Jan 31, 2009

Opinions please?

What classic police or private eye related show do you think needs to be released on DVD?

My vote goes to Police Story and Harry-O

Leave your votes in the comments section plese

Jan 29, 2009

TV Shows - new to me

Over the cold weather months I tend to slow down and do very little moving. I prefer to be under a big comforter and immobile. To this end we often pick up DVDs of television shows that we haven't seen. There's a few things I'm now a fan of.

My brother in law Peter let me borrow season one of House. I'd never watched before but knew I would love or hate it. Well, I really like it. Hugh Laurie is great in the lead role and I love the snarky attitude. The supporting cast is great too. Even the weaker episodes have some quality that make them enjoyable.

I also just watched How I met Your Mother for the first time. After plowing through all of season one (and ordering two and three) I have to admit that I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants. I can really relate to a lot of what is going on and the characters feel like people I've known. It's a nice comedy with a enough drama to keep it from feeling forced. and again, great cast.

I am also now a fan of Everybody Hates Chris. Chris Rock has always made me laugh but this show is loads of fun. I find myself actually liking Chris Rock more even though all he does is narrate. It's set in the mid eighties, when Chris was still in school, season 2 is 8th grade. His family lives in a black neighborhood, but his Mother has hin going to a white high school. being the only black kid there seems to have had a bit of an impact on him. The results are a riot. I also have to give Chris Rock props for the guest stars he has on the show. The episode with Jimmy Walker and his grandfather was great. Even Richard Lewis shows up, it seems to be a who's who of people who influenced him and his comedy.

Two other shows that are limited to one set each are Lost Room and Wonderfalls.

Wonderfalls is a charming show about a girl who is a slacker on purpose because she wants no stress. Due to circumstances beyond her control she ends up helping people. Actually its because inanimate objects talk to her. Trust me here. Good stuff.

Lost Rooms is a kind of supernatural detective scavenger hunt with Peter Krause (of Dirty Sexy Money and Six Feet Under). He plays a cop who has a daughter go missing because of a key he finds. A key that can open any door onto any destination he chooses. 5 episodes and it wraps up. Very cool.

Ok, so now back to work on the March/April Crimespree.

Jan 28, 2009

Chapter One of HATER by David Moody

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.

An imprint of St. Martin’s Press.

HATER. Copyright © 2006 by David Moody. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.


Design by Gregory P. Collins

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Moody, David, 1970-
Hater / David Moody.—1st US ed.
p. cm.
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-38483-8
ISBN-10: 0-312-38483-1
1. Murder victims—Fiction.  2. Murderers—Fiction.  I. Title.

