Thursday, February 27, 2014

Blatant promotion — Two More Of My Books Go Audible

Many, though not all of my books are available in all readable formats, Recently, several of them have been made for your listening pleasure as well. The two mystery novels below are now available through Audible.
Bloody Palms — When 70-something Indianapolis PI Dietrich “Deets” receives a call from Jack Wenders, his former commanding officer in Korea, inviting him to Mexico to discuss a case, Shanahan accepts. But Wenders’ shadowy tactics put Shanahan on his guard — and for good reason. Wenders has become involved in a private security force that operates lawlessly across borders, without boundaries or limitations. Before he knows it Shanahan’s trip to sunny Puerto Vallarta turns dark and devious. And just about everyone in his life — including his tough and funny long-time girlfriend, Maureen — is in jeopardy. Narrated by Ric Jarrom
"Another solid performance from a savvy writer..." Kirkus Reviews
"Ron Tierney has a gift for keeping the reader at a high level of curiosity and suspense."Deadly Pleasures
“… another fast-paced crime adventure…. Tierney’s spirited writing, snappy dialogue, and wry wit add the final touches to this entertaining read.”Booklist

Death in Pacific Heights — A turn of events, personal and professional, causes Carly Paladino, a high-ranking investigator for a large and prestigious San Francisco security firm, to reevaluate her life. She decides, with uncharacteristic impetuosity, to strike out on her own. Her first job involves the death of the young daughter of an old and moneyed Pacific Heights family. An itinerant young man has been arrested for the murder, but Carly sees things that make her wonder if the murderer is really someone inside the Hanover mansion.  Narrated by Katherine Fenton
Noah Lang worked for a lobbyist who believed his wife was having an affair. While Lang is staked out at lobbyist's home, the woman kills herself — at least that's what the police think. Lang isn't so sure and wonders if he was hired to provide an alibi for a murderous husband.
The dead wife’s case haunts him, even as he is brought in to the Hanover case by the accused’s defense attorney, working at cross purposes with his future partner.  The first novel in the series brings a new and a colorful cast of characters to life, including the city itself.
“Tierney, author of the Deets Shanahan series, has a winner here.” — Library Journal

 “...highly entertaining. [Noah Lang and Carly Paladino] ...could easily become a 21st-century version of Nick and Nora Charles.”Sacramento News & Review

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Opinion — House of Cards Unrealistic? I Don’t Think So.

Kevin Spacey, Very Real

Someone posted this on Facebook:  “Why is Bernie Madoff the only Wall Street criminal to get jail time?’ Because, the answer goes,  “He robbed the 1 percent. Unlike the bankers, who screwed the poor and middle class, Madoff messed with folks who have clout. His problem was his failure to buy a single congressional representative.  All that money and he bought a beach house, not a Majority Whip.

Last night I began the second season of the American “House of cards.”  Hooked again.

This morning I read an article by a former Republican congressional staffer, Mike Lofgren, who implied that such cynicism doesn’t exist in the real world.  Two words for Mr., Lofgren:  Tom Delay.  How about two more?  Jack Abramoff

Two fine films cover Delayesque Frank Underwood, one a documentary Casino Jack and The United States of Money. Coincidentally, Kevin Spacey played Abramoff in the fascinating theatrical version of this kind of political intrigue, simply called Casino Jack. Unlike today, there was, though inadequate, at least some level of comeuppance for at least some of the miscreants.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Opinion — Allende Opens Old Wounds: Literary vs. Genre

Isabel Allende and her mystery-writing husband,
William C. Gordon (photo by Lori Barra)

In light of the buzz storm caused by “literary” luminary Isabel Allende and her apparent disdain for crime fiction, it might be time to ask why we care. Is it because she finally wrote one and is using her “literary credentials to sell it? “She also apologizes as if it is some sort of guilty displeasure approached in much the same way a 4-star chef might approach an assignment to boil hot dogs. So frightened she is of feeling merely mortal, Allende now claims she her new book was intended to be a parody of crime fiction. Someone forgot to tell The New York Times, who reviewed it as if it were the real thing. The whole idea she would parody the very kind of fiction she never reads adds a new dimension to her reputation as a “magic realist.”

It’s all right for writers laden with literary awards, Allende included, to undertake what some would categorize as crime fiction. Many have and many have done well. My view is everyone is welcome. If it works, it works.  The proof, however, isn’t in the name or reputation — it’s in the reading.

