Dec 30, 2008

Ken Bruen Zippo Contest

Win A Ken Bruen Zippo

Ok here's the Deal. The wonderful David Thompson at Busted Flush has sent us a box of these really cool zippos. We are going to give them away if you can answer some questions. We will take all the entries with the right answers and do a drawing for the winners. We want the entries by January 25th. Answers can be found on the Busted Flush Website, the Crimespree Magazine Website, and Ken's Website.
Email the answers to

Good luck.

1) What 6 works are collected in A FIFTH OF BRUEN?

2) Ken has three books co written with which author and what are the names of the books?

3) What is the name of the book with Reed Farrel Coleman coming out this year co written with Ken?

4) According to his bio at Crimespree Reed lives where?

5) What are the names of the two Anthologies from Busted Flush to date?

6) Who did Reed interview in issue 17 of Crimespree?

7) David Thompson also works at a bookstore. Give me the website address of the store.

8)On Ken's website there is an interview linked as "Rattlebag". Who does the interview with Ken?

9) Name two of the authors who gave blurbs for Busted Flush's rerelease of MIAMI PURITY

10) According to Ken's news page what two Sapnish awards did he win?

Ok, that's the lot. Good luck!

Dec 26, 2008

A Favor?

This Christmas Season has been a gift. Full of time spent with friends and family and a fully recovered cat. The Jordans like many cut down on Christmas shopping this year and instead have taken moments to be with people, eat good food and rejoice in just how lucky we are .

I’ve also begun a big project, collecting photos from Bouchercon 2008 and trying to get together a photo album. I realize that I am missing photos of the following and anyone who’s willing to share their fav shots of the following events will be thanked. I either have no photos at all or the final shots have that grainyness to them that no one will mistake for art.

If you are willing to share please go right ahead and e-mail them to me at They are for my private album only and will go no further than the memory book.

Author Without Borders Event (“Meet the Brits”)
The Live Auction
The Sisters in Crime luncheon
The Lippman/Koryta interview
Ruth and Jon with the Anthony
“Book Bag stuffing”
Any Publisher Dinner/Cocktail Party Pix
Any of the wonderful staff in either hotel

I’d also dearly love to have pix of folks off campus and enjoying the sites.

Thanks people and pass the word on if you can,

Dec 22, 2008

Snow Miser - Heat Miser

and the other...

I love these songs. They remind me a little of a song by the Blasters

Mr. Heatmiser Music Video

the original

Snow Miser Song

another remake, this ones not bad

Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - Mr. Heatmiser

remake but cool, or hot as the case may be..

Dec 21, 2008

Companion Books for TV and film

Books about movies and TV

There are obviously a lot of movies and or television based on books. There are also a lot of novelizations of movies and television (some of the best done by Lee Goldberg and Max Allan Collins) But there is a whole other sub set of these types of tie in books. The companion books.

Over the years I’ve picked up a number of these books and enjoyed them. If you are a fan of the show or movie they can really enhance the experience for you. Recently I’ve been sent a number of different books that fall into this category and I’d like to mention them here so fans of the shows may find something they would like to enhance their own experience.

Mark Cotta Vaz
Titan Books

This is obviously for the upcoming Frank Miller directed film The Spirit based on the comics by Will Eisner. The pre release buzz is great and I think the movie will be wonderful, especially for fans of Sin City and the 300. The book is a look at the making of the film, there are production shots, artwork, posters and stills. An introduction by Frank Miller who is a long time Eisner and Spirit fan. It’s clear from this introduction that Miller loves this film and the original work and that he’s given his all to do it justice. The book is broken up into sections discussing things from the cast and characters to the origin of the Spirit. They talk about comic book movies and working on green screen and other production insights. It’s a really interesting inside look at the making of a film and the photos and artwork are wonderful. Fans of noir art will enjoy it just for the look of the book.
Seeing this book before I see the movie has done something else, it’s amped up my excitement for the film. I really can’t wait to see this on a big screen.
Buy The Spirit: The Movie Visual Companion

These next books are companion books for television series. They are official books which means the people responsible for the show signed off on them and in some cases helped put some things together.

Craig Byrne

Sharon Gosling

Kim Moses and Ian Sander

All three of these TV shows are the type that attract a cult following. People who can’t miss an episode and like to debate the finer points of the shows. Smallville is an addictive show, the look and the drama and the super heroics all add to the excitement that builds throughout each season. The Stargate franchise is one of those show that takes the viewer to a different world each week, not unlike Star Trek did back in the day and Sliders among others. Ghost Whisperer has the supernatural angle working for it and an attractive woman in the lead. These show all have in common the fact that they build a mythology to go along with the show, underlying elements that build and grow, hints dropped and picked up later. Things that viewers love.

Smallville Season 7 Companion has a number of nice features. An introduction by new cast member Laura Vandervoort who plays Clarks cousin Kara, and episode guide, a wrap up of the various characters in this season, a feature on the crew involved in the show and few other features that add to the insider feel you get from these books. Plenty of pictures and also some nice trivia boxes along the way.

The Stargate Atlantis companion is similar to Smallville, features on the episodes, an intro to the season which brings people up to speed and character bios. There are also a number of nice articles on the behind the scenes goings on. This is a nice book for fans of the show as it will help fleshout the mythology of the series. And there is a lot of mythology building with each season, the Stargate franchise is a strong one and the writers put a lot of work into the show.The author of this book did the same.

