Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Guest post for Anonymous 9...

Hi folks,

Just a heads-up that I'm over on Anonymous 9's blog where I was invited to weigh in with my opinion on MFA degrees. The discussion's heating up if you want to drive by for a looksee at the dead bodies...


Blue skies,

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Great new novel by Earl Javorsky!

Hi folks,

I want to introduce you to a writer you may not be aware of yet… but should be! I just finished reading his second novel and it’s just one terrific read! Here’s my review:

Earl Javorsky’s Trust Me.

To use an apt baseball analogy, Earl Javorsky has just performed the equivalent of hitting home runs in his first two at-bats in the majors. Down Solo cleared the left field fence and his newest effort, Trust Me has just landed in the upper deck in center field.

If you like your thrillers filled with both nonstop action and twist after psychological twist, this is the one for you. Javorsky has a decided talent for delivering stories that work on many, many levels—this is a deep, complex work of art that will resonate with you long after you finish the read. It will have you looking at newspaper headlines wondering if life is imitating art when you read of a suicide.

Just dang good writing of the first order!

Grab a copy today! Just don’t start reading it at night if you have to get up early in the ayem…

Blue skies,

P.S. Here's Earl's first novel, DOWN SOLO. It's another winner!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Hi folks,

Here's an interview I was privileged to participate in with Laura Roberts for Black Heart Magazine.

Black Heart Magazine


The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping: An interview with Les Edgerton

· by Laura Roberts · in Interviews
Les Edgerton is the author of The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping, a black comedy crime caper published by Down&Out Books – among many others. We recently had a chance to ask him a few questions about his literary influences and inspirations, as well as his advice on writing and life. Here’s what he had to say.
Who are your top 5 favorite authors or influences?
This is a tough one! I have literally dozens and dozens of favorite authors and influences. I’ll try to narrow it down.
  1. Harry Crews
  2. Albert Camus
  3. Elmore Leonard
  4. Charles Bukowski
  5. Cormac McCarthy
What type of writing fuel do you prefer, and what – if anything – do you feel this contributes to your creative process?
I used to drink while writing—usually Jack Daniels—and then discovered that that feeling that liquor allowed me to write “better” was a totally false feeling and that the opposite happened. Nowadays, if I have a drink, I know I’m done writing for the day. However, I drink prodigious amounts of coffee all day long. Probably 9-10 cups a day and strong coffee. When I get coffee from a coffee shop, my choice is triple lattés.
What inspired you to write your latest book?
I have to have an idea gestate for many years before I write it. At any time, I have up to ten novel ideas percolating. I know it’s time to write the book when I begin dreaming about it asleep and thinking about it constantly while awake. While I’ve had a couple of books published after The Bitch, that was the last one I wrote and it was based on my prison experiences and that old “what if” question writers continually ask ourselves. The title doesn’t refer to a woman or a female dog—it’s the term we ex-cons use for the federal law, the “three strikes and you’re out” ha-bitch-ual criminal law, where the judge can give you up to life for a third felony conviction. People sometimes don’t realize how a life can be ruined with just one wrong turn made from a place of loyalty, and that’s what happens to Jake. He delivers a favor he owes and things begin to go hinky quickly.
Pirates or ninjas, and why?
Not quite sure what ninjas are—some kind of oriental martial artists, right? Those ten guys all dressed in black who leap around fighting the good guy… one at a time? Kind of dumb, it seems to me, so, I guess… pirates.
Give us one piece of sage advice on writing, relationships, or life in general.
I’ll pass on the advice I gave my son Mike when he became a teenager on how to have a successful life: Never date a girl named after a day of the week, and never play poker with a guy named after a city. Follow those two precepts and you’ll probably have a smooth life. As far as writing advice, I’ll echo Jim Harrison’s advice when he said if one hoped to become a good writer, they “should read the whole of Western literature for the past four hundred years… and if time permits, the same period of Eastern literature. For, if one doesn’t know what passed for good in the past, they won’t know what passes for good now.” Pretty sound advice, methinks…
If you were a cocktail, what would you be called, and what’s the recipe?
Not a cocktail drinker, unless Jack and water is a cocktail and the recipe is in the name.
If you were to pen the screenplay for the next summer blockbuster, what would it be about – and who would you want to see in the starring role?
Actually, I have written the script that would accomplish that—my screenplay adapted from my novel, The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping—it’s available, should some savvy producer want it… and the lead should be Woody Harrelson.
If you were to write an open letter to a famous author (living or dead), who would it be, and what would it say?
It would be to Harry Crews and I’d just ask him to have drinks with me in a bucket o’ blood somewhere and talk about anything he wants to.
Where can we find you on a typical Friday night, and what kind of trouble are you getting into there?
Well, it would be at my desk writing. It’s where I spend virtually every day and every night, seven days a week. My days of getting into trouble are behind me so… nothing to see here, folks—move along…
What are you currently working on, and why does it kick ass?
Just began a new novel along the lines of The Rapist, featuring the same protagonist. It’s not a sequel—more like a companion novel. It kicks ass because it’ll make readers uncomfortable. Hopefully. I’ve been amazed for a long, long time about the question of God and eternity and mostly at how for millennia, we accept the sketchy and limited idea of what heaven is, in our Western culture. For instance, in all the artist’s pictures and novels and books written, we just keep parroting this really insane physical picture of heaven. It seems to usually be fairly sparsely settled, for just one for instance. Well, if there is a heaven, we’ve had many, many billions of people live and die on earth, so it should be asshole to elbow crowded, right? For instance, if you were sitting there, surrounded by billions and billions of people, there would constantly be dead folks arriving. Over here pops up a dead baby, over there twenty souls killed in a school shooting, over there a military unit wiped out by mortar fire, in your lap two thousand victims of a plague… and so on. There would have to constantly be a population in flux, with recently expired souls popping up all around you. But, that kind of thing never seems to occur to those who describe heaven. Or hell. Same deal. I think our entire vision of what heaven and hell are are really twisted and it’s like no one’s ever challenged any of this stuff. This novel will… I have literally hundreds of questions my protagonist will pursue the answers to like this. I’m really excited about writing it and I fully expect to go stark raving nuts when I finish it.
Do you have any talismans, charms, superstitions or music that inspires or helps you to write, and what’s the story behind them?
No to most of those. However, I do use music often. In one of my craft books, I talk about that and give a list of a bunch of my stories where I name the song I had playing while writing them. I think music is a very powerful stimulus and use it often to evoke the tone and mood I want for the story. I write mostly very dark fiction and C&W music—not the modern stuff, but the old-time C&W—can really create a dark mood. It’s mostly about cheating wives and husbands, getting drunk and wrecking your car and dying, and about fighting, fornicating, and fooling people (the Three F’s…) and that’s all the stuff of fiction. Jazz is another great choice. I’ve written countless short stories and at least a couple of novels with Miles Davis’ “Concierto de Ajuarez” cut on his Sketches of Spain album. It’s a fantastic mood creator, at least for me.
What’s your exercise or sport of choice when getting out from behind the desk?
Being a professional writer, I very, very rarely get out from behind the desk. Being in my seventies, the closest I get to sports is watching it on TV. I do often perform wrist curls with cans of Budweiser when I’m done writing for the day. Does that count?
For more from Les, find him on Facebook, Twitter, and check out his blog at

