drafts. Between beginning the book and submitting it to my editor though, it was exactly one year – Aug. 1, 2010-Aug. 1, 2011.  

8) What other books within the genre would you compare this story to? 9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I’ll combine these two questions. There have been a lot of influences on the Crissa Stone books, some of which I addressed last year on the legendary Ed Gorman’s blog. You can find that piece here.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?

It’s the second part of proposed trilogy (or beyond). The third book, SHOOT THE WOMAN FIRST, will be published by St. Martin's next year.


For my part in keeping this ongoing blog hop extravaganza going, I've tagged first-time author Scott Adlerberg, thriller writer Alison Gaylin, Aussie novelist Andrew Nette and Philadelphia's own Dennis Tafoya. Look for their entries on their respective blogs next week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Bucks County Herald on COLD SHOT

"A terrific story of criminals and crime ... the action never stops." The Bucks County Herald in lovely Bucks County. Pa. (home to the wonderful Farley's Bookshop on Main St. in New Hope) offers a slightly belated - but much welcome - review of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART. (Click on the image for larger version).

Thursday, November 15, 2012

From Paterson to Asbury Park

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Junot Diaz, Joyce Carole Oates, Dani Shapiro and I - as well as other N.J. authors - pick some favorite books about the Garden State. You can read the entire piece here.

My choice? "4th of July, Asbury Park: A History of the Promised Land" by Daniel Wolff (Bloomsbury USA).

Monday, November 05, 2012

NoirCon in Philadelphia Nov. 8-11

Looking forward to NoirCon in Philadelphia this weekend - Nov. 8-11 - where I'll be discussing "True Crime" Sat. morning with Megan Abbott, Alison Gaylin and Dennis Tafoya. Guests of Honor this year include the great Lawrence Block and industry legend Otto Penzler. The complete schedule can be found here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Book giveaway: Five clues

I'm giving away a signed hardcover First Edition of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART.
The contest rules are simple: Guess the titles of just three of the six Blu-Ray discs I purchased immediately after buying a new Blu-Ray player two weeks ago. All six are among my all-time favorite films, all of which I'd previously owned on DVD and other home video formats (and have written about in the past).
Book goes to the first person who can correctly name just three of the titles, and e-mails me at with the answers. (Just to be fair, though, only three guesses allowed per person. Any scattershot responses with more than three titles will be disregarded).
Some visual clues below:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Remembering Ted Lewis

This month, BBC4 is broadcasting a new six-part dramatization of Ted Lewis' brilliant 1970 crime novel JACK'S RETURN HOME, famously filmed as 1971's GET CARTER, starring Michael Caine.
Lewis (right, on the set of GET CARTER), who died tragically young in 1982 at age 42, is a constant on my list of favorite crime writers (the others tend to fluctuate). Sadly, most of his books are now out of print, including JACK'S RETURN HOME and his other masterpiece, 1980's GBH. Along with the dramatization, BBC4 is also airing "Lewis's Return Home," an audio documentary tracing his life and work, with contributions from writer – and Lewis aficionado - Nick Triplow. I recently included JACK'S RETURN HOME on my list of "The Five Best Crime Novels You've Never Read," for reviewer Elizabeth A. White's blog.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

THE MALTESE FALCON at Bryant Park 7/23/12

Let's talk about the bird: This Monday, July 23, I'll again be part of NYC's Bryant Park Film Festival, co-hosting a pre-screening discussion about John Huston's THE MALTESE FALCON, along with longtime host Scott Adlerberg. We'll be talking about the Dashiell Hammett novel, Humphrey
Bogart's career and various other aspects of the production. The discussion will be held at the park's outdoor "Reading Room" area off 42nd St., as part of the series "Word-for-Word Reel Talks." The lawn opens at 5 p.m., with the discussion at 7 p.m. and the film at dusk, weather permitting. You can find more details - and Bosley Crowther's original 1941 N.Y. Times review - here.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Of ATMs and front-end loaders