The Ghost Whisperer companion goes a step further than the previous two books. It has the episode guide and character insights with plenty of behind the scenes shots. It also has articles about real life mediums a guide to communicating with ghosts. The book is really outstanding in that it wants to be an additional way for fans to connect with the show and to add to the overall experience. It is also over half original material not just reprinted bios or the episode guides. If you like this show you need to have this book. Kim Moses & Ian Sander are both Executive Producers on Ghost Whisperer, as well as running the official website and creating the award-winning tie-in webisode series Ghost Whisperer: The Other Side.

All these books are from Titan book. They do an awful lot of wonderful titles for fans of the media age and they have a great respect for the subject matter, it’s pretty obvious that they are fans too.

Buy Smallville: The Official Companion Season 7

Buy Stargate Atlantis: The Official Companion Season 4 (Stargate Atlantis (Seasons))

Buy Ghost Whisperer: The Spirit Guide

Dec 20, 2008

Jingle Bells - Christmas - Sex Pistols

And now for the complete other side of the spectrum.

Which begs the question...

What falls between Julie London and the Sex Pistols?

I'd like you for Christmas. Julie London

From Ruth

To: David George and Dennis

Dec 15, 2008

Merry Christmas Baby - The Ramones

Nobody says Merry Christmas like the Ramones

Dec 14, 2008

the 12 pains of christmas

11 days and counting

video is ok but I love the song. I really identify with the lights, we bought a prelit tree...

Dec 13, 2008

Dec 12, 2008

Elvis Presley Santa Claus is Back in Town

oh yeah.....

this one is for Tom, and the bassett hounds.....

I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas

and the original version, though not the video...

Christmas Wrapping

And I think this is the original.

I just love the way this grooves

Dec 4, 2008

Special Holiday Offer

We have a special Holiday Offer to make.

If you get someone a subscription to Crimespree for the holidays we will add an extra issue to your subscription extending it to 7 issues instead of 6.

We will also enter you into a drawing for a Crimespree T-Shirt

And we are also offering a discount on the Crimespree T Shirts, get two for $35, shipping in the US included.

Both of these offers are good till December 31st.

Any questions just shoot off an email to

Nov 26, 2008


The door is closing on 2008. Jon and Ruth have always enjoyed the fact that the year begins to end as we give thanks for what we have. Like many we will spend our tomorrow with Family, eating too much and watching the parade. This year has been an incredible journey. There were friendships formed that will never break, an amazing effort by all who contribute to Crimespree to make up for Ruth’s sabbatical, few health scares in the immediate family, and a new beginning for the country we call home.

The challenges continue but so too, does a climate that is ripe for a new dawn of creativity, learning, and that thing that everyone who reads this site has in common, the written word. For those of you who soldier on writing in the mystery field, we salute you, for those who work in it, god bless (whomever your God may be), and for those who read it…. Thank You.

Thank you to all who spent time with us this year, and an extra big helping of Mashed Potatoes to all who subscribe to the Magazine. You make our lives better every day. On Thanksgiving Day 2008, we will raise a toast and celebrate you all.

Nov 25, 2008

The Exterminators

Exterminators Volumes 4 and 5

Crossfire and Collateral,
Bug Brothers Forever

2008 / Vertigo

Volumes 4 and 5 wrap up this series and while I’m sad to see it go I have to say it ended with a bang and a wallop. The Exterminators has been interesting from the start, weird, sometimes gross and always entertaining. If you’ve read up to this point you know what I’m talking about.

These last two volumes explain why the pest problems have been getting worse and how our gel spraying bug killing heroes deal with it. I guess the trick here is to tell what happens without giving anything away.

Bug want humanity off the earth because they are ruining it, humanity fights back, big battle, lots of stuff blows up and get squashed. There are gangsta drug dealers, corrupted corporate execs, strange Island natives and a literary strip club. Interested yet? How about a huge urban assault hummer crushing a SUV?

There are also a couple stand alone stories that are really fun. I really liked the one that is set on a cruise ship. A brief explanation is given about how 2% of calls are top shelf, jobs that are actually fun. This is supposed to be one, but it turns into a cruise from Hell as an infestation of killer moths (butterflies?) are going to wipe out all the passengers. On the other hand they are almost all degenerates, so would it be a great loss?

Art chores were done by Tony Moore, Ty Templeton, John Lucas and Darick Robertson. Tony Moore is also the genius doing art on The Walking Dead (written by Robert Kirkman)

Simon Oliver has really out done himself on these last two sets of trades and now that I have them all I plan to reread it all in order again. If you haven’t read this yet, get over your fear of bugs and go get all five right now. You won’t regret it.

Oliver also just finished a mini series called Hellblazer presents: Chas, The Knowledge. I recommend it as well.

Nov 20, 2008


So, if all the doomsayers are right in the next twelve months we'll all be out of work, lose our homes and be screwed.
Maybe so, maybe no.

But, the publishing industry is hurting and feeling the crunch.Lay offs are coming, and it could also really hurt some authors we love.

So, to help out I suggest this.

Buy books for gifts this year. It's something almost everyone loves, and you can help support your favorite authors, publishers and bookstores. Even buying paperbacks will help.
We love to read, so we plan to support the very thing that we love and give books to people this year.
And fruitcake, but mainly books.

Nov 12, 2008

Got Bullets?

The latest batch of t-shirts is in.
Seen here on Tim Maleeny.

"Got Bullets?" on the Front, the Crimespree logo on the back.
Gold on black in a variety of sizes.

