Monday, September 30, 2013


In the mood for horror fiction?  Halloween's coming up, so why not?  A new collection that's worth checking out is LET THE OLD DREAMS DIE by Swedish horror writer John Ajvide Lindqvist.  He's the guy who wrote the novel LET THE RIGHT ONE IN.  I never read that, but I did see the movie adaptation, which came out in the US in 2008.  Without question it's one of the most unusual vampire movies of recent years. 

My look at Lindqvist's latest work, a volume of 12 stories, is at Criminal Element, right here: LET THE OLD DREAMS DIE.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bouchercon 2013

It's just about time to head off to Bouchercon 2013 in Albany, NY. I'm looking forward to it.  There'll be plenty of bar hanging at night, I'm sure, and during the day I'll be wandering around from panel to panel. I'll also be on a panel this year. 

Thursday at 4pm, I'll be doing the Film Noir panel along with my friend Wallace Stroby, Paul D. Marks, John Billheimer, and David Rich.  Eric Beetner moderates. Room 1.

Friday at 3 PM, Dennis Tafoya and I will be doing an Authors Panel half hour.  It'll be "Cocktails with Scott and Dennis" for that half hour, the two of us discussing crime writing and drinking, a subject quite appropriate for Bouchercon.  Dennis and I are planning on bringing "materials" that will help lubricate the discussion.  Should be fun, so if you're around, stop by.  We'll be in Room 5.

Let the talking and drinking begin..........

Monday, September 16, 2013


Question: How many films did Peter Sellers play a bad guy in?  I mean, a dead serious villain, not a comical bumbling villain.

Answer: one.  It's the British gangster film NEVER LET GO, from 1960. As a local thug in charge of a car theft and chop shop gang, Sellers is riveting.  The film as a whole is excellent also. I wrote a piece about it for Criminal Element - you can read it here: NEVER LET GO.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Too Many Netflix Choices

I vaguely remember a George Carlin routine of awhile back where he did a funny riff on how Americans now have too many choices in everything they do and that this is one of the things that causes Americans so many problems.  Yes, George, right you were.

Case in point: Netflix streaming.

It's a wonderful thing, Netflix streaming, but all the choices you have when you go to Netflix to choose something to watch can be a burden.  More often than not, I go to Netflix on a weeknight.  I've had a long and tiring day at work.  Most nights, after the subway ride home, dinner, and putting my 8 year old to bed, I've fueled up with coffee and pushed myself to get some writing done.  Now, let's say, it's about midnight and I have 90 minutes, no more, to spend relaxing and watching something because I have to get up at 6:15 to start the day (shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, bring the kid to school by subway, take the subway to work, etc, etc). So time is precious and I have to make a fast decision on what to watch.  Choose a movie or TV episode of something, stream it, sit back, maybe have a late night drink, enjoy the movie or TV episode, then join my wife in bed (where, like a wise person, she's been sleeping for a couple of hours already).  I can get in my fix of movie/tv episode watching and still bag a good 4 1/2 hours of sleep before work tomorrow. Not bad. 

But here's where the problem starts.  I go to Netflix on my computer and I can't decide what to watch.  I had a particular movie in mind earlier perhaps, when I was wrapping up my writing for the night, but now I'm not sure I want to see that movie.  Maybe I want to see a different movie. Or, no, a different movie than the first different movie I considered.  Or the first episode of TV crime series from Denmark, but if I watch that episode that means I have to commit to the series for the foreseeable future, and do I really want to commit to a series when my viewing time is so limited?  If I commit to a series, I won't be able to see any movies for a week or two.....

I sit there like this dithering, reading the summaries of this movie, that movie, this show, that show, and before I know it, a half hour has gone by, 45 minutes, and it's almost 1 AM.  Now I don't have time for a movie.  I'd be up till 2:30 at least if I watched a film.  Even a TV episode would keep me up till two.  Should I risk it?  Go with 4 hours sleep or less? No, I've disciplined myself to get by on 4 1/2 to 5 hours sleep a night but if I go lower than that, I suffer the next day, feel actual pain in my joints (being 51 has some drawbacks) and have to fight to get through a day at work. Not worth it.  Better not to watch anything.  But I wanted to watch something. Tomorrow.  You'll watch a movie tomorrow.  Just don't spend so much time trying to decide from all the possible movies which specific movie to watch................

And so I go to bed feeling dissatisfied.  I wanted to satiate my movie/TV hunger that night with something, and I did not.  I failed not because of any outside difficulties, but because of my own paralysis in the face of so many choices.

Carlin, you were (as he would say) motherfucker.