Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
by Ed Gorman
Judging by reader mail over the years Blood Moon is the most sinister of all my suspense novels.
"Blood Moon has everything--prison drama, horror story, whodunit, psycho-thriller--all skillfully combined to lead you to a shock ending." Scotland on Sunday.
I started working on the story after reading two unrelated news stories. One had to do with a strange series of murders in a rural community. The other was about a very rich young man who'd been found guilty of second degree murder for the death of his girl friend and was serving time in particularly violent prison. I wondered both about the nature of the murderer in the boonies and also how the young men, accustomed to a rather cushy life from all accounts, would survive behind bars. A story began to emerge.
"As much a superb thriller as it is a well-plotted detective story." Mystery News
The novel was first published in England where the reviews were generally excellent. The major book club in the UK picked it up and it did well for them. Over here the reviews were also good. I'd written a fair share of horror in the eighties and I was glad to see that mystery readers appreciated how I'd combined the mood of my earlier stories with the whodunit form.
"An expertly wrought atmospheric mystery featuring modern psychological crime fighting by a winning detective." Publisher's Weekly
So I'm happy to see it here on our Top Suspense Group's summer reading list. Happy reading!
"An unusually grueling and suspenseful climax...and uncompromising and unprettified account of violence and human evil..." Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
BLOOD MOON is ON SALE now for a limited time for $0.99. To buy for the Kindle click here.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
by Dave Zeltserman
Dying Memories opens with a woman shooting a man to death on a crowded street in Boston, claiming that this man raped and murdered her eleven-year old daughter. Except he didn't, because this woman never had a daughter. Another man stabs an MIT professor to death in front of a crowd in Harvard Square, insisting that he witnessed the professor running down his wife in the street. Except the MIT professor was three thousand miles away when the man's wife was killed.
Reporter Bill Conway discovers that these victims are connected to ViGen Corporation, a shadowy pharmaceutical company. When he tries to investigate ViGen Corporation and their role in these deaths, things quickly turn dangerous for him. The following short excerpt has Bill being questioned after being grabbed from the street and thrown into a van, with his interrogators insisting that his real name is Jeffrey Vozzmer.
“Yes you do, Jeffrey. We’re not idiots here. Tell me what I want to know and this will all be over.”
“Check my wallet,” Bill pleaded. He was nauseous, his left ear throbbing. “My driver’s license will show you that I’m not this Jeffrey Vozzmer.”
“And what would that prove?” Simon asked. “That you took the precautions to be carrying a fake ID? Please, Jeffrey, we’re not amateurs. You should know that.”
“This is all fucked up,” Bill insisted weakly. “I’m not Jeffrey Vozzmer. I never heard that name before.”
Simon ignored Bill, said patiently, “Tell me what I want to know.”
“I don’t know what you want to know.”
The same behemoth who had punched him before raised an eyebrow, asking an unspoken question. Simon, sitting opposite Bill, took his time before shaking his head.
“No, I don’t believe that will be necessary,” he said. “I’m sure we can facilitate Jeffrey to talk without having to resort to any further violence, even if it won’t be of his own volition.” Then to Bill, “One last time, tell me what I want to know.”
Numbly, Bill shook his head. “I swear, I don’t know what that is,” he said.
Simon sighed and picked up a small leather case that was on the seat next to him. He opened the case carefully, almost lovingly, and took from it a hypodermic needle, which he held up for Bill to look at.
“Relax,” Simon lied. “It’s only sodium pentothal. More than enough to loosen your lips but not enough to cause any serious damage. At least not usually.”
Simon then leaned forward. Bill tried to struggle, but the two thugs held him steady.
“If there was a chance that you would cooperate and remove your jacket I wouldn’t need to inject this inside your gum,” Simon cooed softly. “But one must do what one must do. Now, please open your mouth or I’ll have my associates force it open.”
Then it was as if a bomb had been detonated.