Want one for yourself? Want to give one as a gift?

only $20 including shipping in the US.

If you are interested shoot me an email at

Nov 9, 2008

Five Please!!

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego number four is a wrap and what a weekend.
Once again a huge crowd mainly from the Midwest came out in droves to see a great group of writers talk about the books we here at Crimespree love best.

This year, like all has entirely recharged our batteries. From the early arrival of Kat Richardson, Blake Crouch and Sean Chercover, to the just left Simon Woods, Alison Jansen (Bleak House Books), Marcus Sakey and Sean Chercover, the extra and quiet moments we spent with all the writers is just grand. The time we spent in the library was magic. Reaching out to readers and presenting them with such a spectacular sampling of the talent available within the mystery genre is brilliant.

We brought back a forensics session this year and it was wonderful. Michael Black and Dave Case started the day off for us with Crime Scene Cops and grabbed everyone's interest right away. And then we were off.

From Characters Welcome to Apt Pupil, this year had four great panels and three conversations, lunch was again provided by the library, there were books by everyone there for sale thanks to Richard Katz and Mystery One Bookstore. And the books that were there for free, just for coming, kept flowing.....

The raffle did well thanks to the support of all the library's patrons.

We thank the following for attending and participating

Tom Shreck,
Tim Maleeny
Mark Combes
Simon Wood
Michael Allen Dymmock
Mario Acevedo
Kat Richardson
B. Clay Moore
Tasha Alexander
S.J. Rozan
Reed Farrell Coleman
Sean Chercover
Lori Armstrong
J.D. Rhodes
Tim Broderick
Caroline Todd
Charles Todd
Judy Clemens
Marcus Sakey
Victor Gischler
John Galligan
Blake Crouch
Anthony Neil Smith
Dennis Lehane
Michael Koryta

and a very special thanks to Libby Fischer Hellman. Libby came for the Friday Night "Stump the Stars" hosted by J.A. Konrath and drove and extra 150 miles for us on Saturday to fill in on a panel. Special People, our Libby...

Duane, Harry and Cornelia, we're sorry you couldn't make it and thinking of you.

There was news.... off the set and on. A Couple of Talking Points from the day

Charles and Caroline Todd just this minute signed a contact for a second series. Two Books a year? Christmas came early!!!

S.J. Rozan's next book, Shanghai Moon marks the return of Bill and Lydia.

Judy Clemens next book features new protagonist Casey Maldanado. Described as a charcater escaping tragedy while roaming the country, it sounds like we might have a female Reacher.

Muskego's own Allan Armstrong will become a published author in 09

And at the end of the day, in a fabulous interview by Michael Koryta of Dennis Lehane, we heard the news that Patrick and Angie are getting off the island. They have indeed knocked on Dennis's door again. It looks like his next book may not be a sequel to THE GIVEN DAY after all. Are we ready for another Patrick and Angie Book? Yeah , I know.... stupid question..... stupid, stupid question.

this day of celebration was possible because of the work and efforts of the entire staff of the Muskego Library. Jane and Penny, feel the love. But it's the organization "FRIENDS OF THE
MUSKEGO LIBRARY. We were honored to present them with a Crimespree award yesterday. They prove to us time and again, in books..... everything is possible.

See you next year!

Nov 4, 2008

11:30 AT NIGHT

and it's a beautiful day!!!

Oct 31, 2008

All Saints Day

Is it post Bouchercon Blues? Pre Muskego Mania? Or is it Tuesday…. The end of the first 48 month Presidential Race?

I suspect all of the above are partially responsible for my current mood. So is the damn radio programmer who starts the five o’clock set with HURT, rotating between nine inch nails and Johnny.

And of course there’s the week this has been in the mystery world. A Shitty week to say the least and Evil E would have had harsher words for it while delivering the message with her wicked wit.

1.) There’s nothing to be blue about when it comes to Charmed.
2.) Muskego is well in hand.
3.) The race for the Whitehouse seems to be over. Obama’s spread in the polls is double that of the Bushmeister’s and he’s ahead in key states that were blue last time. While it’s not good news for a lot of people I respect and even a few I love, it’s where I hope we go and I should be calmer by now,
4.) I can find out who that radio programmer is and shove the two discs up where the sun don’t….
5.) The last is harder. We lost two folks this week who cannot and will not be replaced. One was a friend and the other a hero. I urge all to spend time this weekend remembering Mr. Hillerman and Elaine. A moment, a song, a good joke, maybe a toast. And remember them always…. They are a part of mystery now and forever.

So what happened that was great this week.

My boys kicked the High School Musical seniors to the curb! Thank you very much. That’s right, the band from Down Under out sold the Disney brats 3 to 1… even if it was WalMart.

I got Uncle Doug’s Christmas present!

I finally navigated Facebook, a little….

I read the new Jeffrey Deaver and C.J. Box books. C. J. Box creeped me out(it was so good) and Deaver’s Wisconsin thriller was a lot of fun. I have Nick Stone on deck and the time to read him. And I’m delving into a new biography on Champlain. He’s even more fascinating than I remember.

The bad: National League?? Whatever.

The truly weird of the week: so T.V. this week was …. 21 Jump Street….
Strangely fascinating.

but tonight (Halloween) I was having Pizza when a.) Santa flirted with me and b.) four twenty-somethings ran across the parking lot in full 80’s regalia. Head bands , leg warmers… the people I was with laughed.
After three nights of Jump Street I thought I was maybe in Hell,

And then I looked across the table… a new mom… a proud papa… godmother and godfather….
Here with permission the first photos of Jaxson, Penny the librarian’s grandson….

