Aug 28, 2007

The Daughters of Juárez

Crime fiction often leads to a disproportionate interest in real crime. We look for crimes in the papers. We watch the news carefully. We look for both low crime and high misdemeanors. In 1995 I was introduced to the crimes in Juárez by my nightly news. The publicity quickly died. The crime grew. A group of people continue to follow those crimes and the political and economical circumstances that allow this blight to continue.

For the few of you who may not know what I’m speaking of, The desert of Juárez holds a secret. For the last 15 years it has become the de facto graveyard for hundreds of dead girls. Ranging in age from very young into their early twenties these feminine corpses are screaming to be heard but few are listening. 15 years later the danger to any female who finds herself alone in the desert is just as great as it was when the first bodies were discovered in 1993.

There are theories of the crime and there have been investigations into the crime. People have been convicted of the crimes. The crimes continue.

When I received a copy of the new true crime tale THE DAUGHTERS OF JUÁREZ I dove right in. Written by Univision reporter Teresa Rodriguez, I expected a thoughtful and fact checked accounting of the history of El Paso’s sister city. What I got was much more. It is rare to read a true crime book that doesn’t rely on the writer’s supposition of facts. Rodriguez avoids this at all costs. She introduces us to the victims families, frustrated authorities and neighborhoods where people living in abstract poverty are doing their best to look out for one another. She relays interviews she’s conducted with people convicted of some of these crimes. She reports on forensics and government policies. She speaks of the socio-economical environment. Reports of traditional values held by the residents of Juárez . What she does with fact is BRING HOME THE HORROR OF THESE CRIMES.

By avoiding theory of the crime in her presentation Rodriguez maintains a credibility in this book that I rarely find in “true crime” novels. Instead she gives those of us living on this side of the border an insight into one of the most terrifying stories of our age. If a body falls in the desert will anyone hear it cry?

It is my hope that Rodriguez’s book will command the attention of two nations. For we need to listen to the cries. With the official death toll at over 450, continued silence is unacceptable.

I recommend this book to all who care about the state of our world.


Aug 25, 2007

The Crimespree Bouchercon Party 2007

Hello Everyone,
E-mail invites have gone out but just in case Crimespree missed you or your E-mail doesn't care for invitations sent out en masse here it is. We've scheduled the event so that everyone can attend the Bouchercon Guest of Honor event at eight p.m.
Speaking of Guests of Honor, we will be giving out the annual Crimespree Awards at the party and we're pleased to say that all but one of our award winners will be in attendance. This years award winners are

Best Book of 2006
Sean Doolittle - THE CLEANUP

Best Ken Bruen Book of the Year

Best Continuing Series
Lee Child-Jack Reacher Series

Crimespree Contributor of the Year- Anthony Rainone

& with a drum roll

when Crimespree created the Reacher Award it's intent was to honor an author who seemed to proportionately give back to the community more and more even as their sales increased. Whether Ms. Harris is giving advice to a new writer, encouraging a first time author, catching up with folks she's known for the twenty years she's been in this business, signing an autograph, or through the books themselves enriching the life of a single reader there is no doubt she gives back many times every day. We are happy to add Charlaine's name to the two who have gone before (Lee Child & Michael Connelly). In mystery there are many special people and Charlaine Harris is and individual who teaches the rest of us through her actions and words every day.

Open the invite in a seperate window or tab to see it full size.

Aug 23, 2007

Don Bruns - Stuff To Die For

Don Bruns is someone we met on the convention circuit. I beleive it was first at Magna Cum Murder in Muncie Indiana when we first spent some time with Don. He's funny, he's a musician and he just damn interesting to talk to.

After the con I read
Barbados Heat. I loved it. A great book featuring music journalist Mike Seaver looking into the death of a murdered Senator who has become a crusader against certain musciians and thier lyrics. Pure fun.

Don followed this up with
Jamaica Blue, another St Martins book with Mike Seaver. This time Mike is in Jamaica and gets caught up in a true mystery steeped in Reggae. Another truly great book which I reviewed when it came out.

Book three in the series came out from Oceanview Publishing, a really nice independant publishing house.
South Beach Shakedown was another terrific book and Don kept getting better and better.

