Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free shipping, more praise!

From now on, any orders of $25 or more through Busted Flush Press's website get FREE SHIPPING! Please feel free to order often. :-)


More praise for upcoming BFP releases:


“Don Winslow may be the finest crime writer currently working in America. His recent work—including but not limited to such titles as The Winter of Frankie Machine, The Dawn Patrol, and California Fire and Life—is brilliant on every level, displaying a depth, intelligence, and humanity few writers can hope to equal. Amazingly, his thrillers are also whip-fast, compulsively readable, and rich with language so glittery sharp I am left furious with envy. Instead of hating the man, I am his fan. A Cool Breeze on the Underground is the beginning of Winslow’s journey, and shows all the talent and promise of what is to follow. If you’ve not read the Neal Carey books before, send Busted Flush Press a note of thanks. You’re in for a treat.”—Robert Crais, best-selling author of The Sentry

“It’s one thing to see promise in a young writer, but A Cool Breeze on the Underground is just plain unfair. With his premier Neal Carey novel, Don Winslow announced to the world that neither he nor his characters were going to be run-of-the-mill. He continues to prove it with every book he writes.”—Reed Farrel Coleman, three-time Shamus Award-winning author of Innocent Monster

A Cool Breeze on the Underground is classic Winslow. All the characteristics are there: the style, the wit, and the building tension. Neal Carey is a wonderful character who drives the story to its stunning conclusion. A great read!”—Dave White, Shamus Award-nominated author of The Evil that Men Do

TOMATO RED, by Daniel Woodrell
(at the printers right now)

“Whenever I’m in need of inspiration, resuscitation—a big, heaping blast of air—I read the opening page of Tomato Red. By the end, I’m always grinning: that disbelieving, appreciative, joyful grin you get when you come upon the extraordinary. That writing! It’s hard to not move when you read Woodrell; his Ozark rhythms will get you toe-tapping, swaying in your seat. It’s impossible, in fact, to read Woodrell discreetly: you’ll find sentences, dialogue so funny or brutal or just plain brilliant, you need to share them with someone else. His characters are underdogs, heartbreakers, steal-your-wallet-and-kick-you-on the-way-out scoundrels, but you still want more time with them. With Woodrell, you always want more.”—Gillian Flynn, Edgar Award-nominated author of Sharp Objects and Dark Places

Monday, June 28, 2010

Zoë Sharp & Lee Child together!

If you're in the NYC area, don't miss BFP thriller writer Zoë Sharp and #1 best-seller Lee Child at The Mysterious Bookshop (58 Warren St.; 212-587-1011), tomorrow night, Tuesday, June 29, 6:30-8:00 p.m. They will sign Killer Instinct, Zoë's first Charlie Fox thriller, published in the U.S. for the first time! Lee Child wrote the book's new introduction.

Also in New York, Zoë will drop by Partners & Crime (44 Greenwich Ave.; 212-243-0440) sometime on Tuesday to sign store stock of Killer Intsinct.

Please contact either store to order signed/inscribed copies!

UPDATE (06/28):
* Read an excerpt from Lee Child's introduction here.
* Read about and see photos from Zoë's earlier stops on her tour, including Houston, Tucson, Phoenix, and New Orleans!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Zoë's tour, Reed's review of WINTER'S BONE & more!

Next week, BFP thriller writer Zoë Sharp will be coming over to the States for a mini-tour to celebrate the U.S. publication of the first Charlie Fox novel, Killer Instinct. It's a whistle-stop tour, taking in Houston, Tucson, Phoenix, New York and New Orleans. Highlights include:

* Tuesday, June 22nd, 6.30 p.m.: signing at Murder by the Book, Houston
* Wednesday, June 23rd, 1:30-2:00 p.m.: signing at Clues Unlimited, Tucson
* Thursday, June 24th, 2:00p.m.: Velma Teague Public Library, Glendale
* Thursday, June 24th, evening: Poisoned Pen Conference, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale
* Tuesday, June 29th, 6:30-8:00 p.m.: signing with Lee Child at The Mysterious Bookshop, NYC

Please contact these stores to order signed or inscribed copies of Killer Instinct!
Need help tracking down copies of Zoë's books, feel free to e-mail David here.


