Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Covers for TOWER!

That's right, covers, plural. Tower (by Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman; 978-1935415-07-7; $15; September 2009) will have two covers, playing off the split-narrative aspect of the novel; half is written by Bruen, half by Coleman.

Some early praise to whet your appetite...

“Taking up the storied themes of crime fiction—loyalty and betrayal, temptation and treachery—Tower lifts and elevates them, forging a tale both barbaric and baleful, swaggering and broken-hearted. Brutal, soaring street poetry to take your breath away.”
Megan Abbott, Edgar Award-winning author of Queenpin and Bury Me Deep

Tower goes off like a slo-mo explosion, a raging blast of white-heat light. It’s a compelling study of pathologies, and style, and friendship and fate. Fuelled by tenderness and murderous hate, it’s as tender as it is brutal, tender as a savage wound, ragged and raw. Here be monsters, crippled monsters: Nicky and Todd are the truest angels and demons of our mean streets I’ve read for some time. Be afraid.”
Declan Burke, author of The Big O

Look for more to come on Tower in the upcoming weeks...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sadly, Life Imitates Art, by Reed Farrel Coleman

This past Saturday night, as my wife and I waited for our friends to arrive for an evening out, we were sitting in the living room, barely paying attention to the news on TV. Then a photograph of Chandra Levy flashed across the screen. Now I was paying close attention. It was the 2001 disappearance and murder of Chandra Levy—an intern for California Congressman Gary Condit— that was at least partially the inspiration for my sixth novel, The James Deans. In the novel, my PI, Moe Prager, is hired to look into the two-year-old disappearance of Moira Heaton, the Chandra Levy-like intern of NY State Senator Steven Brightman.

During the course of Moe’s investigation, he discovers that Moira, like Chandra, was sexually involved with her boss. As Moe delves deeper into the case, he makes a possible connection between a predator, already in police custody for having committed several attcks on women, with Moira Heaton’s disappearance. When a second photo flashed across the screen I got a sick feeling in the pit of my belly. This photo was of a twenty-seven year old Hispanic man, Ingmar Guandique, with scruffy, unkempt hair and dressed in orange jailhouse coveralls. He had a blank expression, but cold, dark eyes. Here’s an excerpt from The James Deans:

On the subway ride from Flushing, I found myself staring across at the front page of the Post. There was a big picture of a man in his late twenties or early thirties. He had shoulder-length, scraggly hair, a cruel smile, and dead black eyes. The kind of face nightmares are made of… Whenever I looked away, I found my gaze drifting back. There was something about those eyes gazing back at me, beyond me, through me, all the way to hell.

In The James Deans, the suspect was named Ivan Alfonseca, dubbed Ivan the Terrible by the media. He had been convicted of several assaults on women and was on trial for several more, but, like Guandique, had never been accused of murder. Apparently Guandique, like his fictional counterpart, likes to brag about his exploits. An old cellmate told the cops that Guandique confessed to killing Levy years ago.

Yet in site of the parallels between my fiction and the facts, there is one very important difference. My victim, as real as she may have seemed to the readers, was made out of words. Chandra Levy was made of flesh and bone and feelings. It’s now Monday morning and I still have that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.


The James Deans (978-0-9792709-8-7) has recently been reprinted by Busted Flush Press.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


*sigh* At long last, the first book of one of my all-time favorite series is back in print! We've just received copies of A. E. Maxwell's Just Another Day in Paradise (978-0-9792709-6-3; paperback; $13)... if you've preordered copies through your favorite booksellers, they should have them in about a week. Along with David Handler's Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag series and the someday-I'll-be-reprinting-it crime masterpiece Stone City (by Mitchell Smith), Maxwell's exciting private eye series is one of the reasons I created Busted Flush Press in the first place... I had to see them live again! Now, as you've probably noticed, I've been a tad slow at getting these (and other) books out... but I seem to have my act together for a change, and the next three Fiddler novels will be published over the next 12 months.

