Friday, February 28, 2014

New review of The Bitch

Hi folks,

Just got another 5-star review on Amazon and Goodreads for The Bitch.

5.0 out of 5 stars Like an avalanche, this book comes at you fast and hard. It'll bury you!, February 27, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Bitch (Paperback)
From the first page, this book grabbed hold of me and wouldn't let go. The protagonist Jake describes his situation as an avalanche, and that's an apt metaphor. This book comes at you fast and hard. It'll bury you!

The pacing is spot on, and Edgerton always keeps you guessing. He drops just enough hints at Jake's prison back story to make you curious to find out more. And he keeps the tension of the core plot cranked way high, making you anxious to see what'll happen next. What's more, he makes you care about Jake. At the heart of this story is Jake's marriage, which comes off as a very real relationship, full of bursts of passion, smoldering resentments, tender moments, and enduring hope.

This is a brilliant example of how genre fiction (in this case, thriller) can be every bit as poignant and expertly-crafted as "literary fiction." Buy it, read it, and be prepared to lose sleep over it.

Thanks, Rob! I’ve got a big, ol’ grin on!

Blue skies,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Hi folks,

I just received the following email and am absolutely stoked!

Congratulations! Your book, The Rapist, is a nominee in BigAl’s Books and Pals 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards

In the twelve months ending February 28th, 2014, BigAl and the Pals will have received over 1,400 books to consider for review and published 368 book reviews. From those, we chose the books we felt stood out from the pack as exceptional examples of Indie (self-published and small press) writing and divided them into thirteen categories.

Your book The Rapist is nominated in the Thriller category. Congratulations!

For ten days, starting March 2nd at 10:00 Eastern Time and ending at Midnight Eastern Time on March 12th, we'll be asking readers to vote for the winner in each category. Winners will be announced the morning of Wednesday, March 15th. We'll also have a giveaway with various prizes for those who vote.

Winners and nominees of "BigAl's Books and Pals 2014 Readers' Choice Awards" will be featured on a special Readers' Choice page at Books and Pals for at least the next twelve months, with emphasis on the winner in each category.
A ‘Nominee decal’ is attached to this email. If your book wins its category, you will receive a ‘Winner’s decal’. Feel free to use the decals to help your marketing efforts.

As a nominee, you don't have to do anything further. However, if you choose to rally your fans and ask them to vote for your book, we won't object
. Here’s the link to the voting page : Remember, this link won’t go live until 10:00a.m. Eastern Time on March 2nd.

Finally, those who follow our Facebook page have probably seen the book-related quotes posted there. Among those are quotes from past Readers’ Choice nominees and winners. If you’re not familiar, scan the Facebook page ( or look at this page on the blog ( for examples.

These quotes, as well as the blog page listing nominees and winners, will draw continued attention to your book. For some of the nominated books, the reviewer may have a pithy quote in mind that he or she thinks is especially good, but for most books they won’t. So, we’re inviting the author to suggest quotes they think would pique interest in potential readers. Feel free to reply to this email with two or three suggestions of your own. No more than fifty words, please. Short and succinct (20 words or less) is best. Shortly after the announcement of the winners, we’ll begin integrating the new quotes into the posting rotation on our Facebook page.

Good luck,
BigAl and the Pals

That was the first email I read when I woke up this morning. Voting will begin on March 2 and I hope you’ll consider voting for The Rapist at that time. I guess I’ll post this again on that day as a reminder and hope you guys won’t think I’m bugging you!

 Blue skies,

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Rough Edges: The Bitch - Les Edgerton

Hi folks,

I'm a big, big fan of James Reasoner's fiction, so was extremely stoked to see this review this morning. It's always a plus when those you admire and respect enjoy your own work. Thanks, Mr. Reasoner!

Rough Edges: The Bitch - Les Edgerton: You'd think that in a noir novel called THE BITCH, the title character would be a woman, but that's not the case in Les Edgerton&...

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


  Hi folks,

Just got another 5-star review of THE BITCH on Amazon! Making this old geezer a happy camper!

5.0 out of 5 stars Between an Expensive Rock and a Hard Place, February 18, 2014
This review is from: The Bitch (Kindle Edition)
Previously published a couple years ago, New Pulp Press has breathed new life into Les Edgerton's The Bitch with a new release this winter. I had heard about Edgerton last year through the Booked.Podcast, raving his novel, The Rapist, and didn't hesitate when I got the chance to read this one. While the title is a bit deceptive to those unaccustomed to prison slang, the hard-edged storytelling is there in full glory and made it hard to put this book down.

