BEST HARDBOILED DETECTIVE WHO AIN’T A DETECTIVE (or Scott Jordan is the man)


Long ago and far away I was 14 or so and visiting my crazy aunt Bobby Joe (married to Bobby Ray) and digging through large brown paper sacks full of books bought at garage sales. I had to be mindful of the tiny black North Georgia scorpions who loved to nest up in those stacks of old wood pulp paper, little bastards hurt like hell and made you sick to your stomach for days if you let one get a hold of you.  But I was a book worm and here were hundreds of books for my taking.

I came across an old yellowish book from 1969 (originally published (1947) with a cover that had a man in trench coat and a gun in his belt looking down in dismay at a naked blond laying among some conveniently placed pillows. Well, that was enough for me. I took that home and read the hell out of it.

Now the tale inside did not quite live up to the lurid cover, yes there was an undraped blonde, but she quickly wound up dead as a canary in a coal mine. What I did find was a smartass lawyer acting as a detective in 1947 New York, getting shot at and dealing with thugs. My first hardboiled book. I loved it.

I carried that book for a long time. It was by Harold Q. Masur, himself a lawyer turned novelist. He is now one of my favorite hardboiled authors.

The story is pretty good. Case of mistaken identity results in a dead woman and our hero has to find out what’s going on. He’s stubborn and smartass in all the best ways. Like a less tough Mike Hammer who is a bit more book smart and a bit less grim.

It is still one of my favorite books ever. I’ve read it probably 2 dozen times.

Here is the cover I have.

Bury Me Deep, Bantam 1969

and here is the new, re-issued version you can get from Raven’s Head Press.

 

BURY ME DEEP COVER FLAT

GO BUY IT HERE

DIG TWO GRAVES (or my rampant fanboying of Eric Beetner continues)


So, at Bouchercon 2015 I picked up some books. Three of those books were by Eric Beetner, you remember him from the other day when I gushed like a schoolgirl over a box of kittens about RUMRUNNERS, his book from 280 Steps.

Well, I read DIG TWO GRAVES, his revenge noir novella from Snubnose Press. It was really freaking good. The main character, Val, is a scumbag, but he is strangely likable, stumbling his way through a half-assed plan to get back at the two folks he feels have set him up to go back to prison. Mayhem ensues as things keep going sideways on Val and he just can’t catch a break. You’ll read this book as quick as you can because you won’t be able to put it down.

Plus you get a back up short story that kicks a lot of ass as well.

Check out the trailer Eric made for it .

and BUY IT HERE RIGHT NOW

dig two graves

GET GRAHAM YOST ON THE PHONE (or my review of RUMRUNNERS)


When Justified ended it left a hole in my world. I loved the Harlan County full of redneck outlaws and lawmen presented on there. Graham Yost, the showrunner, showed that he gets how to bring crime fiction to the small screen in a way that a lot of folks just don’t.

Well, I have discovered his next project.

RUMRUNNERS by Eric Beetner.

I’m an Eric Beetner fanboy and I have no problem admitting it. I love his writing and have yet to be disappointed in any of his work.  RUMRUNNERS is a great addition to his body of work.  This is a book about outlaw family doing outlaw things for family reasons. It’s got great characters and a plot as fast as a 1969 Roadrunner. It’s a crackerjack of a book.

It’s out through 280 Steps, a crime fiction publisher that’s burning up the roads with some great packaging on their books. Look at this cover.

cover - Rumrunners

And now read what some of the best crime writers are saying about it:

Smokey and the Bandit meets Justified and Fargo in this violent crime-family saga with a sense of humor.

“Buckle up…RUMRUNNERS is a fast and furious read.” -Samuel W. Gailey, author of Deep Winter Meet the McGraws.

They’re not criminals. They’re outlaws. They have made a living by driving anything and everything for the Stanleys, the criminal family who has been employing them for decades. It’s ended with Tucker. He’s gone straight, much to the disappointment of his father, Webb. When Webb vanishes after a job, and with him a truck load of drugs, the Stanleys want their drugs back or their money. With the help from his grandfather, Calvin-the original lead foot-Tucker is about to learn a whole lot about the family business in a crash course that might just get him killed.

