Anthony Neil Smith - How the hell many books did this guy publish in 2013? Whatever count you come to, the answer is 'not enough'. Hints are coming from the Smith camp that we might have seen the last of Billy Lafitte - to which say 'booooooo'. The Lafitte book are easily my favorite series going with each one a completely different venture and The Baddest Ass (Lafitte #3) upped the stakes and deepened the abyss into which he continues to plummet. Let's just hope that Paul von Stoetzel's adaptation of Hogdoggin' (Lafitte #2) gives ANS the proper motivation to get us #4 right quick. But shit, Lafitte ain't his only card, fucker had a Dead Man book, a Kindle Popcorn Fiction novella and I'm probably missing others still. Long as he keeps producing, I'll be alright.
Duane Swierczynski - Closed out the Charlie Hardy trilogy in style last year and... I have no idea what to expect next from the man. Could it be that prohibition era novel he gave us a tease of in Noir at the Bar vol. 2? Could it be a cuckold's revenge set against an apocalyptic ticking clock? Could it be a serial killer with a thing for shaving his anus or will he go full-Moonraker (the way I thought Point & Shoot might end up) or make it werewolf space opera? I dunno, but I'm in.
Malachi Stone - Somewhere in the wilds of south-western Illinois a man sits at a computer with a plastic bag on his head chatting online between fifteen alter egos about classic literature and philosophy, religion, the law, sex criminals and the bouquet of celebrity buttholes. I have met this man, but do not know his name. I know him only as Stone, Malachi Stone... and I've read his work. It will never make him rich, but it will make you more than a little uncomfortable, and if you value that rarity in the age of fifty shades of gilt-edged, buffed out, mass market smut rejoice. Dude has a bunch of novels available and probably more in the next year.
Dennis Tafoya - I'm gonna call 2014 Tafoya's breakout year. Having written two standout novels that enter your body thru the ocular nerves and hit the bloodstream like crime-viagra, I'm predicting that his latest The Poor Boy's Game delivers something he's not yet had: a motherfucking hit. Why? Cause this one's got all those things you love about Tafoya- heart, guts, humanity at its best and worst, plus operatic gunfights. It also features a no-shit badass law-enforcement type as its protagonist, thus giving the story a safer entry point for your average thriller reading audience (cause the blue-hairs in the 'mystery club' don't generally like to put themselves in a junkie's worn out Keds). Not only that, but I smell a franchise character - which has to be dampening panties around the publishing house. Frannie Mullen has more story to tell and I want to read them.
Richard Thomas - Wears so many hats, he's like that guy in the childrens' book shaking his fist "You monkeys you, give me back my hats!", only he means metaphors - and I mean jobs, I guess (shit, I'm losing it). I mean, this dude has a new story or book out every couple months, a kool-aid-thirsty following at LitReactor and is now the editor in chief for Dark House Press. He's got three anthologies he edited coming from three separate publishers in 2014 alone The New Black, The Lineup and Burnt Tongues. I can't keep up. This guy. This guy.
Mark W. Tiedemann - Finished a historical novel and started five more in the last year, or that was the impression I got last time I saw him which was... damn. It's been a while. WTF, Mark? No, I have it on good authority that edits are intense. Which means something new and shimmery soon, no? Hope so.
Fred Venturini - You ever read a story by this guy? You know he's spawned now? Dear future: Sorry we didn't sterilize Venturini when we had the chance. I mean, we tried clubs and we tried fire, but never succeeded at cutting off his bloodline, and now, you're paying for it. I know. I feel for you. I mean, my children live in your world too. We have failed you, but you might as well enjoy the books - especially his re-generated debut The Heart Does Not Grow Back (coming again from Picador in the fall!)
Frank Wheeler Jr. - If the thought of being pulled over by officer Wheeler doesn't send a chill to your core now, do yourself a favor and never, never, never read his psycho cop novel The Wowzer. Instead, I'd recommend starting with The Good Life (August 2014 from New Pulp Press) - which is sure to be full of... goodness... and life - not shallow graves and lime... surely not with a title like that, right? All kidding aside, congrats to former cadet, Frank. Everybody send him their tickets for fixing!
Benjamin Whitmer - Has it really been three years since Pike knocked my ass out? Well shit. Guess it's 'bout fuckin time the world got a shot at Cry Father. I got to spend an evening with him in Denver hearing about it six months ago and I'm pretty good and anxious to read it already. I'm sure there'll be a world tour when it's out (September), so look for him if you like your literature to hurt. Y'know the other thing from our evening together last spring that I'm still haunted by? Don't click this link.
Jonathan Woods - When will the world have a new book full of Woods' weirdness? Couldn't say (but you can check out his first two Bad Juju and A Death in Mexico from New Pulp Press) and sample the goods in the brannew Dallas Noir anthology alongside the likes of Harry Hunsicker, Matt Bondurant and Ben Fountain (not bad company at all).
Josh Woods - I got stopped by a stranger on the street this summer asking me about Josh and when he might have a book out. Seems she'd been in attendance at the N@B event where Woods read Jesus Vs. Thor from the Vs. Anthology (which he edited) and it had made an impression. I think it made an impression on all present. Performances like that are what keep me doing N@B. So, now I join the stranger in desperation... when will we have a Josh Woods book? Until that time, whenever it is, you should hunt down his stories and mainline them. You might start with Surreal South '13 which he edited, having taken the reigns from Laura & Pinckney Benedict.
Nic Young - I think my emails are getting stopped at the border, 'cause I keep suggesting that Nic and Roger Smith hop a flight from South Africa to do a special Cape Town edition of N@B, but sadly this has not and may never happen. I keep my eyes peeled, but have yet to find more Young to point you toward (so check him out in Warmed and Bound and Noir at the Bar vol. 2).