Crime writer Reed Farrel Coleman has long been a fan of Daniel Woodrell, an author he considers a "genius." We asked Reed, who saw the new film adaptation of Woodrell's 1996 novel, Winter's Bone, this past weekend, to offer up a review of the movie.

"Life is tough to begin with for Ree Dolly, a teenage girl living in a dirt poor part of the Ozarks where everybody in the area’s got a hand in the meth trade and everyone around is related to one degree or another. But when Ree, already responsible for raising her two younger siblings and caring for her infirmed mother, finds out that her father’s put the family homestead up as bail collateral and that he has fallen off the face of the earth, she goes on a quest to find her dad and save their land. Her odyssey is as harrowing as anything Dante could have dreamed up and as fraught with peril as anything Ulysses ever had to face. Ree faces it, for the most part, alone. Winter’s Bone, written by the Shakespeare of the Ozarks, Daniel Woodrell, is a masterpiece. So too is the movie adapted from the novel.

"The film, directed by Debra Granik [right], is the most faithful adaption in deed, spirit, and tone I have ever encountered. Talk about someone who understood the source material. She understood the dirt beneath its fingernails. But making a film is about making choices and the choices Ms. Granik makes are the right ones. There are things that in the novel—Teardrop’s nub of an ear and burnt face, Ree’s romantic involvement with her closest girlfriend, the brutality of the beatings—that Ms. Granik has wisely played down for fear those details would call too much attention to themselves and detract from the overall impact of the film. And the little additions she makes, particularly a scene involving Ree’s discussion with an Army recruiter, are brilliant.

"Still, the movie, as faithful as it is, isn’t the novel. The movie doesn’t quite have the mythic quality of the book and necessarily has a sharper focus on the crime aspects of the story. However, the film does shine a particularly strong light on the culture of the women in this part of the Ozarks. It’s the women who insulate the men from Ree when she comes calling. It’s the women who do the dirty work, who enforce the codes of behavior, who deliver the beatings. Yet as powerful as these women are made to seem, you just know that they are trapped in this world with no hope of escape. It is that sense of hopelessness and my yearning for Ree to move beyond it that will stay with me forever. Read this book. See this movie. If Jennifer Lawrence, who plays Ree, and John Hawkes [left], who plays Teardrop, and Ms. Granik don’t receive baskets full of nominations for their performances, the world really is flat."

Reed Farrel Coleman is the 3-time Shamus Award-winning author of Walking the Perfect Square, Redemption Street, The James Deans, Soul Patch, Empty Ever After, and the forthcoming Innocent Monster.

Go here to find out when Winter's Bone will be showing in your area!


Speaking of Daniel Woodrell, he & Winter's Bone director Debra Granik were interviewed yesterday on NPR's Fresh Air. Catch the audio & transcript here.

Busted Flush Press will reprint Woodrell's 1998 masterpiece, Tomato Red, in the next month. Listen to him discussing the book on NPR back in '99.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Killer Instinct (by Zoë Sharp; 978-1-935415-13-8; trade paperback original; $15) On sale now!

Chapter One

I SUPPOSE I ought to state for the record that I don’t make a habit of frequenting places like the New Adelphi Club, which is where this whole sorry mess began. Maybe if I’d run true to form and avoided the place, things might have turned out differently.

The New Adelphi was a nightclub that had risen phoenix-like from the ashes of the old Adelphi, a crumbling Victorian seaside hotel on the promenade in Morecambe. It had a slightly faded air of decayed gentility about it, like an ageing bit-part film actress, hiding her propensity for the gin bottle under paste jewellery and heavy make-up.

I should have seen the changes coming, of course. Over the last eight months the Adelphi has had ‘under new management’ written all over it. The first inkling of a revolution had been a line of skips along the front wall of the car park. The next, a sheepish visit from Gary Bignold, the assistant manager, to tell me that I no longer had use of one of the upstairs function rooms for my Tuesday night class.

‘Sorry, Charlie,’ he’d said awkwardly as he’d broken the news. ‘We’ve got a new boss man and he’s sweeping clean. He’s decided that making a few quid every week so you can teach a load of frumpy housewives how to slap down flashers in the park just doesn’t fit in with his game plan.’