Jake Bishop used to be a heck of a burglar when he was younger, but he still managed to get sent to prison twice. With the threat of winding up there a third time hanging over his head, he resolved to go straight. He got married, got a good job as a hairdresser, even setting himself up to start his own business pretty soon with the money he has saved, which is great because he has a baby on the way, too. And then his old cellmate shows up in town and all his best laid plains crumble like rotten snow.

The Bitch is impeccably paced and the tension rises from mildly uncomfortable at Jake's first contact with Walker to downright excruciating when the secrets Jake keeps from Paris pile up like a house of cards. Some of that cringe-inducing tension comes from the anticipation of what Jake's bad choices, one after another, are likely to lead to, but there's also the unanticipated repercussions that throw Jake's already careening life into a brand-new tailspin.

Jake is a likable guy, relatable even, but there are moments where it's difficult to root for the guy. Even with detestable characters like Walker Joy and the scumbag jeweler blackmailing Jake into one more heist, the tug-of-war going on with Jake's sense of right and wrong gets more than a little compromised, especially when it becomes harder and harder to hide the truth from his wife. As much as there is intrigue into whether he can pull off the job as smoothly as he's planned it, there's even more intrigue over just how low down he's willing to go to do what he convinces himself is best for his wife and kid.

It's early in the year still, but The Bitch is a novel I will not be at all surprised to see show up on my fave five list of 2014 novels at the end of the year. If you enjoy Joe R. Lansdale's stories, or those of Scott Phillips or Anthony Neil Smith or others who deal with noir fiction, you'll be doing yourself a favor by reading something by Les Edgerton.
To be compared to my heroes like Lansdale, Smith, and Phillips just warms the cockles of my heart. At least, I think it does... if I was just sure what cockles were...

Blue skies,

Me, being a happy camper...

Monday, February 17, 2014


Hi folks,

Short one today! Couple of things. First, Joe Clifford has just announced the publication of an anthology he's put together, titled TROUBLE IN THE HEARTLAND that I'm proud to be part of. There are about 30 of us noir and hardboiled crime writers who were invited to participate, including heavyweights like Dennis Lehane. Joe cleared it with Bruce Springsteen and got his blessing and the proceeds go to charity. Click on the cover to go to his blog for details.

Second thing is this month's lineup of Kristen Lamb's WANA classes is available. Lots and lots of valuable classes for writers at very affordable rates. A good friend, Shirley Jump, is teaching one and there are classes not only on writing but on social media and marketing for writers and all kinds of interesting stuff to help writers and their careers. Check it out here.

And, tell 'em I sentcha!

Blue skies,

Sunday, February 16, 2014

New review of THE BITCH by Mark Matthews

The Bitch ~ Les Edgerton
  • Title: The Bitch  
  • Author: Les Edgerton
  • Genre: Crime Noir
  • Format: Kindle
  • Source: Netgalley
  • Reviewed by: Mark Matthews
  • Rating: 5 out of 5

Description:  Ex-con Jake Bishop is several years past his second stint in prison and has completely reformed. He’s married, expecting a child, and preparing to open his own hair salon. But then an old cellmate re-enters his life begging for a favor: to help him with a burglary. Forced by his code of ethics to perform the crime, Jake’s once idyllic life quickly plunges into an abyss. Jake soon realizes that there is only one way out of this purgatory . . . and it may rupture his soul beyond repair.

Review:  First off, I should note that the title “The Bitch” is in reference to the main character’s fear of being labeled a “Ha-Bitch-ual” criminal.  More on that later.

Ex-con trying to fly straight and be a family man gets called back into the lifestyle. Sure, you may  have seen this done before: But this author does it so well that it never gets trite. Feels like true crime, with a language that is never forced.

The tension escalated beautifully. Unpredictable, yet always getting higher, like the tick, tick, ticking noise you hear the roller coaster make as you climb that first hill. You weren’t sure what twist it was going to take, only that the author showed so much skill you would trust it would be somewhere interesting. You get to know the main character so well, that it’s hard not to take him out of the book and back home with you.

As far as the title referring to the legal implications of being labeled a “Ha-Bitch-ual” criminal, I don’t think the author would mind you thinking otherwise. In some ways, the main character lets his past make him his bitch, so to speak, by trying to live by the code of his old world and be happy in the new. Likewise, his wife, tries a ‘cross-over’ with similar results. There is moral ambiguity here and a value system that the main character has that you don’t have to admire, but you will certainly feel it along the way. As the main character, Jake, goes rifling through what to do next, you want to scream out to him, “Dude, did you realize you just ((spoiler alert)) how are you going to shoot a move through this one?”

I have to believe that crime fiction speaks to the voyeur in all of us. The part who want to know how criminals live and what they think. And the best crime fiction makes us realize they are one of us, or we are one of them. We find ourselves identifying with the character at some parts, wishing they had more of a moral compass at other parts. We may get disgusted at their choices, other times we may just wish they’d be more slick and get away with it. All of these things and more crossed my mind as I committed crimes alongside Jake and Walker.