Bill escapes this ordeal, but soon finds that it’s not just these mysterious forces after him as he’s framed for a brutal murder. Or at least Bill’s pretty sure he’s been framed. The thing is, as with the reader, Bill’s never quite sure what’s real or not. All he knows is his peril, as well as the stakes involved, keep escalating by the minute.
Dying Memories has some similarities with my crime novels. It’s bullet paced with whiplash-inducing twists and turns throughout which will keep both Bill and the reader off balance. Where it’s very different than my crime novels, like Small Crimes, Pariah, Killer and Fast Lane, is that while they’re pitch black descents into the abyss, Dying Memories is more of a rollercoaster ride colored a murky gray that’s brightened by constant flashes of red. And where my crime novel protagonists, Joe Denton, Kyle Nevin, Leonard March and Johnny Lane, are, putting it as delicately as I can, pretty much bastards who readers root for (at least at some level) to find the hell they deserve, the hero of Dying Memories, Bill Conway, is very different. He’s someone the reader is going to be able to care about.
I hope you enjoy Dying Memories. To buy for the Kindle click here. For the Nook, here.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I wrote Motion To Kill when one of my then law partners complained about another partner. My advice was to write a murder mystery, kill the son-of-a-bitch off in the first chapter and spend the rest of the book figuring out who did it. I took my own advice, created the character Lou Mason and let him figure it out.
Here's the set up.
The ink is barely dry on Mason's business cards when the body of the firm's senior partner, Richard Sullivan, washes ashore at a lake where the firm is having its annual retreat. New enough to the firm to be above suspicion, his partners ask him to investigate. Mason takes on the case, looking for a killer who's got Mason in his cross-hairs. Investigating the case means running through a maze of high-level corruption, sexual misconduct, organized crime and cold blooded murder. Hell of a way to get to know your new partners - the ones that survive, that is.
Motion To Kill is set at the Lake of the Ozarks in southern Missouri and in my hometown of Kansas City. Whether he's in the Ozarks or the courtroom, Mason is a long way from being out of the woods.
Here's an excerpt.
A dead partner is bad for business, even if he dies in his sleep. But when he washes ashore on one side of a lake and his boat is found abandoned on the other side, it's worse. When the sheriff tells the coroner to "cut him open and see what we've got," it's time to dust off the resume. And the ink was barely dry on Lou Mason's.
The time was seven-thirty on Sunday morning, July 12. It was too early for dead bodies, too humid for the smell, and just right for the flies and mosquitoes. And it was rotten for identifying the body of a dead partner. These were the moments to remember.
Mason's dead partner was Richard Sullivan, senior partner in Sullivan & Christenson, his law firm for the last three months. Sullivan was the firm's rainmaker. He was a sawed-off, in your face, thump-your-chest ball buster. His clients and partners loved the money he made for them, but none of them ever confessed to liking him. Though in his late fifties, he had one of those perpetually mid-forties faces. Except that now he was dead, gray as a Minneapolis winter and bloated from a night in the water.
Sullivan & Christenson was a Kansas City law firm that employed forty lawyers to merge and acquire clients' assets so they could protect them from taxation before and after death. When bare-knuckled bargaining didn't get the deal done, they'd sue the bastards. Or defend the firm's bastard if he was sued first. Mason's job was to win regardless of which bastard won the race to the courthouse.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
NOW HEAR THIS! by Max Allan Collins
Two serial killers vie for the attention of the public in NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU, the second J.C. Harrow thriller by Matt Clemens and me. You needn’t have read YOU CAN’T STOP ME to jump in here, however, and as much as we like the first book – recently a nominee for the Best Paperback Thriller of the Year – Matt and I feel we’ve upped the ante and improved our game second-time around.
We listened to reviewers and readers and sought to make NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU a state-of-the-art thrill ride. We made the chapters shorter, increased the plot twists, even while trying to delve deeper in the characters...not just Harrow and his superstar forensics team, but the killers themselves. And we introduced a secondary protagonist, LAPD sex crimes detective, Lt. Anna Amari, who more than holds her own with Harrow.