I teach women’s self-defence, have done for four years now. I use gymnasiums in local schools, indoor badminton courts in leisure centres, and even the converted ballroom of a country house that’s now a women’s refuge. Finding a replacement venue for this class wasn’t going to be impossible, but it wasn’t going to be a piece of cake either. I thought regretfully of the lost revenue, and shrugged.

‘Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it,’ I said. He’d caught up with me in the car park, near the skips. I was packing my jogging pants and trainers into the tank bag of my RGV 250 Suzuki for the ride home to Lancaster, only five miles or so away.

Gary hovered from one foot to the other until I’d double-zipped the bag and clipped it down. ‘So what’s happening to the old place then?’ I asked, tucking my scarf round the neck of my leather jacket. ‘They going to pull it down and build yet more luxury flats that nobody wants?’

‘Nah, this new bloke, he’s dead switched on,’ Gary said, relieved enough to be chatty. ‘He’s going to turn this old dump into a nightclub. I’ve seen the plans. It’s going to be absolutely excellent. Couple of bars, split-level dance floors, bit of food. The business. You’ll have to come. Opening night. I’ll get you in free, no trouble.’

I raised an eyebrow and he looked hurt at my scepticism. ‘I will,’ he repeated. ‘I’m going to run the bars for him. It’s all been agreed.’

I didn’t say anything as I swung my leg over the bike and kicked it into life. Gary sometimes lets his enthusiasm run away with him. He looks too wide-eyed to ever be put in charge of anything more than asking the next person in line if they want fries with that.

I gave him a cheery wave as I circled out of the car park, ignoring his shouted assurance that he’d give me a call when they were about to re-launch.

It’s a good job I wasn’t holding my breath.

The New Adelphi Club opened about six months afterwards, just after Christmas. In record time if the murmurs in the building trade are to be believed. It seemed Gary had been right about the new boss being a mover and shaker.

At night the neon on the outside of the building lights up low cloud with an eerie violet glow and is visible from halfway across Morecambe Bay. It’s become quite a local landmark.

I learned from the local paper that Gary did, indeed, become the bar manager for the new enterprise, but he never called to offer me those free tickets. I must admit I hadn’t really expected him to.

It came as quite a surprise to myself, then, that I ended up at the place only a month or so after it opened.

That was my friend, Clare’s fault, not mine. She’d dropped it on me over the phone a few days before. ‘There’s this karaoke competition on at that new club in Morecambe this Saturday,’ she’d said, out of the blue. ‘I fancied giving it a whirl, but Jacob won’t go, so will you come along and lend some moral support?’

I hesitated. Clare’s a mate. I’ve known her and her feller, Jacob, ever since I first moved to Lancaster, but I thought such a request was stretching a friendship too far. ‘I didn’t know you were into that sort of thing,’ I said cautiously, playing for time.

She laughed. ‘Well, Jacob says I haven’t much of a voice. He says my strangled mewlings make the nocturnal warbling of our elderly tomcat sound like Pavarotti, but I reckon he’s just too much of an old fogey to want to go to a nightclub.’

I vaguely heard rude mutterings by someone at the same end of the line as Clare, and she laughed again. Jacob must be in his early fifties, his dark wavy hair streaked through with grey, but he’s one of those men who oozes sexual attraction. Always laughing behind eyes the colour of expensive plain chocolate, and just as tempting. If he could reproduce that kind of chemistry in a lab he’d be a millionaire.

Clare is twenty-five years his junior, more my own age. Tall, slender, she has endless legs and a metabolism that means she can binge peanut butter straight out of the jar without putting on an ounce. I recognised years ago that food was not going to be one of my indulgences in life if I wanted to stay in a size twelve.

I envied Clare the ability not to gain weight more than I envied her her looks, which were stunning. She had long straight hair to go with the legs, golden blonde without bottled assistance, and a sense of style I guess you just have to be born with.

She also rode a ten-year-old Ducati 851 Strada motorcycle like a demon and had the distinction of once having outrun a bike copper through the local Scarthwaite bends at well over a hundred. He’d pulled her over out of curiosity and his chin had bounced off his toecaps when she’d taken off her helmet. Where anyone else would have had their licence taken away for three months, she didn’t even get a producer.