Don has now just sarted a new series and the first books is a real knockout.
Stuff To Die For sees two slackers named James Lessor and Skip Moore trying to improve their lot in life. After a surprise windfall James buys a truck and they go in to business for themselves moving people and their stuff. As fate would have it their luck holds true and they get caught up in a real nightmare when they discover a bloody finger in with the stuff they are moving on their first job. The peolple who removed said finger aren't too far behind.
Bruns writing has a very smooth natural flow and is a real pleasure to read.

Don's website has all sorts of fun stuff for his readers and you can go there from here:Official Don Bruns Website

Aug 21, 2007

Another Comic Writing Mystery Author

Last year at Bouchercon, The World Mystery Convention I moderated a panel of mystery writers who also write comics. David Morrell, Denise Mina, Gary Phillips and Max Allan Collins.
During the course of the panel the question of who else might do comics and I said that DUANE SWIERCZYNSKI would be perfect.

Moon Knight Annual #1
Pencils by JEFTE PAOLO

Some people come to New York City looking for a knight in shining armor. Or just a warm body who can help you through the lonely hours. Be careful what you look for. Hot crime novelist Duane Swierczynski (“The Blonde”) and Jefte Paolo bring you the story of three women whose lives intersect in strange and deadly ways, two predators who stalk the city streets at night, and one shock ending you won’t see coming. No matter how many bad dates you’ve had.

Duane also has a few other things coming down the line from Marvel as well.
Duane is an incredible writer and I think he is going to be a huge name. Any one who has not read him yet should check out THE BLONDE coming out in paperback. or his first two books SECRET DEAD MEN or WHEELMAN.

Duane talks about it on his very own blog: Secret Dead Blog

Aug 19, 2007

Atticus Kodiak is Back


Greg Rucka

August 28th, 2007


Greg Rucka’s seminal hero, Atticus Kodiak has been THE action hero in thrillers for over a decade. Kodiak took the mantle from such characters as Smiley and Bourne at the pen of one of fiction’s finest storytellers with stunning detachment. He moved the traditional intelligent thriller nonchalantly from the government clutches to the private sector while preserving all the traditional thriller hero’s internal conflict, natural abilities and stealthy resolve.

With PATRIOT ACTS Rucka returns to a world where the clandestine meets up in a web of private business and big government. The novel begins in Upstate New York, a deadly situation that soon goes terribly wrong for Kodiak and his team. An insider gives them up and Kodiak and the formidable “Drama” wait and train patiently to exact their revenge. The op, when begun, is “must read book”. Set throughout the world and in many different U.S. locations, PATRIOT ACTS is a Global thriller. Rucka is so grounded in presention of place, that you will travel with Kodiak from Washington state to Washington D.C. wishing you'd packed a suitcase.

What Rucka continues to do with Kodiak is present top notch plots with a flawed character you cannot dislike. The very fact that Kodiak questions his own motivations and wonders where the line between right and wrong is drawn makes this character highly sympathetic. The fact that Rucka builds all of his characters without taking many breaks in the action of the story and even fewer in the dialog makes PATRIOT ACTS one of the year’s most visual books.

Living in a world of paid assassins and financial privilege, being in love, and demanding vengeance for the doomed are classic thriller points that Rucka and Kodiak stoke with new flames. Intelligent, frightening and written in many shades of gray, PATRIOT GAMES will have you wondering where the moral line and public good meet. Rucka will leave you waiting for the next chapter in his epic and smart tale.

Ruth Jordan

Rarely does Crimespree post reviews of new books on our website before they make the magazine. The strength of this novel inspired me to do so. Rucka is a compelling writer whose work in prose benefits greatly from his work with the graphic novel and visa-versa. No one writing today has quite the same style or visual awareness of how words can paint the story and propel it forward with a breathtaking pace. Descriptive paragraphs can indeed be hidden in action. Characters can be refined with a simple task and defined within dialog. When Rucka writes he uses all of the tools a writer has at his disposal; that he does it with the equivalent of an illusionist's slight of hand makes his books a form of magic. Sparse and lean and full of muscle mass, Rucka's work is Novel on steroids. On Sale everywhere August 28th!

Greg Rucka’s Website

Aug 16, 2007

New Anthology - TALES OF ZORRO

This last week end while we were in CHicago at Wizard World Comic Convention we met the people at Moonstone Publishing.

