Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Hi folks,

Been an exciting week! First, the best interview I’ve ever had the pleasure of being involved in was published in Grift Magazine Issue #2. Then, Benoit Lelievre posted a terrific review of my novel JUST LIKE THAT in his online magazine The Deadend Follies.

And then… Frank Nowatzke, publisher of the German publishing imprint, Pulpmaster, who had earlier purchased the German rights to THE RAPIST, made me an offer to publish the German language rights of THE RAPIST and also made an offer to publish first rights (in German) of my black comedy crime caper, THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING. And now, Italian publisher Matteo Strukul has requested a copy of THE RAPIST for consideration for publishing the Italian rights. And, another German publisher, Dr. Thomas Wortche of PenserPulp, has requested several of my manuscripts and is reading them now and considering publication. Viva Europe!

I’d like to give a BIG SHOUT-OUT to a good friend of mine, Jack Getze, and his novel, BIG NUMBERS. This is one of the most enjoyable hard-boiled detective novels I’ve read in a long, long time. “Page-turner” is an adjective used perhaps too much in describing novels, but in this case it applies. It’s also genuinely funny and will remind you of Carl Hiassen’s novels. I highly, highly recommend it. It’s also a product of an exciting publisher, Down and Out Books, run by Eric Campbell. I met Eric at the last Bouchercon when he came to a reading of noir authors and what he’s doing with his press is resurrecting deserving novels that are out-of-print that he feels deserve to be resurrected. He’s putting together a kick-ass list of books like Jack’s.

And, finally, I’ve been asked to and have accepted invitations to appear at two writer’s conferences next May in Texas. Being a native Texan (born in Odessa and raised in Freeport), I’m really stoked to be going home! Also, I get to meet up with some good friends of mine, Bob Stewart and Carl Brush and some others.

The first event will be the Dallas-FT. Worth Writer’s Conference held May 2-4 at the Hurst Conference Center, Hurst, TX (Dallas). So far, besides myself, old friend, uber-agent Don Maass is appearing and the headliner is best-selling novelist Jonathan Maberry. The director, Kirk von der Heydt,  aware that “Les likes his Jack Daniels,” told me that each presenter is assigned what they call a “wrangler”--a person who gets them places and escorts them around, and that he assigned me a guy who always carries a flask with him since the bar doesn’t open until 7:30. Seven-thirty!? What th?! Is this Texas? Anyway, it’ll be lots of fun so hope some of you can make it and we get to meet. After 7:30 you’ll find me… well, you know where…

Then, I come back home for a few days and then go back down again to San Antonio, where I’ll be appearing at my third Writer’s Retreat Workshop (WRS) for director Jason Sitzes. These are intensive 10-day affairs and a total blast! I was privileged to teach at two earlier ones when they were held in Kentucky and they were fantastic. I’m planning on hooking up with several of my writer friends, including Bob Stewart, Carl Brush, and SusanBaker. And old friends from when I appeared a few years ago. People tend to go back to WRW, over and over. It’s an amazing retreat and will run from May 9-18 2014 in San Antonio, TX., at the Purple Sage Ranch. It's going to be one of the most fabulous venues yet. I can’t wait and I hope we’ll get to go down to the Riverwalk—it’s one of my favorite places in America!

Finally, I've received emails from folks who tell me they can't find my novel THE BITCH on Amazon. Well... that's because I've taken back the rights from the original publisher and sold the book to New Pulp Press and it will be coming out anew in January in both paperback and in ebook format. It will also be coming out in a German edition in paper and ebook from Pulpmaster. Sorry for the inconvenience but I'm really excited about the new publisher and the edition that will come out. There's be new material in it as well--including a foreword and a reader's guide.

Welp… thas’ about it!

Blue skies,

Me reading at the Noir at the Bar event in Cleveland at the last Bouchercon where I met Eric Campbell of Down and Out Books.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Hi folks,

Couple of recent publications in which I’m involved. First, is the notice by Grift Magazine that their second print issue of the magazine is now available. I’m very proud to be included.

Grift #2 is available now!

Posted by John on July 14th, 2013 

The second issue of Grift is now available!

Believe me, it was worth the wait. The issue includes an exhaustive (yet incredibly captivating) interview of Les Edgerton, another with Stuart Neville, and a look a the film noir woodcuts of Loren Kantor.