Back to Disney and that whole circle of life thing

Oct 29, 2008

Who is a Panelist?

Ah, so Bouchercon is over but one debate continues on. At the business meeting in Baltimore, a proposed amendment to the rules that a structure be given as to who should be declared an author and who shouldn’t was killed. First, let me say the writing to the amendment itself was well thought out and the subcommittee who did the work did a very good job. Similar wording has worked at a lot of conventions, allowing the organizers and book sellers to plan for the event with a structure they like and a beginning focus.

But Bouchercon is a different animal. It is for and of the fans. Which doesn’t mean it isn’t for the authors, but means it is there to serve their fandom as well. Which means every block of paneling has the responsibility to be entertaining first. Not he!he! entertaining necessarily, but perhaps revealing, or informative. Certainly with panel slots at a premium, each panelist and every moderator has the responsibility to be on the same page as their fellows, showing themselves and their “co-workers” off in the best possible light. And that means that nobody who’s part of the membership should be excluded from the potential panelist pool.

How could exceptions even be made if this were written down? Think about it. In an organization that changes its officers and chairs every year who’s going to watch the watch men. Will the nature of publishing even be the same in a decade? It was a proposal that just isn’t viable for the way Bouchercon is structured.

Should no fans be allowed to participate at a convention that was begun for them? Should the non published mystery experts have to step aside because the author pool is large enough that there is someone to fill all paneling slots? What of reviewers, on-line presences, agents, publishers, and editors? Do they take a back seat? If anything the 2008 experience has told me that this last group of folks, if we put them together correctly should have more of a presence. Authors are paying for their attendance as well, and these panels appeal to their dollar.

2008 had some very good panels and that’s not down to me, but to the two panel chairs Jon and Judy. Between the two of them they have sat in on a couple of hundred panels, and they knew not only what they wanted to see but also, what they didn’t want to see again. The inspired idea of Song Titles allowed the panelists a certain liberty of interpretation and some of your best panels this year were a result of the individual teams presenting ideas that had never been tried before. Or the placement of individuals who’d never been matched up before on the same panel.

There’s a responsibility of the individuals putting on a convention to be able to say, “No, I’m sorry” . It’s not a great feeling, in fact it sucks. Charmed was also fortunate in that we had a great group of book dealers who made a huge effort to get everyone’s books there, big publisher or small.

One of the things this B-Con had going for it aside from a great facility was a large group of people all working towards the same Ideal. "FANS FIRST". In the end if the organizers of a Bouchercon do their best to make everyone feel as important as everyone else there, it’s going to be a great convention. There are aspects of each con that should be structurally consistent from year to year but the panels themselves should be an evolving entity, with different individuals, topics, and always those great surprises from year to year.

Just my two cents….


Oct 28, 2008

Elaine Flinn

A Hell of A Woman

Author, Wit, Dame, Friend....

Oct 26, 2008


The Joker has been around almost as long as Batman and as such there are thousands of pages of stories featuring him. Some of the tales are easy to remember because of the sheer power of the writing. KILLING JOKE is obviously one of them, his part in Dark Knight Returns is also a stand out. In Joker Brian Azzarello has raised the bar. Along with artists Lee Bermejo and Mick Gray Azzarello has told a story that will be remembered for ages to come.
We are seeing the story through the eyes of Jonny Frost, a hood who has decided he needs to work for the Joker. Jonny is there when Joker gets out of Arkham Asylum (found to be sane?!!) and he follows the Joker on wild ride to take back what is his, or at least what he perceives to be his. Encounters with some of Batman’s most famous foes are part of the path, but these are not the villains on the cartoons. Killer Croc is a bad ass gangster from the hood, Penguin is a money man scared of his own shadow. Riddler
Is a punk kid who is the ultimate hustler, and Two Face is a man used to getting his own way with delusions of grandeur. The coolest reworking for me was Harley Quinn who has become a demented sociopath blindly loyal to Joker.
As Joker works his way through the city leaving a trail of chaos in his wake it becomes easy to want to feel sympathetic for Jonny who seems in over his head, but he knows what he wants and it seems to be going out in a blaze of glory will do him just fine, as long as the ride is interesting.
This book looks at the joker in ways I don’t remember seeing him, truly disturbed and yet strangely vulnerable as well. He quite simply doesn’t see what he is doing is wrong, or at least he doesn’t care.
Joker is full of detailed artwork that is simply beautiful and a story that is layered and rich, and marks a new high in Azzarello’s already impressive career.

Joker is available in hardcover October 29th

Oct 22, 2008

Good-bye to a Lovely Lass

The mystery community began for me as an on-line concept. Keep in mind this was 15 years ago. Back in the day where if you really wanted to get to a chat room you began to dial in 30 minutes prior and hoped you not only got on but didn't get kicked off after getting there due to high volume, bad servers , or plain old fashioned technology temperment.

When I began to explore with my new toy I searched "mystery websites" and there it was.

What fun I had exploring , reading lists, mystery gatherings, other mystery links and the guest book. I e-mailed S. J. Rozan for the first time through the guest book, ditto Robert Crais. It was back in the days when there weren't a lot of us out there. Not many even had websites let alone, blogs, myspace, twitter or facebook.

