Petty Crimes and Vindictive Criminals is out. A proof copy of the paperback is on the way, and hopefully will be approved in short order, but the ebook has been officially published on Amazon.
This is my new collection of short stories, all of them crime, brimming with sex and violence. Twenty tales of hardboiled noir is only a click or two away for readers who want to be amused by the dark and frequently funny side of lawbreaking shenanigans.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to further illuminate the contents of this new book (in case you’re not quite sold on it, and need to be pitched specifics).
Ashes to Ashes – The history of this story is long and complex. Beginning as a spec screenplay written over a furious long weekend of inspiration, it nearly got made as an episode of the Ridley and Tony Scott produced erotic horror show, The Hunger. When that ultimately didn’t happen, it was shot in San Francisco as a half-hour film financed by the Canada Council for the Arts. Years later, I adapted it as a short story that went on to be published in the anthology The Binge-Watching Cure in 2018. Now that all rights have reverted back to me, this story—roughly twenty years old at this point—opens my latest collection with a black-comedy sexually perverse bang.
Saltwater Shark – A love-letter obituary to everybody’s favourite loan shark. This is an original piece appearing for the first time anywhere.
Dealers – Previously available to mail-listers only (Join my mail list! The link is in the sidebar on the right) this is a little side story that connects to the events of my novel, Necropolis, and illuminates the origin of the hitman who plays into the narrative of that book.
Special – I have a great deal of affection for this story, inspired, in part, by some of my own comic-book convention appearances. Written in 2012, it proved difficult to place, and very nearly landed in one or two superhero anthologies because it’s sort of a superhero story. Except it isn’t. Read the book and find out what I mean.
Wetwork Warrior – A very recent inclusion that I wrote as a response to a current film I really disliked. This is a better version of how government assassins retire.
Three Point Seven – Another story meant as a response. Not necessarily to an individual film, but to a whole sub-genre. This is my take on getaway drivers and how they might handle the prospect of a high-speed chase with police.
Lines on a Map – Anyone who read Raw and Other Stories or Shotgun Honey Presents: Locked and Loaded (Both Barrels Book 3) will remember my story, “Young Turks and Old Wives” featuring legendary supercriminal, Derek Dunlan. This marks his second official appearance in my crime-and-horror canon, and is one of my personal favourites in the collection. He will definitely be appearing again in future stories.
Chick Magnet – I’ve frankly been shocked by the positive reaction to this story. I thought many people might find this horrifically offensive. Now that it’s offered up to a global audience, I’m sure someone’s bound to get upset. Mind you, if they’re that easily upset, they shouldn’t be reading this book at all.
Crocodile Tears – This is a must-read for fans of Necropolis and Epitaph. Originally published in Betty Fedora Issue Four, Tracy Poole returns in her own mini mystery. This story is shaping up to be the basis of a whole other original Tracy Poole project down the road. Have I mentioned that The Necromancer Thanatography series is going to have branching novels? No, I haven’t. But you heard it here first. I’m building a universe!
The View from Inside the Pocket – This is a piece that appeared on the Shotgun Honey website years ago. It’s the shortest story in the book, but also my most well-received bit of flash fiction. So much so, I was asked to adapt it as a short-film screenplay. We’ll see what becomes of it.
Shell Game Eight – I go grocery shopping when I’m bored and need to get out, dropping in randomly to look for sales. When I observed that the express lane is actually the slowest lane in most supermarkets, the germ of an idea for this funny and extremely violent story was born.
The Laundry List – One of my proof readers read this story with a baby in her arms. Both mother and child were traumatized for life. Oops.
A Foot in the Door – I don’t want to get into spoiler material, but suffice to say I became fascinated by what happens to people who jump out of tall buildings and went looking at a bunch of pictures I can’t unsee. You know all those Hollywood movies that show people hitting the pavement after a long drop? They go splat. Kinda. The real thing is so much worse.
Ghoul: A Romance – This is the story I worry about the most. It’s fucked up in the sort of way that demands psychiatric observation and medication. It’s ugly and disturbed and sexual in very wrong ways. And that’s probably why it’s my favourite. You might want to cross the street to avoid me after reading this one. And if it makes you want to get closer…well…maybe I’ll want to cross the street to avoid you.
Drill – Heads up: this story may feature an unnamed character who will appear in a future novel I’m working on. A novel which may well prove to be the most controversial thing I’ve ever written. Or it will be completely ignored and die in obscurity, I can’t really predict how these things will pan out.
Dig Two Graves – Equal measures grim and cute. After some of the hair-raisingly horrific stories that preceded it, this tale that threatens live-burial will seem light and frothy by comparison.
Pinch Hitter – This hitman story feels like it’s on the verge of being blown out into a feature film. I’m almost tempted to write up the screenplay, except I’ve been to that rodeo so many times, maybe it’s best to just leave this one pure, simple, and unmolested. I like it too much to defile it. Not without a development deal, at least.
Platinum – This one has been gestating for a long time. I might have shopped it around, but these days I’d rather just fill out my own anthology and stuff even potential sales into a collection. It beats sitting around for an extra year, waiting for rights to revert.
Mercy – A handful of my stories enter a certain Edgar Allan Poe territory. This is a short palate cleanser before we wrap up with the last and longest offering of the collection.
Keeping the Piece – This is purely autobiographical. Okay, not really. But some of it is. Let’s just say it’s based on real events. I’m not a big fan of stories about writers. You do too many of those and you’re no better than Stephen King. And what has he ever done except become incredibly rich and famous and successful? A bit like “Underwriter” in Raw and Other Stories, my past history as a screenwriter serves as inspiration. And this particularly story may well be my letter of resignation. Not that I’m likely to turn down paying work if it comes knocking again, but it’s been a good long stretch since my last television-writing gig, and I’m not really missing it. The money, sure, but not the bullshit. It’s why I’ve thrown myself so hard into prose and publishing.
Because I’d rather spend the rest of my life doing this instead of butchering my best work at the whim of producers and broadcasters.
I can dream, can’t I? I’m a writer, after all. I do it professionally.
Petty Crimes and Vindictive Criminals is available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. Paperback to follow shortly.