One year after John D. MacDonald's passing and a few years before Randy Wayne White would publish Sanibel Flats, husband-and-wife writing team Ann & Evan Maxwell (under the nom de plume A. E. Maxwell) created failed violinist-turned-P.I. Fiddler. When friends need his special brand of help, he "fiddles" with their problems, aided by his gorgeous financial wizard ex-wife, Fiora, and his electronics genius best bud, Benny... always with, through Fiddler's eyes, insightful musings on Southern California society & culture of that time. Originally published in the late '80s/early '90s -- first by Doubleday, then by Villard -- these books have not been in print for about 15 years. Ann Maxwell has since gone on to recreate herself as best-selling suspense novelist "Elizabeth Lowell" -- with a few of those books echoing the feel of the Fiddlers -- and there hasn't been a Fiddler / Fiora novel since the eighth, 1993's Murder Hurts... but for those of you (especially fans of MacDonald, White, T. Jefferson Parker, Don Winslow, Robert Ferrigno, and Robert Parker!) who haven't yet discovered these Southern California crime novels, here's your chance!

And now, the synopsis of the series debut, Just Another Day in Paradise...

Looking out his window, Fiddler can’t help thinking that California’s Gold Coast is pretty damn close to Paradise, even if that is a cliché. But he’s about to catch a glimpse of the shady side of this sun-drenched Eden, thanks to his ex-wife Fiora, a honey-blonde with a body that won’t quit and a mind to match.

Even though Fiora’s sheets are being warmed by an utterly charming European these days, there are still plenty of times she wants Fiddler by her side. Like when a couple of agents from the U.S. Customs Department start grilling her about the Silicon Valley export business owned by her suddenly unavailable-for-comment twin brother. Danny’s into electronics—the kind that come in miniature chips—but it seems he’s also been dabbling in other, more dangerous, enterprises. With Fiora’s soft spot for her twin offset by Fiddler’s hard head and matching muscles, the pair swing into action, knowing they don’t have much time to save Danny from the feds, from his enemies and, most of all, from himself.

And a few words on the series...

“Fiddler is to California what Spenser is to Boston and Travis McGee is to Florida. Tough, smart guys who know that sometimes, what looks like paradise, is pure hell.”—Paul Levine, best-selling author of Solomon vs. Lord and Illegal
“Unlike too many other fictional PI’s, Fiddler has aged well. So has his ex-wife and occasional bedmate, Fiora, one of the smartest, toughest, sexiest broads in crime fiction. The plots are well-hewn, the dialogue crackling, the bad guys among the very baddest. But the real payoff is A. E. Maxwell’s gimlet-eyed take on California circa 1980s. From the yachty Newport crowd and the oenophiles of Napa to the dream-seeking denizens of L.A., Maxwell’s books provide a sort of literary amber, capturing the scene and saving it for posterity.”—Bob Morris, Edgar Award-nominated author of The Deadly Silver Sea

“A. E. Maxwell wrote one of the smartest, most consistent PI series in recent memory. Big plots, great villains, and a kickass private eye with plenty of humanity. The toughness of Robert B. Parker’s early Spenser novels blended with the wry humor and scope of Ross Thomas. Wholly original, endlessly entertaining. The books of A. E. Maxwell are a forgotten treasure.”
Tim Maleeny, best-selling author of Greasing the Piñata and Jump

“The writing is lean and restrained, and Fiddler... gives Travis McGee a real run for his money.”—Los Angeles Times

“Weary of dreary police procedurals, morally ambiguous cold warriors, hypersensitive and much-too-introspective private eyes? Then you may just be man or woman enough to ride shotgun with A. E. Maxwell’s Fiddler.”—Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“If there is a ‘new’ macho, the epitome would be Fiddler, whose self-possession, subtle wit, electrifying speech, and personal honesty spell good news for mystery readers.”—The Washington Post

Coming soon: An excerpt from Just Another Day in Paradise, an interview with the authors, and more!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

A. E. Maxwell covers

I'm excited to reveal the covers of the first four A. E. Maxwell Fiddler & Fiora crime novels, which I'll start reprinting this month...

