Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Superlative End to a Superlative Year

Every book, I challenge myself to attempt something way outside my comfort zone. In THE KILLING KIND, it was a massive action set piece at a casino told from multiple points of view, so I'm damn pleased to report that Raging Biblioholism declared it their Best Fight Scene of 2015!

Many thanks to Drew of Raging Biblioholism, and to everyone who's taken the time to read, review, and/or spread the word about THE KILLING KIND. I'm not big on nostalgia, or attaching too much import to a changing of the calendar—but this year my writing life has been amazing, and I'm grateful to those of you who helped make it so. Happy New Year, all, and may 2016 be kind to you and yours.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

More Kind Words

Bryon Quertermous—author of MURDER BOY and former editor of Demolition Magazine, which published my Spinetingler Award winning story "Seven Days of Rain"—listed THE KILLING KIND among his favorite reads of 2015! (If you know Bryon, then you know he didn't do so just to be nice.) It's a terrific list top to bottom, featuring books from Lou Berney, Michael Koryta, Laura Lippman, Lisa Lutz, and more. I'm honored to be in such talented company.

And Greg Herren—whom I met at Bouchercon because Katrina moderated one of his panels—took a chance on THE KILLING KIND despite his aversion to hitman novels, and wrote about it here. Greg's a fine writer and a great guy, so I'm grateful he enjoyed it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Word Nerds Top Ten

I'm happy to report that THE KILLING KIND made Bethany Warner's Top Ten of 2015 list at The Word Nerds, alongside books by Robert Galbraith, Sean Chercover, Lyndsay Faye, and more! Thanks, Bethany!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Bookmas

Surfacing briefly from a tangle of gift wrap, tissue paper, and Scotch tape to point you toward this lovely "Merry Bookmas" best-of list courtesy of Shotgun Honey's Ron Earl Phillips. I'm delighted to share list space alongside Joe Clifford, Chris Irvin, Brian Panowich, Rob Hart, and more!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Well, it's been a heck of a year. I'm extremely grateful to everyone who's contributed to THE KILLING KIND's success—and if you're reading this, you're likely one of them, so thank you. Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, I hope it's full of friends, fun, and cheer.

Oh, and for all you last-minute shoppers, Jon Jordan of Crimespree Magazine included THE KILLING KIND on Crimespree's 2015 Christmas Gift Guide!

See you in 2016!

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A Sarah Weinman Fave

A decade ago, when I made my first tentative inroads into the online crime fiction community, I read Sarah Weinman's blog daily. She was, and is, a tastemaker, better read than any ten other people in the genre.

Sarah's since moved on to bigger and better things (the collection she edited for the Library of America, WOMEN CRIME WRITERS, has rightly gotten loads of acclaim this year), and I'm fortunate enough to now count her as a friend, but I still look forward to her newsletter every week. Which is to say, it's a thrill to see THE KILLING KIND among her favorite crime fiction of 2015.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Festival of Links

The Passionate Foodie, Richard Auffrey, paired his Favorite Fiction of 2015 with drink selections. I'm pleased to report THE KILLING KIND made his list, and (while Hendricks is more of a beer guy) I couldn't be happier with the drink he chose: a 15-year-old Laphroaig.

You may recall that earlier this year I chatted with Steven Nester for PRX's Poets of the Tabloid Murder. Well, Steven stopped by The Rap Sheet yesterday to talk about his Favorite Crime Fiction of 2015, and listed THE KILLING KIND among it!

And finally, I'm at Maine Crime Writers today, where I shared my elf-noir sequel to the Rankin/Bass production of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, "The Final Bough."

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Friday, December 04, 2015

Boston Globe Best Of

Wow. Two terrific lists in one day. The Boston Globe just posted their Best Books of 2015 list, and THE KILLING KIND is on it alongside books by such terrific authors as Steph Cha, Sue Grafton, Laura Lippman, Val McDermid, Stuart Neville, and Duane Swierczynski. That, my friends, is heady company to keep. Thanks to Daneet Steffens for including me!

