Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"Ghost Negligence" by John Shepphird

My friend John Shepphird, who I met at the 2012 Bouchercon convention in Cleveland, is a pretty accomplished guy.  He's a writer and director of TV films including Jersey Shore Shark Attack and Chupacabra: Dark Seas for SyFy Channel.  He also happens to be nominated this year for the Shamus Award in the Best P.I. Short Story category.  The story is "Ghost Negligence", and it appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, the 2012 July/Aug Double Issue.  The story introduces reformed swindler Jack O'Shea hanging his PI shingle as a deception specialist.  It's the first, I'm sure, in a series.

Even though John seems like quite a straightforward guy to me, his mystery fiction largely centers around "the art of deception" featuring con men (and women) and/or victims of fraud.  Come to think of it, when I see him this year at Bouchercon, I may have to keep a closer eye on what he's doing.  The Shamus winners will be announced at the PWA Banquet at Bouchercon in Albany, New York, on Friday, September 20.

Anyway, "Ghost Negligence" is a good story, full of surprises, and worth checking out.  It's available now via an Alfred Hitchock Mystery Mag podcast.  If you have a few minutes, give it a listen.......
The story's here:
Ghost Negligence Podcast





Friday, August 23, 2013

Noir at the Bar V

A couple of pics from Noir at the Bar V, held a few days ago at Shade Bar in Greenwich Village. 

With Glenn Gray and Todd "Thuglit" Robinson hosting and a bunch of superb writers reading, the night was a blast.

Here's the entire crew: Thomas Pluck, Gerald So, Charlie Stella, Glenn Gray, Suzanne Solomon, Jack Getze, Teel James Glenn, Big Daddy Thug, myself, Bradley Sands.

I heard a wonderful array of styles from all the writers, and it was great to meet a number of new people. The Patron Tequila I spent drinking as the night wore on didn't hurt either.  That's my second Noir at the Bar at Shade in the past 3 months, and both have been the most enjoyable experiences. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


I decided to give this book a try mainly because I was looking to read some noir stories set in California but not in LA.  I wasn't familiar with Mike Monson's writing but liked the comments I saw about the collection on Amazon.  It's a debut collection, taken from stories Monson has published over the years on various Internet sites, but it has the authority of a writer who's an old pro.  Mike Monson writes in total control of his rough material.  And make no mistake: these stories do not shy away from the bleak, the harsh, and the violent. "Dirty noir" is how the author himself describes what he writes, and it is a perfect way of describing it. At the same time, within the "dirty" tough world he describes, there are subtle variations in tone and mood from story to story. There is also a lot of dark humor and in the two days it took me to read this book, I chuckled quite often. Some of the pieces are slices of terse realism describing lives of economic and sexual desperation that reminded me of Raymond Carver - if Carver wrote noir. And some are very brief, ruminations, observations, that brought to mind Lydia Davis, the master of the flash fiction form. There is also one, "Heritage Classic" that is a beautifully modulated study of male mid-life crisis.  A 50ish year old man buys and starts riding a huge Harley in his effort to feel young again.  Needless to say, bike riding on the road doesn't go as planned. 

To sum it up, I really liked this collection, and I'm looking forward to the novella Mr. Monson says he has coming out later this year. In the meantime, take a trip to Modesto.  Take a trip to a wedge of California that is most certainly not glamorous but is quite intriguing.