Friday, January 31, 2014

Review by Charlie Stella for THE BITCH

Hi folks,

Keep getting wonderful reviews for THE BITCH. Here's one that just came out from Charlie Stella, one of my favorite writers, on his blog, Temporary Knucksline:

Our motto ...
Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Books …

The Bitch, by Les Edgerton … there’s a basic noir formula that goes something like this: introduce a dark character (sometimes with a touch of light in his soul), then put him in a vice and keep squeezing; put him in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong thing and then make the wrong people show up in the wrong place at the wrong time … and so on. How the formula is delivered is what makes it work or not.

Anthony Neil Smith mentioned chops in his forward to Les Edgerton’s The Bitch … I’ve also seen words like verisimilitude and gravitas attributed to Edgerton’s works … and it’s all true … not to mention the crafty hooks he leaves at the ends of chapters that demand you turn the page just that much faster (rather than put the book down and wait until you have some free time later in the day). Edgerton gets you to make time for this novel about a twice fallen con struggling to maintain a peaceful civilian life through hard work and commitment to family. And the vice he gets squeezed by is his past—2 bits in the joint where he made enemies and friends alike, so when a former cellmate he owes his life to shows up, you know it can’t be good. So does Jake know it can’t be good … Walker (Jake’s former cellmate) needs Jake’s help … reciprocity can be an MF’er in the criminal world … owing anybody never works out well … so when Jake is forced into performing one last criminal act (or is it the last one?) … things unroll so fast and furious, each turn of the page comes with great anticipation and fear. And talk about people showing up at the wrong place at the wrong time …

No spoilers here. Buy the book and find out the rest. The author himself has paid the price of incarceration and come out shining. The Bitch is a true page turner well worth the price of admission.

 Thanks, Mr. Stella! 

He also has some other cool stuff on his blog--check it out.

Blue skies,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


Hi folks,

I’m afraid I have some bad news. Let me take that back. I have some terrible news. Bad news is when your wife says she’s leaving you for the water softener man. This is far worse than that. This is on the level of news that she’s leaving you for the guy who lives down by the river in his refrigerator carton…

Okay. Ready? Sitting down? Here goes…

It’s official. Once again, I didn’t win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. How many times must I taste the bitter truth that time is running out? Once a year, I guess, until I run out…

And, what beat me out this year? The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson. You’re kidding, right? 

Here’s the description:

An exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian North Korea and into the most intimate spaces of the human heart.

It’s a book set in North Korea? Who the hell nominated this? Dennis Rodman? Who even reads books set in North Korea? Even North Koreans don’t read books set in North Korea. Well, that’s not exactly their fault—they aren’t allowed to by that sweet little cherub, Dear Leader. Speaking of cherubs, I woke up this morning with a sweet little cherub in my skivvies… Or was that a chub? Whatever. They both look the same.

I suspect it won because of the author’s name. He’s named after two American presidents. Jingoism at its worst.

I should have known I wouldn’t win once again after last year when they couldn’t find a single book to give the award to. There were only five million books published last year (even taking out the four million self-published autobiographies that really suck swamp water, that still leaves a million books, give or take a few hundred thousand.).

How can you not give one single book the award? Even the year the Miss America contestants were all dogs, they still gave the award to someone. Bert Parks. That was the year there weren’t any brunettes from Mississippi and Georgia. But, hey—they still awarded it to somebody.

I’ve had it. I’m taking serious action. I’ve just composed a strongly-worded letter to all the judges of next year’s Pulitzer committee, notifying them that I’m officially withdrawing any and all of my books from future consideration. I’m sending it via Overnight Delivery, Certified Mail. That means it won’t arrive in their mail boxes until August, 2015 on a rainy day when the mailman can't play golf and has to tend his route, but I have no control over that. They’ll at least be aware of my sentiments.