The fiction section is beefed up considerably from the first issue with stories from Erik Arneson, Jack Bates, Matthew Brozik, Lawrence Buentello, Holly Day, Salvatore Falco, Andy Henion, Davin Ireland, David James Keaton, Jon McGoran, Chad Rohrbacher, Helen Maryles Shankman, and Martin Zeigler.

The second is the highly-regarded blog by Ben Lelievre, Dead End Follies

Dead End Follies

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review : Les Edgerton - Just Like That (2012)

Benoit Lelievre

(also reviewed)
Order THE RAPIST here

I said, "Huh?"

"You got three weeks, huh."

He was talking about my parole hearing. "That's right"

"You'll be back, Jake. I can guarantee it."

Everybody always says that. It's jealousy, that's all it is.

If you've followed my coverage of the release of Les Edgerton's THE RAPIST, you know he's an unusual creature in the crime fiction landscape. He is half-writer, half-character. Your run-of-the-mill writer could never imagine a character who has lived through what Les lived. I know what you're thinking. This calls for a memoir, right? Well, Edgerton has one...or he almost does. JUST LIKE THAT is many things. It's a novel, first and foremost, but it's also a memoir, a thinly-veiled true crime book and a user guide to separate what's real from what's bullshit in today mainstream fiction portrayal of prison environment. Fortunately, it's also a pretty good story.

JUST LIKE THAT doesn't really have a beginning or an end, dramatically speaking. It's not a construction, built from a series of events, that reaches a confrontational boiling point. It's just a chunk of time in protagonist Jake Mayes' life where he was in and out of prison. Edgerton mentions in the foreword that several parts of the novel were published as short stories and it shows. Every chapter is so well-defined, it could be a story in itself. Better yet, I'm sure some could craft a novel using one of JUST LIKE THAT's chapters as an inspiration prompt. Since every chapter/stories share the same protagonist and that they are in chronological order, it works fine as a novel also.

You could call JUST LIKE THAT metafiction, I suppose. The foreword and the afterword are an integral part of the novel's enjoyment as Edgerton explain most of this kind of happened and he refuses to tell you what's real and what's fiction. That gives the reader perspective on his own crime fiction culture and adds a layer of fun to the reading process as you're always trying to guess where is the line between reality and fiction. Reading JUST LIKE THAT is an active process. It's not a story that delivers itself to you straightforwardly. It's something that's anchors in reality, in Les Edgerton's persona, and finishes on the pages of the novel. Yeah, I guess it's crime metafiction after all.

"You ever get scared?"

"Well, there's time's when I'm more cautious than others if that's what you mean."

"Fuck it, Jake. I'm askin' you a serious question. You ever been scared of anything?"

Before I could answer and maybe because he really wanted an answer and knew I wouldn't admit it - having fear, that is - he said, "I been scared most of my life, Jake. You believe that?"

There are a lot of quiet, almost intimate moments to JUST LIKE THAT, which were my favorite parts (see what I just quoted). Parts where Edgerton seems to break the fourth wall and explain his philosophy on things himself. I have never seen the borderline animalistic nature of the criminal spirit explained so well. That surrender to your darkest impulses of destruction. It sets the tone for the whole novel, which is light on outward emotion, but not without a heart. That's just how I like fiction. Seldom tender, but never mushy. Male friendship is also a strong theme in JUST LIKE THAT, the peculiar, reticent way men show appreciation towards one another and stick together. 

You can't really put an etiquette on JUST LIKE THAT. Just stick it it on the mystery section shelves of your bookstore and let the readers make up their mind. Les Edgerton often says he went to the Jack London School of Writing, so it makes JUST LIKE THAT his master degree thesis. No matter how you want to call it : metafictional, autobiographical, picaresque or criminal, it's mostly a great story about being a human being in the darkest corners of America. It's not anything precise, yet it's not difficult to love.

Posted by Benoit Lelievre

Thanks, Ben!

"JUST LIKE THAT is yet another  Les Edgerton winner. Mr. Edgerton in his prison memoir conjures up in honest, Bukowski-esque prose a mad dog life lived behind and beyond the bars of institutional correctional facilities. Literature's version of Johnny Cash, America has yet another gifted bard to sing the blues of time served.

I have long believed Mr. Edgerton to be an American original, who has for too long remained one of our best-kept literary secrets. As a publisher I want to put to print whatever he writes, as a reader I want to devour the pages, as a writer, I'd be happy to pilfer just a few of his lines."

-Cortright McMeel, author of Short (St. Martin's), Co-publisher, Bare Knuckles Press, Co-editor, Noir National, International Journal of Crime Fiction

Blue skies,