Just Another Day in Paradise (978-0-9792709-6-3 / $13 / Feb. 2009)
The Frog and the Scorpion (978-1-935415-00-8 / $14 / June 2009)
Gatsby's Vineyard (978-1-935415-01-5 / $14 / Nov. 2009
Just Enough Light to Kill (978-1-935415-02-2 / $14 / Feb. 2010)

One of my all-time favorite series, and a must for anyone who's a fan of Travis McGee and Doc Ford. In the upcoming days, I'll release an excerpt from Just Another Day in Paradise, an interview with A. E. Maxwell, and more. Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

THE JAMES DEANS now available!

What helped guide two-time Shamus Award winner Reed Farrel Coleman to become a writer? Here are the books & films that have most infuenced Coleman (in no particular order):

The Long Goodbye (by Raymond Chandler)
The Little Sister
(by Raymond Chandler)
Red Harvest (by Dashiell Hammett)
The Maltese Falcon (by Dashiell Hammett)
Foundation Series (by Isaac Asimov)
The Robots of Dawn (by Isaac Asimov)
Slaughterhouse Five (by Kurt Vonnegut)
Cat’s Cradle (by Kurt Vonnegut)
Steppenwolf (by Herman Hesse)
The Stranger (by Albert Camus)
The Berlin Stories (by Christopher Isherwood)
Berlin Noir Trilogy (by Philip Kerr)

The French Connection (1971)
The Third Man (1949)
Dr. Strangelove (1964)
The Outlaw Josie Wales (1976)
Touch of Evil (1958)
The Godfather (1972)
The Producers (1968)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)
Soylent Green (1973)
Diva (1981)
The Entertainer (1960)
The Anderson Tapes (1971)
The Long Good Friday (1980)

And stores should now be receiving their copies of the new Busted Flush Press edition of Coleman's Shamus / Anthony / Barry Award-winning third Moe Prager novel, The James Deans (978-0-9792709-8-7; trade paperback; $14). Though you might already have the original Plume version (published in 2005), you may want to consider getting the new edition for its original foreword by best-seller Michael Connelly, new afterword by Reed Coleman, two Moe Prager short stories ("Requiem for Jack" and "Requiem for Moe"), and the excerpt of Tower, the forthcoming novel written by award-winning crime writer Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman.

“Some writers can make you feel that they have inhabited their characters to a degree associated with demonic possession, but Reed Farrel Coleman’s gift is to graft that sensation onto the reader, so that he or she feels they’re wearing the character like skin. . . . [A] terrific writer, one of the finest of his generation. If you haven’t read The James Deans yet, do yourself a favour and do so. It’s how books are supposed to be.”—Declan Burke, author of The Big O

You can find The James Deans (and the first two Moe books -- Walking the Perfect Square and Redemption Street) at your favorite independent, chain, and online bookseller... here are a few links:

IndieBound (find an indie bookstore near you!)
Independent Mystery Booksellers Association (find a mystery bookstore near you!)
Murder By The Book (Houston, TX)
And here's a advance look at what's coming from BFP in about 3 weeks:

Just Another Day in Paradise (by A. E. Maxwell; 978-0-9792709-6-3; trade paperback; $13) Originally published by Doubleday in 1985, this is the first novel in Maxwell's exciting Fiddler & Fiora crime series. Fans of John D. MacDonald and Randy Wayne White should miss this! More to come soon...

“A. E. Maxwell wrote one of the smartest, most consistent PI series in recent memory. Big plots, great villains, and a kickass private eye with plenty of humanity. The toughness of Robert B. Parker’s early Spenser novels blended with the wry humor and scope of Ross Thomas. Wholly original, endlessly entertaining. The books of A. E. Maxwell are a forgotten treasure.”—Tim Maleeny, author of Greasing the Piñata and Jump