Friday, June 1, 2012

This Plucker has moved!

 I have moved my blog to Wordpress- you can reach it at

This blog won't be updated anymore, but if you subscribe via RSS, or read through Facebook, etc you should seamlessly be moved to the new blog.

If you're reading this, then something went wrong.
If you followed with Google or Blogger, you will have to subscribe directly to my RSS feed:

If you got here with a bookmark, please go to and bookmark that page instead.

Thank you for your patience.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Tingle your Spine for under a buck

The folks at Snubnose Press have lowered all their e-book prices to 99 cents for the month of June. That includes Spinetingler Magazine's Winter 2011 edition, which includes my story "Two to Tango."
The polarizing story of a county judge who gives a rapist a lenient sentence and is confronted by the victim, this is the only place to read it. And for a buck, you get stories by Patricia Abbott,  Mike Miner, Albert Tucher, and Court Merrigan and more:


Black Light Marker by Sam Wiebe
Two to Tango by Thomas Pluck
Boss by Dan Luft
Paul Little Learns the Art of Prison Sink Voodoo by Aaron Philip Clark
Under the Tree of Life S. M. Harding


A Straight Face by Court Merrigan
Breaking and Entering by Mike Miner
Lambs of God by Patti Abbott
Two and a Half Miles by WD County
The Last Hit by Liam Sweeny
Grind by Chad Haskins
Showtime by Albert Tucher
Cosmo in the Mourning by Gary Clifton
Moonshine by Seth Sherwood


In the Mouths of Insects by Shelly Wass
A Puppet’s Soul by Joseph Swope
Jessie’s Toothbrush by Michael Spohr

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Guest Plucker: Craig Wallwork

I met Craig Wallwork on Twitter. As you'll find from his guest spot, Craig writes stories that are delightfully off kilter. His collection The Quintessence of Dust begins with the chilling tale "Night Holds a Scythe," where a father and daughter face an apocalypse where sleep brings death. It is free on Smashwords, and if apocalypse isn't your game, read on... the stories vary far and wide in scope, but the writing is on the level and solid as granite:

Every story is based on truth.  Any writer that says differently is lying, or a thief.  In my case, I have practiced the art of turning truth into fiction to avoid dealing with its severity or consequence.  Quintessence of Dust is my way of dodging bullets, and at times, living in denial. 

There is no secret to this practice.  It happens quite naturally.  I once suffered from chronic constipation one Christmas.  I put it down to drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and not rehydrating my system.  New Years day I end up spending way too much time, and putting too much effort, into a visit to the toilet.  The result of which ended with me making an appointment with my doctor and him talking about a technique that involved eight fingers and a rubber glove.  The basis of this became Anal Twine.  The aforementioned method is not regularly practiced, don’t worry, but it did amuse me.  It was enough of a kernel for me to venture further into the hole (figuratively speaking) where a man who, suffering with anal fissure, discovers a bit of twine hanging from his rectum which, when pulled, removes his short term memory.  Writing that story took my mind of the pain and discomfort I was enduring at the time, more so than the cream I had been prescribed.

Likewise, I was diagnosed with a condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).  It is where tiny fragments of debris in the inner ear labyrinth cause short episodes of vertigo when you move your head in certain directions.  Some days it would floor me.  I’d try and get out bed and it would feel like the invisible man had pushed me over.  It dissipates over time as the fragments become lodged in the inner ear, but during the episodes, it’s terrible.  About the same time I heard the term Gutterball, a ten-pin bowling reference that describes where the bowling ball drifts into one of the gutters before it reaches the pins.  I thought it quite an apt analogy for my condition.  But to write a story about this seemed too mundane.  So I asked myself, why would a person veer to one side or get dizzy?  If it was an inner ear problem, then what could be floating around in there instead of calcium deposits?  This led to the protag, Milton Ball, discovering a strange and wonderful truth to why he suffering with BBPV, a truth which pushes the boundaries of reality and brings meaning to his life.