‘So, Charlie, what do you say?’ Clare prompted now. ‘I don’t really want to go by myself,’ she admitted.

I heard Jacob in the background again, loudly this time. ‘You’re not going alone until they’ve caught that bloody rapist!’

‘Yeah, that too,’ Clare said. ‘You’ve heard about that, I suppose?’

I agreed that I had. It was a vicious attack that had only happened a few weeks previously. I’m not the morbid type, but I took a professional interest in the crime. Enough to keep tabs on the progress—or lack of it—in the news reports.

When you make your living teaching people, mainly women, how to avoid potentially ending up in the same situation, you tend to notice anything that affects business. When new pupils turn up at my classes with a sudden burning desire to learn how to reduce a large, hairy would-be mugger to a jellied heap on the pavement, you tend to ask what sparked off their interest. You don’t come out of it looking too good if you haven’t heard all about the latest stabbing, rape, or murder. Particularly if it took place on your own doorstep.

In this case, the victim was just turned eighteen, walking home along a gloomy footpath near the River Lune late one Thursday night and not smart enough to take a taxi. When she’d regained consciousness two days later she was only able to give a hazy description of her attacker.

He’d raped her with a knife held at her throat, then beat her savagely around the head. The police announced piously that it was a miracle she wasn’t dead. As it was, the doctors predicted that she was going to need months of physio, speech therapy, and counselling. The surgeons had managed, after a fashion, to save her right eye.

Lancaster may have its share of violence, but it’s still not the kind of town where things like that happen on a regular basis. The local paper was having a field day with tabloid-style headlines it never normally got to air. Public figures expressed their outrage. Worried citizens wrote to their MP.

Prominent policemen promised early results. It was a brutal and senseless attack, their spokesman said. The culprit must have been covered in his victim’s blood. He must have been spotted arriving or leaving along the busy main road which shadows the river. He must have got home in a dishevelled and excited state. He would, they prophesied, soon be under lock and key.

As it was, several weeks had now gone past. Nothing happened. Appeals were made on the television and would-be witnesses obligingly came forward by the dozen. Unfortunately, none of them had anything of real value to tell. It appeared that the only witness of any sort was a derelict wino called Jimmy.

Jimmy thought he might have seen a car, and he even thought it might have been on that evening, but through the fog of his perpetual alcoholic stupor, he couldn’t quite recall the registration number. Or the model. Or the colour.

There was an air of fear in the city that you could almost reach out and touch. I’d noticed it in my students, seen it on the street. Even over the distortion of the telephone system I could hear it now in Clare’s voice—and in Jacob’s, too.

I sighed.

‘OK,’ I said. ‘I’ll come with you. Just don’t expect me to sing!’

Which was how, a few days later, I came to be waiting for Clare in the car park of the New Adelphi Club, twiddling my thumbs and rapidly having second thoughts about the whole exercise.

It was partly because the noise level belting out of the place was so high I feared permanent hearing damage if I ventured any closer. The bass could be physically felt across the other side of the tarmac. I could well imagine that at closer proximity the high frequency would qualify as an offensive weapon.

In the ten minutes or so since I’d parked up and sat, watching people arrive and go in, I’d come to the conclusion that I was probably ten years too old to be there, which made most of the clientele too young to buy cigarettes, never mind alcohol. Also, in a clean pair of black jeans, an almost-ironed shirt, and my least tatty leather jacket, I was wearing way too many clothes.

Despite the chill of the evening—it was February, after all—the boys were all wearing tight little vests that showed off how many hours they’d spent down the gym, or untucked luridly coloured shirts that tried to hide the fact they didn’t know where the gym was. The girls looked like they’d come out in their night-dresses. God, I felt old.

A new set of lights swept into the car park, and Jacob’s rusty old cream Range Rover pulled up next to where I’d parked the bike. Clare waved through the window as she killed the motor and hopped down out of the driver’s seat.

‘Hi,’ I said. I nodded to the car. ‘I thought for a moment Jacob had changed his mind about coming.’