J.C. Harrow is a tragic hero, a former Midwestern sheriff who once saved the President’s life at the Iowa State Fair but – on the same day – lost his family to a homicidal maniac. The national attention this brought him inspired Harrow to become the host of “Crime Seen!” – a sort of reality TV version of CSI, providing Harrow with the platform...and funds...to track down his family’s murderer.
This he did in YOU CAN’T STOP ME, and now in NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU he is questioning whether he should continue on as host of this popular show, contemplating returning to law enforcement in some other small Midwestern town. That’s when a video shows up at Crime Seen HQ from “Don Juan” – a serial killer who murderers a woman on camera by way of “trying out” to be the show’s next villain. When a second killer makes a similar demand, Harrow and his team wonder if they are breeding killers as much as tracking them down....
In addition to being a thriller that has been called “riveting,” NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU takes a sharply critical and satirical look at the reality TV craze and its downside.
True-crime writer Matt Clemens and I collaborated on the first eight CSI novels, and the first two CSI MIAMI novels, selling millions of copies. We later wrote the only BONES novel and three CRIMINAL MINDS novels, becoming along the way a team well-versed in serial killer-fueled suspense and forensics sleuthing. We feel NO ONE WILL HEAR YOU is the best – and certainly most exciting and frightening – of the thrillers we’ve written together.
Will Harrow return? Well, that’s up to you....
MAX ALLAN COLLINS is the author of ROAD TO PERDITION, the graphic novel basis for the Tom Hanks Academy Award-winning film.
No One Will Hear You is available now for both the Kindle and Nook.
Friday, July 22, 2011
But for an injury, I might never have become a novelist.
This is the backstory of “Riptide,” a Jake Lassiter novel, now available on Kindle and Nook for $2.99.
In 1986, I rented a condo on Maui for the summer, intent on polishing my skills as a competitive windsurfer. My second day at Hookipa Beach, bouncing over the lip of a roller, the board exploded out of the water and smashed my femur. The E.R. physician told me nothing was broken and recommended smoking a little Maui Wowie for the pain. (No, not Dr. House).
So I sat on the beach with a yellow pad and started handwriting a novel featuring a character that popped into my mind: linebacker-turned-lawyer Jake Lassiter. Here’s the first sentence of fiction I ever wrote, (not counting certain statements in my appellate briefs). “The old man loved gadgets, money, and large-breasted women, and at the moment, he had all three.”
When I returned home to Miami to resume practicing law, I put the novel aside and wrote “To Speak for the Dead,” which became my first published book. I kept re-writing “Riptide,” which appeared as a William Morrow hardcover under the title “Slashback.” And that line about gadgets, money, and breasts? It’s now the first sentence of chapter two. Here’s what the Tampa Tribune had to say:
“A thriller as fast as the wind...a bracing rush, as breathtaking as hitting the Gulf waters on a chill December morning.”
There’s more about the Jake Lassiter series on my website, including info about “Riptide,” in which Jake Lassiter chases two dangerous professional windsurfers from Miami to Maui in pursuit of the old man’s stolen bonds. You can buy the e-book from Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and Smashwords for $2.99.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Harry Shannon, here. I created media psychologist Mick Callahan as the protagonist of my debut hardcover mystery. Mick was born and raised near the small town of Wells, Nevada. He's an alcoholic, a loyal friend, a hot tempered genius. After a failed stint in the Navy Seals, Mick studied Psychology and ended up hosting a television show. Booze, sex and ego brought him down. Over the course of the four novels in the series, he's gone from humiliated and sober and on the comeback trail (Memorial Day), working in radio again (Eye of the Burning Man), back on track but in trouble with the mob (One of the Wicked) and now, in RUNNING COLD, your Top Suspense Sizzling Summer Read of the day, Mick is on the edge of collapse, fighting a return to the bottle and mourning the loss of his girlfriend.
And then one of Callahan's clients is murdered. The client's son Wes McCann is a soldier recently returned from Afghanistan. Wes blames Callahan. These two dangerous men are set on a collision course, one crazed with grief and the other tortured by guilt. I've been told that Running Cold is the darkest of the four Callahan novels, and I suppose that's true, though for me Callahan's deep concern for others and his sense of integrity always shine. He's flawed and troubled, but he's a good man. If character is destiny, Mick will likely end up okay when this series ends. Hell, he deserves that much after all I've put him through!
