katelaity:

Got something carnivalesque?

Originally posted on K. A. Laity:

Noir Carnival

Coming soon from Fox Spirit!

Coming soon from Fox Spirit!

A call for stories from Fox Spirit Books, publishers of Weird Noir and many more superb volumes.

Dark’s Carnival has already left town, but it’s left a fetid seed behind. There’s a transgressive magic that spooks the carnies and unsettles the freaks. Beyond the barkers and the punters, behind the lights and tents where the macabre and the lost find refuge, there’s a deformity that has nothing to do with skin and bones. Where tragic players strut on a creaking stage, everybody’s going through changes. Jongleurs and musicians huddle in the back. It seems as if every one’s running, but is it toward something—or away?

Carnival: whether you picture it as a traveling fair in the back roads of America or the hedonistic nights of the pre-Lenten festival where masks hide faces while the skin glories in its revelation, it’s about spectacle…

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Review: The Killing of the Tinkers

The Killing of the Tinkers
Ken Bruen

Blurb:

When Jack Taylor blew town at the end of The Guards his alcoholism was a distant memory and sober dreams of a new life in London were shining in his eyes. In the opening pages of The Killing of the Tinkers, Jack’s back in Galway a year later with a new leather jacket on his back, a pack of smokes in his pocket, a few grams of coke in his waistband, and a pint of Guinness on his mind. So much for new beginnings. Before long he’s sunk into his old patterns, lifting his head from the bar only every few days, appraising his surroundings for mere minutes and then descending deep into the alcoholic, drug-induced fugue he prefers to the real world. But a big gypsy walks into the bar one day during a moment of Jack’s clarity and changes all that with a simple request. Jack knows the look in this man’s eyes, a look of hopelessness mixed with resolve topped off with a quietly simmering rage; he’s seen it in the mirror. Recognizing a kindred soul, Jack agrees to help him, knowing but not admitting that getting involved is going to lead to more bad than good. But in Jack Taylor’s world bad and good are part and parcel of the same lost cause, and besides, no one ever accused Jack of having good sense.

Review:

The latest Bruen I’ve read is actually the second Jack Taylor book, after The Guards. For those keeping score at home, this is when Taylor loses his teeth (mark that on your Jack Taylor Injury Scorecard, a big 50 points). I can’t really explain why I haven’t tried to read them in order; I suppose it’s because if I made a deliberate effort to put them all in order I would read them through in one great orgy of words until they were all done and then where would I be? Probably standing on the streets of the Claddagh listening to Bruen type.

And the Gardaí would come drag me away.

So, it’s better that I just read them in the order in which they cross my path, which happened with this tale of the tinkers and Taylor. He’s still raggedly recovering from his flight after the end of The Guards and the deaths left in his wake. It’s Jack, so he’s managed to screw up his life even more in London and as he returns to Galway, things look bleak. Then he’s asked to help deal with the killings of young tinkers because his former colleagues in the force have no interest in their world. The tinkers give him a home, his friends give him hope and he’s got a good idea who might be behind all the killings.

But you know it’s going to turn out badly because Jack Taylor is a magnet for nightmares. Bruen gives you a Galway that rustles with skittering shadows and malevolence. The circle of recurring characters have been sketched in by this second volume, but they grow more intricately here. Terrible things lie ahead for some and it makes the happy moments even more bittersweet. There’s philosophy, poetry and too much backsliding from Jack. Bruen tells his tales with a ragged beauty, his eloquence matched only by the bleak horror.

Sure it’s grand.

~ K. A. Laity

2013 Derringer Awards

2013 DERRINGER AWARDS TIMELINE

- Submissions will be accepted from Noon ET, January 1, 2013, to 11:59 PM ET January 31, 2013

- Judges will score Derringer submissions February 1–28, 2013, determining the finalists

- Finalists will be announced March 1, 2013

- SMFS members as of December 31, 2012 will vote to determine Derringer winners from March 1-30, 2013

- Derringer winners will be announced March 31, 2013

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000 Words)

Best Short Story (1,001 to 4,000 Words)

Best Long Story (4,001 to 8,000 Words)

Best Novelette (8,001 to 20,000 Words)

Review: The Crime Interviews, Vol. 3

The Crime Interviews, Volume 3
Len Wanner

Blurb: If you’re interested in learning about how to write, how to be a writer, or about the writing life in general, what greater resource and pleasure than frank, revealing interviews with some of today’s best-selling authors?

Len Wanner’s acclaimed interview series continues with VOLUME THREE, featuring in-depth interviews with twelve of the leading lights of Scottish crime fiction and with a foreword by William McIlvanney, creator of Jack Laidlaw and the Godfather of tartan noir.

The interviews –

– Peter May talks about writing for television, repairing bad dialogue, researching his China thrillers with the help of the Ministry of Propaganda, and receiving international exposure with a book no British publisher wanted to publish, THE BLACKHOUSE.

– Charles Cumming talks about the rewards of a degree in literature, refining expositional storytelling, researching state secrets at home and abroad, writing the great international spy novel, and being recruited by the SIS.

