Category Archives: Mystery

New mysteries, including crime, legal, and detective fiction, etc.

Author Earl Middleton

Interview with Earl Middleton

Author Earl MiddletonAuthor Earl Middleton

Earl Middleton earned a BBA in accounting from Adelphi University and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, then went on to preach more than 2,000 sermons, create over 400 YouTube teaching videos, and write 10 books under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

A former pastor of congregations in NY, NJ, CT, and CA, he loves preaching and teaching the Word of God across multiple platforms despite his retirement from the pastorate after 22 years of service. He is a past member of the Professional Comedians’ Association, and the creator of the Internet’s first Christian dramedic series, Fine Church Girls.

A longtime member of Mensa, Earl lives in Los Angeles with his family and throws up a whole buncha shots a day at his local YMCA. He’s currently at work navigating new, hilarious plot twists with Pastor Tony Hook and the rest of the zany characters of the First Baptist Church of Belton, NJ. He is available for revivals, preaching engagements, family healing seminars, writing workshops, and basketball jumpshot coaching.

(1) “Christian and Urban Fiction are bestsellers in African American literature. It appears that you have combined elements of both in your character Pastor Tony Hooks in My Pastor Didn’t Do It. What makes him stand out?”
Tony Hook is a unique character in African American literature primarily because he’s both an urbane and urban black Christian who happens to be the pastor of a traditional black church. His anointing definitely doesn’t match his ministry, and the many molehills that surround his life keep erupting into mountains too difficult for him to scale by himself. He’s the rare example in African American literature of a pastor who is lovable, believes that a merry heart does good like a medicine, and yet lives the kind of clean life that necessarily draws trouble like a magnet. As Paul said, “I find then a law that when I would do good evil is present with me.” With the plethora of shady, hypocritical, and acutely flawed pastoral characters currently flooding the urban Christian fiction landscape, Tony Hook is my response from the other side of the altar. I’ve pastored churches like First Baptist and lived in communities like Belton, so I bring a layer of realism to the character while having a ball inventing new ways for him to get stuck at Baal-Zephon, between a rock and a hard place…or the Red Sea. I believe there’s both room and need in African American literature for a fictional pastor cast as an edgy good guy to restore the audience’s faith in the black pulpit.

(2)What elements, such as setting, character, and plot, drive your story? Are there any personal inspirations in your story?
There’s a strong sense of place in my fiction writing, and I’ve been told that my stories are very descriptive and many of the characters are memorable. But because I’m writing a classic whodunit mystery to introduce Tony Hook and the My Pastor series, I’ve leaned heavily on plot to drive the story. I want readers to wonder what’s going to happen next, and have a difficult time figuring out who did it (obviously, from the title, it wasn’t the pastor…or was it? LOL). The central idea for this story actually comes from a real life cold case murder that took place at one the congregations I pastored…after I left, of course! I wondered what it would have been like if the murder happened while I was still the pastor of that congregation, and before I knew it I had a full length novel on my hands.

(3) There are so many characters in your story. What’s next for them? Do you have any favorites that are going to have their own stories?
Although I write fiction (and non-fiction) I’m really a prophet at heart, and believe that every person’s story is the most important event in their world. As a result I really think there are no minor characters in life, and I bring that conviction to my fiction writing. I wish I had the time to tell all of my characters’ stories in full, and perhaps one day I’ll have enough time to do that. Until then I’ll have to settle on my plans to spin off both Mother Freddy, the gun-toting, sombrero wearing matron of First Baptist Belton, and Cornel Brown, the white pastor with the sweetest whoop in Newark who claims to be a descendent of John Brown, the Harper’s Ferry dude.

(4)What is on your bookshelf or nightstand? Do you have any favorite authors?
Right now on my nightstand there’s an iPad with the Kindle app. I’m totally hooked on digital media. I’ve gotten over paper a long time ago. When it comes to fiction I like a hip, urgent, urbane voice, so I’m drawn to people like John Ridley, Paul Beatty, and Adam Mansbach. I love mysteries and still enjoy rereading Walter Mosley, Janet Evanovich (she’s hilarious), and even Valerie Wilson Wesley. I don’t read a lot of Christian fiction, urban nor prairie, but I respect what Brenda Barrett is doing. That woman’s a machine! When it comes to non-fiction I’m drawn to anything that looks at left brain stuff from a right brain perspective. I’ve been reading a lot of Daniel Pink lately, and of course Seth Godin is required reading for anyone who wants to build or create something salient. And, believe it or not, I do read the Bible. A lot. Still. ;-)

My Pastor Didn’t Do It by Earl Middleton
Food for Faith Publications, September 22, 2013, Paperback

Pastor Tony Hook is everybody’s favorite preacher in the quiet Newark suburb of Belton, NJ. Well, almost everybody’s. Conflicts, tensions, and resolutions grace every turn of this clean and humorous black church caper. And it’s all from the witty mind and converted heart of a real seminary trained preacher with 22 years of pastoral experience.