"A flawed and edgy hero. Dark wit, excellent writing and action-packed pace."
—The Rap Sheet, January Magazine
"Mick Callahan is a man with a past, a mean right hook, and a radio talk show. He's pretty good at giving people advice - just not necessarily good at taking it. The strength of this series is in its central characters, flawed, human, often funny, sometimes tragic, and the relationships among them."
"Mick Callahan is not only likeable (as deemed by Library Journal) but he manages to endear himself as a very realistic hero, with a strong sense of purpose and an equal dash of vulnerability."
"Mick's road to redemption is wry, bittersweet and altogether touching."
—New Mystery Reader
Buy the book here.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
"A tremendous book - sweeping but intimate, elegiac but urgent, subtle but intense. This story really does set the night on fire." --Lee Child
"A brilliantly-paced thriller, transitioning seamlessly from modern-day Chicago to the late '60s. First-rate characterization...Best to start early in the day, as it is easy to stay up all night reading it." --Foreword Magazine
"RT Top Pick for December: "Electric... a marvelous novel."
--RT Book Reviews
"Set the Night on Fire is a compelling story of love, truth and redemption. This will be a break-out novel for this talented writer. Highly recommended." --Sheldon Siegel, NYTImes bestselling author of Perfect Alibi
"A top-rate thriller that taps into the antiwar protests of the 1960s... A jazzy fusion of past and present, Hellman's insightful, politically charged whodunit explores a fascinating period in American history."
That's what reviewers are saying. Here's what I say:
I do remember the Sixties.
Especially 1968. That was the turning point in my political "coming of age." I was in college in Philadelphia on April 4th when Martin Luther King was assassinated. I watched as riots consumed the inner cities. I was saddened and disappointed -- as a teenager growing up in Washington DC, I'd gone to plenty of concerts at the Howard theater where blacks and whites grooved to Motown artists together. I actually thought we were moving towards a color-blind society -- I was young and idealistic then). So the frustration and rage expressed through the riots was - in a way- confusing.
Two months later I understood. My college boyfriend had been tapped to head up the national "Youth for Bobby Kennedy" program. I was really excited; I planned on dropping out for a semester to work with him. For some reason I couldn't sleep the night of June 5th and turned on my radio. Bobby had been shot just after winning the California Democratic primary. He died the next day. So much for the Youth for Kennedy campaign.
Sadness soon gave way to bitterness. The country was falling apart. Over the years some of our brightest lights had been snuffed out. Internationally our government seemed to be supporting the "bad guys." And underlying it all was an unwinnable war that - perversely -- was escalating and risking the lives of my peers. I began to question why I should work through the system, especially when the system wasn't working for us.
I wasn't alone. Plenty of others yearned for change. Fundamental change that would rebuild our society and culture. The next few years were tumultuous and volatile, but in the final analysis, we failed. Maybe the task was impossible -- how many Utopias exist? Sure, there were cultural shifts. But political change, in the sense of what to expect from our leaders and our government? Not so much. The era left me with unresolved feelings. What should we have done differently? Are all progressive movements doomed to fail?
At this point you're probably wondering what this has to do with writing a thriller. And you'd be right. It's never been my intention to write a political screed. I am a storyteller whose stories, hopefully, you can't put down. I realized that if I was going to write about the Sixties, I needed a premise that would hook readers in the present, regardless of how much they know or remembered about the Sixties.
I found that premise in a film. Do you remember SIGNS, starring Mel Gibson? It came out in 2002, and I thought the first half was the most riveting film I'd ever seen. Gibson's family is being stalked, but they don't know who and they don't know why. The second half of the film, when we discover it's just your garden variety aliens, was an enormous let down. Putting a face, an identity, on fear reduces its power. But NOT knowing who's targeting you -- or why -- is the most frightening thing I can imagine.