‘Oh no,’ she replied with a little grimace. ‘He drew the line at just lending me the car.’

I eyed the skimpy little frock Clare was nearly wearing as I dumped my helmet on the Range Rover’s back seat. ‘The way you’re dressed I won’t ask why you didn’t come on the bike.’

She looked down at herself with a wry smile. ‘It would have been cold, wouldn’t it?’ she agreed, then nudged my arm. ‘Come on, Charlie, lighten up.’

‘Lighten up? You’ll be beating them off with a shitty stick looking like that and I’m the one Jacob’s relying on to get you home in one piece,’ I grouched. In view of her glam appearance I tried to do something with my untidy mop of pale reddish blonde hair, but it spent too much of its time stuffed under an Arai bike helmet to pretend to have a style now.

She grinned at me again. ‘Don’t worry, if we walk in holding hands they’ll all just assume we’re gay.’

‘Yeah,’ I said sourly, ‘and I don’t have to ask which one of us they’ll think is butch.’

Clare locked the Range Rover’s door and linked her arm through mine. ‘Well,’ she said, a smile dimpling her lovely face, ‘we should both be safe then, hm?’

To start with, we nearly didn’t get into the New Adelphi Club at all. Gary’s new boss man had employed some very useful-looking door staff. Two big guys I didn’t recognise, which came as a bit of a surprise really, when I think about it. I thought I knew all the local hardcases.

Clare didn’t have a problem. They waved her through staring at her legs so hard that afterwards I doubt they would have been able to pick her face out of a line-up.

I didn’t merit such appreciation. I just got an arm like a steel girder across my path as one of them grabbed hold of the front of my jacket.

‘Oi, can’t you read?’ he demanded. He jerked his head to the six-inch square sign half-hidden behind him on the wall, which was headed ‘Dress Code’. ‘No leather jackets and no denims!’ he stated, stabbing a finger at the appropriate lines. God knows what he would have done if he’d known about the Swiss Army knife I always kept as an emergency tool kit in my jacket pocket.

I looked down at the meaty fist screwing up the leather. He had gold sovereign rings on three out of four fingers and a blurred blue tattoo disappearing up his wrist into the sleeve of his dinner jacket. It reappeared again over the top of his shirt collar, an indecipherable squiggle just to one side of the knot of his clip-on bow tie.

I couldn’t help getting the feeling that if Clare and I had been dressed the other way round, she probably would have still walked straight in, but now wasn’t the time to lose my rag. I always have the greatest respect for someone whose pain threshold allows a tattooist to stick so many needles into their neck.

‘How about you let go of me and we’ll start this again?’ I said, keeping my voice reasonable.

‘How about you just fuck off and come back when you’re properly dressed?’ he sneered, shoving me backwards half a step.

‘How about you learn to pick up your teeth with broken fingers?’ I shot back. He was pissing me off big time, and this was not professional behaviour. He was muscle and menace, not the right material for working the door. They should have kept him in a cage somewhere until they needed real trouble sorting out. I didn’t think I qualified for the strong-arm tactics straight off.

‘Hey, what’s going on? You causing problems already, Charlie?’

We both turned, which is not easy when you’ve got someone practically lifting your feet off the floor.

It was Gary. He was wearing a white dinner jacket to distinguish himself from the underlings, and trying to look like Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. I don’t think he quite pulled it off.

‘It’s all right, Len,’ he said. ‘Charlie Fox is OK. I know her. What’s the problem?’

The doorman slowly, and with great reluctance, uncurled his fingers from my jacket and put me down. ‘She’s not properly dressed,’ he muttered, a bully caught in the act by one of the teachers. He didn’t quite shuffle his feet, but he came pretty close to it.

Gary gave me a studied glance. ‘That’s about as properly dressed as she gets,’ he said, flashing a quick smile. ‘I think we can bend the rules about the jeans just this once, but the boss man’s in tonight so you’ll have to lose the jacket,’ he told me apologetically. ‘I’ll check it for you.’

I shrugged out of my jacket and let him hand it over to the cloakroom staff. Len stood and glared at me like a lion that hasn’t made a kill for weeks and who’s just been whipped back from a freshly slaughtered antelope.