When the sexy Anemone Allon’s body turns up in her basement naked, sporting a hole through the head, the only evidence recovered from the scene is Hook’s DNA, and all he can offer for an alibi is that he was alone in his study, praying for Anemone’s soul. And his own. Of course, golden-eyed detective Sgt. Chris Sears sets her sights on him as her prime suspect, jeopardizing his future at any church, and Pastor Hook launches his own investigation into the murder. With an anonymous rival who will stop at nothing to get him out of the way, and a crusty trustee who will try almost anything to get rid of him also breathing down his neck, only heaven can help Hook out of this mess, but God has chosen this time to go silent on him. Pursued by good and hounded by evil, poisoned by deadly wildlife and stricken with writer’s block, Pastor Hook must overcome Jobian loss and ugly suits, resist witchcraft, brave fire, dodge bullets, survive explosions, and tame ravenous beasts to track down the killer.

As the body count rises, and in spite of “help” from his iconoclastic best buddy, Rev. Cornel Brown, and his nutty adopted mother, Freddie Pearl, Hook unravels the mystery, exposing the killer in a final confrontation before the entire Belton community. In the end almost no one is who they appeared to be in this clerical romp, and Hook realizes that even for pastors some cliches are built on truth: home is where the heart is, and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

The Root’s Summer Reading List

The Root’s book selections for the Summer of 2014, featuring “Book of Hours” by Kevin Young, “Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson” by Barbara Ransby, “Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II” by Farah Jasmine Griffin:

Book of Hours: Poems by Kevin Young

A decade after the sudden and tragic loss of his father, we witness the unfolding of grief. “In the night I brush / my teeth with a razor,” he tells us, in one of the collection’s piercing two-line poems. Capturing the strange silence of bereavement (“Not the storm / but the calm / that slays me”), Kevin Young acknowledges, even celebrates, life’s passages, his loss transformed and tempered in a sequence about the birth of his son: in “Crowning,” he delivers what is surely one of the most powerful birth poems written by a man, describing “her face / full of fire, then groaning your face / out like a flower, blood-bloom,/ crocused into air.” Ending this book of both birth and grief, the gorgeous title sequence brings acceptance, asking “What good/are wishes if they aren’t / used up?” while understanding “How to listen / to what’s gone.” Young’s frank music speaks directly to the reader in these elemental poems, reminding us that the right words can both comfort us and enlarge our understanding of life’s mysteries.

Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson by Barbara Ransby

Eslanda “Essie” Cardozo Goode Robeson lived a colorful and amazing life. Her career and commitments took her many places: colonial Africa in 1936, the front lines of the Spanish Civil War, the founding meeting of the United Nations, Nazi-occupied Berlin, Stalin’s Russia, and China two months after Mao’s revolution. She was a woman of unusual accomplishment — an anthropologist, a prolific journalist, a tireless advocate of women’s rights, an outspoken anti-colonial and antiracist activist, and an internationally sought-after speaker. Yet historians for the most part have confined Essie to the role of Mrs. Paul Robeson, a wife hidden in the large shadow cast by her famous husband. In this masterful book, biographer Barbara Ransby refocuses attention on Essie, one of the most important and fascinating black women of the twentieth century.

Chronicling Essie’s eventful life, the book explores her influence on her husband’s early career and how she later achieved her own unique political voice. Essie’s friendships with a host of literary icons and world leaders, her renown as a fierce defender of justice, her defiant testimony before Senator Joseph McCarthy’s infamous anti-communist committee, and her unconventional open marriage that endured for over 40 years—all are brought to light in the pages of this inspiring biography. Essie’s indomitable personality shines through, as do her contributions to United States and twentieth-century world history.