So that's what happens to Lila Hilliard, a thirty-something professional who's come home to Chicago for the holidays. Someone has killed her family, and now they're after her. She has no idea who or why. As she desperately tries to figure it out, she finds wisps of clues that lead back to her parents' activities forty years ago. In the process she discovers that her parents were not the people she thought.
The relationship between the past and present, the consequences of events that occurred years ago fascinate me. I also love stories that plunge characters into danger and make them draw on resources they didn't know they had. SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE was the way to combine all those themes. Writing the book was an exorcism of sorts, a way to make peace with the past. And while I enjoyed reliving the past, I loved putting it behind me even more. I'm finally ready to move on.
I hope you enjoy the read. To buy the book from Amazon click here. From Nook, here. And for more about the book, and me, and everything else, just click here.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Writing the Bad Guys
Great First Lines
The Best Character in Suspense awards
Watch this blog over the next few weeks for the new schedule. And speaking of our Summer Book Club, check our website!
Over the next few weeks we're also going to be providing more information on our upcoming anthology "Favorite Kills: The Best from Top Suspense"
And finally, now's your chance to suggest additional Inside Top Suspense topics!
Saturday, July 16, 2011
by Naomi Hirahara
My first mystery novel, SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI, is probably the most challenging one in my mystery series featuring cranky gardener Mas Arai. From start to publication, it probably took me fifteen years. It’s a flawed book yet a very ambitious one. For all these reasons, it still remains my favorite.
Mas Arai (pronounced “awry,” as in things go “awry”) is an atomic-bomb survivor who has lived in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Southern California for more than half a century. He lost his wife years ago. He is estranged from his daughter. Other than a beat-up Ford truck and a couple of good friends, he doesn’t have a lot going for him. But, of course, there’s more to Mas than meets the eye. He has a secret from his days in Hiroshima during World War II and, of course, that secret is now ready to unravel in Los Angeles 1999.
Why do I describe my first novel as flawed? This is not a finely tuned mystery novel, as sits probably in the middle of being a traditional mystery and literary fiction. Mas is very broken in this novel and not that likable at times. And I use a lot of dialect. BACHI, for instance, means “what goes around, comes around.”
I feel that SUMMER OF THE BIG BACHI captures a community of people that you probably never knew existed. They have survived and thrived through experiences you couldn’t imagine. This summer, spend a few days in Mas Arai’s world. It will be a fresh, and unique experience and probably one you won’t forget.
Friday, July 15, 2011
I was within two blocks' drive of Paradise when the call came over the air. It was a 927, a general code meaning to investigate unknown trouble. The dispatch girl was offering it to Travis and Leonard, both of whom were checking IDs for warrants in the scrubby little park around the Adult Center on Jefferson; knowing that I could have them as backup in three minutes or less if the 'unknown trouble' turned out to be something bigger than anticipated, I cut in and took the call. Squad Sergeant responding, one minute or less.
Valley of Lights is a fusion of crime and horror, a dance between predator and prey in which the story twists, the stakes increase, and the tables are repeatedly turned.
It grew out of time that I spent in Phoenix, Arizona, researching the city and the desert and going on ride-alongs with the Phoenix PD. I was working on a novel that I never actually got to write. That novel idea was ambitious and sprawling. It was everything I ever wanted to say. It was art. It would have been as boring as hell. Instead, I wrote this.
It began as a simple idea for a short story and grew as I wrote it, in the way that no book had ever grown in my hands before. The story flew. All those days in the squad car with Lieutenant Dave Michels, the late shifts with Sergeants Tom Kosen and Jesse James, the flophouses and the trailer parks and the stakeouts in gaudy motels and the millionaires' houses in the Camelback Mountains - everything came together to feed the tale.
This is the book of which Dean Koontz wrote, "If thriller reading were a sin, Stephen Gallagher would be responsible for my ultimate damnation. His work is fast-paced, well-written, infused with a sense of dark wonder, and altogether fresh."