The other doorman was also dressed in a dinner suit, and sporting that comedy blend of joined beard and moustache that just circled his mouth. The rest of his head was shaved smooth of hair. Both of them were wearing walkie-talkies with clip-on mics and earpieces. Curly wires disappeared under their jacket collars.

The bald doorman had been leaning against the wall during the whole exchange. His only energy expenditure was to chew gum. He made no moves to get involved on either side. Now he grinned at me slyly as Clare and I passed through into the bowels of the club. It made my scalp itch.

‘You’ll have to tell me what you think of the place now it’s been re-done,’ Gary yelled down my ear over the thunderous beat of the music.

The narrow entrance way had opened out into the club proper. It had changed so much since I’d last been inside the old Adelphi that if it hadn’t been for the unaltered façade I’d have thought they’d pulled the whole place down and started again.

We’d come out on what was now the first level, overlooking the basement dance floor. I looked up and saw the cellars weren’t the only thing that had become open plan. The ceilings of the next two floors up had been partially dismantled, revealing bars and more dance floors. I didn’t want to be impressed, but I couldn’t help it.

Clare and I fought our way through the crush to one of the bars on the next level up where Gary gave us both a drink on the house. The full extent of his generosity became apparent when I looked at the prices, even though Clare just had a glass of dry white wine and I stuck to mineral water.

‘So, when’s the karaoke start?’ Clare asked him, leaning close so he could hear her over the din.

‘Oh you’re going to have a bash at that are you?’ he said, preening under the attention. Like most fellers he had to look up slightly to make straight eye contact with Clare. Particularly when she was wearing four-inch heels. ‘That’s terrific,’ he told her. ‘To be honest, it’s been a bit slow to take off. The girl who’s won it the last three Saturdays in a row isn’t much cop, but she’s got enthusiasm. The crowd seem to like her.’

He offered to take us up to the smaller dance floor where the contest was taking place and introduce Clare to the DJ who was in charge of it. ‘Dave Clemmens is a scream,’ he said. ‘Just tell him what you want to sing and he’ll look after you. No trouble.’

We followed him deeper into the club, up a winding spiral staircase. Out of habit I checked out the nearest exits as we went. Dave the DJ held court at one side of the raised stage area on the other side of the floor. Gary guided Clare across with his hand resting lightly on the small of her back. I was deemed strong enough to make my own way there unaided.

Dave was another of those blokes who obviously spent more time admiring himself in the mirrors down at the gym than he did slouched in front of the TV at home. He’d worked hard on the vanity muscle groups, emphasising his biceps and pecs.

As Gary introduced us to him, his eyes flickered from Clare’s face down her body to her legs and back again, with a slow smile forming on his lips as he offered her his hand.

‘Delighted, Clare,’ he said, holding on to her fingers slightly longer than was necessary. Clare gave him the sunny smile of someone who’s used to eliciting such a response from men.

The stare he treated me to was less driven by lust, more by curiosity. I could see him playing mix and match with the relationship between the two of us. Frankly, I didn’t much care what combination he finally came up with.

He soon switched his attention back and started asking a few questions about Clare’s background. Had she sung before? Had she entered a competition like this before? She answered them all easily enough, leaning forward to talk to him. ‘So where are you from, Clare?’ Dave asked now, scribbling notes on a pad balanced in front of him. His other hand worked the controls of the deck with the sureness of long familiarity.

‘I live near Caton village, just the other side of Lancaster,’ she said.

‘Uh-huh, and what’s your phone number?’ It was tagged so neatly onto the back of the other questions that Clare nearly fell for it, opening her mouth to speak, then closing it again quickly. She shook her head with a smile and wagged her finger at him.

‘Ah well,’ he said, ‘you can’t blame me for trying.’ He checked the list on his pad. ‘You’ll be up last, but there’s only eight tonight, so don’t stray too far. If your friend wants to stay about here she’ll get the best view.’ He put just enough emphasis on the word friend to give it a whole host of meanings.

I smiled sweetly at him and said nothing.

He shrugged, reaching for his microphone. ‘OK, ladies and gents, this is what you’ve been waiting for! Another chance to hear the least-talented people in the area step up to the mic and make arse-holes of themselves!’

