Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Hi folks,

Sometimes, one receives a letter or an email that just plain makes their day. I received such a letter this ayem that did precisely that. She's given me permission to reprint it here and I think you'll see why I was so stoked when I read it. Doesn't really need much amplification. Just to note that it's one of the chief reasons I write and is worth more than money to me. Without further ado...

Dear Les Edgerton,

I am re-reading Hooked, and it occurred to me that I owe you a big thank you. I have been writing for years, went to grad school and several writing conferences. I wrote three novels, but I never felt that anything I wrote was ready to send to an agent. I knew that was true, but I didn't know why.

At one point, I decided that it was time to go back to basics. To actually learn the tools, which it turned out I had never learned! Which is kind of shocking, but there it is. I don't actually remember where I heard of Hooked. I may have just seen it at the library. Now of course, I own a copy.

I realized quickly that the novel I was working on would never sell. There was no inciting incident, no story worthy problem--just people doing things and acting generally grumpy. I rewrote it, found an agent, and my first novel will be released in February. (
I hope to give lots of author talks, and I will probably tell every aspiring writer I meet to buy your book. But before I tell others about how your book taught me how to write, I felt that I should tell you.

Thank you.

Tricia Stirling

Ain't that somethin'! I've just had a glow on all day. Thank you, Tricia!

Blue skies,

Monday, October 13, 2014

New Review!


Monday, October 13, 2014

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping / Les Edgerton

Reviewed by: Keith Nixon

Genre: Crime / Humour

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: NO  Paper: YES
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Les Edgerton is the author of sixteen books. He is an ex-con and served two years for a single charge of burglary, reduced from 182, two strong-arm robberies, an armed robbery, and a count of possession with intent to deal. Today, he's completely reformed. Prior to this Les served in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographer during the Cuban Crisis and the beginning of the Vietnam War.

After making parole, Les obtained a B.A. from Indiana University and then received his MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Vermont College. He teaches workshops nationwide on writing. Born in Texas, Les now lives in Indiana with his family.

You can learn more about the author at his blog.


Pete Halliday’s gambling addiction costs him dear – his baseball career is over. So Halliday heads to New Orleans to find his fortune, hustling. But five years later he’s failed again and is in debt to a bookie and in deep with Tommy LeClerc, a man with a pool of luck as shallow as Halliday’s.

LeClerc comes up with another can’t lose scam, to kidnap the Cajun Mafia King and hold him for ransom. To demonstrate they’re serious LeClerc says the King’s amputated hand will be the proof they need to get a sack of cash. Halliday wants out of the seamier side of life so he can open a restaurant.

But as the payoff comes in Halliday is double crossed by LeClerc. Halliday has to run for his life as the mob chases him and his girlfriend, hooker and waitress Cat Duplaisir, wanting their money returned and to deliver a whole heap of revenge.


There’s a large degree of ying and yang in Les Edgerton’s stories – the known mixed in with the unexpected and Plastic… is no exception to the rule.

I’ve previously reviewed a number of Edgerton’s novels including Just Like That, The Rapist and The Bitch. As you may guess from the titles alone the author isn’t afraid to make a point. They are typically noir in nature and heavy on crime (big, smiley face from this reviewer). They’re blunt, yet subtle. And there’s no glamourizing the crime either, in fact quite the opposite. But with each work the author throws a curve ball at the reader – these are by no means your usual crime fare.

Plastic… fits into this mould, but Edgerton has produced a rip-roaring story of back stabbing and screw ups laced with plenty of black humour - Halliday couldn’t make more mistakes if he tried his damndest. And because the novel is written in the first person with Halliday in the driving seat we really see what the narrator has thrown away and continues to do so. The guy just can’t help himself. With the kidnap of The King and LeClerc’s subsequent betrayal it seems like Halliday has reached the end of the road.

The characterization in Edgerton’s novels are always strong. Halliday, and in particular Cat, are excellent. But the supporting cast are in there too, holding up their end. The author, an ex-con, often draws on personal experience (read Just Like That if you don’t believe me) which gives an extra level of reality to events. As Halliday blunders through the novel by turns I winced and laughed out loud. As usual the author has produced some writing that’s a little bit different to the rest of us.