This theme continues in other stories within the collection; A Neck That is Not Thicktells the tale of a man who believes all his bad luck, and all the atrocities he has experienced in life, can be attributed to having a thin neck, so much so he considers hanging himself, his ultimate quandary being how big the noose will have to be.  Next time you see a picture of me, check out my neck.  Night Holds a Scythe is the story of a father chasing the sun to try and keep his three old daughter alive after a strange illness takes over the world whereby to fall asleep means death.  I have a three year old daughter and one of my worse fears was her dying in her sleep.  I once took a coach trip from Middleborough University to Manchester and fell in love with a girl sat next to me, even though I only saw her arm throughout the whole trip.  The basis of this became Morning Birdsong and the Hell Demons.  180 Degrees Shy of Heaven is a story about a person I know, and how the famine of sex in his marriage led to much hilarity in the office.  Skin was loosely based on my morbid fascination to be submerged underwater, the experience being compared, you might say, to returning to the womb. Men of Blood, a story about a Minotaur living in today’s society, was probably the most personal of all the stories, and recounts the life I had while sharing a house with one of my friends, a person I saw as a much stronger character than I.  And the list goes on. 

My truths are so deeply buried in the fabric of these stories that to speak so candidly about them would have been too hard a process to undertake.  Issues of regret, acceptance, love and remorse are so delicate that handled without care or proficiency would do each an injustice.  Therefore, I place these issues within absurd and strange worlds where zoophiles falls in love with a talking camels, a man faces his sins while the devil’s breath is upon his shoulder, and infidelity manifests itself in the art of chocolate making. 
They say truth is stranger than fiction.  After reading Quintessence of Dust you may disagree. 

Quintessence of Dust is available to buy from KUBOA in paperback for $2.95:
Or you can download an e-version for free via Smashwords:

Craig Wallwork is the author of the novels To Die Upon a Kiss, and The Sound of Loneliness.  He lives in West Yorkshire, England with his wife, daughter and two chickens.  Find out more about him via his website:

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review: City of the Lost

City of the Lost
City of the Lost by Stephen Blackmoore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love pulp. I especially love well-written pulp, and this is great pulp. It's also my kind of urban fantasy: a bad-ass hard-boiled crime tale that begins with a living death worse than zombies, delves into Nazi mad scientists with razor-fanged homonculi, demonic barkeeps and a sharp urban bruja. Blackmoore keeps you guessing and the story is full of surprises, from this world and the beyond. He keeps it on the level and never wipes out into the realm of the ridiculous. I hope there are more Joe Sunday tales in the haunted L.A. that Blackmoore has envisioned in this balls-out entertaining psychotic romp through the underworld.

View all my reviews

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Car Culture

Cars are part of the American DNA. Other countries have car culture, but the closest to America's suicidal romance with hot rods is Australia, home of Mad Max. The open space helps. In Britain, they can tell your caste by your accent. In America, it's often by your car. And if you ride the bus, you're at the bottom of the pole. In suburban New Jersey 'riding the bus' is racial code for poor and black.

I saw this old Charger for sale on the way to work today. The body is in good shape, it has the floor shift, but unless the badges were lost, it's a six-banger or a 318 V8. It got me thinking about how cars are the face we wear. Some dream of cars they could never afford to own, others just want to get from point A to point B. For the latter, these rules don't apply. But in America, land where advertising controls the language, everything means something. In the novel in progress, Tony "Baloney" Giambotta is the friend of our protagonist. He went to school for computer science, but became a mechanic when his father died, to honor his blue collar roots, in self-destructive fashion. Let me get inside his head and give you...

The car castes of New Jersey.

You drive a beater, we know all about you. You either can't afford better or you just don't care. Either way, we judge you.

If it's a minivan or a wagon, you're a hard-working parent with too many kids, and we get out of your way. You're either distracted by them if you're mom, or pissed off that you're stuck with a minivan, if you're Dad.

A hopped up old Civic, lowered to asphalt-scraping depths, a coffee can for a muffler and the tires spaced out wide for tight turns? Odds are you're Hispanic, and you want to race to the next light.