Attempting to steal entire ATMs using construction equipment was a fairly rare crime when I wrote about it in the opening chapters of KINGS OF MIDNIGHT. Not so much now, apparently. However, it's a lot easier to pull off this sort of thing within the pages of a crime novel than it is in real life. You can read the story here.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

PSYCHO at Bryant Park Film Festival 6/18

This Monday, June 18, I'll help kick off the 20th anniversary Bryant Park Film Festival in NYC by co-hosting a screening of Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO. Able co-host Scott Adlerberg and I will conduct a pre-film discussion in the park's outdoor "Reading Room" area off 42nd St., as part of the series "Word-for-Word Reel Talks." We'll be talking about the film, the 1959 Robert Bloch novel it's based on, and other various and sundry topics. The lawn opens at 5 p.m., with the discussion at 7 p.m. and the film at dusk, weather permitting. You can read Bosley Crowther's original New York Times review, from June 17, 1960, here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Henry Hill: 1943-2012

Henry Hill, the mob-wiseguy-turned-informant and one of the models for Benny Roth in KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, died in Los Angeles Tuesday at age 69. A member of the crew that pulled off the multi-million-dollar Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport in 1978, Hill fled into the federal Witness Protection Program in fear of his life, and later testified against his former colleagues. His story was immortalized in Nicholas Pileggi's book WISEGUY, which Martin Scorsese turned into the classic film GOODFELLAS. You can see a photo gallery of the Lufthansa heist here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Liars and winners

We have a winner in the Call Me a Liar contest, originally hosted over at the Pulp Pusher site, as part of this Q&A interview. It's Robert McMahon of Narragansett, R.I., and he wins signed copies of both COLD SHOT TO THE HEART and GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER. Out of all the entrants, he is the only one who correctly picked No.3 as the lie.

Here are the truths, untruth and explanations:

1.) I’ve seen TAXI DRIVER fourteen times.

TRUE. Fourteen, at least. I have a framed one-sheet poster of it in my living room. I saw it twice in one week shortly after it came out, on a double-bill with Brian DePalma's OBSESSION (also scripted by Paul Schrader).

2.) Bruce Springsteen once borrowed my DVD of Monte Hellman’s TWO-LANE BLACKTOP.

TRUE. There was a period of time around 2005 when the DVD of Hellman's 1971 road movie was out of print and unavailable (it was rereleased a few years later by Criterion). Through a mutual friend, I was approached by someone who worked for Springsteen at the time, inquiring if I had a copy. Apparently, Bruce had caught part of it on TV, and was now looking for the actual DVD without having much luck. I Fedexed my copy to the employee, without really expecting to get it back. But in fact, I did, about a month later. Footage from the film eventually wound up in the documentary WINGS FOR WHEELS that Springsteen released in late 2005, as part of the BORN TO RUN 30th anniversary box set. Whether the clip was actually ripped from my DVD or not, I'll never know. I suspect it was.
(Top, Warren Oates with his 455 V8 GTO from the film).

3.) Years ago, I had a conversation with Stephen King while standing at adjoining urinals at the New York Hilton.

LIE. I actually did meet Stephen King at the N.Y. Hilton during the American Booksellers Association Convention there in 1991. And I did actually stand at an adjoining urinal with him, but I did NOT try to engage him in conversation. A few weeks later, I did an extensive interview with him for WRITER'S DIGEST magazine. You can read it here.

4.) I went skydiving once, landed in a tree and had to be rescued.

TRUE. In 1981, I went skydiving for the first (and, it turned out, only) time at a rural airport in Palatka, Fla. I jumped out of a Cessna 180 (pictured) at 3,000 feet, using a static line, but was late exiting the plane (in that model Cessna, you have to climb out on the strut, feet on the wheel, before you jump, in order to clear the plane. It's not easy). As a result, I missed the exit point my jumpmaster had picked, didn't make the drop zone and instead landed in some pine trees across a highway from the airport. I was wedged into branches about 12 feet up, until someone from the jump center came out to rescue me, nothing injured but my pride. I went back to do it twice more, but on both occasions the wind was such that, as a beginner, they wouldn't take me up, which I saw as a sign from the universe not to do it again. Haven't ruled it out for the future though.