Some swearing.

Format/Typo Issues:


Rating:  ***** Five Stars

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Hi folks,

Next month, I get to go to North Carolina and eat some of the best barbecue in the world! Also, I get to appear at the Fayetteville, NC public library on November 1-2 and talk about writing. Here's the article that appeared in the Fayetteville newspaper about the event.

At Your Library: Aspiring authors, don't miss writers workshop

Posted: Saturday, October 11, 2014 12:00 am
Writers' Workshop @ Your Library 2014 returns to Headquarters Library on Nov. 1-2 with two days of learning and networking for aspiring authors.
Building on the resounding success of last year, the second annual conference boasts a faculty of 10 authors, who will present a variety of topics of interest to emerging and established authors.
The workshop is still free, but this year participants can either purchase boxed lunches, bring their own lunches or walk to any of the area eateries.
This year's featured speaker, Les Edgerton, is the author of two noted writing books, "Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing," and "Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go." He has written 18 books, including the recently released crime novel "The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping."
Edgerton will speak once during the concurrent sessions Saturday and in a marathon 5 1/2 hour talk Sunday, when he will show - and deconstruct - the 1991 Oscar-winning screenplay about two average women whose simple weekend getaway goes horrible awry. The presentation, "A Fiction Writer's Workshop @ the Bijou," the subject of his next craft book, will show how an author can use action and screenwriting techniques to build character, theme and plot.
The workshop will also include these presenters:
Suzanne Adair (Michael Stoddard American Revolution Thriller series) will talk about plotting your work using Joseph Campbell's model of the Hero's Journey.
Annette Dunlap ("The Gambler's Daughter: A Personal and Social History'' and "Frank: The Story of Frances Folsom Cleveland, America's Youngest First Lady'') reprises her popular talk from last year's conference on writing nonfiction. If you missed it last year, you'll have plenty of opportunity this time. She's doing it twice this year.
Craig Faris ("The Spectrum Conspiracy") discusses "The Subtle Art of Suspense."
Marni Graff (the Nora Tierney mystery series) explains "The Challenges of Setting Your Novel in Another Country."
Clay and Susan Griffith (the Vampire Earth series), noted for their steampunk vampire novels and work in graphic novels, talk about character and action.
Chris Roerden ("Don't Sabotage Your Submission'') shares her editorial experience with "Showing and Telling." Later she teams with Susan Sloate ("Stealing Fire" and "Forward to Camelot: 50th Anniversary Edition") for an examination of the editorial process from the point of view of an editor versus an author.
Susan Sloate again shares her marketing secrets for creating an Amazon best-seller and adds a new presentation on how to use screenwriting techniques in fiction.
Sam Wazan ("Trapped in Four Square Miles"), who impressed us all at Book'em NC, discusses memoir and using it to find your voice.
Registration is required by calling 483-7727, ext. 1339. For more information and a tentative schedule, visit
This project is funded by the Friends of the Cumberland County Public Library and the Arts Council of Fayetteville and Cumberland County, which is supported in part by contributions from businesses and individuals, and through grants from the city of Fayetteville, Cumberland County and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources.
Robin Deffendall is an information services librarian.

I'm really excited about this. Not only will I be able to escape Ft. Wayne's early winter for a few days, I'll get to hang with a bunch of writers and readers. I'm especially excited because two of the writers who take my online novel-writing class are going to attend. Can't wait to see Jeff Myer who lives in Fayetteville and Mary Edelson, who lives in Virginia.

I'll have to keep my excitement level toned down a bit over today's victory by my Irish over the Tarheels... Naw... I'll have to crow just a little...