When I selected the title to present as my Sizzling Summer Read, fellow Top-Suspenser Ed Gorman kindly wrote, "I still think that Valley of Lights is one of the coolest - and most imitated - novels I've ever read."
Here's what Phoenix PD Sergeant Alex Volchak finds on his arrival at the Paradise Motel:
We came to the last of the units. Beyond this was some empty parking space and then a high cinderblock wall topped with wire. Not a place, on the whole, that I'd have cared to spend any time in. The desk clerk stood out front and gestured me towards the window as if to say take it, I don't want it, the responsibility's all yours. I was aware that, some distance behind me, one or two people had emerged and were watching to see if anything interesting was going to happen. I stepped up to the window and looked inside.You can find Valley of Lights for the Kindle right here.
The sash was open an inch at the top, and some faint stirring of the air had caused the drapes to part down the middle. The bug screen and the darkness inside made it difficult to see anything at all, but as my eyes adjusted I began to make out shapes. Something that had at first looked like a bean bag resolved itself into a human form, slumped, halfway out of a low chair as if he'd fainted while sitting. The details weren't clear, but also in my line of sight across the room was the end of the bed with somebody lying on it. I could see a pair of soiled tennis shoes for this one, not much more.
Just drunks sleeping off a party, I thought, remembering the heavy breathing that was being picked up by the dislodged phone, and I turned to the clerk and said, 'Who's the room registered to?'
'A little s...' he began, but then he caught himself. 'A Hispanic guy. I don't think he's even one of them.'
'Well... all I see is people sleeping. I don't know what's so unusual in that.'
'For four straight days? It could have been longer. He registered weeks ago, he closed the drapes on day one and he musta sneaked the others in when no-one was watching.'
'What about the maid?'
'We're residential, maid service comes extra. She just leaves the towels and sheets outside, doesn't go in. What do you think?'
I felt a definite stirring of interest. I said, 'I think you should get your pass key so we can go inside and find out what the problem is.'
'And that's legal? I mean, I'm all square with the owner if I do what you say?'
'Get the key, all right?'
We went inside; or rather, I went inside and the little monkey in the technicolor shirt hovered in the doorway behind me. My first expectation, which was of the smell of opium smoke, turned out to be wrong; what hit me instead was a rank odor like bad breath and drains. I crossed the room and opened the window as wide as it would go, and then I turned to look at the place in the harsh angles of daylight.
Nobody had moved. There were three of them. Slumped in the low chair opposite the window was a man in a grey business suit, an expensive-looking summer lightweight with the pants stained dark where his bladder had let go. He was the one who'd fallen against the phone and dislodged the receiver, as if he'd been propped awkwardly and hadn't stayed that way. The soiled tennis shoes on the bed belonged to a short, muscular-looking man in his late thirties, while over in the other chair by the key-operated TV sprawled a black teenager in a leather jacket.
All three of them were inert, like corpses; but I checked for a pulse on each one, and they were all alive and steady. The arms of the man on the bed, who was wearing a T-shirt, showed no fresh needle marks or even old scars.
I said to the clerk, 'Did you move anything when you came in before?'
His face was that of an animal that had just been stunned prior to slaughtering. Perhaps he thought I'd read his mind; he probably didn't realise that he'd already given himself away.
'No,' he finally managed. 'I didn't move a thing.'
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The mind is a wonderful thing, especially the subconscious. Knowing I had a blog to write, last night I dreamed that Top Suspense Group accidentally killed someone as the result of a publicity push. The dream started in the midst of the problem, just like a short story, so I don’t know how we did it, but we were genuinely sorry (being all nice people) and fearful enough of the police not to report the death, thus setting ourselves up for a murder charge. Our plan of defense was to “act normal.” This is what Dave Zeltserman told us, and Paul Levine (a lawyer as well as a writer) seconded it.