CLUELASS was quite simply a web site with an interactive feel. Over the years it has remained so because of the love Kate has for Mystery. Much cleaner and easier to get to today, it has remained a go to tool for me through out the years and now....
It is disbanding, soon to be just a memory.... and I wanted to invite everyone who's never been to stop by and take a look around.

Thanks Kate, for everything you've done to bring the mystery community together and thanks for welcoming me in those many years ago. You will be missed.


Oct 16, 2008

Home Again Naturally

Dateline 10 16 08

It's Ruth Jordan's second day back at work.

It's Jon Jordan's second day back at work.

It's Jen Jordan's birthday.

It's the day of Birth for Jaxson, born at 10:28 this morning and weighing in at over 9 pounds and 19 inches, it is a cause to celebrate. Proud Papa Timm just phoned and he says nothing compares to this. Christy is resting and doing fab and I have it on good authority that Grandma Penny will not be coming down to earth anytime soon.

so from us to you....

First, Crimespree thanks you for the Special Service award at Bouchercon, everyone reading this, pat yourself on the back, it is, as Jon said, a family shoutout and well, you are family (when, oh when will I stop thinking in Song Titles and Lyrics)

And First in our Hearts

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego

the authors attending? click here

Murder and Mayhem in Muskego is one day/one track of programming.... Authors come from across the country to share their voice and voices with the Muskego Library Patrons and Readers from as far away as California. A different kind of event, it is all inclusive and a rejuvenating experience for readers and writers alike. Cornelia Read , you better get yourself healthy and bring the lame boots.

We'll have a new President, Halloween will be behind us and Thanksgiving still three weeks away, so for 15 dollars, come see this what all the fuss is about. Register by November 3rd and we'll see you there. It's 15 dollars for the Saturday events (and we'll feed you lunch) and this year we will be also welcoming patrons for a Friday Night Meet and Great to raise money for the event, these tickets are 25 dollars...

Come one, come all,
November 8th, 2008


Oct 2, 2008


We're stepping on to a plane in about three hours.
see you in Baltimore!

Sep 25, 2008

The Given Day

“I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day. I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day.” James Joyce

This describes the writings of Dennis Lehane.

In all tomes there is a readability factor. I will quantify here. This is the part of the equation where the individual reader takes over from the publishing industry, the “literary” and “genre” critics, and call a good read.

I was fortunate enough to read THE GIVEN DAY by Dennis Lehane in early spring, wrapped up in ribbons and bows and with a letter signed by the publisher. The extras meant nothing. The fact that I had a completed new work from one of the most gifted novelists of our generation meant a lot. Being entirely American, I, of course devoured the first 100 pages in under an hour. And then I went back, reread the words I’d been given and took the others more slowly.

Sitting from my lofty chair of first to read, I’m looking at the reviews and pro or con, I believe most are missing the point.

Dennis Lehane, true voice. He began with “genre fiction”. Every review makes note of Patrick and Angie, of the two stand-alones, of the “soon-to be a major motion picture”…. Of the worthy attempt or brilliant execution.

Me? In THE GIVEN DAY, I’ve found another layer of growth in an already astounding writer. Dennis Lehane , more than any writer today, speaks to his readership. A readership that will continue to grow. Over a decade ago I posted that Lehane “is an author you can travel into the dark with. He will find you light or he will give you hope”

THE GIVEN DAY is a book about America in the early twentieth century. Centralizing on two main characters, one Black and one White, it projects an argument to the readership from the first swing of Lehane’s bat. We have the Babe in at the D.H, position. Soon we move to Tulsa and are firmly tarred and feathered by Boston. Lehane speaks of America; race relations, unions, policing, terrorism, romance and even pandemics. He has stepped back in time to survey where we are today and why, in all probability we’ll revisit yesterday tomorrow.

I have, as previously mentioned, adored this writer because he allows me to wrap myself up in a blanket, grab a cat or a cuppa’ and sink into his world. This time is a little different, like playing hold’em with all the cards up. If you’re reading this blog you’re not reading the book and do not know . Dennis Lehane whom we all thought was a brilliant mystery writer has now become a “literary writer”.

A seven hundred page book needs to be epic and readable. This book covers those two bases just dandy. Base three; will you care when you’re done? If you don’t I’d be surprised. Hitting for home? I suspect, no, I predict, the book will have more and more readers as the years go by. It is that good and that readable? Remember when our English Teachers were demanding we adore Hess? Lawrence? Out of the park baby…..

This is an author with a higher level of skill and a future undetermined. My mother claims he speaks like a contemporary Conrad, my Grandmother proclaims his symbolism akin to Fitzgerald’s. I liken his plots to the best of Faulkner. Three women, one generation of readers. A generation that will grow and not abate over the years.

Remember Joyce. Read THE GIVEN DAY and let me know what you think of it. It is a book that like a good vintage will only get better with time.

Sep 21, 2008


As prep work for our upcoming Baltimore excursion I have been re watching a lot of Homicide. I'm half way through season 5 right now.


If I throw someone in a room and start acting like Pembleton I'd like to apologize in advance.

Sep 18, 2008

The Desert

So I’m not going to try and say a lot. James Crumley is gone. Laura Lippman has posted an interview she did with Jim for Crimespree a few years back on her Memory Project. To say that one of my favorite moments in the history of our magazine was having the finished copy with Jim on the cover in my hands is understatement. There are tributes coming in at an amazing rate and if you visit Sarah Weinman’s blog you’ll find them.