Blue skies,

Monday, October 6, 2014


Hi Folks,

I'd like to recommend a fantastic book I just read, Scott Adlerberg's JUNGLE HORSES. Here's my review of it:

Review of Scott Adlerberg’s JUNGLE HORSES

Every great once in awhile, as a writer, I come upon a book that serves as a wake-up call as to why I originally wanted to be a writer and reignites that original fever. The first books I read that excited me about literature were novels that created entirely new worlds out of whole cloth. The Jules Verne novels, the Edgar Rice Burroughs tales, the stories set in places like nowhere on earth. And then, as time went on and I became more and more inured into writing professionally, I kind of forgot that original excitement. Well, it was just reignited. I picked up a copy of Scott Adlerberg’s newest novel, JUNGLE HORSES, and instantly felt like I was 7 or 8 again, racing through 10,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA or TARZAN OF THE APES. I was immediately transported into a world that had never existed before and it was just plain exhilarating! This was a writer who was obviously the kid the English teacher back in the eighth grade singled out when she announced to the class that this kid had a wonderful imagination. Too often, as we get older and more jaded, we keep using the same old settings and same old plots and when you happen on a story like JUNGLE HORSES, it feels like it does when a Santa Ana comes down out of the mountains in L.A. and blows all the smog out to sea and the air gets crisp and clean and your lungs feel like new.

I’ll leave it to others to describe the plot, except to say that it involves a degenerate gambler, a weird sexual triad with one of the players impotent, and an island that I think broke off from the island of Dr. Moreau and drifted a few leagues away. And horses. It almost doesn’t matter what the plot is—it’s a dream and you enter into it immediately and willingly. Because of its atmospheric quality, it will be tempting to call it a work of noir, but it has a higher and reaches it—this is literature and literature of the highest quality.

I’ll leave the plot details to the cover copy, which describes it as:

Arthur lives a quiet life in London, wandering from the bar to the racetrack and back again. When his pension check dries up, Arthur decides to win it all back with one last big bet at the bookie. When that falls through, Arthur borrows money and repeats the process, until he's in too deep with a vicious gang of leg-breakers.

The plan to save his skin will take him far from his home, to a place where a very different breed of horse will change his life forever.

I have no idea why, but the entire time I was transported into Adlerberg’s tale, I kept thinking I was reading a story by William Goyen. I think it was the voice he employed.

I’m just thankful for coming upon a story that reminded me of why I wanted to be a writer. I feel like my own roots have been rejuvenated. It’s a wonderful thing to be reminded of the possibilities of story.

Pick up a copy--you'll be glad you did!

Blue skies,

Just in--Review of THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING by Australian blogger

Hey folks,

The following review just came out today from the Australian blog: JUST A GUY WHO LIKES TO READ

Monday, October 6, 2014


From the back of the book:
The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is a mix of Cajun gumbo, a couple tablespoons of kinky sex and a dash of unusual New Orleans settings. The reader follows the comic mis-adventures of Pete Halliday, busted out of baseball for a small gambling problem, Tommy LeClerc, a Cajun with a tiny bit of Indian blood who considers himself a red man, and Cat Duplaisir, a part-time hooker and full-time waitress. With both the Italian and Cajun mobs after them, a chase through Jazz Fest, a Tourette's outbreak in a black bar and other zany adventures, all seems lost.

My Review:

An ingenious comedic crime caper that captivates, engages, and demands the reader’s attention. THE GENUINE IMITATION PLASTIC KIDNAPPING is, as the title implies, a story of kidnapping that perhaps isn’t the real McCoy, attempted by a couple of armature part time criminals who blunder, battle, and somehow pull of a daring (and stupid?) abduction of a mafia boss. But wait, that’s not the beauty in this brutally brazen idea – the Mafioso is only part of the plan. Amputating his right hand and ransoming it back to him is the idea – one that actually works…for a while. 
One of the things I really liked about this book was the fact that the central plot device didn’t deviate despite the bevy of criminal enterprises the unlawful entrepreneurs Pete and Tommy underwent. Pete gets left for dead, locked up, shot at, becomes instantly rich the equally broke and then goes on the lamb from his bookie that he’s in debt to, all before the unique kidnapping plan is hatched. It’s a great ride that only gets better.
As if THE GENUINE IMITATION PLASTIC KIDNAPPING wasn’t cool enough in its own right, the endnote by author Les Edgerton paints the characters in a new shade of realism by virtue of their real-life counterparts. Wow – pretty much sums up reading post script. 

Feels good to know that the folks "Down Under" are liking it!

