Tag Archives: noir

Upcoming & Out Now



Carrie Clevenger is putting the finishing touches on a new Crooked Fang novella called TRAITORS. The Crooked Fang saga–which includes the novel CROOKED FANG, as well as BLOOD AND FIRE and JUST MY BLOOD TYPE co-authored with Nerine Dorman—tells the story of vampire/bass player Xan Marcelles. TRAITORS is described as an interlude spin-off written to keep the story moving as Carrie works on the sequel to CF, tentatively titled ZERO. One of the aspects of the novel I really enjoyed was Carrie’s lean, hardass style.

From Carrie Clevenger’s blog, Mindspeak:

“Without his rock band, Crooked Fang, vampire Xan Marcelles discovers that normal life is way more boring than he remembers. But trouble has a way of delivering excitement to his doorstep, and this time it’s dug a little nest in Texas. A passenger wouldn’t be too big of an issue if it were anyone else, but Nin doesn’t exactly have a track record of integrity. The real question is, which will be more dangerous – the devil he knows, or the threat lurking on the horizon?”

TRAITORS is being edited by Nerine Dorman and has cover art by Jyann Boyer and Carrie’s husband, Lucas Clevenger (see image above). The title font is in Carrie’s own handwriting.

For books, news, merchandise and all things CF: http://www.crookedfang.com

The CF facebook page: /CrookedFang

Carrie is on twitter as @CarrieClevenger


Out Now

A few weeks ago, I posted the cover for Billie Sue Mosiman’s new collection, SINISTER: Tales of Dread. SINISTER is now available on Amazon.

“Fourteen brand new 2013 tales of dread ranging from horror to dark science fiction and noir, SINISTER will keep you awake at night. 244 pages of aliens who come from the sky, a detective working his last case, a skull flenser who loves his job, and various evils and dark chills creep through this new collection from the Edgar and Stoker nominated author, Billie Sue Mosiman.”

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Also out: THE TOBACCO-STAINED SKY, edited by Andrez Bergen and Guy Salvidge.


“Noir meets its grim future in a post-apocalyptic Melbourne infested with all manner of hard-boiled dames, grifters and gumshoes. Concocted by a motley crew of writers and comic book artists, The Tobacco-Stained Sky is a sordid, unforgettable journey into the perfect storm.”

Featuring 16 writers and 8 artists including Josh Stallings, Andrez Bergen, Drezz Rodriguez, Chris Rhatigan, Guy Salvidge, Gerard Brennan, Michael Grills, Gordon Highland, Julie Morrigan, Kristopher Young, Nathan St John and Liam José.

On Amazon HERE.



Guest Fiction by Janeen Davis Chabot

I’m honored to present a short story by a friend and writer who keeps me on my toes.  Enjoy.

“Reality Can Suck It”

 by Janeen Davis Chabot

She had fantasized a hundred times a day about killing him. Glorious fantasies, she could see, smell and almost touch. Almost but not quite. She could taste her reality and it sucked. The only way out was her daydreams. Most of which involved pretty inventive ways of offing her psychotic husband. Obviously she didn’t always feel this way. The glorious beginning was well, glorious. Now she was trapped in the middle and praying for the end. She wasn’t consumed by her daydreams, most days. She still had to do all the things expected of her or pay the price. It had been about a week since his last outburst. That’s what he liked to call them. She just called it normal. But it wasn’t normal. It shouldn’t be normal. What was normal? Just keeping herself alive. And planning his death.

He had threatened to kill himself often when she would leave him. He never did. And she always came back. Well, he’d go get her and force her back. There wasn’t anywhere she could go without him finding her. It was like she had a microchip inside her and he was watching her every move. He was, she just didn’t know how. He wasn’t particularly smart. He seemed smarter in the beginning. Clearly, she was just dumber. But, she wasn’t dumb. Not at all. She didn’t see the signs. Lots of them. The drinking, the drugs, the temper. Oh, what a temper. And the rage. So much rage. Well, she had rage now. Lots of it. And when and if the time called for it, she knew she would fight for her life. Would he fight for his own miserable life? She was about to find out.

This particular fantasy was one she had often. She would buy a gun. She hated guns. But, this called for a gun. She wasn’t going to shoot him. No, he was going to shoot her. An end to it all. That’s all she wanted. She could kill herself but then he would wallow in self pity. Move onto some other unsuspecting woman and never really suffer. He would kill her whether he liked it or not. This was not up for debate, at least in her fantasy. It was a very detailed fantasy. And here’s how it went down:

She would have to squirrel away enough money to buy a gun. Now, this took some time because he kept track of every penny. Well, almost every penny. But, she did it. Hid the money in the laundry room. The last place he would look or even ever go. In almost 10 years, he had never set foot in there. So, it was a pretty safe place. Now, buying the gun would prove to be more of a challenge. But, it’s her fantasy so it all worked out. Permits, the whole nine yards. In her fantasy, he doesn’t know a thing about all of this because he’s an idiot. She’s the perfect wife, nothing to suspect here. Drink your beer, take your drugs, everything is normal. Yes, very normal. This is where her plan got good. One night he would come home, nothing would be done. No dinner, no housecleaning, no beer purchased, all his shows erased. Somebody’s gonna get it. And his head would explode. He would yell and scream and hit and punch and kick and belittle and insult and scratch and yell some more. He would teach her a lesson she would never forget. And when it was all over, she would go get the gun. Hold it to her head and cry. He hated it when she would cry. He wouldn’t question where she got the gun. He would tell her to “blow her stupid head off!” When she wouldn’t, he would get angrier and angrier. She would cry harder. Then, he would grab the gun and do it himself because she couldn’t do anything right. She could feel the barrel on her temple. Oh, brilliant plan. If only he would just pull the trigger. Then, he did something she didn’t expect. Held it to his own head. Sweet reality. She heard the bang, smelled the smoke, touched the gun and tasted his blood.

