Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Mystery Scene - Issue No. 152

The latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine—No. 152—is at a newsstand near you. As usual, it is packed. It features interviews with James Patterson, Joe Ide and Barbara Ross, an article about Mary Robert Rinehart and many others.
It also features my short story review column, “Short & Sweet: Short Stories Considered”. In the column I discuss:
Down & Out: The Magazine, edited by Rick Ollerman, is a brand new crime fiction magazine with its eye directly on the hardboiled. This introductory issue includes terrific stories by Reed Farrel Coleman, Eric Beetner, and Jen Conley.
The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir,edited by Gary Phillips, is an entertaining, at times humorous, anthology with tales based on the often bizarre conspiracies surrounding Barrack and Michelle Obama. 
The Big Book of Rogues and Villains, edited by Otto Penzler, is an anthology that lives up to its name. It includes a large number of mystery stories, from Victorian to modern and everything in-between, featuring rogues and villains. 
The Usual Santas, is an anthology produced by Soho Crime, and featuring many of its top-selling writers. And each story has an edge of Christmas about it.
This issue also includes four of my book reviews. 
The Prague Sonata by Bradford Morrow, is a lyrical, idea-driven literary mystery that is longer than it should be, but is so beautiful it doesn’t really matter. 
Murder in the Manuscript Room by Con Lehane, is a mystery loaded with working class realities and enough mystery to keep it interesting.
Black Teeth by Zane Lovitt, is the modern (and Australian) take on the noir of yesteryear with a plot built from disappointment, fear and human frailty.
Signal Loss by Garry Disher, is the seventh Australian police procedural featuring Hal Challis and Ellen Destry. And it is a winner.
The reviews are available online at Mystery Scene’s website—click the titles above.
Mystery Scene is available at many newsstands, including Barnes & Noble, and available for order at MS’s website.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

My Life in Black and White

I participated in something called My Life in Black and White on Facebook. It is seven days, one photo each day, of ordinary life without comment or people (in the photographs). I enjoyed thinking about the snapshots each day and decided to post my seven photographs here in a single post.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Thrift Shop Book Covers: "Bring Him Back Dead" / "There was a Crooked Man"

Bring Him Back Dead and There was a Crooked Man, by Day Keene. Bring Him Back Dead and There was a Crooked Man were paperback originals published in 1954 and 1956 by Fawcett Gold Medal. The edition that caught my eye is the Lancer “2-for-1” edition published in 1963. On the front cover, in large orange type is the claim, “Revised for this edition” and I’m unsure the amount of revision made between the original books publication and this edition. Each title has its own cover in vivid yellows and blues, denoting violence and sensuality. The artist(s): Unknown (to me at least)

The first sentence from Bring Him Back Dead:
Latour awakened, reluctantly.
The first sentence from There was a Crooked Man:
Clay Burgess was a tough, smart cop. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

The winners are in...

The winners are in for the Blaze! Spanish Gold giveaway, each chosen randomly with a number generator in MS Excel. Before I announce the winners I want to thank everyone who entered. There was a surprising number of entrants this time around, which inspired me to giveaway three copies instead of the original two. So, without further delay, here are the winners:

David G.
Justin G.
Kevin T.
Thanks again, everyone. I appreciate your interest and support.
Keep reading!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Giveaway Fever!

Today marks the waning hours to enter the giveaway for one of two signed paperbacks of Blaze! Spanish Gold. The deadline is tonight, 11:59 PM MST. All you need to do to enter is send an email to zulu1611@yahoo.com with “BSG Giveaway” in the subject line. Your email will be used only for the giveaway.  There are a few other ways you can get your name entered more than once, including following my Goodreads Author page and Gravetapping’s Facebook page. If you do either, or both, make sure you tell me in your email so I’ll know to enter your name in the drawing multiple times.
For complete details on the contest you can go to the original post.
Good luck, and thanks for reading!