I was surprised at the intro and didn’t try to hide it. Dave grinned at my reaction.

‘OK, first up, as always is the reigning champion from last week. Where is she? There she is, can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but what she lacks in being musical, she makes up for in volume and guts. Step up to the mic, Susie Hollins!’

Despite this remarkable lead-in, the girl who scrambled up onto the stage was flushed with excitement rather than anger. She was pretty in a conventional sort of way, medium height, blonde streaks running through naturally dark hair, and a blouse that went see-through enough under the artificial lights to show the generous cut of her bra.

There was something vaguely familiar about her that I couldn’t place. Funny how you can never recognise someone out of context. I frowned while I dredged through my memory files, but came up empty.

Now, Susie stood fiddling with the microphone and primly adjusted her micro-length skirt as Dave gave his spiel about her.

‘You all know Susie. She works behind the meat counter at our local supermarket, and she can weigh out my sausages any time! She’s here tonight as usual with Tony—give us a wave, Tone—there he is! Got your own groupie, haven’t you, Sue? Mind you, with a voice like this, she needs all the help she can get. Give it up now, ladies and gents, for Susie Hollins!’

Susie launched straight into her number with plenty of gusto, but Dave was right. She did need a watertight container to carry the tune. She didn’t have the range to hit the high notes, or the breath control for the phrasing of the song.

Still, you had to hand it to her, she was up there giving it her all, and the crowd were cheering her on. Or maybe they were just trying to drown out the sound of her voice.

One thing was for certain, though. Susie Hollins may have been no great shakes as a karaoke singer, but I didn’t think that was reason enough for anyone to want to kill her.


Find Killer Instinct, the first Charlie Fox thriller (never before published in the U.S.!), at your favorite bookseller or online retailer! Here are a few links:
Mysterious Galaxy
Poisoned Pen
Barnes & Noble

And look for us to post Zoë's U.S. Killer Instinct tour tomorrow!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Great reviews for Donna Moore's OLD DOGS!

"Two septugenarian sisters take the classic heist to new levels in this addictive caper... Will keep readers smiling if not laughing out loud. The author's clever wordplay, irreverant humor, and vivid characters will please Elmore Leonard, Donald Westlake, and Carl Hiaasen fans, not to mention the Ocean's Eleven crowd. A leisurely paced setup leads to a quick climax, making this a compulsive, enjoyable read." -- Library Journal, starred review

"Very funny... Hilarious and exhausting; you can't help but love Old Dogs." -- Valerie Ryan, Shelf Awareness


Old Dogs (by Donna Moore; trade paperback original; 978-1-935415-24-4; $15) Look for it in stores in about a month!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Two Macavity Award nominations!

This feels like a dream... We've just learned that BFP has earned two Macavity Award nominations!

Tower (by Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman) -- Best Mystery Novel!
Tower has also been nominated for the Anthony & Spinetingler Awards and the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award (Mystery).

"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" (by Ace Atkins, in Crossroad Blues) -- Best Short Story!
"Last Fair Deal..." has also been nominated for the Anthony & Edgar Awards.

The Macavity Awards are nominated and voted on by the members of Mystery Readers International. The winners will be announced at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in San Francisco this October. This award is named for the "mystery cat" of T. S. Eliot (Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats).

Other nominees include Megan Abbott, Louise Penny, Stuart Neville, S. J. Rozan, Deborah Crombie, and more. Go here for a complete list of nominees. Thank you so much, Mystery Readers International!!!

New from BFP author Elizabeth Lowell (a.k.a. A. E. Maxwell)!

On sale today, the latest thriller from best-seller Elizabeth Lowell (who, with her husband Evan, wrote crime novels under the name "A. E. Maxwell") -- Death Echo (Morrow; $24.99).

New York Times best-selling author Elizabeth Lowell cuts a new edge in suspense with this thrilling tale of passion, danger, and international intrigue in which a pair of former operatives must stop a deadly plot that threatens a major American city—and ultimately the world.

When she joined St. Kilda's, the elite security consulting firm, Emma Cross thought she'd left behind the blood, the guilt, and the tribal wars that defined her life at the CIA. Yet, trading spying for investigating yacht thefts didn't alleviate the danger—or melt away her professional paranoia. Now, the same good instincts that got her into trouble at the agency might be what will help her survive her latest case.