Harlem Nocturne: Women Artists and Progressive Politics During World War II
by Farah Jasmine Griffin

As World War II raged overseas, Harlem witnessed a battle of its own. Brimming with creative and political energy, the neighborhood’s diverse array of artists and activists took advantage of a brief period of progressivism during the war years to launch a bold cultural offensive aimed at winning democracy for all Americans, regardless of race or gender. Ardent believers in America’s promise, these men and women helped to lay the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement before Cold War politics and anti-Communist fervor temporarily froze their dreams at the dawn of the postwar era.

In Harlem Nocturne, esteemed scholar Farah Jasmine Griffin tells the stories of three black female artists whose creative and political efforts fueled this historic movement for change: choreographer and dancer Pearl Primus, composer and pianist Mary Lou Williams, and novelist Ann Petry. Like many African Americans in the city at the time, these women weren’t native New Yorkers, but the metropolis and its vibrant cultural scene gave them the space to flourish and the freedom to express their political concerns. Pearl Primus performed nightly at the legendary Cafe Society, the first racially integrated club in New York, where she debuted dances of social protest that drew on long-buried African traditions and the dances of former slaves in the South. Williams, meanwhile, was a major figure in the emergence of bebop, collaborating with Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Bud Powell and premiering her groundbreaking Zodiac Suite at the legendary performance space Town Hall. And Ann Petry conveyed the struggles of working-class black women to a national audience with her acclaimed novel The Street, which sold over a million copies — a first for a female African American author.

A rich biography of three artists and the city that inspired them, Harlem Nocturne captures a period of unprecedented vitality and progress for African Americans and women, revealing a cultural movement and a historical moment whose influence endures today.


The Cutting Season: A Novel by Attica Locke

Attica Locke‘s breathtaking debut novel, Black Water Rising, won resounding acclaim from major publications coast-to-coast and from respected crime fiction masters like James Ellroy and George Pelecanos, earning this exciting new author comparisons to Dennis Lehane, Scott Turow, and Walter Mosley. Locke returns with The Cutting Season, a second novel easily as gripping and powerful as her first — a heart-pounding thriller that interweaves two murder mysteries, one on Belle Vie, a historic landmark in the middle of Lousiana’s Sugar Cane country, and one involving a slave gone missing more than one hundred years earlier. Black Water Rising was nominated for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, an Edgar Award, and an NAACP Image Award, and was short-listed for the Orange Prize in the U.K. The Cutting Season has been selected by bestselling author Dennis Lehane as the first pick for his new line of books at HarperCollins.

Men We Reaped: A Memoir by Jesmyn Ward

“We saw the lightning and that was the guns; and then we heard the thunder and that was the big guns; and then we heard the rain falling and that was the blood falling; and when we came to get in the crops, it was dead men that we reaped.” — Harriet Tubman

In five years, Jesmyn Ward lost five young men in her life — to drugs, accidents, suicide, and the bad luck that can follow people who live in poverty, particularly black men. Dealing with these losses, one after another, made Jesmyn ask the question: Why? And as she began to write about the experience of living through all the dying, she realized the truth — and it took her breath away. Her brother and her friends all died because of who they were and where they were from, because they lived with a history of racism and economic struggle that fostered drug addiction and the dissolution of family and relationships. Jesmyn says the answer was so obvious she felt stupid for not seeing it. But it nagged at her until she knew she had to write about her community, to write their stories and her own.

Jesmyn grew up in poverty in rural Mississippi. She writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the men who can do no right and the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent. She bravely tells her story, revisiting the agonizing losses of her only brother and her friends. As the sole member of her family to leave home and pursue higher education, she writes about this parallel American universe with the objectivity distance provides and the intimacy of utter familiarity. A brutal world rendered beautifully, Jesmyn Ward’s memoir will sit comfortably alongside Edwidge Danticat’s Brother, I’m Dying, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Murder at Cape Three Points by Kwei Quartey

Accra’s hotshot Detective Inspector Darko Dawson returns to solve a complex mystery that will take him out of the city to the beautiful coasts of Ghana, where a grim double-murder seems to have larger political implications.

At Cape Three Points on the beautiful Ghanaian coast, a canoe washes up at an oil rig site. The two bodies in the canoe — who turn out to be a prominent, wealthy, middle-aged married couple — have obviously been murdered; the way Mr. Smith-Aidoo has been gruesomely decapitated suggests the killer was trying to send a specific message — but what, and to whom, is a mystery. The Smith-Aidoos, pillars in their community, are mourned by everyone, but especially by their niece Sapphire, a successful pediatric surgeon in Ghana’s capital, Accra. She is not happy that months have passed since the murder and the rural police have made no headway.

