Kent Gowran - Kent's been a tent-pole of N@B-Chicago and I think N@B-Twin Cities and he's always making me jealous with the films he's watching and books he's reading and dammit, Kent we need more stories from you, sir. Thank God for Ron Earl Phillips, Jen Conley, Erik Arneson and Chris Irvin for their work with Shotgun Honey and One Eye Press for bringing Locked & Loaded: Both Barrells vol. 3 which featured Ken't story Time Enough to Kill. Kent read that one in St. Louis. It's a fucking good one.
Glenn Gray - Here's hoping that a year off of N@B-NYC hosting duties have recharged the good doctor's batteries and he's been lovingly crafting or perhaps Lovecrafteringly re-animating his own body of work about working with bodies. Seriously - if you'd like to lose a week or two of sleep - steer your gaze toward his collection The Little Boy Inside and Other Stories - he could induce shivers in any Cronenberg you'd care to name.
Kevin Lynn Helmick - Great to catch up with Kevin at N@B-Chicago in the spring. I'm sure he's got projects near dropping point, but if you've not caught up with his rough brand of heartland gothic, lemme point you toward his collection Driving Alone and Other Tales From the Outside which features the titular novella, a haunting bit of road-noir as well as No. 7 Valentine, his Jim Thompson/James M. Cain-ish story of sex and bloody fucking revenge that originally appeared in Noir at the Bar vol. 2.
Gordon Highland - Gordon did his Prince/Billy Corgan thing this year by releasing an album (under his musical moniker Flash) on which he mixed and produced every song and played every instrument. You can hear Finding the Light and catch up with his writing, music and film projects at his website. Highland: there can be only one.
Jake Hinkson - Jake's a busy guy between international travel as a celebrated black-novelist (Jake's Hell on Church Street was released amongst the franco people this year), teaching, freelance writing, hosting N@B-Chicago and publishing a couple books a year he still can't keep up with my demand for his stuff. C'mon, Jake, bleed for me. If you've not the discovered the foremost name in modern Baptist Noir what the fuck are you waiting for?
John Hornor Jacobs - His latest fantastic story Foreign Devils (the follow up to The Incorruptibles) is just another demonic steam punk alt-history saga of mercenaries crossing the world beyond the borders of everlasting Roman empire. Every time I think I've got a cool idea, I pick up a Jacobs book and hate myself. Fuck that guy. Oh, and watch this video of John playing the typewriter with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
Liam Jose - Because international niche publishing is just too solid a venture, Crime Factory partner, Jose bought a bookstore in 2015. It's one thing to run a magazine and a publishing house whose titles are available electronically all over the world, but to operate a brick and mortar printed-word based retail operation from the backside of the earth? Takes guts. Good luck to Liam and his partners in their latest venture. If you're in Melbourne and can read or have friends who can, I implore you to patron Grub Street Bookshop. I hear the retail price of all items is Juan Hundred dollars.
Joseph Hirsch - Crime, horror, science fiction and in 2015 Hirsch added Western to his formidable list of genres he can kick my ass in. The Dove and the Crow is a slim, weird, terrifically violent tome of yore. In 2016 look for his realistic, biographical, horrorshow Up in the Treehouse and his supernaturally-tinged hell is eternal warfare Veteran's Affairs. This guy is prolific as fuck and fucked as anything you'd care to compare him to. Get on board.
David James Keaton - The midwest/upper south corner of the country I call home got a little less weird this year as the Keaton/Lueck household left Kentucky for the sunny land of California. Already miss thems. Seemed every few months there was an event I might run into Keats at, but now I have to watch FB updates of him hanging with folks like Joe Clifford, Danny Gardner and some dude called Ron Hansen. Fuck him. 2015 saw Keaton's western Pig Iron and his collection/deconstruction of zombie fiction Stealing Propeller Hats From the Dead escape the loony bin and run wild leaving a trail of blood and guts and snot across the recently mopped floor of respectable literature.
