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

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DAMN JOE R. LANSDALE, JUST . . . DAMN (or how my mind got blown)


With the Sundance show a comin‘ I’ve been filling in the gaps of my Hap and Leonard reading cause I haven’t gotten the whole series through. Not for lack of liking, just for picking them up randomly. So I’ve been reading BAD CHILI by Joe R. Lansdale.

It’s good. I like Hap and I like Leonard. They ride each others asses like friends do. They get in weird capers that result in mucho violence and I like that as well.

So the other day I was working at the tattoo shop and I took a break, went outside on a gorgeous day, sat in a chair and lit up a Nick’s Sticks cigar and read toward the end of the book.

badchili cigar

On page 280 Joe Lansdale blew my damn mind.

There’s a thing that happens, no I won’t tell you what it is, you either already know or you haven’t read it yet so no spoilers. Needless to say a thing occurs and Hap decides he is going to go kill someone.

That scene, his decision to do the killing and his action as a result was some of the most gripping writing I’ve read in a long time. I write books about violent men. I write books about people choosing to kill other people. Reading Lansdale’s version of thing s I have written was like being slapped with my own inadequacies. It was humbling. Not often does something happen in a book that makes me say, out loud, “damn”.

Two mega thumbs up for this book.

hap bad chili

GO BUY IT HERE

 

Hap-and-leonard_100_james-purefoy_michael-k-williams_968x545

THE POWER OF A SCANDAL (or my review of Jigsaw Youth)


Tiffany Scandal is a tuff chick.

I picked up her book JIGSAW YOUTH from Ladybox Books and read it quickly. It’s on the shorter side but it’s also just that damn compelling.

This is the story of Ella, a lesbian of Chicana descent, who finds her self both isolated and accepted. The story is disjointed, appearing in vignettes instead of a straight narrative and that adds depth to the texture of the story. This is a life and sometimes life can get messy.

It’s got a beauty to it and a power and by the end you feel as if you have shared something meaningful.

Full to the brim with emotion that paint a dark but not bleak portrait. The writing is both raw and delicate, somehow punching you in the gut and kissing you on the forehead.  Scandal’s voice is definitely noir, harkening to some of the tough guys in the genre, Bukowski, Thompson, and Carver would have had her in their drinking club, but her language and story have a literary heft to them that keeps you turning the pages.

I’ll be checking out more of her work and recommend you do as well.

jigsaw youth

BUY IT HERE RIGHT NOW.

 

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

HERE WE GO, NEW SH!T (or getting off my a$$ and actually blogging)


I’ve been busy.

And I suck.

Between the two you have had no new content here.

Well, I aims to change that. I’m coming back. Mostly this is going to continue being my place to ramble but also my place to tell you about the books and comics I’m reading.

I read a LOT.

Mostly crime fic, horror, sci fi, and urban fantasy….but you never know what I’ll be delving into here. Could be erotica, could be poetry, could be literary. You just never know.

So I will be sharing all that goodness with y’all.

I MAKES BOOK COVERS (it’s true. I do.)


I do covers. If you want one hit me up. You get print layout and ebook cover.

james AT jamesrtuck DOT com

(replace AT with @ and DOT with . and close the gaps)

On my personal books I did the artwork and took the photos….for FLASHING STEEL FLASHING FIRE I used a stock image I bought……for INTO THE WEIRD the artwork came from Karl Comendador (find him HERE)

If you want to buy any of these click the pictures and you can buy them in ebook and print!

My stuff:

hired gun 5 x 8 jpeg internet special features FLATTENED internetviewable THAT WAY LIES MADNESS FULL COVER 5X8 INTERNET VERSIONand for other people:

 

FLASHING STEEL FLASHING FIRE PRINT COVER for posting on the internet JAMES PALMER  INTO THE WEIRD PRINT COVER FOR INTERNETZ

LAID OUT A NEW BOOK (not mine but something for a friend)


So in my copious amounts of spare time I sometimes do cover layouts for folks. Here is the cover I did for Mechanoid Press‘ BETRAYAL ON MONSTER EARTH.

Actually the cover artist did the front cover layout, I just did the back cover and spine.

BETRAYAL ON MONSTER EARTH PRINT COVER INTERNET SIZEDJPEG

 

You can buy it HERE

NEW DEACON CHALK BOOK! (or no clever title on this one, just getting the word out)


HARK! all Loyals and True Believers the wait is over!