When the Ghanaian federal police finally agree to get involved, Detective Inspector Darko Dawson of the Accra police force is sent out to Cape Three Points to investigate. Pretty as the coast is, he is not happy to be sent away from his wife and two sons, the younger of whom is recovering from a heart operation. And the more he learns about the case, the more convoluted and dangerous it becomes. Three Points has long been inhabited by tribal villages of subsistence fishers, but real estate entrepreneurs and wealthy oil companies have been trying to bribe the tribes to move out. Dawson roots out a host of motives for murder, ranging from personal vendettas to corporate conspiracies.

The Secret History of Las Vegas: A Novel by Chris Abani



Paperback
January 7, 2014
Penguin Books
Before he can retire, Las Vegas detective Salazar is determined to solve a recent spate of murders. When he encounters a pair of conjoined twins with a container of blood near their car, he’s sure he has apprehended the killers, and enlists the help of Dr. Sunil Singh, a South African transplant who specializes in the study of psychopaths. As Sunil tries to crack the twins, the implications of his research grow darker. Haunted by his betrayal of loved ones back home during apartheid, he seeks solace in the love of Asia, a prostitute with hopes of escaping that life. But Sunil’s own troubled past is fast on his heels in the form of a would-be assassin.

Suspenseful through the last page, The Secret History of Las Vegas is Chris Abani‘s most accomplished work to date, with his trademark visionary prose and a striking compassion for the inner lives of outsiders.

Anybody’s Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young



Paperback
October 27, 2013
Goldman House Publishing
Is Anybody’s Daughter Ever Safe? Based on the real-life horrors faced by thousands of girls, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young takes readers deep inside the disturbing world of child sex trafficking in a fast-paced thriller that educates as much as it entertains. Thirteen-year-old Brianna Walker is ecstatic. She’s about to sneak off to meet her first real boyfriend — a boyfriend she met on Facebook. But Brianna is in for a horrifying surprise because her boyfriend doesn’t exist. Instead, Brianna unwittingly becomes the captive of a ring of drug dealers — turned-human traffickers who prey on lonely girls from dysfunctional homes.

But they’ve made a big mistake in targeting Brianna because she doesn’t meet either of those criteria. Brianna’s Uncle Dre, a man with his own criminal past, is determined to find the niece who is more like a daughter to him. Rather than sit back and rely on police to bring Brianna home, Dre scours the dark corners of Los Angeles looking for her. He is stunned to learn that the trafficking of children isn’t just happening in other countries. It’s occurring at epidemic levels right in his own backyard. Dre is not alone in his desperate search. Loretha Johnson knows this world well. A social worker who previously lived “the life,” Loretha now dedicates her time to saving as many young girls as she can find. She turns out to be an invaluable resource for Dre, who ultimately gets a lead on The Shepherd, a mastermind in the trafficking world whose every move is fueled by ego and greed. Dre vows to bring his reign of terror to an end, even if he has to break the law to do it.

While Brianna makes a futile effort to thwart her captors, Dre is getting closer and closer to finding her. The woman he loves, attorney Angela Evans, knows the dangers faced by sexually exploited children because she represents them in juvenile court. Angela lends her moral support and, eventually, an important clue to Brianna’s whereabouts. As he races against the clock, Dre ultimately comes up with a daring plan — one that puts many lives in danger, including his own. But will he find Brianna before it’s too late?

Crescendo…A Lou Crasher Mystery



Paperback
April 7, 2013
Crescendo is my debut action suspense novel. Take a journeyman drummer, toss in hot dames, wisecracks and a little booze and what do you get? Lou Crasher; the greatest drumming private eye that may not live to see another day!

Lou works at rehearsal studio in Hollywood. It’s business as usual until she, Angela walks in. Lou’s cool goes out the window. When Angela’s musical equipment gets stolen Lou volunteers to get it back. Get the gear, get the girl, Lou thinks. Before he knows it Lou is up to his ears in the P.I. business. An innocent search for equipment leads Lou into a world of armed robberies, vicious jack russell terriers, seductive retired exotic dancers and more.

Crescendo is climatic piece of a song in music and it is also the first rock n’ roll romp in the Lou Crasher series. It is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble online, Pages bookstore in Manhattan Beach and Eso Won Books in Leimert Park Los Angeles.