Monday, November 06, 2017

FATE OF THE UNION by Max Allan Collins with Matthew V. Clemens

Fate of the Union is the second novel—after Supreme Justice (2014)—featuring former Secret Service Agent Joe Reeder and current FBI Agent Patti Rogers written by Max Allan Collins and Matthew V. Clemens. Reeder is popularly known as an American hero—a notion he chafes from—for saving the lives of a President and a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. In retirement he operates a successful investigative and security firm, and, as the story opens, Joe is concerned by a voicemail from a former Secret Service colleague named Chris Bryson—

“Call this number when you get this. Life and death, brother—don’t let me down.”
Joe returns the call with no response. He hears nothing until his wife finds him at Arlington National Cemetery and tells him Chris was found dead at a cheap motel, hanging by a belt from the shower rod. Chris’s wife doesn’t believe it is suicide, and asks Joe to investigate.  The only clues are Chris’s uncharacteristic nervousness in the days leading to his death, and a single word uttered to his wife: “sink.”

The setting is Washington, D. C. of the late 2020s, and the story, while not political, is very much a political thriller. The political landscape is much like our own—non-cooperative partisanship as the parties splinter away from each other and the moderate middle—and acts as both antagonist and battlefield. The story is larger than a simple murder as suicide, and involves a shady cast of characters, including a billionaire, a Department of Defense contractor, and a nasty psychopath. It is something of a mix between television’s Criminal Minds and a Robert Ludlum novel. But better than either because of its ability to surprise, and make the reader believe.
This review originally appeared at Ed Gorman’s blog, in slightly different form, on November 17, 2015.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

A Giveaway State of Mind

My second Blaze! book, Spanish Gold, has been out for three weeks. The Halloween holiday is a memory, I have a handful of author copies, and so my always suspect logic tells me it’s time for a giveaway. This time around I have two signed trade paperbacks available for two very lucky readers (or unlucky, depending on perspective). Or, if you prefer the Kindle version, I can make that happen, too. See below for how to enter and a few other details about the giveaway.

A little about Blaze! Spanish Gold:
“The only thing Kate and J.D. Blaze had in mind when they rode into the settlement of Unity, Utah, was celebrating their wedding anniversary. But then J.D. is forced to kill a corrupt deputy in order to save a woman’s life, and suddenly the Old West’s only husband-and-wife gunfighters are plunged into a deadly mystery involving a sinister albino, missing men, and a lost treasure in Spanish gold.”
And an early review, from Western genre guru Steve Myall, at Western Fiction Review:
“Ben Boulden writes in a very readable style, never letting up on the rapid pace that leads to a gripping final gunfight that answers all the questions that have risen before this deadly confrontation. Once again I’m left looking forward to Ben Boulden’s next entry in this series.”
A few details. Blaze! Spanish Gold is the eighteenth installment of the Blaze! Adult Western series. The “adult” part means there is some mature content. In this case there is one short chapter of Rated R content, which is best explained by Steve Myall in his review:
“The Blaze! books are marketed as being an adult western series but please don’t let that put you off trying this one if you don’t like explicit sex in your reading material. There is only one short chapter that deals with this aspect of the tale and that can easily be skipped without ruining the rest of the story.”
The giveaway for the paperback version of Blaze! Spanish Gold is available only to those with a mailing address within the United States. If you want the Kindle version, all you need is an Amazon account.

How to enter. This is the easy part. All you need to do is send an email to zulu1611@yahoo.com with “BSG Giveaway” in the subject line (don't worry, you won't get junk mail from me). BUT, if you follow my Goodreads author page, or like my Gravetapping Facebook page, or share the link to this page on Facebook, a blog, or elsewhere, your name will be entered in the drawing pool one additional time for each of the above you do. As an example, if you send an email, follow my Goodreads author page, and like Gravetapping’s Facebook page, your name would be entered in the drawing three times. Here are the links to the various pages:
Ben Boulden’s Goodreads Author Page
Gravetapping’s Facebook Page
When you send your email make sure to note if you did any of the above things, other than sending the email since I'll catch that one, so I can enter your name in the drawing the appropriate number of times.
When to enter.
November 1, 2017 to 11:59 PM, MST, November 12, 2017
If you win and enjoy Blaze! Spanish Gold, please consider writing a brief review at Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Facebook, your blog, or anywhere else with exposure.