Blue skies,

Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Hi folks,

Well, today’s the day! My new novel, the black comedy crime thriller, THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING goes on sale today, both ebook and paperback versions. This book was my personal favorite to write—just had a lot of fun with it and hope you will as well.

Here are some of the blurbs it’s received so far:


Les Edgerton serves up a gumbo of sexual deviants, small time hustlers, and serious criminals in a caper that reads like a deranged Damon Runyon tale relocated from Broadway to the French Quarter. "The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnaping" is not for the faint of heart, and that's just one of its selling points. If you like crime fiction that cracks wise while offering a peek into the darker recesses, this is the book for you.
Bill Fitzhugh, author, PEST CONTROL, TERMINATOR and others

What makes this wild, wild tale so intriguing is the sense that it must be drawing on first hand knowledge. Edgerton's sympathetic tough guy narrator gives you an authentic-feeling glimpse into the unique logic of small time hustlers and born losers, with echoes of Ring Lardner and snatches of slam poetry frequently catching you by surprise and making it that much more enjoyable.
--Matthew Louis, founding editor of Gutter Books and author of The Wrong Man and Collision Cocktail.

“The most unrepentantly funny crime caper you’ll ever find between the pages of a book. Elmore Leonard, eat your heart out!”
– Maegan Beaumont, author of Carved in Darkness

Masquerading as a novel, Les Edgerton's newest gem -- THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING -- is really a debauched weekend in steamy New Orleans, loaded with alcohol, drugs, whores, pistols, and a menacing bookie, all available for your personal and private entertainment between the covers. Narrator Pete Halliday -- ex-con, gambler, boozer, ex-baseball pitcher and unwise wiseass -- takes us places most don't really want to go, only to have the time of our lives when we get there. Listen to him: "Coming into New Orleans, you could smell it. First day out of jail after thirty days, you could really smell it. Hot and sexy, a couple hundred thousand red hot little mamas, stepping out of steamy baths and showers, their skin sticky from the heat, getting ready for Saturday night ..." Every pitch Pete throws is a hair-raising thrill, a belly laugh or a clue to the wicked and violent puzzle that hangs over his New Orleans adventure. You know someone has to die.
-- Jack Getze, Fiction Editor, Spinetingler Magazine

There's two certainties when reading anything written by Les Edgerton. First you'll get gritty, hard hitting noir straight out the top drawer that'll leave you punch drunk on the floor. Second is it'll be like nothing you've ever picked up before. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is no exception. Expect the unexpected. Read it, love it.
-- Keith Nixon, author of The Fix

"There's nothing fake about The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping. Les Edgerton's latest book is the real deal, and has everything to keep you turning the pages. It's a caper, full of fun and high-jinx, but it's also bitter-sweet, engendering a full range of emotions. You'll smile, you'll wince, you'll laugh out loud, and sometimes you'll even cringe, but you'll come away from the read feeling thoroughly satisfied and entertained. A terrific read."
Matt Hilton, author of the best-selling Joe Hunter thrillers.

When it comes to writing crime stories, Les Edgerton can do pretty much it all, and The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping finds him in a mood to have fun. This book is like a raucous party for crime fiction lovers, complete with goons, guns, and schemes-within-schemes. Best of all, the comic voice of its ne’er-do-well narrator is a pleasure from start to finish.
--Jake Hinkson, author of Hell On Church Street and The Posthumous Man

THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING is a dark crime comedy that will have you laughing from page one. It crackles with manic energy and mad thrills. If you're looking for a different kind of edgy crime novel, this is the one to grab.
--Bill Crider, author of Compound Murder, Gator Kill and others.