Now you can have an ALL NEW DEACON BOOK! (sorta)

Please welcome to the family SPECIAL FEATURES: A Deacon Chalk Short Story Collection

Look at it! I MADE that shit. Took the photo, did the layout, that's all MINE!

Look at it! I MADE that shit. Took the photo, did the layout, that’s all MINE!

Okay, let me explain. I look at the three novellas and three novels in the Deacon Chalk series so far as the first season of a really kick ass urban fantasy television show. Like the most kick ass show that ever was.

THAT THING AT THE ZOO, BLOOD AND BULLETS, SPIDER’S LULLABY, BLOOD AND SILVER, CIRCUS OF BLOOD, and BLOOD AND MAGICK.  If you read straight through from the first you get one long story arc. This is the special features disc of that dvd set. (hence the clever title lol) Inside you will find short stories that happen around and between the published titles including DOLLY an all new, never before seen novelette that shows Deacon when he first started monster hunting. It’s Deacon: Year One.
You also get bonus material, character interviews, an essay, some special treats, a cut scene from BLOOD AND MAGICK, and a wrap up story set after BLOOD AND MAGICK that puts an elegant bow on the whole first season.

Damn right.

Some of this material has been published on the interwebs, but all of it has all been polished and a lot of it is new and all of it falls in a line. Plus it will look awesome on your book shelf.

More Deacon is coming. I promise. You will see some short stories, some novellas and a full novel soon because the second season is about to start and let me tell you something, I am upping the ante. You thought the series was wild before, well now it’s going completely off the rails!!!!!!!!!! THIS is the series with more balls than any other urban fantasy series out there and shit’s about to get buck.

But until that happens, buy this.

Here’s the BIG ASS BUY LINK FOR AMAZON which is where you can get it in print and kindle format.

Here is the BIG ASS BUY LINK FOR B&N where you can get it for your nook.

And while you are at it look over at my two other indie published titles:

THAT WAY LIES MADNESS

I drew the art for this as well as doing the layout!

I drew the art for this as well as doing the layout!

Lovecraftian horror at the edge of space! Scary sci fi with a terrific character.

THAT WAY LIES MADNESS AMAZON LINK

THAT WAY LIES MADNESS B&N LINK

and

HIRED GUN

I took the photo and did the layout for this!

I took the photo and did the layout for this!

My crime fiction short story collection. It’s gritty and dark and awesomely violent.

HIRED GUN AMAZON LINK

HIRED GUN B&N LINK

And thank you for all your loving support. It means the world to me and I love you very much.

DIVERSITY UNIVERSITY (or we’re all good)


So there has been much brouhaha about diversity on the interwebs. Lots of fighting. Lots of name calling. Lots of accusations.

I won’t bother to point it out but you can find it.

It got me to thinking about my own work. I’m a straight white male, have been my whole life, don’t think there’s anything wrong with being that. None of those three things are inherently evil.

My main character in the work I am best known for is a straight white male.

I also don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

In the Deacon Chalk series you also have a ton of other characters. Some are white, some are straight, some are males.

A whole lot aren’t. Here’s a rundown.

Kat- Female and Deacon’s right hand.

Tiff- Female and Deacon’s love interest.

Charlotte- Female and Deacon’s Were-spider friend. Also black. Also Bi-sexual and polyamorous.

Boothe- Male and Deacon’s friend, ally, and employee. Were-rabbit. Also Gay,

Josh- Boothe’s partner. Gay and Were-rabbit.

Sister Mary Polycarp- Father Mulcahy’s understudy. Female and black.

Ronnie – Deacon’s friend who is psychically bonded to a cluster of supernatural ghost spiders. Female.

Sophia- Were-dog. Deacon’s friend and ally. Female.

Sasha- owner of Cordite. Deacon’s ally. Post op Transgender.

Katsumi Takakage – Deacon’s ally. A tengu, she is Asian and female.

Maasakki Hatsumi- Katsumi’s father and also a tengu. Asian.

Those are the highlights. Lots of female characters, damaged but strong. Lots of LBGT characters. Multiple ethnicities. Kinda the way it is in the real world.