“Rumrunners just never lets up. It’s a fuel-injected, mile-a-minute thrill ride. I had a blast.” -Grant Jerkins, author of A Very Simple Crime and Done In One

“Few contemporary writers do justice to the noir tradition the way Eric Beetner does. Others try to emulate and mimic; Beetner just takes the form and cuts his own jagged, raw and utterly readable path. RUMRUNNERS is the latest example of his great storytelling skills, and his uncompromising commitment to the dark, often violent truth at the center of the human heart.” -Gar Anthony Haywood, author of Assume Nothing, Cemetery Road and the Aaron Gunner series

“Beetner is an old school talent, a crime writer’s crime writer like Gil Brewer (although, in my humble opinion, he’s better than Brewer), who writes stuff that is fast and funny and dark all at once.” -Jake Hinkson, author of Hell On Church St. and The Big Ugly

 

And now go BUY IT RIGHT NOW

NOIR IN THE HEARTLAND (or how me and Springsteen and a bunch of crime-writing badasses are making a difference)


Pay attention to this one, it’s BIG.

I’m in a new anthology. I know, I know, I’m in a LOT of anthologies, but this one is a bit different. This one is a Crime Fiction anthology being put out by Gutter Books and Zelmer Pulp based on the songs of Bruce Springsteen. All the proceeds go to the Bob Woodruff Foundation which helps our veterans, cause dammit that’s what the Boss would want.

You may ask, WHY is this anthology different? Well, first of all it’s cool as hell, but secondly, it has some HUGE names in it. How huge? DENNIS LEHANE huge. HILARY DAVIDSON huge. Peter Farris, Chris F. Holm, Chuck Wendig, Les Edgerton, and Todd Robinson plus a shit-ton of other awesome authors huge.   Look at the cover:

 

Ain't it loverly?

Ain’t it loverly?

 

AND LOOK AT MY NAME RIGHT THERE ON THE COVER!

Cover credit. Hells yes.

And you all know my LOVE for crime fiction. I wrote about it HERE.

So what did I write about? My story is based off the song I’m On Fire. I’ve been listening to that damn song and been haunted by it for decades. It’s a spooky, creepy song full of human darkness. The second I was asked to be part of this by my good buddy Brian Panowich I knew I was writing that song. Got the official and wrote that beauty up in one sitting.

It’s dark. Real fucking dark.

It’s set in a place outside Culvert City, my crime fiction town, in a place called Butcher’s Holler and the time is somewhere around the 40’s.

Here’s what Joe Clifford, the editor, said after reading the piece.

Finally started editing the Springsteen antho. Just read your story “I’m on Fire.” Wow. I mean, just wow . . . 

. . . Got some Knockemstiff in there (which is my favorite short story collection), with just enough tongue-in-cheek nod to the Boss. Really, the perfect story for this collection. Well done, sir. Well fucking done.

I’ll take that. So keep your eyes peeled for the announcement of it going on sale and be ready to enjoy some awesome noir, inspired by an awesome singer, for an awesome cause.

And go LIKE the Facebook page for this anthology HERE

and here is a link to the video.

SNIPPET (not from anything I’m working on, just a bit I wrote)


You want to know the difference between you and me?
You see a man walking, carrying a gas can and smoking a cigarette, you assume there’s a car on the side of the road either behind or in front of him.
I see the same man and assume somebody somewhere nearby did something that deserves being set on fire for.

SHAMBLING, SHUFFLING, AND MOANING THE BLUES (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Zed word)


Well kids, it’s that time of the year again. That’s right, it is creeping up on Halloween time. All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Dia De Los Muertos… whatever you are celebrating it is all about the dead. This year, round here it’s all about the undead.

Specifically, zombies.

Ah, zombies. Whether they shuffle, shamble, run, or crawl everybody loves zombies. There is a lot of zombie fever around the Casa De La Tuck lately too.

First of all, my twisted zombie love story called “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is now out in ONE BUCK ZOMBIES. You can buy it everywhere e-books are sold in whatever format you need and all for ONE BUCK! (that’s right folks, it’s not just a clever title.) Not only do you get my chunk of undead deliciousness (which I am extremely proud of BTW) you also get four more stories full of zombies.

And look at this gorgeous zombie cover.

Here is what the first review says about this:

-“One Buck Horror has done it again. Five squirmy, creative, scary, bloody horror tales, these featuring the monster du jour, zombies!  . . . particularly “He Stopped Loving Her Today”  . . . . certainly deliver enough chills and lip-chewing fear to make this collection more than worth the cost. ” –
MaryAnnReads (Amazon.com)

Here are the links:

Amazon  and Barnes and Noble

Then, for my own personal enjoyment I am reading PATIENT ZERO by Jonathan Maberry.

Oh man this is a good book! And such a cool concept that I am still pissed that I didn’t come up with it first!  It’s like 24 mixed with zombies. It is truly off-the-chain.