5.) I once hit a Catholic nun in the back of the head with an orange (by accident).

TRUE, unfortunately. It was on the playground at the Our Lady Star of the Sea School in Long Branch, N.J. I was in seventh grade, and I was aiming at someone else. I forget the sister's name, but she pounced on me, grabbed me by my shirtfront with both hands and shook me like a terrier shakes a rat. Not my finest moment.

Thanks to everyone who participated.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Last days - Call me a liar, win free books

Just a couple more days left to call me a liar and win signed copies of both COLD SHOT TO THE HEART and GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER, via a contest I originally hosted over at the Pulp Pusher site, as part of this Q&A interview.

The contest:

Here’s five things about me. One of them is a lie:

1.) I’ve seen TAXI DRIVER fourteen times.

2.) Bruce Springsteen once borrowed my DVD of Monte Hellman’s TWO-LANE BLACKTOP.

3.) Years ago, I had a conversation with Stephen King while standing at adjoining urinals at the New York Hilton.

4.) I went skydiving once, landed in a tree and had to be rescued.

5.) I once hit a Catholic nun in the back of the head with an orange (by accident).

Anyone who wants to take a guess as to which one's a lie can drop me an e-mail at Deadline for entries is May 31, 2012 (there have been some good responses so far, some correct and some not so). I’ll pick two winners at random from the correct responses, and send them signed copies of the hardback editions of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART and GONE 'TIL NOVEMBER. But be warned, I’m a good liar.

The Violent World of Parker on KINGS OF MIDNIGHT

"It’s in the human moments when Crissa faces up to what she’s sacrificed and what she’s missing where KINGS OF MIDNIGHT packs an extra wallop." A thoughtful review of KINGS over at the excellent Violent World of Parker site, dedicated to the work of Donald E. Westlake and his alter-ego, Richard Stark. Read the full review here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Call me a liar, win free books

Assaulting nuns, lending DVDs to Bruce Springsteen and a unfortunate sky diving accident... find the lie I told in my Q&A at the Pulp Pusher site, and you'll have a chance at winning a signed copy of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART. The interview and full details can be found here. Contest is open until May 31, 2012.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Book Loons reviewer Hilary Williamson has some love for KINGS OF MIDNIGHT. Read the full review here.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mystery People Q&A

Over at the Mystery People blog, you can read a Q&A about KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, The Lufthansa heist, Eddie Bunker and various other subjects, conducted by mystery meister Scott Montgomery. For the full interview go here

Monday, May 07, 2012


Over at, reviewer Joe Hartlaub calls KINGS OF MIDNIGHT "a winner from first word to last." Read the full review here.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Six top heist novels

It was a tough call, but over at the MysteryPeople blog, I chose six of my favorite heist novels of all time (with an appropriate emphasis on the novels of Donald E. Westlake).

Monday, April 23, 2012

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on KINGS OF MIDNIGHT

Reviewer Carole Barrowman, writing for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, calls KINGS OF MIDNIGHT "terrific." Read the full review here.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lawrence Block on KINGS OF MIDNIGHT

Legendary crime novelist Lawrence Block has a strict no-blurb policy, which he reiterated eloquently in a recent blog post. However, he's very active in social media and was kind enough to post this complimentary Tweet about KINGS OF MIDNIGHT last week:

@Lawrence Block
It would be hard to overpraise Kings of Midnight, the new book by @wallacestroby:

Of course, I'm a huge fan of Block's work, especially his Matt Scudder series, and have written about him a bit in the past. He's one of the seminal modern American crime writers. I was more than honored by the mention.

You can find Block on Facebook on his personal page and his fan page. And on Twitter as well (click on the links)

(Photo by Marc Yankus)

Monday, April 09, 2012

"Please, no more Wallace Stroby books"

Star-Ledger/New Jersey Online reviewer Vince Cosgrove offers this plea to his editor as the lead-in to a lovely review of KINGS OF MIDNIGHT.