Dave’s wife, Judy, (although she was uninvolved, having been away practicing homeopathy) and I decided that shopping was the proper normal action. The scene jumped from a view of tall buildings in NYC to a huge clothing department where everything we tried on fit! We had very little time before the police interview and, apparently, lots of money to spend. Just in time, both of us managed to put together charming outfits with many accessories, mine including a small powder blue book bag that I was crazy about. (Freudian or Jungian interpretations invited.) However, our normal behavior and chic outfits were not enough to get us off the charges, and suddenly, as only in a dream, we were all headed for prison. I was stressed and uncomfortable until I opened my eyes and saw my ceiling fan.
How does this connect with my novel Voluntary Madness, a sizzling summer read, that is the supposed subject of this blog? Ha! In Voluntary Madness, Punch and Juliette accidentally kill someone and cover it up!
Okay, beyond that, Juliette flashes nude in an alley in Key West to create a scene for Punch’s novel, the couple breaks into Hemingway House to avoid the crowds, and they steal carry-outs from gourmet restaurants, among other quirky criminal antics, amidst bohemian Key West personalities and places. None of that was in my dream, but maybe if I’d slept later . . . .
I guess what I’m thinking is that if you enjoy characters with off-kilter psychology, then you’ll like the book. It’s filled with light crime, heavy sex, and Key-west weird. There’s a Yorkie seeing-eye dog to satisfy your animal cravings and a visit to Coral Castle where you’ll learn the meaning of true love—the stuff dreams are made of.
Voluntary Madness, first published by Serpent’s Tail, UK, 1999, now available on Kindle.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
"Approaching the level of Lawrence Block is no mean feat, but Goldberg succeeds with this engaging PI novel." Publishers Weekly
Harvey Mapes is a 26-year-old security guard who spends his nights in a guard shack outside a gated community in Southern California, reading detective novels, watching reruns, and waiting for his life to finally start... which happens when Cyril Parkus, one of the wealthy residents, asks Harvey to follow his beautiful wife Lauren.
(This book was previously released under the title The Man With the Iron-On Badge)
A SAMPLING OF THE ACCLAIM FOR "WATCH ME DIE"
"A wonderfully fresh voice in the mystery genre, Goldberg will delight fans of Janet Evanovich and Robert Crais," - Rick Riordan, author of "The Throne of Fire."
"Lee Goldberg bravely marches into territory already staked out by some fierce competition--Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, the early Harlan Coben--and comes out virtually unscathed." The Chicago Tribune
To me, that’s a perfect world.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
It's going to be a long, hot Top Suspense Summer! Here 12 masters of the genre will keep you on the edge of your beach towel with 12 sizzling summer reads guaranteed to get your pulse pounding.
Join in the discussions this summer and win a free copy of our second anthology! With our second Top Suspense anthology we’ll each be contributing an award nominated, an award winning, or a personal favorite story. It will be out in the Fall, and anyone who reads and joins in the discussion on our Facebook page of four of our summer books--or better yet, reviews the books on Amazon--will receive a free copy before we make it available to the general public.
Watch this blog over the next three weeks as each Top Suspense author will talk about their sizzling summer books.
Blood Dreams by Jack MacLane (Bill Crider)
Blood Moon by Ed Gorman
Dying Memories by Dave Zeltserman
Motion to Kill by Joel Goldman
No One Will Hear You by Max Allan Collins & Matthew Clemens
Riptide by Paul Levine
Running Cold by Harry Shannon
Set The Night On Fire by Libby Hellmann
Summer of the Big Bachi by Naomi Hirahara
Valley Of Lights by Stephen Gallagher
Voluntary Madness by Vicki Hendricks
Watch Me Die by Lee Goldberg
And don't forget to join our Summer Sizzling Reads discussions all summer long at our Top Suspense Facebook Page!
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Romantic (abstract and soft, sometimes clichéd)
For example: member, rod, loins, love juice
cave, mound, peaks,
the earth moves
Realistic (concrete, physiological)
For example: penis, testicles, semen,
breasts, vagina, lubrication
orgasm, intercourse, climax
Slang (concrete, idiomatic, graphic and visual)
For example: cock, balls, jism,
pussy, tits, clit,
Of course, there are many other words to choose from, especially in the slang category, but I’ll save the titillation for my novels. Make your own list. It’s fun!