And I just finished MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL by Larry Correia, which doesn’t have zombies in it, but it does have a ton of other undead and still kicks ass.

Plus I have been watching DEATH VALLEY on MTV. Listen, if you haven’t been tuning in then you are really missing out. This show is GOLD I am telling you. It’s COPS mixed with zombies, werewolves, and vampires. It’s also funny, just a dash of RENO 911 to break the monotony. It is truly an awesome show.

And on Sunday we have the return of one of the best zombie shows EVER MADE IN THE WORLD EVER! What else could I be talking about but THE WALKING DEAD on AMC. I mean really, the Tuck house is so freaking excited for Sunday night it is insane. Yes the show veered away from the comic book at the end, but I am fine with that because what they gave us was high quality.  And Me, The Missus, and The Son had the chance to see a WALKING DEAD panel at Dragoncon and it was one of the best panels. All the adults from the show ditched since it was first thing Monday morning, leaving all the kids from the show to handle the panel all by themselves. Let me tell you something, those kids rocked it. They were funny, charming, and highly entertaining.

AND to top it off Hornady, one of my favorite ammo companies has announced a new line of ammo ZOMBIEMAX! Check it out.

 

All this zombie fever has me in the mood to write some more zombie stuff. I now have 2 pages of notes on a new series about a Zombie Response Tactical Unit…so when I finish Book 3 of Deacon Chalk (titled BLOOD AND MAGICK) as well as the other two e-novellas in the series I just may be writing some brain splattering fun for you!

YOU’LL TURN A GIRLS HEAD WITH TALK LIKE THAT


Wow, so many incredible authors have given me the honor of blurbing BLOOD AND BULLETS.  I am stunned. And absolutely thrilled. I thought I would share them, unedited, with you today.

(Blubs get edited down dramatically to the literary equivilant of a soundbite!)

“A dark, damaged, lonely man takes on the undead underworld and the monsters who live in it. Deacon Chalk kicks monster ass!” –
Faith Hunter -author of the Jane Yellowrock series and the Rogue Mage series

“BLOOD AND BULLETS certainly lives up to its name. Sort of a cross between Kill Bill and From Dusk Till Dawn, James R. Tuck’s debut novel delivers a fast-paced, action-filled story that kicks off his new series with a bang. Literally. This is not your daughter’s vampire book! There are no brooding, star-crossed lovers (sparkly or otherwise), no sexy vampires searching for their soul mates. Tuck gets back to basics in a world where monsters are evil and someone has to kill them. Enter the hero: a tattooed and tortured gun-slinging, vampire-slaying bad ass. If Dirty Harry and Anita Blake had a love child, he would be Deacon Chalk. I was hooked from the beginning to the end! Ladies, if Dark Urban Fantasy is not your cup of tea, then buy it for the man in your life. It’s an action movie in print and the guys will love it!”
Jenna Maclaine– Author of the Cin Craven series of books

“BLOOD AND BULLETS is bursting at the seams with picture-painting language and satisfying surprises. Deacon Chalk is so vividly drawn you can almost reach out and stroke his goatee. Rapid fire action never stops, and Deacon’s irresistible voice propels you along for the ride. When I finished this book I was out of breath!”
Annabel Joseph– Bestselling author of Club Mephisto and many other fine titles.

“Blood & Bullets is a straight-up meat ‘n potatoes testosterone ass-kicker that delivers you thrills, chills, and kills with a rock-steady hand, unblinking eye, and no mercy for the things that go bump in the night. If you’re hungry for supernatural adventure free of trembling romance or are SICK of sad vampires, mainline this book RIGHT NOW – Deacon Chalk is the Charles Bronson of urban fantasy, guaranteed 100% BS-free.
Relentless, vicious, and yet with a core of genuine humanity the monsters can’t touch – Deacon’s a man pushed to the edge by the forces of darkness, and instead of falling in, he’s chosen to PUSH BACK in spectacular fashion…
If you’ve got a vampire bothering your daughter, call in Mr. Chalk – within fifteen minutes, you’ll be sweeping the vampire out the door with a broom.”
Matt R. Jones– Author of the Hollywood Vampires series.

“Excellent book, fast pace, brutal, a roller coaster adrenaline ride and you don’t even have to get off the sofa to experience it.
Deacon Chalk is who the monsters are afraid of!”
Adrienne Wilder – Author of the City Of Dragons series and the Darwin’s Theory series

Go, click links, buy books.  I’ll be over here swooning. 🙂