Free Audiobook: Criminal Words

Criminal Words AudiobookIt’s the holiday travel season, and I’m thinking of you.

What you need is an audiobook full of crime fiction short stories — written by the likes of Joe Clifford, Jen Conley, David Cranmer (writing as Edward A. Grainger), Chris Holm, Christopher Irvin, Tom Pitts, Steve Weddle, and me — to help pass the time as you journey from place to place.

What you really need is for that audiobook to be free.

Wish granted: CRIMINAL WORDS.

Read more about CRIMINAL WORDS here, or jump right in and download CRIMINAL WORDS here.

Happy holidays!

Word Crimes Podcast: Episode 11

Title 18: Word Crimes PodcastEpisode number eleven of the Title 18: Word Crimes Podcast is ready!

On this episode of Word Crimes, public radio reporter Scott Detrow reads “Pretty Little Things” by Chris Holm, a short story originally published in the July 2013 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.

“Pretty Little Things” was a 2014 Derringer Award Finalist, and for good reason: It’s excellent.


Did you enjoy this episode of the Word Crimes podcast? Let us know by posting a comment here, on Twitter or Facebook — or, best of all, rate the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. Thanks!

Four Questions With… Chris F. Holm

If the name Chris F. Holm is attached to a book or a short story, I want to read it.

Photo by Jacques FilippiHis Collector trilogy (DEAD HARVEST, THE WRONG GOODBYE and THE BIG REAP) is an amazing twist on the age-old battle between heaven and hell: Holm recast it as a series of pulp novels packed with characters you care about, action you don’t want to end, and plots so intense it feels like the fate of the world hangs in the balance. (Because, you know, it does.)

If you didn’t notice from the titles of the Collector novels, each of which is a play on a classic crime novel, Holm’s not afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve. Reading his work, it’s also clear that he loves words and language.

In addition to the Collector books, Holm has penned many short stories. (In fact, at the time of this posting, he’s offering both of his solo short story collections for free. Seriously.)

Soon (but not soon enough for my tastes), Holm will branch out in another direction. THE KILLING KIND, his first non-Collector novel, will be published by Mulholland Books.

It’s not yet known exactly when THE KILLING KIND will be published, but hopefully we’ll be reading it by… well, let’s see what the author can tell us. Here are Four Questions With… Chris F. Holm.

Continue reading “Four Questions With… Chris F. Holm”

My Favorite Five Books of 2012

As is the case every year, there were far more excellent books published in 2012 than I had time to read. And, truth be told, one or more of the books on my list may have actually been published in 2011 (or earlier… I think the first edition of The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson came out in 1999). But these are all incredible books I read for the first time in 2012, and which I recommend without hesitation.

Dead Harvest Hell & Gone The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson Big Maria The Informationist

Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm

Sam Thornton is a wonderful protagonist, flawed and heroic. And I love how brilliantly Holm explores the overall theme (heaven vs. hell) with an incredible pulp sensibility and in a gritty urban environment. I’m eager to read book two in the series, The Wrong Goodbye, which is out now.

Hell & Gone by Duane Swierczynski

I loved Fun & Games, the first book in Swierczynski’s Charlie Hardie series. But Hell & Gone took things to a new level (literally: much of it takes place in a secret underground prison) and added approximately 800 percent more crazier-than-crazy twisted-ness. I’d like Christopher Nolan to direct the movie version, please. I’ve already pre-ordered book three, Point & Shoot, which comes out in April.

The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson by Douglas Lindsay

This novel about a serial killer is flat-out hilarious. Barney Thomson is a mediocre (at best) barber and an all-around sad sack. I can’t remember laughing out loud while reading a book as often as I did during The Long Midnight of Barney Thompson. I’m certain that says something disturbing about me, but there you have it.

Big Maria by Johnny Shaw

Poor Harry Schmittberger. He’s been picked on his entire life. Rather obviously, his name didn’t help in that regard. But while he starts Big Maria in less than healthy conditions (the first chapter is very … memorable), Harry soon meets up with a pair of men he has enough in common with to launch a search for long-forgotten treasure in a gold mind that happens to be in the middle of a U.S. military training ground. Big Maria is funny, touching, badass and brutal.

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

Including this book is cheating, because I haven’t read The Informationist yet. But my wife Beth has, she loved it, and she has great taste in books — so I know I’ll totally dig it when I do. Protagonist Vanessa Munroe can track down just about any kind of information. In this first book, she’s hired by a Texas oil billionaire to find his missing daughter, who disappeared four years ago in Africa. The second book, The Innocent, is available now. The Doll is scheduled to be released later this year.