(Photo L-R Cindy Brown, Lisa Alber, Stephanie Gayle, Bill Cameron. Click for larger photo.)
On Nov. 10, Cindy Brown (author of the Ivy Meadows Mysteries Macdeath and The Sound of Murder) moderated a panel of mystery writers at Annie Bloom's books. Stephanie Gayle was in Portland as part of her book tour to promote her debut mystery novel Idyll Threats before heading off to San Francisco and Seattle. Bill Cameron drove up from Eugene, Oregon to talk about his Skin Kadash series and his upcoming YA series (Property of the State: The Legend of Joey will be out in June). Portland author Lisa Alber talked about her County Clare Mysteries Kilmoon and the upcoming Whispers in the Mist.
Stephanie Gayle said that her goal as a mystery writer was to party with fellow writers and discuss the kind of gruesome things that you can't talk about in polite company. After the panel, we all headed next door to O'Connor's for a drink. Mission accomplished. She was right. It was fun.
If you haven't heard much from your fellow writers lately, don't worry. They haven't fallen off the face of the earth. They've merely fallen into the gravitational pull of NaNoWriMo.
I'm not knocking out 50,000 words this month, but in solidarity with those who are, including Bill Cameron (who's using it for a first draft of the second book in his YA series), I have been trying to offer up some NaNoWriMo Daily Inspirations based on experiences I've had with NaNoWriMos past.
I've also started rewrites on the second Walter Forbes/Jane Greer assignment, which I've been presenting in live readings at the Nine Bridges Portland Wednesday Night Critique Group. So far it's been great fun having other writers pitch in and play the various characters. The week-to-week feedback is very useful in keeping the story on track, keeping the pacing taut, etc.
The out-of-touch aspect of NaNoWriMo means that I'll need your help in sharing the best mystery and suspense novels of the year with readers. In addition to the great books you've written this year, please let me know which great books you've read.
Updated 12/24/15 Here's my review!
Fresh, Fast-Paced Noir in the James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler Tradition (5 of 5 stars)
"They say that money is the root of all evil, but I knew it wasn’t. Nobody forced us to steal the dough. We had the greed inside us to start with. All four of us— the Four Musketeers. The money was just the apple that tempted us, but who was the serpent?"
In Paul D. Marks's fresh, fast-paced noir Vortex, Zach, a US soldier back from Afghanistan, finds himself in a different kind of battle on his home turf in L.A.
His girlfriend hasn't changed much, but he has.
"She was just where I’d left her. Still wanting the brass ring but not wanting to do much to get it. The problem is, no matter how much you have, it’s never enough. You can’t just do one score— it gets to be an addiction. You get the brass ring and you want a platinum ring. And you get that and you want it diamond-studded."
Zach's high school buddies haven't changed that much either. But friendships get put to the test when a couple of million dollars go missing and your buddies think you're holding out on them.
Like James M. Cain, Marks isn't writing about hardened criminals. He explores what can happen to ordinary people once tempted to stray from the straight and narrow. Some will do everything they can to set things straight and get back on the right side of the law. Others will stop at nothing to get what's theirs and maybe a lot more.
Zach has to play detective to find the money and the girl gone missing. Some things haven't changed that much on the mean streets of L.A. Raymond Chandler's old turf.
You'll have fun exploring them again, or for the first time, with Vortex.
Thanks to Steve for sharing his review! (5.0 out of 5 stars) Vortex is a Riveting Noir Crime Thriller.
When you write your review of Vortex and post it online, send me the link, and I'll share it here.
When private investigator Walter Forbes arrives at the scene of the crime at the beginning of Last Heartthrob, he's too late to stop the murders that he accidentally set in motion.
"That’s when he heard the gunshots.
He had solved a case no one had asked him to solve: a case no one wanted him to solve, a case no one knew or cared about. No one would benefit. The cost, so far, was a couple of lives. When that door, the second on the left, opened, maybe it would cost a couple more. Who could say what the murderer would do when he saw Forbes standing there? He took his gun in hand, fixed his eye on the doorway, and waited.
He wondered if another investigator who’d seen what he’d seen and heard what he’d heard could have put the pieces together in time."
What follows is a story of twenty-first century sleuthing with twentieth-century femmes fatale, ambition, desire, and a cast of characters who love movies to death.
Armchair detectives who know their noir will have a distinct advantage in solving the crime before former college football player turned private investigator Walter Forbes.
"In football, there were rules, and the stakes were win or lose. In the movies, there were no rules, and the stakes were often life or death."
Thanks to Steve for sharing his review! (5 of 5 stars) Looking forward to more of Walter Forbes!
Thanks to Cindy for sharing her review! (5 of 5 stars) Snappy dialogue, characters you can sink your teeth into, and a double-edged mystery
“I been shaking two nickels together for a month, trying to get them to mate.” From Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep
Can't scrape up 99¢ in change from behind the sofa cushions or car seat? No worries.
Check out Noir on the Air replay from December 2, 2015.
Authors on the Air host Pam Stack welcomes our guest host for this evening's NOIR ON THE AIR live reading event, crime fiction author MICHAEL POOL. Guest readers for tonight's NOIR ON THE AIR throw-down include Sarah M. Chen, Joe Clifford, Danny Gardener, Tom Pitts, Rob Pierce, Anonymous-9, and Mike Monson. Each of these authors will be reading from their own unique brand of noir, flash-fiction style.