Crescendo by Jonathan J. Brown

Luther: The Calling by Neil Cross




Touchstone
9/4/12
A brilliant crime novel and prequel to the acclaimed BBC series by the show’s creator and sole writer

Meet Detective Chief Inspector John Luther. He’s a murder detective with an extraordinary case-clearance rate. He’s obsessive, instinctive, and intense. Nobody who ever stood at his side has a bad word to say about him. And yet there are rumors that Luther is bad—not corrupt, not on the take, but tormented. After years of chasing the most depraved criminals in London’s gritty underworld, he seethes with a hidden fury that at times he can barely control. Sometimes it sends him to the brink of madness, making him do things any other detective wouldn’t and shouldn’t do.

Luther: The Calling, the first in a new series of novels featuring DCI John Luther, takes us into Luther’s past and into his mind. It is the story of the serial killer case that tore his personal and professional relationships apart and propelled him over the precipice—beyond fury, beyond vengeance, all the way to the other side of the law. Is Luther a force for good or a man hell-bent on self-destruction? Edgar Award–winning writer Neil Cross has created one of the most compelling characters in modern crime fiction. Luther: The Calling is a compulsively readable novel by the writer hailed by The Guardian as “Britain’s own Stephen King.”

Black Pulp

BLACK PULP is a collection of stories featuring characters of African origin, or descent, in stories that run the gamut of genre fiction! A concept developed by noted crime novelist Gary Phillips, BLACK PULP brings bestselling authors Walter Mosley and Joe R. Lansdale, Gary Phillips, Charles R. Saunders, Derrick Ferguson, D. Alan Lewis, Christopher Chambers, Mel Odom, Kimberly Richardson, Ron Fortier, Michael A. Gonzales, Gar Anthony Haywood, and Tommy Hancock together to craft adventure tales, mysteries, and more, all with black characters at the forefront!

“Literature for the masses kindled the imagination and used our reading skills so that we could regale ourselves in the cold chambers of alienation and poverty. We could become Doc Savage or The Shadow, Conan the Barbarian or the brooding King Kull and make a difference in a world definitely gone wrong.”
Walter Mosley from his introduction.

Between these covers are 12 tales of action, adventure, and thrills featuring heroes and heroines of darker hues that will appeal to audiences everywhere! BLACK PULP! From Pro Se Productions!

Black Pulp
Walter Mosley (Author), Christopher Chambers (Author), Michael Gonzales (Author), Gar Anthony Haywood (Author), Ron Fortier (Author), Joe R. Lansdale (Author), Gary Phillips (Author), Mel Odom (Author), Tommy Hancock (Author), D. Alan Lewis (Author), Derrick Ferguson (Author), Kimberly Richardson (Author), Charles R. Saunders (Author)
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
April 17, 2013
Paperback

Article – Black Pulp Fictions: Yesterday and Today by Gary Phillips

A web article looking back on the origins of black crime fiction.

When I was a teenager growing up in South Central Los Angeles in the ‘70s, there was a type of paperback novel you couldn’t find at the B. Dalton or Martindale’s. You found these books on the spinner rack in drugstores and bus station newsstands, and even in grocery stories. They had titles like Eldorado Red, Trick Baby, and Death for Hire. This was crime fiction with black protagonists and anti-heroes published by the L.A. based, white owned Holloway House whose specialty, in their words, was being “the world’s largest publisher of black experience paperbacks.”

It was not the black experience my librarian mother had introduced me to in the pages of Langston Hughes and Anne Perry, but it did reflect an undercurrent arising out of the tumult of the Black Power and Civil Rights era. Not to say that the aforementioned Eldorado Red—about heisters who take down a numbers house, written by former pimp and ongoing heroin addict Donald Goines—was full of role models to be emulated. But the energy that came out of those movements, the desire to take it to the man, such sentiment fueled in part the works of Goines and his Holloway House cohorts Roland Jefferson (The School on 103rd Street), Robert Beck, and Joe Nazel.

Read more at
http://www.criminalelement.com/blogs/2013/03/black-pulp-fictions-gary-phillips-nelson-george-donald-goines-chester-himes-robert-beck-joe-nazel

Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery by Walter Mosley





Easy Rawlins is back (almost literally from the dead after the car wreck that ended Blonde Faith, his last outing) and cruising the hippified streets of the Sunset Strip circa 1967, in search of a young black man who has gone missing — and maybe of his own rebirth.