Here's a link to my rite up on the weekend: Central Comic Zone

A really nice crew of folks and they are also publishing some really cool stuff. They are doing some comics of some of the great pup characters, they are doing Kolchak novels and comics and Buckaroo Banzai as well.

Here's a press release for the latest anthology from Moonstone featuring Zorro. They've got some great people in here.
Tales of Zorro
Edited by Richard Dean Starr
Written by: Isabel Allende, Max Allan Collins, Peter David, Loren D. Estleman
Interior Art: Ruben Procopio
Cover Art: Douglas Klauba
288pgs, b/w, Squarebound, 6”x9”, $16.95
LTD ed. HC = $129.99
10 digit: 1-933076-31-3
13 digit: 978-1-933076-31-7

Moonstone Books is proud to present Tales of Zorro, a brand-new anthology featuring eighteen tales of the fox--the first collection of original Zorro short fiction ever published!
Including the work of: Isabel Allende, Max Allan Collins, Greg Cox, A.C. Crispin, Peter David, Loren D. Estleman, Ed Gorman Nancy Holder, Guy Williams, Jr., Jan Adkins, Robin Wayne Bailey, Mike Bullock, Robert Greenberger Tim Lasiuta, Jeff Mariotte, Elizabeth Massie, Robert Morrish, Kathleen O’Malley, Andy Mangels, Michael A. Martin, and Jean Schanberger.
With stunning cover artwork by Spectrum award-winner Douglas Klauba and original interior illustrations by legendary Disney animator and sculptor Ruben Procopio!

With the success of the recent Antonio Banderas films, the bestselling Isabel Allende novel, and the hit television series on Telemundo, Zorro continues to be one of the most popular and enduring heroes of the twentieth-century.

**Available in both a trade paperback and special numbered hardcover limited edition signed by the contributors AND with a new cover by legendary Sherlock Holmes and Peter Pan illustrator Sergio Martinez!

Moonstone can be found on line here: Moonstone

Aug 14, 2007

A Hero's Life: Raul Hilberg

I still remember coming out of Schindler's List with my father a decade ago. "Well, what did you think?" And strangely we both agreed, although a well done movie, it is, in my opinion, and in truth a little too Capra-esque to ever be sited as the definitive movie on "the Holocaust". Shoah belongs to Peckinpah. Maybe Scorsece. Or if you get right down to the bones it belongs to a Jerry Bruckenheimer or a Michael Bay (the later 2 renowned for their formulaic style). In a world where many refuse to look at the documented truths of the events occurring in Europe during the WWII it is great that Hollywood and America embraced Spielberg's opus. It was just a little too romantic.... a little too heroic to tell the story of THE DESTRUCTION OF THE EUROPEAN JEWS.
I hope all who stop here will indulge me a moment. I'd like to share a few words about maybe the smartest man I ever knew and absolutely one of the bravest. Raul Hilberg was one of the most important political scientists of the second half of the 20th century. He died in his home last week but he left a past many who stop at Crimespree will appreciate.

I have many heroes in my life. Countless people who have, with words of fiction, written truths that have stunned me, plots that have amazed me and detail that inspires every time out. Another group have written Entertainments that have distressed, amused and indulged me.

1945: At the age of 20 a young American soldier stationed in Europe read many of Hitler's papers. He began to collect information.
1961: when THE DESTRUCTION OF THE EUROPEAN JEWS was released the Holocaust had been investigated not as the work of a few evil people but as the mechanizations of a society to systematically make the murder of millions of people possible. For the first time.If you haven't read this book I suggest that you do.

You can google Hilberg's name this week and find 1,000 obituaries citing him as the Father of Holocaust research. Many state that this tome was his master achievement. I would say that that is wrong. When the work was released it was not well received by the academic society here in the States and the book has only recently been available in Israel. Hilberg's greatest contribution was that he continued to research this event and write definitive essays, papers and books until his reality could not be questioned. For a glimpse of his influence I suggest What kind of God? : Essays in honor of Richard L. Rubenstein

I remember Raul (Professor Hilberg to me) as a somewhat gruff man, with an uncanny likeness to Edward G. Robinson (minus the cigar). He also periodically produced the heartiest laugh I've ever heard. He gave me an early belief in Absolute Truth and the strength of words to tell the truth. He gave the world a history that cannot be ignored and he did it with timetables and work schedules. I'll leave you with a quote I've lifted from sign and sight from the man himself. A statement that explains why he continued to fight the good fight and what he hopes humanity can learn from his life's work And I'll say goodnight to a hero.

