Wednesday, July 31, 2013

House Call

I’m very pleased that my story, House Call (people really should be nicer to their physicians), is included in the current (Summer 2013) issue of NEEDLE: A Magazine of Noir!

Needle cover

It’s got fourteen great stories by a host of very talented authors (plus me) and is edited by the very noirish Steve Weddle (whose first book, COUNTRY HARDBALL, will be out in November!).

And look at that cool cover, too!

Get your copy today. HERE.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Bye, Bye, Beantown!

If you’d like to see my answer to this week’s question (If a dictator forbade me from writing crime fiction, what would I write?), click HERE.

I shall now answer last week’s question: If you were murdered, which fictional detective would you want on the case?

I’m sure there are plenty of capable, competent detectives who could take my case and run with it, delving into my shady past looking for motives and suspects, but I’d like to think I deserve the best. So I fervently hope I get killed in

Then my case could be a collaborative effort.

(But, seriously, who would want to kill me? What have I ever done???)

First, Medical Examiner Maura Isles would handle the autopsy. She’d be able to come up with a plausible scenario derived from all the microscopic clues she’d uncover. Then she’d feed it all to Jane Rizzoli, who would direct the official police investigation.

Of course, Rizzoli couldn’t do it on her own—there are some places/tasks only a private detective can negotiate. Enter Spenser. He’d talk to his myriad Boston connections and come up with a list of suspects, then poke around until someone got nervous. And if things got really rough, he’d call in Hawk to lend a hand (or a fist).

But since you can never have enough crackerjack PIs on the case, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro also would get involved. Their additional Boston street smarts would be like icing on the investigative cake. And if Rizzoli, Isles, Spenser, Hawk, Patrick, and Angie needed more muscle (or the talents of a sociopath), they could always turn to Bubba.

It’s comforting to know my murder investigation would be in good hands.


First Time Killer 2 blog 156x250I’m happy to announce that FIRST TIME KILLER is now available as an audiobook from, Amazon, or iTunes. It’s ten hours of thrills and chills, narrated by the terrific voice professional Bob Dunsworth. Listen to a sample today!

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)


Monday, July 15, 2013

Now Hear This!

I’m happy to say that my ebook thriller, FIRST TIME KILLER, is now available as an audiobook (at, Amazon, and iTunes). FIRST TIME KILLER cover for ACX

Ten full hours of suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat excitement.

Best of all, it’s narrated by the fabulous Bob Dunsworth!

If you toss the movies Network, Play Misty for Me, and Talk Radio into a blender and add a liberal serving of Howard Stern, you’ll get the flavor of FIRST TIME KILLER.

Here’s a description:

In shock radio, nothing is too far over-the-top in the pursuit of ratings.

Not even murder.

During his twenty-six-year career, D.C. radio talk show host Rick Jennings steered clear of outrageous radio. Wasn’t his thing. So when WTLK execs tap him for the Afternoon Circus to land a lucrative satellite deal, Rick struggles to maintain his standards—and his dignity. A chilling call (“I’m a long-time listener, first time KILLER.”) leads to the discovery of an intern’s arm in a trashcan.

Rick spars with the “First Time” killer over the airwaves. The police are stymied. Ratings skyrocket. And First Time continues to knock off members of the Circus, phoning in to gloat afterward.
In a world of psychics and poseurs, crazy deejays and crazier callers, it’s up to Rick to bring First Time down before more people perish.

Listen to a free sample, then download your copy today!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Idaville’s Favorite Son

Who, in your opinion, is the greatest fictional
detective of all time?
(Whatever you take greatest to mean.)

Tough question. There are so many great detectives, but the greatest? Sherlock Holmes? Nero Wolfe? Spenser? Elvis Cole? Hercule Poirot? Kinsey Milhone? Perry Mason? Sam Spade? Nancy Drew? Harry Bosch? Sure, they all belong in the International Detective Hall of Fame, but I think I’ll take the little guy. Literally.