Imagine Les Edgerton’s writing. Dark, despairing noir. Habitual criminals. Rapists. This is nothing like that. : Edgerton takes a break from The Bitch and The Rapist to exercise his inner Westlake. A “no holds barred” and “What else can go wrong” caper with even more laughs than plot twists. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping has a plot John Dortmunder would have trouble negotiating, and Edgerton milks it for all it’s worth. Not for the faint of heart, the crime that really sets the story off involved kidnapping a gangster—no, I can’t do it. I don’t want to spoil even that much. Suffice to say kidnapping, sexual fetishes, forced amputation, Tourette’s Syndrome, certain death, and one-way tickets to Skagway AK are all played for laughs, and he pulls it off. Big fun. My daughter described the movie Ted as “Really funny and wildly inappropriate.” It’s like that.--Dana King, author Grind Joint

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is like the fever-dream of a two-bit conman who fancies himself a criminal genius. Add in some seedy and saucy New Orleans locales and you’ve got a gumbo of freaky sex, covert mob men and botched amputations. This the most havoc ever wrought in one man’s quest for a measly ol’ po’ boy shop, and a creole crime caper you won’t want to miss. --Nik Korpon, author of Fait Ave and Stay God, Sweet Angel

You’re in for some twisted laughs as one of crime fiction’s most authentic voices takes on dark humor. In THE GENUINE IMITATION PLASTIC KIDNAPPING, Les Edgerton finds every line that oughtn’t be crossed and drags his characters back and forth ’til it’s blurred. You may want to reach in and give his criminal hero a shake, except you’re bound to be aching to see what kind of trouble he can create next. Humor is human, the blacker the better, and Edgerton serves it up nasty and raw! – Rob Brunet, author of Stinking Rich

A hard-driving, relentless story with grab-you-by-the-throat characters.
Grant Blackwood, New York Times bestselling author.

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is a steamy caper novel that reads like an arm wrestling match between Ring Lardner and Quentin Tarantino, while James Lee Burke takes bets on the outcome. I only stopped laughing to flinch occasionally. A terrific novel, for the strong of heart – and funny bone.—Warren Moore, author of Broken Glass Waltzes.

There is nothing quite like reading a Les Edgerton novel. His voice crackles with a lifelike intensity. THE GENUINE, PLASTIC, IMITATION KIDNAPPING is the most incredible, entertaining and detailed bar story you've ever heard. Reading it, you can't shake that feeling that you've living a special, unique moment where anything is possible, like that night at the bar.
-Benoît Lelièvre,

Early Amazon reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Imitation here. September 21, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Pete Halliday's got a hell of an arm... and a little gambling problem. Or is it a little 'getting caught' problem? Either way he's washed out of baseball, biding his time in the Big Easy, pulling jobs with ace fuck-up Tommy LeClerc.

In spectacular fashion, Tommy blows schemes so clever they shouldn't be done. Like a kidnapping when you don't know whom the kidnapee is connected to. But then Tommy comes up with a brilliant idea; a kidnapping the likes of which no one has attempted before...

... and maybe there's a reason for that.

Pete's a likable guy. He just smart enough to realize how insane Tommy's plans are, too dumb to tell Tommy to screw off. And it's that inability that brings the feet of the whole New Orleans reverse nobility down on Pete and Tommy's necks.

The ray of dirty sunshine is Cat Duplaisir, waitress with a side of hooker. Pete falls hard, and she's a great add to the team here. And the ending? Guess you'll have to read it.

Overall, I love Pete's way of putting things. He's a narrating character that's reliable, true to form. Edgerton pours this one from his fingertips; nothing gets you clogged in the reading, nothing keeps you from hitting the 'next' arrow except maybe sleep or a pee break (I don't even think I took a pee break).

I got an advanced copy, But I liked it so much, I bought the paperback.

5.0 out of 5 stars Kidnap this book - NOW! September 22, 2014
Wow - here we go again. Les Edgerton is one of the best writers of our time. Once again, I have a reason to read. This hilarious, yet serious depiction of clumsy criminals and the terror and messes they run into is impossible to put down. This book explodes from the page and pulls the reader in. You will end up loving the main characters and laughing all the way. Les Edgerton writes from truth and grit - the kind of writing that only a writer with a mad soul and the life to go with it can write. I have yet to read a book by Les Edgerton that I regretted purchasing. You can't lose with Les Edgerton. Throw the dice and reap your reward.

Hope you glom onto a copy and if you have time, please leave a rating and review on Amazon—it means a lot for sales.

Blue skies,

Me, with my "Happy Face"...
It's "Launch Day!"