BOLO Best Of

Thanks to Kristopher Zgorski of BOLO Books for naming THE KILLING KIND one of his Top Reads of 2015! I'm delighted to be included in so fine a list.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

A Review and Two Best Ofs

I confess, after the events of the past twenty-four hours, I've little energy for self-promotion. That said, some folks have said nice things about THE KILLING KIND recently, and I'm grateful.

Bill Bushnell of the Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel reviewed THE KILLING KIND today, and declared it "...a fast-paced thriller with high-octane action, gripping suspense, [and] clever plot twists..."

Rob Hart, Class Director at LitReactor and author of NEW YORKED, included THE KILLING KIND on LitReactor's Best Books of 2015 list.

Alex Segura, author of SILENT CITY and editor of Dark Circle Comics, counted THE KILLING KIND among his favorite reads of 2015.

Many thanks to Bill, Rob, and Alex!

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

It's Up To Us

Last Friday, a deranged lunatic with a history of violence toward women shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. As I write this, another mass shooting is unfolding in San Bernardino, this one targeting a facility dedicated to serving people with developmental disabilities. In between, according to the Washington Post, there were two other mass shootings I hadn't even heard about, which brings the total so far this year to 355.

355. That's more than one a day. And that's just mass shootings. When you factor in shootings that affect fewer than four people, accidental shootings, and suicides, the death toll is staggering. In fact, gun deaths are poised to surpass automobile deaths this year, at approximately 33,000.

We—individually and as a society—have a moral obligation to do something. The NRA would have you believe that any attempts to restrict gun sales would violate our Second Amendment rights—a specious claim they must believe, because why else would they spent good money killing bills that would have prevented people on the FBI's terrorist watchlist from legally purchasing firearms?

I don't pretend to have all the answers. Anyone who does is selling snake-oil. And no one law is going to end gun violence in America. But the fact is, it's possible—easy, even—to take decisive action without running afoul of the Second Amendment. All we need to do is close the so-called private sale loophole by implementing universal background checks. Mountains of data indicate that doing so would dramatically reduce gun deaths, and it wouldn't infringe on the constitutional rights of a single law-abiding American.

See, in most states, so-called private sales don't require background checks—or even basic record-keeping. (I say "so-called" because many professional dealers conduct private sales on the side at gun shows.) This creates an enormous gray market for firearms. The overwhelming majority (approximately 96%) of repeat gun offenders obtain the weapons they use in the commission of crimes via private sales. If they'd been subjected to a background check, they never would've gotten their hands on those guns. (Since 1994, over 2,000,000 people have been denied firearms thanks to background checks—117,000 in 2010 alone.)

Currently, only eight states require universal background checks. (The term "universal background check" may sound Big Brother-y, but all it means is a background check is required for any gun sale, professional or private.) According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, "states with universal background check laws experience 48 percent less gun trafficking, 38 percent fewer deaths of women shot by intimate partners, and 17 percent fewer firearms involved in aggravated assaults. States with universal background check requirements also have a 53 percent lower gun suicide rate, and 31 percent fewer suicides." And if universal background checks were implemented nationwide, those numbers would likely improve, because criminals couldn't simply drive to neighboring states to purchase firearms.

Seems sensible, right? That must be why it's so damn popular. Plenty of folks on social media like to rail about how gun owners care more about their firearms than public safety, but the fact is, the vast majority of them support universal background checks. Hell, 74% of NRA members do.

So, in the face of a rogue gun lobby that arms terrorists and ignores the wishes of its own constituency, what can you or I do? Well, for starters, we can tell our legislators that if they don't take action, they won't be our legislators anymore. Sure, many of them are swimming in the NRA's blood money, but it won't do them any good if we refuse to re-elect them.

Don't know how to contact your representatives? People Magazine's got you covered; they recently published the contact information for all 535 members of Congress and urged their readers to contact them demanding stricter gun laws.

Not sure what to say? Feel free to crib heavily from this post, or the letter I wrote to my representatives four months and nearly 150 mass shootings ago. But by god, do something. Write. Call. March on Washington, if that's what it takes. We're only helpless if we allow ourselves to be. Our elected officials have made it clear they aren't interested in fixing this, so it's up to us.