The thing is, I never wrote these characters as a statement or to fill a quota. They just work as who they are. In fact Boothe is in the whole of book 2 BLOOD AND SILVER and it’s only in the last chapter that his sexual orientation is mentioned because it does not matter to the story. It isn’t the point of the character or his arc through the books.

Most readers never pick up on the fact that Charlotte is black. Seriously. I tell people that and they give me blank face. It’s there in the first description of her after transforming into her human state but still people do not catch it. Which I like because the fact that she is black is NOT the point of the character.

Anyways, this is a bit of a ramble but enjoy the books.

 

FOR THE LOVE OF COULSON (or how Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. can not suck)


Alright. This is hard to admit.

HARD.

Cause The Avengers pretty much came out and rocked my ass, your ass, and your grandma’s ass off. Cause Joss Whedon is a badass who can chew up corporate crap and spit out magic rainbows of love. Cause Clark Gregg is a bonafied Terminator when it comes to playing Agent Coulson, stealing a multi-million dollar movie from some of Hollywood’s biggest players. Cause, dammit, this is the Marvel Universe and the sumbitchin Avengers part of it.

But the really real truth of the matter is that Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. pretty much blows.

Hey guys, pose like you're gonna kill a franchise.

Hey guys, pose like you’re gonna kill a franchise.

I’m not the first one to say it so put your hair back on. The show is flat and boring. Nobody is engaging. I just don’t give a shit what happens because I know when the show starts that NOTHING is going to happen. There are no consequences. Everybody is exactly who they were when the show started and I feel they will remain that when the show ends. The actors have zero chemistry and even the indomitable Clark Gregg comes off as flat and muted.

Hell, it’s making me kinda hate Agent Coulson.

Yep He's dead.

Yep He’s dead.

So what can be done? I’m glad you asked.

FIRST this show needs to remember that it is a part of the Marvel Universe. We were promised that it would tie in and we have seen almost NONE of that. Yes we got a 30 second appearance of Nick Fury at the end of an episode, but where are the small nods? The inside fanboy references? The freaking copy of the Daily Bugle with SPIDERMAN: HERO OR MENACE? plastered across the front of it. Why hasn’t this team started running into A.I.M. or Hydra or any of the other bad guy organizations out there? You have about 30,000 C and D list heroes and villains you can swing into this show for almost no money. Hell, Thor hits in two weeks, just give me a red and silver streak CGI’ed across the sky and have Coulson comment on it.

It's like I made that shit up.

It’s like I made that shit up.

SECONDLY this show REALLY needs some consequence. Like the episode called EYE SPY. Crap episode. Nothing really happened. Had a glimmer of promise that quickly died. HOWEVER, they could have pulled that episode out by

SPOILERS WARNING!

simply doing one thing at the end. When the girl who they removed the eye from laid down at the end of the show and her eye began to flutter as she fell asleep they should have simply had the one eye left pop open and then do that zzzzt bloodspurt thing that happened to her handler.

BAM! all of a sudden you establish a few things. 1) Coulson’s team (and by extension S.H.I.E.L.D.) can miss things, which creates a helluva lot of tension. 2) It indicates that the person in control of the eye devices has a bigger plan and won’t simply disappear after this one episode. These two things could turn the show in the right direction because these two things are missing.

Truthfully they should call me and I can fix this show.

Here’s what the dealio should be: We all know that Coulson died in The Avengers movie. This Coulson is something else. He may be a Life Model Decoy, he might be a prototype of Ultron or Kang or a Doombot or a brainwiped Skrull or some other thing FROM THE MARVEL UNIVERSE that could possibly become the Vision. Regardless, he isn’t human and S.H.I.E.L.D. is field testing him.

He thinks he’s in charge of this team of misfits but truthfully THEY are handling him because he’s dangerous.

There are two scientists because they are both studying him using their different schools of training. Agent Ward and Agent May are there so that if he doesn’t work out they are the two with the ability to take him down. And the Rising Tide girl is the wildcard and the ONLY one who doesn’t know Coulson’s secret besides him. Of course her gig is to investigate and to mistrust S.H.I.E.L.D. so when tidbits of info that things are not as they seem come out, she is our way of finding out about it. She is our intro character. Once she finds out the truth she drops the knowledge on Coulson and he and her go off the rails.

Then we find out that this whole time they haven’t been working for S.H.I.E.L.D. at all.

Aw yeah son.

Aw yeah son.

BAM!

Seriously Joss, give me a call.