Word Crimes Podcast: Episode 4

Title 18: Word Crimes PodcastAfter some time off to recover from a touch of the bronchitis… The fourth episode of the Title 18: Word Crimes Podcast is now available!


This episode features two crime fiction stories: “On the Sly” by Ron Earl Phillips, originally published in Six Minute Magazine and read by David Sobkowiak and Laura Frechette, and my own “Oh Well,” originally published by Out of the Gutter Online and read by my partner in word crimes, Scott Detrow. Enjoy!

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The Murders at the Lake

The magazine Texas Monthly has a knack for publishing extremely well-written crime reporting. In December 2012, I gushed about “The Innocent Man” by Pamela Colloff, a terrifying piece about how bad police work and prosecutors determined to win at any cost can be just as destructive as the most deranged criminal.

Today, thanks to a Facebook post by author Dennis Tafoya, I read “The Murders at the Lake” by Michael Hall. It looks at the 1982 murders of three Waco, Texas, teenagers from five different perspectives: cop, detective, lawyer, journalist and inmate. Highly recommended.

Four Questions With… Owen Laukkanen

Kill FeeOwen Laukkanen is unrepentant.

He writes books that are impossible to stop reading. And he doesn’t care one iota about the lack of sleep that he’s causing.

Not even a little bit.

“Sleep loss is the best compliment I can get as a writer,” he says.

He’s been getting a lot of compliments.

Laukkanen’s debut, THE PROFESSIONALS, was described by author C.J. Box as “a high-octane adrenaline and gunpowder-fueled rocket ride.” It’s an entirely accurate description.

THE PROFESSIONALS introduced FBI agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) Detective Kirk Stevens, a seemingly mis-matched pair who work together to solve a string of kidnappings being carried out by recent college graduates who are victims of the poor job market. The kidnappings start out as low-risk, high-reward affairs, but matters escalate quickly when they kidnap the wrong man.

Laukkanen is equally at home writing from the perspective of criminals and law enforcement, a skill that he puts to good use in THE PROFESSIONALS. It’s an exciting book filled with tense, action-packed, short chapters which keep you turning the pages.

I recently finished CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE, Laukkanen’s second novel, and all the superlatives given to THE PROFESSIONALS can easily be transferred to CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE. It’s another phenomenal thriller.

And I’m very much looking forward to KILL FEE, the third in Laukkanen’s Stevens & Windermere series, which will be officially available on March 20, 2014. I already know I won’t get much sleep that night.

Here are Four Questions With… Owen Laukkanen.

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Deader Than Four O’Clock

I don’t remember exactly how or where, but when I was writing the short story “All Alone” (now part of the anthology Shotgun Honey Reloaded: Both Barrels Vol. 2), I stumbled across the phrase “deader than four o’clock.”

It’s a great phrase, instantly evocative, so of course I used it in the story — one character looks at another and pronounces him “deader than four o’clock.”

At the time, I was completely unaware of the March 2007 TED Talk by the poet Rives on the topic of 4 a.m. and its place in pop culture. I saw the talk this weekend on Netflix, and it’s both delightful and a little bit spooky:

The mystery of four o’clock in the morning has also been explored by NPR.

And you don’t want to miss The Museum of Four in the Morning.

Locked & Loaded: Upcoming Anthology

Submissions are now being accepted for Shotgun Honey’s third anthology, Locked and Loaded: Both Barrels Vol. 3, which will be published by One Eye Press later this year.

We’re looking for great crime fiction stories between 1,500 and 4,500 words long. If you’re interested, check out the complete submission guidelines. The deadline for submissions is May 11, 2014.

My story “All Alone” was published in the second SH anthology, Reloaded: Both Barrels Vol. 2, but this is the first SH anthology I’ll be an editor for. I’m really looking forward to reading some great stories, so get to it!

2014 Derringer Award Finalists

Congratulations to all of the 2014 Derringer Award finalists! I’m proud that two of this year’s finalists in the Flash category were published by Shotgun Honey, where I’m one of the editors:

Terry Tenderloin and the Pig Thief by John Weagly
The Needle and the Spoon by Allan Leverone

If you want to read 2013′s best crime fiction short stories, the Derringer finalists are the right place to start. Winners will be announced on March 31.

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Putnam Panic

Any idea what this means?

普特恐慌起来。

Me, neither. But Google Translate says it means “Putnam panic.”

On Wednesday, I woke up to find a Chinese translation of my short story “Fortune” posted to Google+ by Janson Yao. “Fortune” was the first story of mine to be anthologized (in KWIK KRIMES) and the first to be translated into Spanish (“Fortuna”), so I was thrilled to have a Chinese translation as well.

If you know anyone who reads Chinese, point them here: “Fortune” in Chinese.

By the way, that sentence above is actually: “Putter panicked.”

Thanks, Janson!