As a writer Crumley was and will remain brilliant. His writing has inspired many to take the step into our genre and there are more who’ve read him and stepped up their game. Will it sound particularly odd if I say he may have inspired readers even more. His canon of work is far too small and some may have failed to find it but if you have you’ll understand my point. There are many writers out there who have great works just waiting to be read. And when you find them it’s like discovering the best secret in the world. But you need to trust yourself to look first. Crumley’s THE LAST GOOD KISS gave me that trust to look. I’m still looking for the next THE LAST GOOD KISS. I’ve found a lot of great books, but somehow doubt there’ll ever be another reading experience quite like Crumley. In his uniqueness lies his genius.

The first time we met I was giddy. He forgave my fawning and started a conversation. The second time we met I was introduced to the lovely Martha. My moments with the pair were too fleeting. My memories of the pair larger than life. And I know I’m not alone. I cannot name all the folks I’ve seen introduce themselves to Crumley and each and every time he met somebody new, his eyes began to twinkle, his tongue began to sharpen and the stories began to flow. Our hero was just a dude from Texas. With a story for every occasion. A Gentleman for all time. For all of us, today is a very long day and a little piece of all of our tomorrows is now missing.

For those nearest and dearest to Mr. Crumley , I can only say…. Hell I’m not a writer, but my heart goes out to all.

(this picture was taken by Ali Karim at Bouchercon 2003; Ken Bruen, James Crumley and John Connolly)

Sep 16, 2008

Extra opportunities for Bouchercon

In keeping with our music titles theme we are going to be having a Karaoke bar running concurrently with the panels. This will be a half hour for authors or anyone else for that matter to do what ever they want to do for a half hour.

The spots will be filled on a first come first serve basis by having the people interested contacting:
bcon2008 @ (remove the spaces when emailing)

Deadline is Sept 22nd.

Want to sing Rolling Stones songs? Go for it.

Want to read from your book? Want to recite Norman Mailer? Want to roller skate while discussing research techniques?
Want to bring a lap top and show Wizard of Oz while playing Dark Side of the Moon?

It will be your half hour to do what ever you want to do.

Shoot off an Email to Judy with a song title, brief description and who is involved.

Sep 13, 2008

Jesus of Cool

I spent my birthday gift certificate on CD's. It was really good timing because one of my all time favorite albums has just been re issued on disc.

Nick Lowe - Jesus of Cool

I originally bought this as an import record way back in the late 70's. A local radio station played imports on Sunday nights and they played a track called "I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass", the song hooked me right off and I had to have it.
The rest of the album is great too, and the new version also features bonus tracks including the demo version of "Cruel to be Kind".
A couple real stand outs on this are Little Hitler and 36 inches High. Great lyrics and a nice new wave pop rock blend backing.

"So It Goes" is also a hypnotic cut and it has a wonderfully cool chorus.

I think this should be a must own for every fan of great music.

I also bought a few other albums.

Joe Jackson's Rain

CD comes with a bonus DVD with interviews and live performances and a tour of Berlin. Very fun.

The music is great. It's a bit of a flash back to Night and Day with a little Look Sharp added. Jackson has never stopped growing as a musician and this latest release is amazing. His vocals are spot on and his high notes still give me chills. The fact that he's playing with a trio really lets the piano stand out and the drums seem a bit more prominent. Uptown Train is a favorite of mine, very jazzy and cool.
If you are fan you really need this.

Ray Davies -
Working Man's Cafe

I love the Kinks, and as a result I love all their solo stuff too. Ray Davies is a genius of songwriting and this album was written after a tour of the states that started less than two weeks after 9/11. He had to do the tour by car and he really got a good look at our country.
Wonderful tunes and again, a bonus DVD with Ray's home video from the tour.

Alice Cooper -
Along Came a Spider

Joe Konrath let me know this was out. He said it was great and I agree.
Alice doing another theme album, one long story in songs. This time out it's about a serial killer.
This album rocks and I love the music. After a couple listens I realized how creepy some of the lyrics are. I can't stop listening to this and now I want to see him live, again.Classic Alice Cooper.

Sep 6, 2008

Bouchercon approaches

As I type this Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is only 32 days away.

I know it's coming fast because about the only time I see my wife Ruth is when she's on the phone, on the computer or sleeping.

I'm busy too, but not as busy as she and Judy are.

So... a few thoughts.

A lot of people are obsessed with whether or not they have a panel. Part of me understands it, but in truth there is a lot more to Bouchercon than sharing a table with four or five other people for an hour. Opportunities for authors are at every turn. The place is crawling with fans and readers and if a panel is the only way to reach them, you may be doing something wrong. Walking the bookroom is a good way to bump into fans, at other panels, in the bar, the lobby, at one of the parties, hell, outside having a cigarette. Its actually hard not to meet fans.

If you are a fan coming for the first time a few pieces of advice.

Comfy shoes will make your feet happy all day.

Spend a few minutes every few hours in your room barefoot and enjoy the silence....

Eat a big breakfast or carry snacks. You may get caught up in the whirlwind and forget to eat. My first Bouchercon I went two days with ot food and didn't even know it.

Don't be afraid to talk to people. We're all there because we love mysteries and crime fiction and thrillers.

You can't go to every panel. It's just not possible. A few things make choices easier. Pick panels with people you may not get a chance to see again soon. Pick panels with people that you are interested in but haven't read. Or just pick panels named after favorite songs...

Most everything is open to the public, don't be afraid to attend. There will be some movies showing, there will be a pub quiz, a opening night party.