Old BMW, in nice shape with a sweet set of rims? You're a young black man with a good job. You've got the good tunes cranked up, you're cruising the limit because the cops pull you over for breathing the wrong way.

A used SUV with a red Rutgers 'R' sticker on the back? You're a college girl driving mom's old car so you don't die after you crush some poor working family in their beater, while texting.

A new SUV with a Montclair State sticker, and you're the mom worrying about your daughter in your old SUV. You are yelling at her on your phone, telling her not to text and drive.

If you drive a new BMW, Audi or Acura, you're a single male, probably white, with more money than brains, driving too fast for your skillset. You are most likely listening to Disturbed or some angry band that makes you think Fight Club wasn't a satire about how stupid you are.

Prius. Okay, we get it. You saved the planet. We're not worthy.

Mustang, 350Z or Camaro, your Dad is working class and spoils the shit out of you. You think you deserve it. You wish you could put the pedal down for more than 2 seconds in this tiny, congested state, and you like watching people flinch at your exhaust note. A Challenger, and same thing but you're over 50 now and had to buy it yourself.

Escalade, Infiniti or a Lexus, and you're trying to be an extra on Jersey Shore, if you get your tan just right. Sure, Dad co-signed the lease, but you're money. You get in the clubs, don't you? Why don't these drivers get out of your way, don't they know who you are?

Buick or a Cadillac and we pass you, because you're too old and driving too slow.

A late-model Nissan, Toyota or Honda sedan, or a Ford Escape and you're just trying to get to work alive.

A Subaru, you have children. You can't afford a Volvo. You think 3 days of bad snow a year is worth investing in all-wheel drive, because you worry about everything. Also, you are considering a colon cleanse.

A pickup truck, and you run a landscaping business and like Toby Keith.

A Chevy or a Charger, and you're a cop.

A Corvette or a Porsche, and we all know the penis pump didn't work.

New Mercedes or Jaguar, and you're a boomer or just shy of it, and think you did enough for the Earth, and now it's time to do something for you. You're talking on the bluetooth that your son set up for you, and why don't these other cars realize you're in a hurry, and get out of your way. The nerve of some people.

Ferrari, you work down the port for your uncle. You look at porn all day and are paid $400,000 a year for it.

Bentley. You're not a rapper, and you can't name any rappers, either.

Chrysler 300. You can't afford a Bentley or a Cadillac.

Rolls Royce. You are former Newark Mayor Sharpe James. You are in jail.

And if you drive a Mini Cooper S, you're a snarky crime writer who just commuted through all that. You think you look like the Italian Job, but look more like 'clown car.'

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: Killing Floor

Killing Floor
Killing Floor by Lee Child

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had to see what all the fuss was about. Jack Reacher is coffee-junkie drifter who strolls into a sleepy Georgia town looking for the grave of an old bluesman. He's also a retired Marine MP, so when the cops converge with riot shotguns to frame him for murder, he convinces them he's not the killer, and decides he'll solve the crime himself. He charms a hot policewoman, and when the bad guys play rough, he churns through them like a harvester. The story is good, light fun. The novel is now 15 years old, and we've come to appreciate shorter, faster thrillers, but this one still holds up. Oh, there's one coincidence to swallow when we find out who the murder victim is, but Reacher is an amicable hero and I like a novel that admits killing people is not all that difficult with the proper weapons and inclination. The tricky part is getting away with it. When it comes to unstoppable killing machines, I prefer Joe Pike, but Reacher is a good read if you know what you are getting into. And to get into the movie discussion, Tom Cruise is a horrible choice. I imagined Reacher as a big blond chunk of American prime for the ladies (and 10% of the men). That dude playing Captain America should have fought for the part.
Verdict: This is a good story that feels a bit dated and unsure of itself, the shaky start of a series that eventually defined its thriller genre. If I'd read it in '97, I'd give it another star. The teaser for the 2nd Reacher novel, DIE TRYING, felt like a huge leap forward. I'll be giving it a try soon.