Read this for the story, for the plot, for the characters, and for the concise as a concrete slab prose. If you are lucky like me, you can read it at your parents cottage, isolated, surrounded by snow, which was exactly the setting the characters found themselves in as they tried to cover the tracks of their misdeeds. I was able to go home and live happily ever after with my family. The characters of this book may have not been so lucky.

Thanks, Mark--tickled pink that you enjoyed the read!

Blue skies,

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Hi folks,

As some of you know, I’ve gotten into the habit of providing a literary quote of the day in Facebook. I have personal experience from my own writing life that “proves” the quote I provided today, at least for me. First, let me provide that quote:

Quote of the day: (On describing characters.)

“Bruno Bettelheim, in The Uses of Enchantment, writes that the fairy tale (and, similarly, the Drama) has the capacity to calm, to incite, to assuage, finally, to affect, because we listen to it nonjudgmentally—we identify subconsciously (non critically) with the protagonist.

“We are allowed to do this, he tells us, because the protagonist and, indeed, the situations are uncharacterized aside from their most essential elements.

When we are told, for example, that a Handsome Prince went into a wood, we realize that we are that Handsome Prince. As soon as the prince is characterized, ‘A Handsome Blond Prince with a twinkle in his eye, and just the hint of a mustache on his upper lip…’ and if we lack that color hair, twinkle, and so on, we say, ‘What an interesting prince. Of course, he is unlike anyone I know…’ and we begin to listen to the story as a critic rather than as a participant.”

David Mamet from his book Writing in Restaurants

Years ago, in my days of cutting hair, I talked to most of my clients about my work. That was a big mistake—I later discovered that when I talked about the work, especially the current work—that I’d expended the energy of actually writing it that night when I went home and faced my computer.

But, in those days I still hadn’t learned that lesson. What was profitable from those conversations was that I learned something from my readers. Most had read my work, particularly Monday’s Meal, my first collection of short stories. We’d talk about them and I’d answer the usual questions—how did you come up with that idea? did that happen in real life? how come there are a lot of characters who have their hands or fingers cut off?

And then, one day, I noticed in our conversations, very often the person would describe one of the characters in the stories. That’s odd, I remember thinking. I couldn’t ever remember providing character descriptions. It wasn’t because of something someone had told me not to do—I’d experienced little or no writing instruction of advice in those days and wrote purely from an instinctual stance. I went back to see if I had, inadvertently, provided descriptions. I hadn’t.

So then, I began asking the person I was chatting with if he or she could describe the character in the story we were talking about. Sure, they said, almost to a person, and proceeded to deliver a very detailed, sometimes exhaustive description of the person. And, I began to notice that in these very complex descriptions always there would be a characteristic that belonged to the person telling me the description.

“And where,” I said, “did you get this description from?” “Why, it was in the story,” they’d say. “No, it wasn’t,” I said. I’d open a copy, turn to the story, and ask them to point out where their description came from. They’d skim through it, a puzzled look on their faces, and finally, say, “Well, I was sure I read it.” And then, we’d laugh and go on to other topics.

I think the best way to learn to write well is to read lots and lots and lots. Something I’ve done all of my life. One of the things I’d always thought boring in a novel was when the author described their characters. Especially when they overloaded the details of those descriptions. I knew that my brain switched off at those passages and I’d almost always skip those parts and go ahead. And, usually those kinds of stories were fairly boring to me. At the time, I couldn’t articulate why that was so, I just knew it was.

And, like Harry Crews (who said it first and these days it’s inaccurately attributed to Elmore Leonard, who included it in his book on writing and had taken it from Crews) I was always acutely aware of those parts I tended to skip when reading and did my utmost to not provide those parts in my own writing.

And, then, a few years ago, I happened upon David Mamet’s book, Writing in Restaurants, and when I read the quoted passage above, had one of those Eureka! Moments.

I didn’t change anything. I didn’t pay closer attention to avoiding character descriptions—that was already finely-honed in me to not do so, but it is always great when you encounter a bona fide writing “authority” that confirms what you’ve been doing is spot on the money. Kind of validates what you’re doing.

How about you? How do you feel about character descriptions? Are you like me or are you the opposite? Are you one who really enjoys the author laying out exactly what the protagonist looks like? If you are, can you say honestly, if upon encountering such a description you begin reading as a critic or remain identifying subconsciously with the protagonist? Or, does it even matter to your own personal experience?

I’d really like to know!

Blue skies,

And, if you haven't read Mamet's book, I highly, highly recommend it to all writers--it's an amazing book.