PR6113.O5447H38 2009

First published in Great Britain by Infected Books

First U.S. Edition: February 2009

10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1
Lisa, Emma, Katie,
Megan, Becca, and Zoe
SIMMONS, REGIONAL MANAGER FOR a chain of main street discount stores, slipped his change into his pocket then neatly folded his newspaper in half and tucked it under his arm. He quickly glanced at his watch before leaving the shop and rejoining the faceless mass of shoppers and office workers crowding the city center sidewalks outside. He checked through his date book in his head as he walked. Weekly sales meeting at ten, business review with Jack Staynes at eleven, lunch with a supplier at one-thirty...
He stopped walking when he saw her. At first she was just another face on the street, nondescript and unimposing and as irrelevant to him as the rest of them were. But there was something different about this particular woman, something which made him feel uneasy. In a split second she was gone again, swallowed up by the crowds. He looked around for her anxiously, desperate to find her among the constantly weaving mass of figures which scurried busily around him. There she was. Through a momentary gap in the bodies he could see her coming toward him. No more than five feet tall, hunched forward and wearing a faded red raincoat. Her wiry gray-white hair was held in place under a clear plastic rain hood and she stared ahead through the thick lenses of her wide-rimmed glasses. She had to be eighty if she was a day, he thought as he looked into her wrinkled, liver-spotted face, so why was she such a threat? He had to act quickly before she disappeared again. He couldn’t risk losing her. For the first time he made direct eye contact with her and he knew immediately that he had to do it. He had no choice. He had to do it and he had to do it right now.
Dropping his newspaper, briefcase, and umbrella Simmons pushed his way through the crowd then reached out and grabbed hold of her by the wide lapels of her raincoat. Before she could react to what was happening he spun her around through almost a complete turn and threw her back toward the building he’d just left. Her frail body was light and she virtually flew across the footpath, her feet barely touching the ground before she smashed up against the thick safety-glass shop window and bounced back into the street. Stunned with pain and surprise she lay face down on the cold, rain-soaked pavement, too shocked to move. Simmons pushed his way back toward her, barging through a small crowd of concerned shoppers who had stopped to help. Ignoring their angry protests he dragged her to her feet and shoved her toward the shop window again, her head whipping back on her shoulders as she clattered against the glass for the second time.
“What the hell are you doing, you idiot?!” an appalled bystander yelled, grabbing hold of Simmons’s coat sleeve and pulling him back. Simmons twisted and squirmed free from the man’s grip. He tripped and landed on his hands and knees in the gutter. She was still on her feet just ahead of him. He could see her through the legs of the other people crowding around her.
Oblivious to the howls and screams of protest ringing in his ears, Simmons quickly stood up, pausing only to pick up his umbrella from the edge of the footpath and to push his wire-framed glasses back up the bridge of his nose. Holding the umbrella out in front of him like a bayonet rifle he ran at the woman again.
“Please...” she begged as he sunk the sharp metal tip of the umbrella deep into her gut and then yanked it out again. She slumped back against the window, clutching the wound as the stunned and disbelieving crowd quickly engulfed Simmons. Through the confusion he watched as her legs gave way and she collapsed heavily to the ground, blood oozing out of the deep hole in her side.
“Maniac,” someone spat in his ear. Simmons spun around and stared at the owner of the voice. Jesus Christ, another one! This one was just like the old woman. And there’s another, and another...and they were all around him now. He stared helplessly into the sea of angry faces which surrounded him. They were all the same. Every last one of them had suddenly become a threat to him. He knew there were too many of them but he had to fight. In desperation he screwed his hand into a fist and swung it into the nearest face. As a teenage boy recoiled from the sudden impact and dropped to the ground a horde of uniformed figures weaved through the crowd and wrestled Simmons to the ground.
LUNATIC. BLOODY HELL, I’VE seen some things happen in this town before but never anything like that. That was disgusting. That made me feel sick. Christ, he came out of nowhere and she didn’t stand a chance, poor old woman. He’s in the middle of the crowd now. He’s outnumbered fifty to one and yet he’s still trying to fight. This place is full of crazy people. Fortunately for that woman it’s also full of police officers. There are two of them down with her now, trying to stop the bleeding. Three more have got to the guy who did it and they’re dragging him away.
Damn, it’s three minutes to nine. I’m going to be late for work again but I can’t move. I’m stuck in this bloody crowd. There are people bunched up tight all around me and I can’t go backward or forward. I’ll have to wait until they start to shift, however long that takes. There are more police officers arriving now trying to clear the scene. It’s pathetic really, you’d think they’d show some respect but people are all the same. First sign of trouble on the street and everyone stops to watch the freak show.
We’re finally starting to move. I can still see that guy being bundled toward a police van on the other side of the street. He’s kicking and screaming and crying like a bloody baby. Looks like he’s lost it completely. The noise he’s making you’d think he was the one who’d been attacked.