With some arm-twisting, St. Kilda and Emma are tracking a yacht named Blackbird, a dead ringer for another ship that went missing somewhere between Vladivostok and Portland a year earlier. Emma knows the boat's intended cargo is lethal. What she needs to find out is whether it's biological, chemical, or fissionable. And she's only got seven days to uncover the truth . . . or a major American city will be lost.

Fortunately, she's working with a new partner as menacing and distrustful as the worst enemy she's ever faced—and as deadly. A honed killer, MacKenzie Durand led a special ops team that was deployed to some of the world's nastiest places. But five years ago everything went to hell in Afghanistan, when bad intel hung his team out to dry. The only survivor, Mac walked away and never looked back, preferring to make money sailing high-end boats like Blackbird.

But Emma and Mac aren't the only eyes watching Blackbird. Taras Demidov, an expert in extortion and execution in the pay of the oligarchs running the former Soviet Union, is also waiting in the shadows, determined to intercept a fearsomely powerful arms dealer with the money, weaponry, and connections to alter the geopolitical balance.

Thrown together by an organization of enemies with global ties more dangerous than either of them realize, Mac and Emma must put aside their growing attraction for each other to save more than just their own lives. In a deadly game where the rules change without warning and the line between friend and foe is blurred, the pair must find answers fast—or watch as innocent civilians are sacrificed in a cold-blooded grab for power and supremacy. And even Mac and Emma aren't sure just who will get to the finish line alive. . . .

Elizabeth Lowell is the author of many remarkable New York Times bestselling historical and contemporary novels. She lives in Washington with her husband with whom she wrote mystery novels as A. E. Maxwell.

And available from BFP:
Just Another Day in Paradise (by A. E. Maxwell; $13)
The Frog and the Scorpion (by A. E. Maxwell; $14)
Gatsby's Vineyard (by A. E. Maxwell; $14)
Just Enough Light to Kill (by A. E. Maxwell; $14)


And out in stores later this week, the Busted Flush Press original novel, Killer Instinct (by Zoë Sharp; paperback original; $15)! Look for an excerpt here on the blog tomorrow.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Busted Flush Press earns two Anthony nominations!

I (David) have long been a fan of the annual Bouchercon world mystery convention, held each year in a different host city (this year's takes place in San Francisco). My first was Seattle in 1994, followed by Toronto, Chicago, Madison, Indianapolis, etc. Bouchercon is a great place to meet your favorite authors & booksellers; sit in on some fascinating panels; buy lots of books; even explore a new city. But it's also where attendees can vote on the Anthony Awards.... which, as an attendee, is a pretty cool thing to be a part of.

So, of course, I'm extra excited to announce that two Busted Flush Press productions have earned Anthony nominations!

Tower (by Ken Bruen & Reed Farrel Coleman) -- Best Paperback Original!
Tower has also been nominated for the Spinetingler Award & the Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award (Mystery).

"Last Fair Deal Gone Down" (by Ace Atkins, in Crossroad Blues) -- Best Short Story!
"Last Fair Deal..." was also nominated for the Edgar Award.

Many many thanks to everyone who voted for the short list! Please check out the Bouchercon blog for a complete list of nominees.


And here are the BFP authors with a few words...

Reed -- "It's always nice to be recognized by fans and peers. Some peer awards get more repect, but I would say you'd be hard-pressed to come up with a finer, more representative list than the nominations for the Anthony. It's great and humbling all at once."

Ken -- "Without David Thompson, Reed, Craig McDonald & Al Guthrie, there would be no nomination. I'm truly delighted to be nominated and to be a part of Busted Flush. Here's hoping we add the Anthony to Busted Flush's glowing rep." [Thanks, Ken!]

Ace -- "I had hoped to be included in a finer class of people than Ken & Reed. There are plenty of well-heeled, well-groomed professionals out there where I could be grouped. Instead I'm stuck with two scruffy degenerates."


Congratulations to all of the other nominees! And if you're attending Bouchercon in San Francisco, I'll see you there. :-)