Sunday, May 7, 2017

Homicide: Life on the Street

Back in 1993, well before The Wired aired on HBO, the first great Baltimore crime show premiered on network television.  It was Homicide: Life on the Street, and it would run for seven seasons. But were the indications of the show's greatness apparent from the very first episode? I took a look back at the Homicide pilot for Criminal Element. You can read the piece here.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion

Man kills woman. Man cleans up scene. Man plants clues for the cops to find.  Then he goes to work, and it turns out he's the chief of the police force homicide division.  It's Elio Petri's great 1970 Italian film, INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION, starring Gian Maria Volonte.

Part murder mystery, part Kafkaesque satire, it's a film that is hard to shake.  I've seen it a few times over the years, and I figured it would be fun to write about for Criminal Element. You can find that piece here.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Wintry Westerns

There's nothing like a good western film set against a harsh, snowbound landscape.  These movies often have an unsual mood, a distinct feel, nothing like your typical western set in a dusty town or on an arid plain.  Anyway, it's a type of western I've always loved, and over at Criminal Element, I took a look at four wintry westerns that are really good.

You can read the piece here.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Andrew Nette's Gunshine State

Australian crime novelist Andrew Nette has a new novel out, his second (the first, Ghost Money, was excellent), and I recently had a chance to review it for Criminal Element. Gunshine State is Nette's take on a heist novel, and a sharp piece of work it is, put together by a writer who knows his heist fiction inside and out.  My full review of the book is here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Authors On Air Talk

Well, I've been away from this blog for awhile, devoting my blog writing time to my weekly Tuesday slots over at the Do Some Damage site.  But even though I'll continue to post regularly at DSD, I also want to get back to posting stuff over here. I mean I should. It's my own site.

To that end, here's a little something to listen to, for those so inclined.  Host Pam Stack had me on her Authors on Air radio show last night, and we had an enjoyable 45 minute talk. We touched on writing and real life, travel and creative inspiration, social media, switching between writing fiction and writing non-fiction, and a number of other things.

Give a listen:

Saturday, April 30, 2016


I have a new 13k-word story out called SUMMERFIELD"S FILM.  It's a story about film obsession set in New York City.  It's up on Amazon now, and I may as well let the description of the story that's there do the talking:

Now that he's a stay at home father in New York, taking care of the baby while his wife works, Tyler can't get out to the movies often. On one of his rare theater outings, something unexpected happens.  He stumbles across the famous director K.M. Summerfield.  Once prolific, now a recluse, the filmmaker vanished from public view years ago after he went blind.  No one knows where he's been living, and nobody knows what happened to the legendary film he supposedly made just before he lost his sight.  It's said he made a horror film, but nobody can be sure.

Thrilled about the encounter, Tyler hatches a plan.  If he can get his hands on that unseen film, if he can release it to the world, he'll be a hero to film fanatics everywhere.  Still, something seems off to Tyler.  Is he playing Summerfield as he thinks, or is the once great director, for reasons of his own, playing him?

Amazon e-book link.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

THE CONJURE-MAN DIES by Rudolph Fisher

Before Walter Mosely and before Chester Himes, there was Harlem Renaissance author Rudolph Fisher and his 1932 novel, The Conjure-Man Dies: A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem.  It's a book set in Harlem with an all-black cast, from the NYPD detective investigating the case to the physician assisting him to the suspects to the victim (who's a Harvard-educated African!).  It's well-written, full of twists and great characters and came as a total surprise to me when I read it recently.  It's a book more people should know about and read.  To that end, I wrote a piece about it for the Los Angeles Review of Books, a piece you can check out right here: The Conjure-Man Dies.