I know I’m a lazy bastard. I know I should try harder but I just can’t be bothered. I’m not stupid but I sometimes find it difficult to give a shit. I should have run across Millennium Square to get to the office just now but it was too much effort so early in the morning. I walked and I finally got here just after quarter past nine. I tried to sneak in but it was inevitable that someone was going to see me. It had to be Tina Murray though, didn’t it? My sour-faced, slave-driving, unforgiving bitch of a supervisor. She’s standing behind me now, watching me work. She thinks I don’t know she’s there. I really can’t stand her. In fact I can’t think of anyone I like less than Tina. I’m not a violent man—I don’t like confrontation and I find the very idea of punching a woman offensive—but there are times here when I’d happily smack her in the mouth.
“You owe me fifteen minutes,” she sneers in her horrible, whining voice. I push myself back on my chair and slowly turn around to face her. I force myself to smile although all I want to do is spit. She stands in front of me, arms folded, chewing gum and scowling.
“Morning, Tina,” I reply, trying to stay calm and not give her the satisfaction of knowing just how much she bugs me. “How are you today?”
“You can either take the time off your lunch hour or stay late tonight,” she snaps. “It’s up to you how you make it up.”
I know I’m only making things worse for myself but I can’t help it. I should just keep my mouth shut and accept that I’m in the wrong but I can’t stand the thought of this vile woman thinking she’s in control. I know I’m not helping the situation but I just can’t stop myself. I have to say something.
“What about yesterday morning?” I ask. I force myself to look into her harsh, scowling face again. She’s not at all happy. She shifts her weight from one foot to the other and chews her gum even harder and faster. Her jaw moves in a frantic circular motion. She looks like a cow chewing the cud. Fucking heifer.
“What about yesterday morning?” she spits.
“Well,” I explain, trying hard not to sound like I’m patronizing her, “if you remember I was twenty minutes early yesterday and I started working as soon as I got here. If I’m going to make up your fifteen minutes for today, can I claim back my twenty minutes for yesterday? Or shall we just call it quits and I’ll let you off the five minutes?”
“Don’t be stupid. You know it doesn’t work like that.”
“Maybe it should.”
Bloody hell, now she’s really annoyed. Her face is flushed red and I can see the veins on her neck bulging. It was a stupid and pointless comment to make but I’m right, aren’t I? Why should the council, the city government, have it all their own way? Tina’s staring at me now and her silence is making me feel really uncomfortable. I should have just kept my mouth closed. I let her win the face-off and I turn back around to sign on to my computer again.
“Either take it off your lunch hour or work late,” she says over her shoulder as she walks away. “I don’t care what you do, just make sure you make up the time you owe.”
And she’s off. Conversation’s over and I don’t get any chance to respond or to try and get the last word. Bitch.
Tina makes my skin crawl but I find myself staring at her rather than at my computer screen. She’s back at her desk now and Barry Penny, the office manager, has suddenly appeared. Her body language has completely changed now that she’s speaking to someone who’s higher up the council pecking order than she is. She’s smiling and laughing at his pathetic jokes and generally trying to see how far she can crawl up his backside.
I can’t help thinking about what I’ve just seen happen outside. Christ, I wish I had that bloke’s umbrella. I know exactly where I’d shove it.