Hilberg, for his part, left no doubt about the significance of his topic for human history. "A basic drive had appeared among Western nations, set free by their machines. From this moment onwards, the underlying preconditions of our civilization and culture no longer reigned supreme, because although the events themselves have past, the phenomenon as such remains." Hilberg stressed this drive, but above all his stress lay on machines: "Before the advent of the 20th century and its technology, minds bent on destruction could not have come up with the Nazi agenda, even in their wildest dreams. Past administrators simply didn't have the means. They lacked today's communication network, and had no access to automatic weapons or highly toxic poisonous gases. Tomorrow's bureaucrat would not have this problem; he is better equipped than the German Nazis. Killing is no longer as difficult as it once was." That is Hilberg's terribly sober lesson for the future. It's hard to endure, but it bears a clue to the hardship and late success of this scholar's career: Killing is no longer as difficult as it was.

Aug 10, 2007

100 Bullets - Building to big finish

Brian Azzarello has been doing such an amazing job on this series. Coming into the finale thigs are really picking up speed.

The latest trade collection is out, volume 11 called ONCE UPON A CRIME. The minutemen are all back and the members of The Trust is in a scramble to take charge. Agent Graves has been putting together the plan for this confrontation for a while and it's all coming to a head. People are picking sides and watching thier backs gearing up for what coming. This volume has a lot of action and almost all the players are here. Loose ends are being tied up, and the minutemen are getting ready for a full blown war.

Azzarello has created such a wealth of characters and done such a great job developing them that it's hard not to feel invested in each and everyone. But this being the kind of tale that it is, people will die, and I'm sure some unexpected things will happen. This is addictive and once you start reading 100 Bullets it's impossible not to keep reading.

Eduardo Risso has created a real signature look for the books and his work here is spectacular. You feel the heat in the desert, the bleakness inthe warehouses.

If you haven't read this series, you should really pick it up. All the trade collections are available and I suggest you pick up #1 and get into it now.

Aug 7, 2007

More Fables Please

I believe that humans are capable of many things, great things, things no one would expect. Bill Willingham’s series for Vertigo, FABLES, proves that we as humans can achieve great things. I also believe with motivation we can be better, faster, more productive.

This is why I would like to introduce Bill Willingham to RED BULL energy Drink and Rock Star Energy drink. I believe that with enough of these Bill could achieve what my wife suggested and that I would love, FABLES as a weekly series. Having the JACK OF TRADES Spinn off series is a damn good start. It's every bit as fun as the parent series.

Fables: Legends in Exile Trade

There’s a nice rundown here about the series:
  • Fables article on About
    Also. look for a nice piece about it in issue #20 of Crimespree written by my wonderful bride.

    Fables is without a doubt my very favorite comic to read right now. I want more more more.

    So please Bill, Mr. Willingham, I beg you, please drink more coffee, or tea, or red bull. If you need more let me know, we’ll send some. I’m sure there are other fans out there willing to help as well.
  • Aug 3, 2007

    Once Upon A Crime

    Once Upon a Crime in a magic place in Minnesota called Minneapolis two people who love mystery books and each other
    bought a bookstore. Sir Stillwell, one of mysteryland’s favored knights was happy that two such wonderful people would
    run the store he started. Prince Gary and Princess Pat loved running the bookstore. People came from all around to buy
    books, and to sign books and to just spend time with the happy booksellers. After a few years an evil wizard called
    leukemia cast a spell on Prince Gary. But the valiant prince fought back, and with the help of his brother who gave Gary
    some of his magic bone marrow our hero triumphed. All in the land were happy. To celebrate the Prince and Princess
    waited till the fifth anniversary of their buying the book shoppe and got married. Minister Jim who was there to help
    Gary fight the plague sent by the evil wizard was on hand to perform this joyous ceremony. And where did it take place?
    In the book shoppe of course! And true to their second love, an hour later they hosted a signing event!

    Congratulations to two of our favorite people in the world. May all your days be happy and mysterious!