– Campbell Armstrong talks about going abroad to write about home, giving up on teaching creative writing, getting over the paralysis of a bad sentence, going on stake-outs, giving us his memoirs, and getting commissioned to novelise Indiana Jones.

– Caro Ramsay talks about teaching herself how to write with her back against the wall, learning how to write crime fiction from agents and editors, teaching herself how to compartmentalise, and learning how to finish a book.

– Aline Templeton talks about diving in and out of writing, writing a series of cosy police procedurals based on a subterranean cave system, living in the city yet writing about the countryside, and discovering that a fictional protagonist is a living person.

– Lin Anderson talks about the transferrable skills of teaching mathematics and calculating a career in creative writing, the constants of writing about a female serial protagonist, the variables of forensic science, and the lessons of fictional and factual near-death situations.

– Alex Gray talks about the rewards of writing about a policeman twenty years younger than her, returning to education, researching as she writes, writing about what she doesn’t know, and writing rather than retiring.

– Gillian Galbraith talks about learning to nurture her talent for the uncollaborative nature of writing, letting go of her legal career to write about the limits of institutional justice, and leaving her comfort zone as a way of finding her voice and writing about her home.

– GJ Moffat talks about what remains of his initial impulses and his international influences, the rules broken in most legal thrillers, and the rewards of letting his lawyer-cum-judge-cum-executioner break the rules of his day job.

– Craig Robertson talks about the joys of fiction in and after journalism, the pleasure of writing for himself, the pressure of writing for others, the need for brutality in editing, and the greed for brutality in writing.

– Ken McClure talks about the science of storytelling, the survival rate of a series of medical thrillers, the appeal of being his own agent, his second coming as an e-book bestseller, and his involvement in the identification of Gulf War Syndrome.

– And Frederic Lindsay talks about the best ways to propel and pause plots, invent manner along with matter, make the familiar strange with the weight of experience, and exhaust potential to energise narrative.

Review: I may be accused of bias toward all things Scottish, but I certainly enjoyed this third outing of Wanner’s interviews as much or more than the other two. Interviews depend largely on the subjects, of course, and there’s a great bunch here. But the real important part comes from asking the right questions and not always settling for the answers you get without probing a little more and that’s where Wanner truly shines. Well worth the price — a master class in different approaches to writing well.

~ K. A. Laity

Review: Death on A Hot Afternoon

Death on a Hot Afternoon
Paul D. Brazill

After the violent events in the novelette Red Esperanto, freelance journalist Luke Case, escapes snow smothered Warsaw and heads off  to the heat of Madrid. The English hack encounters an old man with a violent past and a mysterious torch singer, during a scorching and deadly Spanish summer.

Review: I’m a sucker for Brazill’s singularly laconic style and his hapless heroes — or is it too grand to call them heroes? Main characters? Saps? No, they’re seldom suckers — just not particularly well prepared, thoughtful or lucky. You can move Luke Case around to a new city, but the seedy world seems to follow him there, whether it’s a Peruvian pan pipe band playing ‘Ring of Fire’ or any of a variety of other off-hand pop culture references (Arthur, Mr B? Priceless). If Luke Case manages to survive, it’s not down to his own skills or perspicacity — but surely there are enough gods to watch over drunks and fools. The fun is watching it all unfold.

Bundle this together with other Lite Editions and make your own noir collection.

~ K. A. Laity

Review: Apostle Rising

Apostle Rising
Richard Godwin

Detective Chief Inspector Frank Castle never caught the Woodlands Killer and it almost destroyed him. Now years later, mauled by the press and traumatised by nightmares, he is faced with a copycat killer with detailed inside knowledge of the original case.

He and his partner DI Jacki Stone enter a deadly labyrinth, and at its centre is the man Castle believes was responsible for the first killings. He’s running a sinister cult and playing dark mind games with the police. The investigation has a shattering effect on the lives of Castle and Stone. The killer is crucifying politicians, and he keeps raising the stakes and slipping through their hands. Dark coded ritualistic killings are being carried out on high profile figures and the body count is rising. Castle employs a brilliant psychologist to help him solve the case, and he begins to dig into the killer’s psyche. But some psychopaths are cleverer than others.

Review: Godwin offers a brutal tale of murder, trauma and heartbreaking suffering. Castle and Stone face a villain whose chutzpah is matched only by his malevolence — and his seeming inability to get caught. Castle, haunted by the elusive killer years before, has been consumed by the case, drinking his way out of his marriage and nearly his job. Stone finds herself slipping toward the same fate, and begins fighting her way back from it. The addition of a second set of serial murders seems impossibly vicious — the only thing worse is that the two killers seem to be working in concert.

Not for the faint of heart, Apostle Rising offers a bloody bouquet of excruciating murders and bizarre religious mania. Right down to the final, cruel twist of discovery, each page offers more horror. But you read on in hopes that Castle and Stone will survive ad that they will finally stop the unrepentant mastermind behind the crimes. Prepare your heart for darkness — and like most of the characters in this book, you’ll probably want a strong glass of something to help you bear it.

~ K. A. Laity

CrimeFest’s Flashbang

CrimeFest’s Flashbang.

via CrimeFest's Flashbang.

Gotta be in it to win it!

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