Put my vote down for Encyclopedia Brown.Encyclopedia_Brown,_Boy_Detective_(1963)

Allow me to present the facts to make my case:
He’s a fellow of fine character and ingenuity.
He’s super smart.
He solves crimes without having to resort to gunplay.
He’s the Chief of Police’s ace-in-the-hole (and his son).
He and his sidekick, Sally Kimball, have never been stumped!
He’s neither an alcoholic nor a coke fiend.
He prevented arch-nemesis Bugs Meany from terrorizing Idaville.
Lets’ face it, Encyclopedia Brown has put together an impressive body of work:
His creator, Donald Sobol, won an Edgar Award.
Encyclopedia Brown was a book series, a syndicated comic strip, a TV series, and they’re planning to make a movie starring the boy detective.

So, should Encyclopedia Brown be in consideration for title of Greatest Detective of All-Time? If it’s on a pound-for-pound basis, then he’s a shoo-in!

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

It’s Berry Time!

(a blog post rerun)

When it comes to my yard, I'm a naturalist.

Not exactly the kind of naturalist who works to preserve the environment (although I think that's important). I'm a naturalist in the sense that I am lazy--whatever nature wants to do, I'm cool with, as long as I don't have to lift a finger doing yard work. Fertilizer, shmertilizer, I always say.

Calling myself a naturalist somehow makes my lawn neglect more palatable. (My wife calls me a "delusionalist.")

I live on a fairly wooded, one-acre lot. It's tough for grass to grow because of all the shade.  I don't even bother trying. I'll cut whatever grows--mostly crabgrass and other weeds--but only in certain spots so the kids have a place to play catch or kick the soccer ball (and so the neighbors don't complain too much). I let the rest of the property grow wild.

Being lazy about yard work* has certain advantages.

Here's the (too-long) tale of one:

A few years ago, I noticed some blackberry canes growing in one corner of the yard (good thing I didn't cut the "grass" in that corner--I would have mowed the canes down!). I didn't pay much attention to them, and, months later when I went back to see if any blackberries were ripe, they were gone. Birds must have eaten them.

The next year, more canes grew and in June, I saw lots of little red berries popping out, on their way to becoming nice, juicy blackberries. Somehow, a rather large patch of blackberries also appeared in the front yard, intermingled with some azalea bushes (good thing I didn't weed out the azalea bed!).

Because we were leaving on a seven-week cross-country trip, I knew I wouldn't get to harvest these berries, so I alerted the neighbors. I told them they were welcome to pick the berries and gave them a heads-up to be quick, if they wanted to beat the birds to the punch.

Fast forward seven weeks. The neighbors didn't get any blackberries. Somehow, the birds got them before the berries had ripened. Oh well.DSCF1772

The following year, even more canes grew. I now had two huge patches of blackberries, one in the front and one in the back. I watched over them like a mother hen, determined to outsmart the birds and harvest some berries before they got them all. I even put netting over some of the plants. Take that, birdies!

Lots of little red berries appeared, and my mouth watered daily.

I waited and waited for those berries to ripen. And waited.

One day, the father of my son's friend came over. As he picked up his son, he commented, "That's a very impressive patch of wild raspberries."

I smiled and corrected him. "Thanks, but they're blackberries."

"No, I'm pretty sure they are raspberries."

I chuckled. "Well, I go running near here, and I pass a ton of blackberry plants. And I'm pretty sure mine are blackberries. They're just not ripe yet."

The other guy smiled. "Well, I taught plant identification in college, and I'm positive those are raspberries. And, by the way, they're ripe."**

Sometimes my wife calls me "idiot" too.

I don't argue.


*The one hour I spent doing yard work in the past year didn't go too well. See My Last Superpower. That'll teach me to fool with Mother Nature.

**No wonder my "blackberries" never got ripe and turned purple! Good news: it's looking like another bumper crop this year.