Matt Kindt - Mind MGMT, Matt's ebrain-busting, cognizance-cluttering, frontal-lobe-fornicating epic of psychic warfare wrapped up in 2015, but that might be B.C. Don't cry for me, Argentina - Matt's not short of work. There're plenty more Kindtian universes yet to explore, but MM was something extra special. Look for the penultimate collection The Immortals in January 2016.
Tim Lane - If you can't bring yourself to peel your eyes from the gorgeous pages of The Lonesome Go, don't let me take you away. In fact, drowning in the inky images would be a perfectly acceptable way to go. I'll just drop in your ear that Tim's graphic bio Steve McQueen: Full Throttle Cool ought to be available in 2016. That's all.
Chris La Tray - Missoula's metal man, N@B's fuckbeastiest member and modern pulp's most probable werewolf La Tray continues to rove the wilds of the country making musical mayhem and slaughtering silence with aplomb. A little too quiet on the fiction front for my appetites, but please avail yourself of what's out there and don't forget to stop by the The Missoula Independent where Chris writes book reviews and other various arts-based non-fiction.
Clayton Lindemuth - Lindemuth's joined the swelling number of my friends who are loved in France. His novel Cold, Quiet Country was just published and is sure to be the first of many of his black novels to hit the Norman shores with about the same amount of artillery as last time. Check him out discussing religion in crime fiction from October with Ed Kurtz, J. David Osborne and Eryk Pruitt on The Crime Scene.
Erik Lundy - Finally there's a collection of Lundyfied fiction for your eReader. Man, if you've not checked out Erik's fuckwittian fiction you're missing out. Small Timers is the perfect title for the collection and if you know me you know it's exactly my kind of thing - the kind of guy who'd do anything for money except work. Fuck yeah. Buy your copy here and keep up with Erik at Workplace of the Damned.
Jason Makansi - Patriarch of the Makansi writing dynasty and super smart dude who frequently slums with the great unwashed at N@B. Gotta gotta gotta convince him to slum a bit more, 'cause his performance at N@B is still the best use of 'nipples' we've yet had. Looking for some nastkansi flavor to sprinkle on my new year.
Matthew McBride - Reclusive N@B figure who gave up the wilds of Gasconade county, MO. for the muggy atmosphere of Bali for the better part of the last year. 2015 also included a stop in France where the translation of Frank Sinatra in a Blender was just published. Last I heard of Matt... Y'know, I'll leave him to your imagination. It's good. Looking forward as always to whatever's next from McBride.
Jon McGoran - McGoran's debut novel (under his own name) Drift won accolades and scared the crap out of people for the last few years. Hell, it made me start washing my hands after peeing. I know, not quite connected, but y'know... germs n shit. Health shit. Hey, I live in Monsanto-town. If you like having the holy heck forcibly removed from you through a choose your own adventure orifice, Dust Up his latest Carrick and Watkins we're all fucked book will be showing up in April 2016.
Kyle Minor - Kyle's hanging out in the Best American Mystery Stories again, this time selected by James Patterson (of the remarkably simpatico taste) and Otto Penzler. Minor's A Kidnapping in Koulev-Ville ought to be enough to send you running for his collections In the Devil's Territory and Praying Drunk. If not, what the fuck is wrong with you?
Aaron Michael Morales - Morales's next books Eat Your Children and Latrinalia and somewhere in the works/edits/sales/publishes stage and regardless of subject matter, I have a prediction... incisive, and emotionally un-sparing. By the way, the last time I saw Morales... he was with Funk.
J. David Osborne - Dude's got a field of plates spinning hypnotically in the Pacific northwest - not least amongst them his own fiction. Black Gum is the follow up to his excellent Oklahoma noir Low Down Death Right Easy and to be read by me very soon. Check out the titles from Broken River Books - the small press he's running the fuck out of and keep your eyes peeled for shots of him in The Green Room in 2016.
Dan O'Shea - In an act of Penance for his Greed, O'Shea is relocating from Chicago to Milwaukee as I write. We'll see if the contriteness of his soul can pry his intellectual property from the clutches of a bunk publisher or maybe we'll just get something brannew from him soon. Y'know, as long as he continues to post movie reviews by his son, I'm good.