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Hi folks,

I’d like to announce a BIG, MONDO SALE for the next four days (beginning tonight at 11 pm) for the ebook version of my latest novel, THE GENUINE, IMITATION, PLASTIC KIDNAPPING from Down&Out Books.

Here are the details:

July 8 @ 11 pm the price goes to 99 cents
July 10 @ 7 am the price goes to $1.99
July 11 @ 3 pm the price goes to $2.99
July 12 @ 11 pm the price goes back to $4.99

Here’s what other writers have to say about it:

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 the Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries

“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 of the best-selling novel Pest Control and The Exterminators

“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

“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

“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 are 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.”

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.—Keith Nixon,
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

“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

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

“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 and A Small Sacrifice

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 III, author Broken Glass Waltzes

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

“There is nothing quite like reading a Les Edgerton novel. His voice crackles with a lifelike intensity. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic 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,

I know I'm late for the party reviewing this one. But that's just me. What you need to know is this; when Les writes a story, any story, you're instantly swept up into a world that engulfs you . . . absorbs you . . . into a sensual assult that leaves you speechless. In this one you get the full gamut. Baseball, New Orleans down at its gritiest, back street wonders, sleazy (and not so bright) hoodlums. And a wise ass loser just smart enough to know better, but not gifted with the ability to say "No!" at any time in his life.

Les' writing is three demensional. You do not just read words. You feel . . . taste . . . see things from a prespective few human beings have had the pleasure (or maybe, the bad luck) of experiencing first hand. That, boys and girls, is the mark of a GREAT writer. And yes; just to answer your question, I'm jealous.—B.R. Stateham, A Killing Kiss, Tough Guys

When you can turn a forced amputation into one of the most hilarious scenes I've ever read, you've really pulled off something good.—Benjamin Sobieck, The Writer’s Guide to Weapons

If you like Hunter Thompson, you will love Les Edgerton. The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is a rough and tumble romp through New Orleans like none that you have had or will ever have. Take a ex-ballplayer, an Indian, and a hooker with a heart of gold (and the balls to prove it), mix with the swamps of Louisiana, gangsters, politicians, and drugs and well . . . what more can you expect? Edgerton's phrasing is excellent, the tone tough, and the humor is so Southern. It's all about the kidnapping and how it went so wrong.—Gregory C. Randall, Chicago Swing: A Tony Alfano Thriller

The Genuine, Imitation, Plastic Kidnapping is a rollicking comedy crime caper in which the protagonist Pete--a former baseball player turned con man--gets roped into a kidnapping scheme by a less-than-intelligent criminal named Tommy. What follows is a tangled path of surprising twists and comedic beats. You'll laugh out loud, guaranteed. Probably the two brightest stars of this book are Pete's love interest Cat and the beautiful city known as New Orleans. For the latter, Edgerton paints a rich, textured portrait of an edgy city. For the former, he introduces us to a tough yet classy lady who brings out the best in Pete. Through the whole narrative, Edgerton maintains the narrator's colorful wise-cracking voice. You feel more like you're sitting at a bar listening to a good story over a beer, rather than sitting with a book. According to the book's end notes, Edgerton is working on a sequel. I, for one, am anxious to see what happens next.—Rob Boley, That Risen Snow: A Scary Tale of Snow White and Zombies

No novel ever deserved the “couldn’t put it down” label more than this one. This black comedy thriller will keep you laughing your way through your fear from first page to last.

Your guide through the amazing set of cons and mishaps is Pete Halliday, a major league pitcher (for a moment) fallen on hard times and looking for a score. Pete is earnest and funny and likable, but a more than a tad gullible. His partner/buddy keeps dreaming up new capers. Pete keeps falling for them. Complications ensue, and the results are both life-threatening (to the characters) and hilarious. The biggest caper of all is referenced in the title, and I’m not saying a word more about it for fear of spoiling everything. Read it to find out, and I’ll guarantee you’ll be ever and always glad you did.—Carl Brush, The Maxwell Vendetta

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.—Liam Sweeny, Deadman’s Switch and Other Stories

Let’s rock this puppy! Baby needs a new pair of shoes… I appreciate your support!

Blue skies,