Spend a little time and enjoy Baltimore. It's a great city and there is a lot to see and do. The Barnes and Noble at the inner harbor is amazing and really cool inside, it's an old power plant.

If you buy too many books to bring back there are two places within walking distance of the hotel that ship. a Fed Ex/kinkos and an office max. I sometimes ship clothes and bring the books on the plane.

And if you have fun, don't forget to sign up for future Bouchercons at a discounted rate.

This is going to be a great weekend.

Aug 31, 2008

Labor Day Blues

Last Monday my boss’s boss was at our work site. She was there in an act of solidarity and support. And she looked rather sad when she said “Ruth, you’re a tough cookie.” I wonder how many people who know me would ever use that as part of their definition of me.

This blog is an entertainment for the folks who know Jon and myself or Crimespree and normally dedicated to the world of fictional crime. Today though, I’m posting about the real deal and asking all of you who read this blog to take a moment reflecting on the consequences of real crime.

A week ago Friday, I left Baltimore with an impressive but cohesive list of things I wanted to accomplish before Bouchercon. Judy, Jon, Sarah, Mike and Penny also had a list of things to accomplish and all was moving well. The weather had been brilliant in Baltimore, the company great and our surroundings almost a second home to me at this point.

On Saturday, after 9 days off I returned to my day job. I work as a merchandiser/pharmacy tech at a cute little neighborhood geared corner store. A store that’s been buzz-in only for a year and a half because of back to back robberies that were solved. The gun then was fake. Last Saturday, it was a real one.

Details, at 2:35 p.m a young Caucasian man , in long sleeve black crew neck tee, dark jeans, slightly baggy, standing 5’11” weighing in at approximately 160, with a leather modified pork-pie hat and van-dyke styled facial scruff, brown and brown hair was buzzed in. Well groomed if a little overly dressed for the day, I welcomed him into the store after seeing both co-workers were even busier than myself. He asked me where the cards were and I pointed them out. I then returned to what I was doing. At 2:47 p.m. I looked up from my computer terminal to answer the intake question and was greeted by a gun. “give me all of your oxy-contin”

Not very sexy as the crimes I like to read about go. In most of the books I read this would be a throw away paragraph, I’d be dead and the hero would using the crime to uncover a bigger plot. In the case of an Ed McBain novel it would be a toss away scene for Fat Ollie, where he gets to make a few cracks about the stupidity of criminals and the people who work in high risk jobs. In real life, due to a sticky locked cabinet the villain left before getting what he came for, thinking we had tripped a panic button. I’m very much alive and I don’t believe there is a bigger plot. The guy wanted a saleable product and had a plan to get it. He was organized enough for me to believe he wasn’t a user at all, just a business man. With a gun.

Cut to yesterday, the second Saturday in a row I worked the day job. We have a huge event going on in Milwaukee. Police are watching the crowds. I was on high alert. Someone drove the car for my villain last Saturday. Would the knowledge of our cameras, lock down and perceived panic button give them the idea to reverse roles? Without incident, I’m happy to report.

What does this have to do with Labor Day pains. My job shouldn’t be high risk. I receive a middle class paycheck for a job where I’m moderately paid and have great benefits. The people I work with and for up the ladder are mainly great and we work with a high standard to make every aspect of health care better for the people receiving the care. We offer home delivery, our pharmacists insist upon patient consultation and we try to know every customer by name. To perform my job I need to be proficient with a computer, have knowledge of over 300 insurance plans, know some pharmacy law, be aware of all store inventory, maintain over 200 pages of corporate standards and be fully compliant in four different job descriptions. All this while “counting the pills and putting them in little bottles”. The second part of my job requires a full retail background, from window dressing to inventory control. Not the most complicated job in America, but not a cake walk either. Perfect for me, someone with outside interests looking for a day job with good benefits that can be “left at the office”.

In America today prescription drugs have become a bigger currency than cash and despite the best efforts of local, state and federal agencies the problem doesn’t seem to be going away. So ten years after I decided this was a job I wanted to do, I find myself working in a job that’s comparable to working third shift at a convenience store in a bad neighborhood. I’m good at my job. I don’t want to start over at something else. The parameters of the job and the support of human resources have allowed me adventure and the leeway to pursue other avenues of life far more important to me than the paycheck job. But the gun? The risk?

So I have some serious thinking to do on a personal level and a favor to ask of all of you who read this blog. Treat the people you come upon in your everyday errands with a modicum of respect. What you perceive as a clerk position where you are being delayed for having to wait your turn in line… might indeed be more than throw away line in a book. In the case of last Saturday, how you interacted with me at the pharmacy’s register may have been the last human contact I ever knew.
Remember that the next time you’re in line while the customer in front of you takes more time with the clerk than you’d like.

Labor is, after all, work.


Aug 25, 2008

A CROWBAR TO THE FACE or, why mondays suck

Ok, to start with, I really did get a crowbar to the face this morning.

We had a week in Baltimore, came home and Judy B and I have been scrambling and shifting and rearranging trying to get the panels for Bouchercon finalized. We're close to done and a lot of folks have been notified, and some more will still be getting notified as we fine tune the machine. My first day back to work at the day job was a bit of a disappointment, but more on that later.

It's an interesting experience doing the whole thing. It's easy to come up with SOME panels. It's another story trying to do all of them. We came up with a pretty cool list, and then we started inserting names and playing with the time slots. Changes have been made and will be made some more. Our main goal is trying to get interesting combinations of people together. Things like having an author moderate a panel that may not normally be something they would do. What we are really trying to do is show off the authors.