Sometimes having such a dull and monotonous job is an advantage. This stuff is way beneath me and I don’t really have to think about what I’m doing. I can do my work on autopilot and the time passes quickly. It’s been like that so far this morning. Job satisfaction is nonexistent but at least the day isn’t dragging.
I’ve been working here for almost eight months now (it feels longer) and I’ve worked for the council for the last three-and-a half years. In that time I’ve worked my way through more departments than most long-serving council staff manage in their entire careers. I keep getting transferred. I served time in the pest control, refuse collection, and street lamp maintenance departments before I ended up here in the Parking Fine Processing office or PFP as the council likes to call it. They have an irritating habit of trying to reduce as many department names and job titles down to sets of initials as they can. Before I was transferred here I’d been told that the PFP was a dumping ground for underperformers and, as soon as I arrived, I realized it was true. In most of the places I’ve worked I’ve either liked the job but not the people or the other way around. Here I have problems with both. This place is a breeding ground for trouble. This is where those motorists who’ve been unlucky (or stupid) enough to get wheel-clamped, caught on camera violating a traffic rule, or given a ticket by a parking warden come to shout and scream and dispute their fines. I used to have sympathy with them and I believed their stories. Eight months here has changed me. Now I don’t believe anything that anyone tells me.
“Did you see that bloke this morning?” a voice asks from behind the computer on my left. It’s Kieran Smyth. I like Kieran. Like most of us he’s wasted here. He’s got brains and he could make something of himself if he tried. He was studying law at university but took a holiday job here last summer and never went back to class. Told me he got used to having the money and couldn’t cope without it. He buys an incredible amount of stuff. Every day he seems to come back from lunch with bags of clothes, books, DVDs, and CDs. I’m just jealous because I struggle to scrape together enough money to buy food, never mind anything else. Kieran spends most of his day talking to his mate Daryl Evans who sits on my right. They talk through me and over me but very rarely to me. It doesn’t bother me though. Their conversations are as boring as hell and the only thing I have in common with them is that the three of us all work within the same small section of the same small office. What does annoy me, if I’m honest, is the fact that they both seem to be able to get away with not doing very much for large chunks of the working day. Maybe it’s because they’re friendly with Tina outside work and they go out drinking together. Christ, I only have to cough and she’s up out of her seat wanting to know what I’m doing and why I’ve stopped working.
“What bloke?” Daryl shouts back.
“Out on the street on the way to work.”
“Which street?”
“The high street, just outside Cartwrights.”
“Didn’t see anything.”
“You must have.”
“I didn’t. I didn’t walk past Cartwrights. I came the other way this morning.”
“There was this bloke,” Kieran explains regardless, “you should have seen him. He went absolutely fucking mental.”
“What are you on about?”
“Honest, mate, he was wild. You ask Bob Rawlings up in Archives. He saw it. He reckons he practically killed her.”
“Killed who?”
“I don’t know, just some old woman. No word of a lie, he just started laying into her for no reason. Stabbed her with a bloody umbrella I heard!”
“Now you’re taking the piss...”
“I’m serious.”
“No way!”
“You go and ask Bob...”
I usually ignore these quick-fire conversations (most of the time I don’t have a clue what they’re talking about) but today I can actually add something because I was there. It’s pathetic, I know, but the fact that I seem to know more about what happened than either Kieran or Daryl makes me feel smug and superior.
“He’s right,” I say, looking up from my screen.
“Did you see it then?” Kieran asks. I lean back on my seat in self-satisfaction.
“Happened right in front of me. He might even have gone for me if I’d been a few seconds earlier.”
“So what was it all about?” Daryl asks. “Is what he’s saying right?”
I quickly look over at Tina. She’s got her head buried in a pile of papers. It’s safe to keep talking.
“I saw the old girl first,” I tell them. “I nearly tripped over her. She came flying past me and smashed up against the window by the side door of Cartwrights. I thought it must be a group of kids trying to get her bag off her or something like that. Couldn’t believe it when I saw him. He just looked like a normal bloke. Suit, tie, glasses...”
“So why did he do it? What had she done to him?”
“No idea. Bloody hell, mood he was in I wasn’t about to ask him.”
“And he just went for her?” Daryl mumbles, sounding like he doesn’t believe a word I’m saying. I nod and glance from side to side at both of them.
“Never seen anything like it,” I continue. “He ran at her and stabbed her with an umbrella. It was gross. It went right into her belly. There was blood all over her coat and...”
Tina’s looking up now. I look down and start typing, trying to remember what it was I was doing.
“Then what?” Kieran hisses.
“Idiot turned on the rest of the crowd. Started hitting out at the people around him. Then the police turned up,” I explain, still looking at my screen but not actually doing anything. “They dragged him away and shoved him in the back of a van.”
The conversation stops again. Murray’s on the move. For a moment the only sound I can hear is the clicking of three computer keyboards as we pretend to work. After looking around the room and staring at me in particular she leaves the office and Kieran and Daryl immediately stop inputting.
“So was there something wrong with him?” Daryl asks pointlessly.
“Of course there was something wrong with him,” I answer. Christ, this guy’s an idiot at times. “Do you think he’d stab an old lady with an umbrella if there wasn’t anything wrong with him?”
“But did he say anything? Was he screaming or shouting or...?”
I wonder whether it’s even worth answering his half-asked question.
“Both,” I grunt.
“Was he drunk or on drugs or...?”
“I don’t know,” I say, beginning to get annoyed. I stop and think for a second before speaking again. In my head I can still see the expression on the man’s face. “He looked absolutely fucking terrified,” I tell them. “He looked like he was the one who was being attacked.”

Jan 14, 2009

well, that's enough thanks

Mid summer I complain about the heat, the humidity, the constant sunshine, the air conditioned air and the hum of the machines that bring it.

So now it's mid winter and I'm damn sick and tired of the current cycle.
Snow, bitter cold, snow, bitter cold, snow, bitter cold, snow, bitter cold, snow, bitter cold, snow, bitter cold repeat as needed.

I don't mind the gray skies, come summer I'm not out in the sun much any way, but I really could use a day or two with warm temperatures and NO SNOW!

Ok, I have to go shovel some more....

Jan 4, 2009

The New Year

2009 looks like it will be really interesting for a lot of reasons.
A new president with some new ideas is obviously going to be something to watch.

What I'm going to be watching is the publishing industry.

There's panic in the streets as everyone one is wondering if the whole industry will implode. Speculation abounds as people wonder if print books are dead and electronic is the new form( I don't think so). Will major block busters and high profile books be the only ones published? Sarah Silverman just got a boatload of money to write a book.

I think the woes the industry is feeling have been building for a while, and quite honestly maybe there are just too many books being published. Judging from the volume of books coming across my desk its not hard to imagine the the sheer volume of novels being released has passed the saturation point.