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This story was reprinted from Janeen’s blog, My Life And Welcome To It”




Blackwitch, Belinda Frisch and Pick-Up



Paul D. Brazill, author of Gumshoe and Guns of Brixton, has announced the impending launch of BLACKWITCH PRESS. In addition to the titles mentioned, he plans to publish Roman Dalton—Werewolf P.I. and Exiles: A Charity Anthology.

For news and related links: BWP

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Belinda Frisch’s last book, Afterbirth: A Strandville Zombie Novel, blew me away. She is hard at work on a Medical Thriller called Fatal Reaction and shooting for an October release date. From the author:

“Paramedic Anneliese Ashmore’s routine shift takes a startling turn when she answers the call she was never meant to hear—a call to a crime scene where her sister, Sydney, is the victim of an overdose suicide.

The evidence says otherwise.

In the midst of a heated divorce, motive implicates Sydney’s husband and mistress, but while the police focus on the single lead, Ana investigates others.

A mysterious business card and a chain of e-mails between Sydney and her surgeon’s office set Ana on a search for answers about her sister’s recent diagnosis and the life-altering treatment that saved her. The body count rises as Ana closes in on the truth, and on the man of her dreams.

With the help of Dr. Jared Monroe, an unhappily married physician with a bit of a crush, and Dr. Marco Prusak, the biggest detractor of County Memorial Hospital’s new organ transplant program, Ana uncovers a ring of greed and corruption, and exposes the fact that Sydney’s medical treatment may have been the catalyst for her murder. Unfortunately for Ana, she may be next.”

You can learn more about Belinda and her work at: BELINDA FRISCH, AUTHOR



Pick-Up, by Charles Willeford, is as dark a crime novel as I’ve ever read. Not due to an overload of violence, profanity or sociopathic behavior, but on a much deeper level. Willeford mined the sediment at the low point the human heart. What he uncovered for this book, first published in 1967, was a month’s worth of existential hell.

The story opens with a down-and-out protagonist by the name of Harry Jordan serving a chili dog to a sailor at closing time. A woman named Helen Meredith stumbles in and Harry is enthralled. Helen is beautiful, drunk, penniless—since she can’t remember where she locked her purse—and just rolled into town without a plan. Harry covers her tab, then buys them a couple drinks. He urges her to go home. Helen refuses. Harry finds a hotel for her and bids her goodnight. Chapter One ends: “On the long ride home I decided it would be best to steer clear of a woman like Helen.” But you know damned well he won’t.

The two hook up again, Helen moves in with him and so begins what can only be a doomed relationship. Helen is an unrepentent alcoholic who has left her husband. Harry is failed artist/art instructor trudging through life, working odd jobs for spending cash, which he blows on whiskey and cigarettes. What follows is a headlong descent into a nightmare of mutual- and self-destruction. It is a bleak narrative, but gripping throughout. Willeford’s style is quick and conversational. His vision is uncompromising. There is violence, to be sure; though I’ve grown calloused to how it’s usually presented these days, the sudden nature and stark brutality of violence in Pick-Up shocked me, one incident almost causing me to set down the book. There is also a murder (or was it?) that seems fated from the outset. Most of the story, however, deals with the manic interior struggle of Harry Jordan, his clutching at glimmers of hope through a rising tide of futility.

I hold with the opinion that Noir is not so much about crime as it is about losers. Pick-Up takes that notion a step further, giving us the tale of a man who ultimately loses by winning.

Available at Amazon (US) HERE


Two Reviews: Guns of Brixton and Cutter’s Deal

by Walter Conley

This month, I’ve had the pleasure of reading two new kindle offerings from Byker’s “Best of British” line: Guns of Brixton, by Paul D. Brazill and Cutter’s Deal, by Julie Morrigan. I’ve been very impressed by this imprint so far–to the extent that I may fake British citizenship to submit something to them.

GUNS OF BRIXTON, by Paul D. Brazill

The moment I saw Guns of Brixton advertised, I knew I had to buy it. I’ve been a fan of Paul’s short stories for years and read this in a single day. It was nice to see him flex his literary muscle in a lenghthier format. All of the trademark Brazill qualities are present: the stripped-down narrative, cinematic visuals, sharp characterization, laugh out loud dialogue, nods to pop culture and noir influences. GOB moves quickly, pinging back and forth between characters, locations and events. It was a joy to read and, as always, I look forward to whatever the author has coming out next.

Guns of Brixton is available from Amazon HERE.


CUTTER’S DEAL, by Julie Morrigan

Cutter’s Deal, by Julie Morrigan, is a bad dream of a book. I mean that in the best way possible. It is a dark, tragic story from a universe where nothing and nobody can be trusted, not even one’s self; where the value of a life is determined solely by what another can reap off it; where a glimmer of hope is maintained despite the all-but-certain knowledge that it will prove futile; where evil is not a concept, but an all-encompassing and infusive spell that binds everything together.

The author does a fantastic job of shifting viewpoints, through brisk first-person chapters that feel as intimate as mouth-to-ear confessions. The characterization is superb. It is the cast, in fact, with their varying strengths and weaknesses, who drive this tale.

Morrigan doesn’t need a bag of tricks. She is a first-rate storyteller. You don’t notice how adept she is because you’re riveted to what is happening. I like how she just sets this up and lets it play to its true and inevitable conclusion. Throughout the book, I had a growing sense of unease, of fate closing in on the protagonists–but still couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

I am a lifelone fan of Noir. Too often, I think, the label is misused as a blanket term for all things related to crime. Julie Morrigan not only gets it, but writes Noir as finely as anyone since the genre’s inception.

Cutter’s Deal is available from Amazon HERE.