We are also naming all the panels after songs. So the titles all have the artist listed in parentheses after them. They each also have the topic of discussion. Some song titles are more appropriate than others, some just sound really cool.

When all is said and done I think the programming in Baltimore will be entertaining and enjoyable. I think that people will find a lot of things they want to see.

And hopefully I can get a dentist to fix my damaged mouth before October or I'll be smiling with my mouth shut. I was working on a bearing housing for a water intake valve for the city's water treatment plant and as part of this was using a 50 ton hydrolic cylinder to press off a housing from the shaft the bearing is on. To press the cylinder back down to reset it I need to press against the center with a crow bar. The crow bar slipped and walloped me right in the kisser.After spitting blood for a few minutes from my newly extra large lowerlip I noticed a sandy feeling in my mouth. After a nice rinse I looked in a mirror and noticed my front top teeth are now rather broken, in pieces. Strangely there is little pain, but I look like a street fighter.

While I now we can't make everyone happy with the panel assignments we really have tried. And hopefully no one will be disappointed enough to do to me what I did to myself today. I think when it's all said and done and we are in Baltimore everyone will have a great time.

Aug 23, 2008


Geppi's Museum of Pop Culture by Camden Yards

Inner harbor area

Bromo Seltzer Tower

Camden Yards

Fells Point

Aug 9, 2008

Bouchercon panels

The panels for Bouchercon are well in hand.

Judy and I have the first draft set and are getting set to start plotting out times onto the Big Board.
This will be followed by notification of authors, which if hostory is any indicator will be followed by another round of re-plotting times.

It's under control and we think its going to be really entertaining for all the fans coming into Baltimore.

A few topics will include:
history of mystery
Bouchercon 1908
why is the supernatural so much fun
making bad guys likable

So no worries, we're on schedule.

Jul 13, 2008

Superheroes, the movie

Another spoof film from the folks who did Scary movie and hot shots and all those others. I'm not suggesting you rush out and get it, but it did have a few really funny scenes. I particularly enjoyed the extended farting scene with Marion Ross from Happy Days. I spit ice tea through my nose.

Ok, so part of me is still 12, it was till really funny.

Jul 11, 2008

Does McCain need to drop out of the race!!!???

I think he does....

Our main right wing man was not born in the US!

Rescue Me Season Four

Rescue Me Season Four

Anyone who has seen this show knows that it is full of bittersweet moments. Leary’s character Tommy Gavin is a man troubled by many things and in turns tends to make many bad decisions. The people around him are similar, if not to the same extremes. But what makes this such a great show and so utterly watchable is the fact that everyone on this show is so believable. There is definitely some extreme behavior, but I’ve know people who have acted like this for real. Every episode I watch has me rooting for these folks to succeed, yet leaving me not the least surprised if they don’t.
Season Four sees a different Tommy Gavin than the one we met in season one, he’s sober, he quit smoking, and he seems more mature. He’s struggling with his problems and trying to find answers. He still battles the urge to drink, he has questions about his faith and his job and his family. The season opens with Tommy facing arson charges. There is also a new baby boy in the house and there is a question about whether it is Tommy’s or his dead brother’s. Members of his firehouse are all struggling with relationship issues and there is a tragedy early on that changes the dynamic at work.

I think what this season is about is not so much redemption, but acceptance. Accepting that you can’t control life, only make the best of it. There is a wonderful little speech at the end in the last episode by Lou at a baseball game that compares life to baseball that really wraps it up nicely. This is immediately followed by one of the best acted scenes I’ve ever seen Leary do. He and his Father played by Charles Durning are having a real bonding experience at a ball game. This is the front of a montage showing various characters with the Cars “let the good times roll” playing in the background. As the camera comes to rest on Leary and Durning and then pulls back and fades into the credits I got choked up. Sadness, understanding and satisfaction filled.
Bittersweet to the very last, and some of the best TV I’ve ever watched.


Jul 3, 2008

Hawaii Five 0 Season 4

Season four of this show, shown originally in fall of 1971-spring of 1972, is another masterpiece. The writing is top notch and you can see that the writers understood the need to mix things up. We have episodes with international intrigue like the two part The 90 Second War, cases with simple theft turned sour like as in the episode with Vic Morrow and John Ritter called Two Doves and Mr. Morrow. There is a wonderful episode with Buddy Epson as the leader of a scam to use stolen travelers checks. Hume Cronyn is back as the villain with a million faces in Odd Man In. Such issues as serial killing and blackmail are common as are episodes with McGarrett trying to keep the mob out of Hawaii. The plots hold up well and in a lot of cases the police work they show is ahead of its time. Forensics play a big part and so does the knowledge of needing cases to hold up in court.

Once again the driving force of the show is McGarrett and his drive to see justice done. While he is obviously a swinging single, nothing interferes with work, not even the government. McGarrett also has a relationship with his fellow detectives and treats them with respect. All members of the Five-O team are important and no one man makes it work solo. He assumes each officer can do any job assigned to them and they seem to always come through. I think television writers of today’s shows could learn a few things from watching these episodes.

I should also add this this is one show that I always let the opeing run all the way through, I love the theme song and the intro montage.

The Islands of Hawaii made it easy to entice guest stars on to Hawaii Five-O and anyone familiar with television from the seventies and eighties is sure to recognize people throughout this season. 24 episodes strong this set doesn’t have any special features, but who cares! The show is great, and again I recommend it highly.

Jon Jordan