I don't believe print is dead, electronic books like kindle and others will be growing and gaining a larger readership, but I don't think in my lifetime I'll see the end of hardcopy books. The scramble to move to electronic formats is kind of funny because this has been coming for a while and I think its a good thing. It gives writers another outlet for their work and can bring them a larger audience. People having extra options is always a good thing.

i think the cutbacks at the big houses is not so surprising in the scheme of things. Business was good, sales increasing year to year, but how long can growth continue in any industry? To expect a set percentage of increase every year is unrealistic I think, especially in publishing which has been around a long time.

The fall out of all of this will most likely mean less books published by the big houses. Hopefully this will mean the books they do publish will be of higher quality and sales will maintain. It also means that authors with smaller sales will be looking for a new home. Truthfully this could be a boon to smaller publishers and actually broaden the market in the long run. I have to say that I came across some books in the last few years that I could not understand why they were published. And also why they got the push they did.

Having to regroup and rethink the way they do business is not a bad thing. Publishing has been around a long time and when was the last time they really made any significant changes to the way they do business? This is a great opportunity to give a kick start to a business that has been rather stagnant. Businesses need to remain fluid to remain viable. Comic book sales have dropped a bit, but with increased sales of trade collections they are actually doing fine.


Maybe stop being dictated to by Barnes and Noble and other retail sources. Why are people in the sales department so powerful? Shouldn't the editors have a little more say in what gets pushed? They are the ones buying the book. it seems like many businesses, that instead of people familiar with the product having a voice that the decisions are being made by accountants. Unless the sales staff has actually read the books in question they shouldn't have much of a vote.

Maybe advances should be cut and the rate of royalties increased? Instead of a bigger advance authors could get a higher rate on royalties. This would help the authors who really work it and go above and beyond in helping with their own marketing.

Maybe less advance and a little more on advertising? Instead of say, 10,000 advance an author gets 8,000 and a guaranteed 2,000 in marketing.

Here's a strange idea. Maybe the publicity people and the marketing people could listen to the author a bit more. I know some of the publicity people really do listen and are great at their jobs. It also stands to reason that every author is going to think their book is the most important. But if an author says that newspaper X reviewed the last three book with high praise and should get an arc, then they should in fact get an arc. If an author says that they do really well in the midwest maybe they should do a few signings there. This really should be looked at as a little more of a team effort.

Returns mean to be re thought. Not eliminated. But maybe a more realistic time frame. Books have to be returned in six or four months or the books can't be sent back. It is crazy that bookstores can send back books sometimes up to a year later.
The returns need to stay, but the structure needs to be fixed. Without returns a lot of bookstores will cut back on orders and new authors would be screwed.

The Harper Studio imprint tried something new and while i think they were off the mark a bit they were looking in the right direction. They should have allowed returns on a limited basis. They also wanted to focus more on the internet, which on the surface looks like a good idea, in truth it is a way of looking like you are doing a lot of marketing but allows you to spend almost no money on it. I love getting advance reading copies that state they are doing an internet campaign. it usually means they flood me with emails of reviews from other media(which I don't even read), having the author set up spots on MySpace and Face book or what ever the darling of the moment is.Internet marketing looks impressive on a book jacket, but it really isn't very specific.

I also think that marketing money could be better spent. I understand that when you drop a 2 million dollar advance on someone you need to spend a lot on advertising and marketing to make sure you sell through. I get it.


Some authors always sell big numbers. A certain writer who does some horror novels gets full page ads in major newspapers every time he has a new book. It seems silly as most people will buy the book and the ad is rather redundant. Maybe cutting the size of those ads in half and spending a little more on authors who aren't doing huge numbers yet. I like the baseball analogy here. Why drop all the money on the big league team, why not build up the triple a team and increase the number of high end players? There isn't a limit on how many best selling authors you can have. So instead of spending 2 million on Patricia Cornwell why not use a portion of that on new authors?

So what's coming? We'll see a lot of authors looking for a place to publish because the big houses are cutting back. And while it is sad that some authors that are quite good will get dropped, it is business and the product lines you drop first are the ones with low sales.
I also think that the smaller publishers will worth watching. With more authors not with the big houses there will be more chances for the small houses to pick up some really good writers. 10,000 copies maybe to little for a New York publisher, but it would great for an independent house.

I don't have all the answers, or maybe any answers. But I do recognize that something needs to change. And the answer is not going to be simple. It's going to involve trying new things and most importantly, listening to the people who buy books.

When it's all said and done I'm hoping that while the number of books landing on my desk will be dropping that the ones that do show up will be more consistently worth reading.

It's going to be an interesting year.