And, as it happens, I’m outlining a new novel that fits all of their crappy requirements. It’s set in (some obscure country which I haven’t decided yet, but one with lots of consonants and only one vowel) and it’s about the Mayor of Cracktown--or as it's dubbed in the tome, "Crktwn"). It’s about this guy who lives in a village with the Entering and Leaving signs on the same pole, and in this little tarpaper shack with a fridge on the porch and with a bunch of farm animals of various religious persuasions living inside with him. He has no money (always a requirement of these kinds of books and which immediately makes him a genius). He has a major fight with the garda (This is a hint as to what country it's set in...) who have discovered he’s far exceeded the legal quota of farm animals allowed in a domicile, one of which he claims shouldn’t count as it’s a very pretty Merino ewe to whom he’s pledged his troth. He’s not sure what a “troth” is but it’s in a lot of Dickens’ books he read as a kid so he knows it’s important to pledge his. Especially to a noble farm animal like his beautiful Sndrznsky who has stolen his heart.

In this book, I devote a lot of pages to his internalizing, which seems to be high on the list of stuff these Pulitzer folks look for. There’s one really dazzling scene where he ponders how clichés came about and fantasizes about their origins. Like that delightful phrase “blind alley” (which, I, for one can never hear too many times.). He ruminates and ponders and rumes some more and comes to the conclusion that it originally denoted a place where German shepherds congregated en masse, waiting to be hired by the seeing-challenged (PC term for blind people) and veterans with PTSD. This riveting scene takes up 26 pages, which is guaranteed to manipulate them even more than a teenaged boy’s chub during bathroom time. And, in much the same way.

There's another powerful scene in which he stares at clouds and figures out their shapes and how they affect his life. Don't start this scene if it's late at night and it's important to be at work early the next day!

One of the indoor farm animals will be a dog. His only function is to be in the book so I can use his picture on the cover and on the Intergnat. You and I know it’s just a frickin’ mutt, but people on the Intergnat have assigned a mystical aura to dogs and cats. You know, those critters that eat their own poop, cough up furballs and lick themselves all day long. We know that mostly they’re glorified door mats, but people get all weepy about them and giggly and attribute them with the same wisdom they do old Indian guys crying over some trash on Highway 10. THEY SELL BOOKS. And influence Pulitzer judges…

 Taking a break from his butt-licking and getting ready for his photo-op...

The protagonist will be a creepy loner with really bad breath, who, in real life, people would take a wide berth around when they see him with his sign begging for Ripple outside Target, but instantly make into a wise man simply because there’s a whole book centered around him and we see he thinks about pithy stuff like blind alleys. And clouds that look like jism... If he was so frickin’ wise why ain’t he a plumber’s assistant or a governor or something?

My protagonist is also an orphan. And a master (of Sndrznsky). And the son of a dog (not the one on the cover). This makes it a sure winner.

Yes, I could easily win next year, which makes my protest even more meaningful. I know what it takes after studying these things for hours days weeks. It’s important to know who’s handing out the hardware. The judges are elderly folks who braid the hair in their noses (the women) and meet at Golden Corral to discuss the nominated books. The men on the committee treat the books nominated the same way they do the fine wines they own. They don’t open them. That would destroy their value and besides, who has to actually read the nominated book? They can learn all they want to from the glorious Intergnat. The men also have lush bushes in their noses, but they use them differently than the women (most of the women…). They weave them cleverly around their noggins kind of like the comb-overs aging sportscasters do. Along with a few well-placed strands from the ear hairs.

This is the real secret as to why my book never gets nominated. I labored for years thinking they actually read the books. Don’t laugh—I bet you know at least one person in your own circle who thought the same thing. So maybe you knew, but are you willing to say that all of your friends wear those helmets and rode the short bus to h.s. and took all A.P. classes? So—cut me a break here.

The trick to getting on these judges’ radar is to effectively utilize the Intergnat. Most of us writers have been sold a bill of goods about what the ‘Gnat does. Social media doesn’t sell books. It doesn’t sell squat. It doesn’t sell books—it sells social media. No one cares about your stupid book on social media. They pretend to… so you’ll buy their book. Writers who can’t sell books have one problem—they write crappy books. Yakking about them all day long on social media sells three books total. That’s it. And that’s to trolls who are burning to write one-star reviews on it. When social media sells books, let me know. Otherwise, lay down by your dish with your butt-licking dog.