Walter Mosley burst on the literary scene in 1990 with Devil in a Blue Dress (recently named one of the L.A. Times’s best novels about L.A.), the first Easy Rawlins mystery, a combustible and irresistible mixture of Raymond Chandler and Richard Wright that future president Bill Clinton picked up on, as did hundreds of thousands of other readers. Eleven books later, Easy Rawlins is one of the small handful of private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called immortal. So it is great news on every front that this major figure’s new mystery features the return of his signature and most resonant character.

Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery
Walter Mosley
Doubleday
Available May 14, 2013
Kindle Edition

Laws of Depravity by Eriq La Salle

In a 30-year murder spree, the Martyr Maker has left behind a legacy of torture and fear: 36 clergymen butchered in twisted scenes reflecting the martyrdom of the twelve Apostles. The same M.O. — Twelve murders. Every ten years. All of the victims preachers and priests. And now, the Martyr Maker is back.

The recent murder of a local priest signals the beginning of another three-week kill cycle. It falls to NYPD detectives Quincy Cavanaugh and Phee Freeman and FBI agent Janet Maclin to catch the killer even though dark family secrets, the need for revenge, and hidden agendas frustrate the team at every turn. If they stand any chance of stopping the relentless serial killer, they each must first confront their own depravities that threaten to destroy them as readily as the monster they are chasing.

This is the first in a trilogy.

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Available June 1, 2012 in Paperback

Broken Dignity by Michael J. Lando

How do you rebuild a normal life when the world refuses to forget who you were? For Cristal Caprice, it seems impossible.

It took nearly a decade for Cristal to escape the control of a sadistic tyrant named Mason, who refused to let her leave the sex industry alive. Three years later, Cristal re-emerges with a new identity in a new home, the small town of Thornwood. There, her new neighbors and friends know her only as Bianca Nubreze.

Struggling to come to terms with her shameful past and adapt to a new life, Bianca isolates herself from the world and slowly sinks into a deep depression. As she teeters on the brink of suicide, Bianca finds acceptance and optimism in a Christian evangelist named Robyn. Even so, her new found hope in life is short-lived as her secret is exposed. Revelations about her past involvement with US Congressman Adrian Reese ignite a national media scandal, and her new life is turned inside out overnight.

With her true identity and whereabouts exposed, Bianca becomes the town’s pariah and is once again relentlessly hunted by Mason. As her life spirals out of control, her only hope for redemption lies in her new found faith in God, Robyn, and a shrewd political strategist named Tamara who will do whatever it takes to protect Congressman Reese’s career … at any cost.

Monkology: 15 Stories from the World of Private Eye Ivan Monk by Gary Phillips

In this collection you’ll encounter starry-eyed sinners, street corner revolutionaries, Hollywood hustlers, over-heated politicians, right-wing a**holes, a ghost or two, cavorting cops, architects with issues, and a little old lady with a popgun — all out to make their mark in the city of dreams and despair.

Monkology: 15 Stories from the World of Private Eye Ivan Monk
Gary Phillips
Rare Bird Books
August 14, 2012
Paperback

A Cold Piece by Ni’cola Mitchell

Lisa Oliver had it all. A beautiful home, luxury cars, a lavish lifestyle, and a wonderful husband Anthony who loved and adored her until…. That dreaded morning when her perfect life spiraled into extinction, right before her eyes. After hiring a private investigator, Anthony learns about her dark hidden secrets, and comes up with a plan to get away from this evil seductress.

Serving her with divorce papers after a passionate morning sexapade, Lisa is on wits end because Anthony would not give her a reason and shut her out of his life completely. Solitude makes Lisa go crazy and is on a rampage to get her man back — at any cost. After two years Anthony has gone on with his life, but everything changes when everyone around him comes up missing, hurt, or dead.

From the pen of award winning, bestselling author Ni’cola Mitchell comes a cold, gritty tale that takes you into the mind of a woman that has lost everything and there is only one to blame. This suspenseful thriller will remind you of a cross between Obsessed, Single White Female and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.

NCM Publishing
March 31, 2012
Paperback

Blood & Tacos #1

There was a time when paperback racks were full of men’s adventure series. Next to the Louis L’Amours, one could find the adventures of The Executioner, the Destroyer, the Death Merchant, and many more action heroes that were hell-bent on bringing America back from the brink. That time was the 1970s & ’80s. A bygone era filled with wide-eyed innocence and mustaches.

