Derby Sale

It’s Kentucky Derby weekend here in The Ville. There’s party’s, tons of celebrities in town, and of course, horse racing! That’s why I’ve decided to make my two crime fiction books cheap this weekend.

My collection Stray Bullets is currently FREE for the next three days.

STRAY BULLETS

My recent novella Nothing Left To Lose is also on sale for a mere 99 cents.

NOTHING LEFT TO LOSE

Get them soon because the prices go back up Sunday night. Share the links and tell your friends.

Thanks

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Kentucky Derby Sale

This weekend all eyes are on Louisville as the greatest two minutes in racing goes down: The Kentucky Derby.

For three days During the Oaks, Derby, and the following day I will be offering my two books at a discount. Nothing Left To Lose will be down to 99 cents and Stray Bullets will be free.

So May 3-5 pick up my books at a super low rate and watch some horses run their asses off.

Again, Nothing Left To Lose will be 99 cents. Stray Bullets for FREE.

New book out

So, I put out a new book. My first novella actually. Written years ago. I finally got around to editing and rewriting it somewhat and even put a cover together and now, well, it’s out in the world. It’s a short one. I’m not sure I’m capable of writing a big book yet, but I like it.

It’s about a guy that lost his wife and daughter in a car crash and believes the man who hit them did it on purpose. He embarks on a hunt to find him and make the man pay for killing his family. There’s also some themes of alcohol addiction and suicide and family drama. Like I said it’s a quick read, but I hope you enjoy it.

Ebook at the link below, paperback coming soon. Also, if you buy the print version you get the ebook free.

Nothing Left To Lose

Review: The Force by Don Winslow

An absolutely fantastic novel.

Denny Malone is the top dog in the manhattan north task force in New York City. He has a strict moral code when it comes to family and friends. On the record he looks like a dirty cop but off the record he’s just trying to protect the neighborhood he loves. If he has to crack a few skulls or take some money from gangsters and pay shady attorneys he does. Malone takes care of business and makes sure the streets remain peaceful as possible. All until bigger dogs, the FBI, come gunning for Malone, then it’s a battle for survival. For him and his family.

The Force feels like it’s meant to be a classic and I think it is. It’s Goodfellas meets The Shield. Winslow is one of those writers that has his own style and he does it very well. Quick, tight sentences come at you hard and heavy. He does an interesting thing where he uses first, second, and third person to tell the story and it actually works pretty well. Every character’s voice is authentic and in your face. They all feel like real people even down to the secondary ones. It’s tailor made for a movie and I hope it becomes one.

Winslow’s prose is so lean and the pace is so fast though, that sometimes he doesn’t successfully pluck the emotional chord he intends to pluck. It falls flat and you whip right by it and keep going. Also, the book feels a little cliche at times and I think that’s because of the setting. New York is used so much in books and movies I actually feel like it hurt The Force to a degree. Even if it is a great story, it’s as if we’ve seen all this before. If it had been set in a different city, LA or Chicago or somewhere South, it might have felt a little more like its own thing. Maybe not completely original, but at least have its own look and feel.

Judging from Winslow’s twitter account I expected this to be heavy left-leaning arguments, but I was surprised to find that he balanced both sides of some tough subjects very well. We get the voice of the police from Malone and his crew and the things they have to deal with everyday, but we also see the other side with how other characters feel about the things the police do. Malone’s girlfriend Claudette, and the FBI agents for example. I feel like he kept an even keel on these things we all see on the news and social media everyday.

I sometimes talk smack about grocery store writers, those authors whose books you can always find in any grocery store no matter what. I bought The Force in one and I believe it deserves that amount of exposure. I’ve only read a couple of his books, but Don Winslow has already made my list of top 5 writers. Highly recommended.

Stray Bullets

With a ton of help from my brother, bizarro author Matthew Vaughn, I’ve finally decided to release my first short story collection. Titled Stray Bullets it features stories about mobsters, con men, losers, and outlaws.

It’s stuff I’ve written since around 2011 or 2012. Some of it has been published online at Shotgun Honey, Near To The Knuckle, and a couple of other places. I’ll admit they’re not all perfect but I like them. I hope you’ll like them too.

Stray Bullets on Amazon

More Recent Reads

Here are a couple of other books I’ve read from All Due Respect. I highly recommend going out and picking up anything from them. 


The Deepening Shade by Jake Hinkson: I’d heard good stuff about Jake Hinkson for awhile. After finally sitting down to read this collection I painfully have to say it was a little disappointing. The writing is great and Hinkson is terrific at giving his characters a distinct voice. Unfortunately these stories suffer from lackluster endings and are sometimes just flat out boring. It won’t stop me from picking up more of his work but I expected these to have a little more, I don’t know, wow factor, I guess.


Crooked Roads by Alec Cizak: Now this was a good collection. Pitch black hardcore crime fiction. Exactly the kind I like. All noir, some bordering on horror. Every one a punch to the throat. Highly recommended.

Recent Reads

Recently I read a couple excellent books from crime fiction publisher All Due Respect. Instead of making a post about each one I thought I’d lump them together. 


 Only Bones by Daniel Vlasaty: This was a really good noir from author Daniel Vlasaty. A bike messenger who doesn’t stop taking amphetamines even for a minute takes a job from his drug dealer and gets in over his head with dirty cops, and his drug dealers drug dealer. Grounded in reality and written in a minimalist style Only Bones is a fast paced, witty, and often times funny tour through Chicago via bicycle. Daniel, the messenger not the author, is basically the sidekick to all the tough guys you normally read about. The reader stands on the sideline with him as he’s dragged from one bad situation to another always questioning if he should just walk away and disappear from the city he’s grown up in and loves. I just really loved the characters voice and realistic situations. Vlasaty never goes over the top to where it’s unbelievable. You can seriously imagine being in some of the situations he finds himself in. It’s a pure noir grounded in reality. I highly recommend it.


Debt Crusher by Michael Pool: These days mob stories are to crime fiction what zombie stories are to horror. A well trodden area of the genre that never really changes much. In Debt Crusher author Michael Poole switches it up by setting it in Seattle and then ripping the main character out of the mob he had spent so much time in and putting him on the run. 
Poole, who I had never read before and wasn’t even on my radar, writes a good short, sharp yarn. His writing is clean and goes for the throat, although the middle got a little dull for me. But ends with a quick blast of action and suspense. Poole is definitely on my radar now.

Review, New Yorked by Rob Hart


Ash McKenna is a mess of a man who wakes up to a voicemail from the girl he loves only to find out soon after that she is dead. So Ash sets out on a quest to find his lady friends killer. On the way we meet Ash’s friends and some off kilter crime bosses all told through the eyes of a man born and raised in New York. 
New Yorked is a neo noir tour through New York City. There’s a cavalcade of characters that populate Hart’s New York such as the transgender crime boss Ginny, the obnoxious Hipster King, and Fanny Fatale who runs a strange LARP game that runs through the city. Ash’s friends and a cousin who shows up on his doorstep which give the reader a different perspective on Ash’s real motivations for finding his friends killer. Some of these people are almost unbelievable characters, but prove to add a real quirkiness to the story. 
Rob Hart has a nice noir style to his writing, spare and direct prose that isn’t clogged with over description. It actually reminds me a little of Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt series except without the vampires. The plot tends to meander a bit though, and some of the characters introduced were completely irrelevant to the story, unless he plans to use them more extensively in the next books of course. He writes good dialogue and character even making the city I only know from TV and movies come alive. I’ve followed his career through a mutual writing community and his first novella The Last Safe Place and I think New Yorked is a very good start to a new series. I’ll look for the next one City Of Rose soon.