I guess something I learned from “Mannix” was true. Being a private eye really is an aphrodisiac to women. Carol had never attacked me like that before.
I’m afraid the surprise and excitement were too much, because I came in about three minutes. But I don’t think Carol minded; it calmed me down and allowed me to concentrate real hard on getting her off. And believe me, it took my complete attention. Pleasing a woman, especially Carol, isn’t easy and with me, at least, there’s a lot of potential for embarrassment and humiliation.
She rewarded me for all my hard work with a nice, squealing, writhing orgasm that nearly broke my nose on her pubic bone, but I didn’t mind. I even jumped in, literally, to enjoy the last few squeals of it with her.
It was so dark, and things happened so fast, she never saw my cuts and bruises, so she mistook my occasional groans of pain for pleasure.
Carol fell right to sleep afterwards.
Between the sex, the pain, and the things on my mind, I didn’t get as much sleep as I would have liked. But I get laid so rarely, I’m willing to sacrifice just about anything for it, especially sleep, when I usually dream about having sex anyway.While the scene is explicit, more by implication than actual description, it's not about the choreography or body parts. It's about attitude and character -- or, at least, I hope it is. To me, that's how you get around the pitfalls of writing the sex scene.
From Ed Gorman
The late poet Charles Bukowski once said something to the effect that no man is more dangerous than when he’s having trouble with the woman he loves. Especially if she’s left him for someone else. I don’t know about dangerous but I do know that I’ve seen a good number of swaggering macho men brought low when the women they’re with say time out or even goodbye.
The power of love and sex has caused wars; certainly it’s caused murders. No one wears jealousy well but most of us cloak ourselves in it from time to time. Nothing animates a story like love and sex. And betrayal.
Some stories work perfectly without graphic elements such as Somerset Maugham’s killer short story “The Letter” (and great Bette Davis movie) or loaded with it such as Nabokov’s LOLITA. As the writer the choice is yours.
As for me, I tend to favor the late John D. MacDonald’s notion that after awhile the ”gymnastics” of sex get dull when what you really want to know is how the two people (or since these are modern times the three or four or five people) feel about each other.
But as somebody who decades ago wrote many porno house name westerns I appreciate sex in stories if the writer gets to the psychology of the scene. If it’s just rutting that’s fine but we live in an age when various sexual encounters have been properly categorized-there’s the grudge, the pity, the merry fornicator, the deeply in-love, the monotony-breaker and the well know Patriot. And those are just a few of the categories I learned from carefully reading Hustler’s letter columns.
I will be the first to admit that I’m probably the “softest” of this bunch here at Top Suspense, in that I don’t write explicit sex scenes (more so in my short stories) and suspense usually comes in the form of historic betrayal and feelings rather than the end of an Uzi machine gun. But that is not to say that “Sex and Suspense” is not key in any kind of storytelling and especially in genre fiction.
First about sex – replace it with passion and that’s what makes the world go-around. Even if you write the coziest of cozies with an amateur sleuth like I do, your detective must understand human passion because it often fuels murder. And in writing genre fiction, you must touch people emotionally and sensually.
In terms of actually writing sex and romance scenes in a traditional mystery, it is a delicate balancing act. My sleuth is now in his seventies and there’s a potential romantic interest ten years his junior. Will I perpetuate the stereotype that once someone reaches their golden years, there is little sex? How will I continue this relationship without turning off my core readership who might be uncomfortable traveling in this arena? Honestly, I don’t know the answers to these questions – I just have to follow my character and see where his passion takes him.
Some tips to think about when writing a traditional mystery:
When in doubt, always think about your character and his/her POV. What turns him or her on? And there’s no need to go back to the 1940s and their tropes i.e. femme fatales. What does the love interest smell like? What does his or her hands and fingers feel like? A peck or simple squeeze may unleash passionate feelings that will keep your protagonist up at night.
With passion come other uncontrollable feelings, like jealousy and despair. Here’s your chance to add more conflict to your character’s life. Have fun with it!