Those stories are back! The new quarterly magazine Blood & Tacos is bringing back the action, the fun, and the adventure. Also, the mustaches.

In each issue of Blood & Tacos, some of today’s hottest crime writers will choose an era and create a new pulp hero and deliver a brand-new adventure. Each issue will include 5-6 stories featuring action-packed mayhem written in the style of that bygone era. The stories might not always be politically correct, but whether satire or homage, they will deliver on every page. Fast and fun, action and adventure, Blood & Tacos.

Featuring stories by Gary Phillips (“The Silencer Strikes”, with a nod to Holloway House), Matthew C. Funk, Johnny Shaw, Cameron Ashley and other talented writers.

If the stories weren’t enough, Blood & Tacos will also feature fine pulpy art, reviews of some of the fine (and not so fine) novels from the same period, and maybe even a recipe or two.

So enjoy this serving of Blood & Tacos. And remember, if it’s too cheesy, it’s a quesadilla.

***

Blood & Tacos is the brainchild of Johnny Shaw, screenwriter and author of the novel Dove Season: A Jimmy Veeder Fiasco. When he’s not writing or teaching, he is usually in an undisclosed warzone working as the demolitions expert in the mercenary group, The Bushmasters. He also enjoys badminton. His website can be found at Johnnyshaw.net. Or follow him on Twitter at @BloodandTacos.

Blood & Tacos is published by Creative Guy Publishing, the company that brought you such fine books as Amityville House of Pancakes (Vols 1-3), Stays Crunchy in Milk, Installing Linux on a Dead Badger, Brine, and many others with odd titles but excellent stories.

Kitty-Kitty, Bang-Bang: A Novel (Zane Presents) by Cairo

With murder, mayhem and hot sex, Kitty-Kitty, Bang-Bang is a wickedly delicious sequel to The Kat Trap.

It was her cutthroat ambition and ruthlessness that got Katrina — or Kat for short, out of the hood and on top of her game. Once a murderer on a seductive prowl with two missions in mind — satisfying her insatiable libido and killing unsuspecting marks — Katrina has lain down her guns. Having once used her alluring charm and exotic beauty to lure men to their deaths, Katrina has had a change of heart.

She’s settled for a simpler life and traveling, partying, and shopping have become her only guilty pleasures. In addition, she’s avoiding relationships and men like the plague. For her, life couldn’t be any sweeter — at least that’s what she wants to believe.

But, when drama rears its ugly head, Katrina returns with a vengeance. There’s the issue of confronting her ex-friend who she learned had slept with an old boyfriend. Then there are her three aunts — who are angry with how she treated her mother. And now she has to face her family, her demons, and the woman behind them — reopening old wounds, trying to mend new ones. Ultimately Kat has a new mission: to find the man behind her mother’s death and serve him up a dish of her own justice the only way she knows how — with a bullet to his head.

Kitty-Kitty, Bang-Bang: A Novel (Zane Presents) by Cairo
Strebor Books
November 1, 2011 Paperback

In this sexy, raw debut novel, a vivacious young murderess seduces her unsuspecting victims to their own deaths. . . .

Katrina is a self-proclaimed hood goddess. With her razor-sharp attitude, alluring charm, and exotic beauty, she is willing to do whatever it takes to climb — or kill — her way out of the hood. With two bodies already on her hands by the age of twenty, she gets the opportunity of a lifetime when a mysterious man invites her to be the first female killer on his multimillion-dollar team of professional assassins.

Kat tempts her victims with her irresistible charm, but she cannot resist the rush that satisfies her hungry libido with each murder and makes her crave more and more power. Disturbingly witty and devilishly enticing, The Kat Trap lures readers into a deliciously cutthroat criminal world of money, glamour, and ultimate self-destruction.

The Kat Trap: A Novel (Zane Presents) by Cairo
Strebor Books
July 26, 2011
Mass Market Paperback

Bourgeois (AKA) Boojee (Detective Honey Sinclair) by Alan Cramer



Detective Honey Sinclair is back. A prominent doctor has been killed in an apparent home invasion, but Honey’s street instincts tell her there’s more to the story than what’s being told. The only witness to the crime is the doctor’s beautiful wife…

Doniece Mowbe wants out of her marriage. But since her husband made her sign a prenuptial, there’s only one way to get rid of the man and keep the money. She plans the perfect murder. And the only cop who suspects she did it is on the verge of being fired.