But, Pulitzer Prize judges do look at the Intergnat. All day long. It’s why they don’t have time to actually read the books themselves. Too busy Facebooking each other or Twittering about “that wonderful book about North Korea Dennis Rodman likes so well.” Think about this. 1. Dennis Rodman's picture with Dear Leader was on the “Gnat” one million, three hundred thousand and sixty-nine times last year. 2.  Dennis Rodman was the guest host, subbing for Chris Matthews 36 times, talking about stuff tingling down his leg. 3. A book set in North Korea won the Pulitzer. Make the connection, dummy! This ain’t nuclear physics!

So, if I weren’t about to withdraw from consideration, here’s what I’d do. Get me a babe to do my networking for me. As Lo Hai Qu so eloquently pointed out—“Blogbitches rule, blogdicks drool.” Okay. I accept that. If I was going to remain involved in the competition, I’d be on my knees beseeching my pal, Anonymous 9 (Blogbitch Supreme) if she’d please help this lowly Blogdick (me) out.

Anonymous 9 - Blog... Babe...

But I won’t. You can relax, 9. I’m out of all this. I just hope you nice folks “twit” and “face” my new book all over the Intergnat. I have but one goal for next year. That all the UPS drivers who deliver my books are forced to buy trusses.

(I hope you know this was all in fun, folks. Although, if I have to say this, it takes all the force away…) I do love the Intergnat and I truly do love the folks on here. True that. And they do sell books. Books on how to use the Intergnat to sell books…)

As John Goodman once (wisely) said, “See ya in the funny papers.”

Blue skies,

P.S. Attention MacArthur Grant peeps. I'm still available for this, but time's running out. Please take note...

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

New reviews of THE RAPIST and THE BITCH

Hi folks,

The reviews keep on a’comin’! Here are the most recent ones:


Brandon Nagel for Goodreads
The Rapist by Les Edgerton

I have read most of Les’s work and I must say this is his best yet. Ambitious and thought-provoking. Do not let the title dissuade you from reading. Raises a lot of questions about live and death. Loved it. Best read yet in 2014.


From Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Cold Noir, January 28, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Bitch (Paperback)
There's a grit to this noir that'll set your teeth on edge. Edgerton writes about a guy who never has good options--only a series of choices less repugnant than all the others. Jake has a life that no longer includes crime, until his ex cellmate calls and wants a favor. The "you owe me" kind of favor that's sure to turn out bad. How bad? Well, this is Les Edgerton writing, so don't expect Jake to catch too many breaks. It reminded me of A Simple Plan and the movie Fargo. Cold noir I'd call it, where temperature seems to drop right along with Jake's hopes for the future.

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody Faces The Bitch, January 27, 2014
Jack Getze (New Jersey, USA) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Bitch (Kindle Edition)
I've watched a lot of cop shows, so I know The Bitch is what criminals call laws that say three strikes and you're out -- gonzo is the man convicted for the third felony to rot in prison for life. Something thieves and other non-violent cons think very hard about when they leave prison for the second time. (I figure violent guys can't help themselves.) In Les Edgerton's THE BITCH, which sports an ex-con and a nice guy for an author -- I call him Butch -- the authenticity and likability shine through protagonist Jake Bishop, a two-time loser. If I call this tale classic, true or traditional Noir, you know -- basically -- what's going happen to our new friend Jake. It's almost a spoiler. But the way Edgerton spins The Bitch out for us, shows us the workings of Jake's mind and soul as he travels down that frightening road of bad decisions, we know this wonderfully told, neatly written story is really about us -- every man and every woman. We know exactly what Jake Bishop's world feels like because it's a world we all think we know: Everything is fixed against us, no matter how hard we try. Careful. This book will touch you.

Thanks, Brandon, Carson and Jack! I’m just plain stoked that you liked these books. I appreciate the time you spent on writing a review—it means a lot.

Blue skies,