this piece about his stories and received an e-mail from him (our first communication of any sort) that kicked off a correspondence of great warmth, humor and enthusiasm tethered by intelligence (most of that on his end).
I never got to meet Mike, and I'm damn sorry about that. He died a few weeks ago and I heard about his passing last week while considering looking him up for a possible remedy of our face-to-face strangerhood on an upcoming trip I'm taking to Florida. The news of Mike's passing truly saddens me and I miss forever the drinks we promised to buy each other and I positively ache in the void that I was counting on his anecdotes to fill.
David Cranmer has re-published his story Preferred Customer over at Beat to a Pulp. If you've not read Mike's stories before - that's a good place to start.
Scott Phillips' Pocketful of Ginch blog has been especially busy lately with several Americana curiosities featured. However, it's this excerpt from an upcoming book The Conundrum Enigma by Troy Cutcross that snagged my eye most memorably. In other Phillips news, I'm excited to hear that a paperback edition of his short story collection Rum, Sodomy & False Eyelashes is on its way. I will be placing one on my bookshelves.
Blank Slate Press - who are committed to promoting new, local and regional authors and helping them achieve the next rung on the ladder, so hey - congrats all around. Next up, Blank Slate will be publishing Kevin Lynn Helmick's Driving Alone.
I tried to shine some light on the darkness Beyond the Black Rainbow that is living in the shadow of 2012 especially as evidenced in Ben H. Winters' haunting pre-apocalypse detective novel The Last Policeman. It's the first in a proposed trilogy and I'm hoping for really great things from the saga. Also in that piece I glanced at the trend of Kickstarter campaigns for books and films and the names lending tremendous legitimacy to self publishing - like Lawrence Block and Jack Clark (who has a handful of new titles available, yo. Did you dig Nobody's Angel half as much as I did? Then get the fuck his other books!)
I also made a list of some of my favorite returning GI's in crime fiction from the likes of Stephen Hunter, James Lee Burke, William Styron, Kent Anderson, George Pelecanos and Ace Atkins for the fourth of July.
And this morning at Ransom Notes, I've posted a brief Q&A with Jeff Abbott on the occasion of his latest book The Last Minute (which continues the trend of 2012 being the year of kidnapping books highlighting my reads after Mark Allen Smith, Ryan David Jahn, Wolf Haas and Sean Doolittle have been riveting in their own offerings). Quick story: Last year at Bouchercon I was approached by somebody who thought I was Jeff Abbott and wanted me to sign his book. I didn't want to disappoint the guy... I hope it made his day.