The following post, comments for new crime  writers who worry about being considered second class is taken from a post that first appeared here in June 2011:

“Because you are a mystery writer, does that mean you are only sort of a writer? I once attended a Private Eye Writers of America annual get-together. In the course of leaving the buffet area, plate in hand, I was invited to sit down with a couple of writers I knew of, more than I knew. They were both seriously credentialed, talented veterans of the genre. Though I suspect I was actually older, I felt a bit junior in their company.
“At some point, one of them asked why I decided to write mysteries. Not particularly used to using words without a keyboard at the tip of my fingers and the ability to edit as I go, I responded by saying: “Because I couldn’t write….” Before I could find the next word, they were laughing. What I had implied, having gone momentarily adrift mentally, was that I believed it took no writing talent to create mysteries — that it is something we do because we cannot write “literary” fiction. Just so it isn’t left there, the rest of the explanation, probably unheard because of the laughter, was that my attempts to write other kinds of novels had been difficult because with so much freedom in the form I wandered about on all sorts of tangents (as I am now). Without some discipline I could write forever but complete nothing. I found that having some rules helped me write. My initial foray into mysteries was to submit to the St. Martin’s Best First Novel Competition. This gave me some guidance and a form. So many words, completed by such and such a date — specific goals. Also, inherent in mysteries, there are expectations, such as creating and solving a puzzle, which is what most novelists do, anyway, “literary” or otherwise.  Also, I liked crime fiction.
“However, despite my long tangent, the point is relatively simple — there is no such thing as a literary novel as a separate art form from the mystery or science fiction novel or any other form. There are books that seem to transcend what preceded them, that take us to new places, show us new things, allow us to think in new ways.
‘Some are so good they will be read for the next thousand years. Many will be acknowledged as “game changers.” Most not. The good ones might even involve a murder or two, or a trip to another galaxy.
Odds are that you and I are not going to create that kind of classic. But it doesn’t mean we are not writers and that we cannot aspire to that goal. And it means that if we truly want to write, and we keep our minds open, we can learn from, but will not be held hostage by, all the noise that surrounds us — including fine writers who occasionally sound like self-inflating Divas.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Book Notes — Hawthorn & Child, A Mystery Indeed

I’m a conventional reader, not usually given to experimental fiction nor styles that make me work too hard.  If a prose passage is too dense to penetrate or transitions too confusing my factory-installed monkey mind will wander off on its own for a while.  I might try it again, but if it keeps happening, I put it in a special stack of books destined for eternal procrastination.  From time to time I glance at that stack and say, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

There are passages that light up my brain in Hawthorn & Child by Keith Ridgway.  And I found moments of intense engagement, but I could not stay for the duration. To try to read it is like trying to recall a night of dark dreams, their jagged edges butting against each other. I wake up confused, yet moved. I’d tell you what the book is about, but I can’t. Ian Rankin is quoted by the publishers on the back cover:

“Brilliantly weird.  The novel that has impressed, mesmerized and bamboozled me most this past year is Hawthorn & Child.”

The Times Literary Supplement compares Ridgway to Beckett

The story escaped me, but I love the cover.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Observations— Keeping Up With the Business of Writing Crime Fiction

I’m  blessed and cursed.  I’ll save the “cursed” part for some other time.  Meanwhile, here’s the blessing: I am, for the most part able to devote as much time as I want on my books and this blog.  When I say “on books,” I don’t mean just writing and editing.  I have to keep up with the business of books. Most writers have their own routines to accomplish this.

I read a few pertinent magazines: Mystery Scene (a particularly good, broad view of what’s going on in the genre, The Strand, Crimespree, and George Easter’s Deadly Pleasures, the best and most comprehensive source for crime fiction reviews.  When I can, I attend Mystery Writer’s Of America’s annual conference, Bouchercon, held in various cities and Magna Cum Murder, held annually in Indianapolis. Both are highly recommended.

The daily routine is done completely on online. *8:30 a.m. Coffee, e-mail, a Facebook quick check.  Next, J. Kingston Pierce’s rap sheet. I don’t know what I’d do without it. Whatever is happening in the word of crime fiction is usually posted here first. Next Stop: Bill Crider’s Popular Culture — information and lots of humor from the highly respected, and popular crime fiction author. Next is Ed Gorman‘s blog. Among those engaged in crime fiction, I consider Gorman an Elder, not because of age­— we are roughly the same vintage — but because of his mammoth, and continuing contribution to the genre. He has first-hand knowledge of crime fiction’s history.  He has a level of experience in the trenches few (certainly not me) can match. His blog is part of my on-going adult education. Next stop:  Mysterious Matters.  We don’t know the identity of the blogger except that he or she is an acquisitions editor or publisher who gives us insight into the machinations of those who might or might not publish our books. I also regularly check in with Kevin Burton Smith’s essential The Thrilling Detective.  And I rarely miss Tipping My Fedora for its more than worthwhile erudite commentary. Finally, though he does not post often enough for me, I look to get the booksellers’ point of view from seller, conference organizer and publisher Jim Huang.

Thank you, all.