December 3, 2011
Kindle Edition

Barnes&Noble.com

Blair Walker’s Darryl Billups Mystery Series

 

Up Jumped the Devil (Darryl Billups Mystery) by Blair S. Walker
A five-year veteran of the Baltimore Herald’s police beat, Darryl Billups is one of the paper’s top reporters. He earned the distinction the hard way, combining a nose for news, innate writing ability, and the timeless art of persuasion. Never one to shy away from the dangers of the job, he has chronicled the trajectories of some of Baltimore’s most compelling — and lethal — characters. So when an anonymous source tips him off to a domestic terrorist plot to bomb the NAACP’s national headquarters, Darryl knows this story could be the biggest of his career. But what he soon comes to realize is that though his dogged pursuit of the truth may make his name, it could also cost him his life. Complicating matters is Darryl’s deepening affection for Yolanda and Jamal, a young mother and son he has taken under his wing to shield them from domestic abuse. As a veteran journalist, he knows better than to insert himself into a story, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. Up Jumped the Devil weaves a thrilling mixture of suspense, romance, and comedy, expertly juggled by a memorable new hero for fans of contemporary detective fiction.
 
Hidden in Plain View (Darryl Billups Mysteries) by Blair S. Walker
In the second installment of Blair S. Walker‘s Darryl Billups series, the intrepid reporter has left his blue-collar Baltimore roots for a new gig in New York. But life in the big city isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Luckily for Darryl, the Baltimore Herald is only too happy to welcome its star reporter back home, as are Darryl’s girlfriend Yolanda and her young son Jamal. Darryl is promoted to editor, but before long is itching to return to his former crime beat. He gets his chance when the nude bodies of African-American professionals begin turning up around town, their faces ominously marked with Confederate-flag decals. At a loss for suspects, homicide detective Phillip Gardner calls on his old friend Darryl for help unraveling the case. Darryl eagerly reconnects with Baltimore’s seedy underbelly and is soon hot on the trail of a killer who will transform his notions about gender, race, and the workings of the criminal mind. To break this story, Darryl must learn to look at the world in a totally different way — or become the killer’s most high-profile victim yet!
 
Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes (A Darryl Billups Mystery) by Blair S. Walker
Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes is the third outing for intrepid African-American newspaper reporter Darryl Billups, whose previous escapades found him foiling a domestic terrorism plot and unmasking a cunning serial killer. In what just may be his biggest story yet, Darryl is called to cover a multiple homicide at a Baltimore storage facility. Authorities suspect the carnage is somehow linked to the contents of storage unit 25, where a young woman’s mummified body — clad in bloodstained lingerie and opulent platinum-and-diamond jewelry — was recently discovered. The fact that someone was willing to risk the lives of five innocent people following the corpse’s discovery tells Darryl that he’s on to something big — and that’s before the body mysteriously disappears from the medical examiner’s office. Determined to find the truth, he joins forces with a hard-nosed female detective. Together they uncover a decades-old rivalry that reaches the highest levels of Baltimore politics. Novelist Blair S. Walker has been praised by USA Today for his “keen knack for entertaining,” and Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes doesn’t disappoint!

Our Man in the Dark: A Novel by Rashad Harrison

A stunning debut historical noir novel about a worker in the civil rights movement who became an informant for the FBI during the months leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Feeling underappreciated and overlooked, John Estem, a bookkeeper for Dr. King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), steals ten thousand dollars from the organization. Originally planning to use the money to seed a new civil rights initiative in Chicago, he squanders the stolen funds.

To the bookkeeper’s dismay, the FBI has been keeping close tabs on Dr. King and his fellow activists — including Estem — for years. FBI agents tell Estem that it is his duty, as an American and as a civil rights supporter, to protect the SCLC from communist infiltration. The FBI offers Estem a stipend, but in case he has any thoughts about refusing the assignment, they also warn him that they know about the stolen money.

Playing informant empowers Estem, but he soon learns that his job is not simply to relay information on the organization. Once the FBI discovers evidence of King’s sexual infidelities, they set out to confirm the facts to undermine King’s credibility as a moral leader and bring down the movement. This timely novel comes in light of recent revelations that government informants had infiltrated numerous black movement organizations. With historical facts at the core of Our Man in the Dark, Harrison uses real life as a great inspiration for his drama-filled art.