View all my reviews

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Make good art

No matter what, make good art.
Fake it until you make it.
Don't worry.
Enjoy life, especially the success.
You'll do well if you are pleasant to work with, good at what you do, and submit your work on time. And you'll likely do fine if you only do two of those.
Make up your own rules. The rules are changing; no one can predict them. So go do amazing things, successes and mistakes, and make your own rules.

 © 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Noir at the Bar NYC: June 3rd.

Crime writers Todd "Big Daddy Thug" Robinson, former editor of ThugLit, and Glenn G. Gray, author of unforgettable medical tales that make your innards squirm, are throwing a Noir at the Bar shindig in NYC on June 3rd. I'll be there, and you should be too. There will be story readings, revelry, and prizes. Because these guys are a real prize.

It will be held from 6pm to 9pm on Sunday June 3rd 2012 at Shade NYC, right off Washington Square in Greenwich Village. Address is 241 Sullivan Street.

If you're planning on coming or would like to read, contact me via the "Kontactr" button to the right, and I'll hook you up with Todd and Dr. G.

Let's do this thing- we can't let sunny CA and St. Louis have all the fun. 

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© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Book Blast: Bird, Ellison, Abbott, Beat to a Pulp and more

Several books by authors I admire have hit the streets recently. But first, let me get this out of the way. My friend Sabrina graciously opened the door of her blog to me, and I have a guest post up about why I wrote "Little Sister," my story for last year's Lost Children Charity Anthology.  Sabrina is a great friend, and my ideal reader: a passionate fan of crime fiction, who likes a story fraught with action, real stakes, and bloody thrills. She always puts her heart into her reviews, and if you like thrillers and noir, I highly recommend you follow her blog.

First up, my friend Nigel Bird- one of my favorite short story writers- has written his first novel. Some are calling it "teacher noir," about a Scottish schoolteacher who tries to help one of his troubled students, and ends up in over his head. Nigel is the author of the excellent story collection Dirty Old Town, and last year's smashing novella Smoke. In Loco Parentis is available at Amazon.

Megan Abbott is one of noir's rising stars. She began with powerful nods to the classics, and last year she wrote The End of Everything, a daring novel about an abducted girl in the Detroit chi-chi suburbs. I first read her in the L.A. Noire story collection, where her tale of Hollywood sleaze "The Girl" knocked me out of my socks and into next week at the same time. Now she's tackled the high octane and brutally competitive world of high school cheerleading with DARE ME, and Dave White gives it a great review at his new blog, Beer 'n Books. Dave is an IPA hound, but he has great taste in beer. He also writes a pretty good yarn himself, like Witness to Death.

Buy Dare Me at Indiebound
Beat to a Pulp Round Two is out, and editing superstar David Cranmer has put together another stunner of a collection. This time Charles Ardai, Bill Pronzini, Patricia Abbott, James Reasoner, Glenn Gray and Steve Weddle are on the card, among other champs, contenders and ringers. And look at that cover. David is one of my favorite editors to work with, and he really knows how to rope together a collection. Maybe he learned a little from Cash Laramie, his western marshal?

And last but not least, the first author to influence me and make me pick up the pen was Harlan Ellison. Maybe you've read of our infamous correspondence? Well, Harlan began writing juvenile delinquent tales, before he broke the chains from pulp SF and created his own audacious flavor of speculative fiction. And some of those tales were racy, collected as "Sex Gang," under the pseudonym Paul Merchant. They've been out of print, until now. Kicks Books is releasing them with the only slightly less squirmy title, Pulling a Train.

I don't see the Ellison book available at my local indie or at Amazon yet, but these are what I'll be reading this summer... once I catch up and read Dead Harvest, The Adjustment, City of the Lost, Edge of Dark Water, and That's How I Roll!

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Demand Respect (Writing Horror Story)

Before we begin, no matter how long you've been writing, hie thee to these two excellent resources for vetting publishers, editors, agents and other professionals:
Writer Beware
The Absolute Write Water Cooler

I came across this horror story on Facebook, shared by F. Paul Wilson.

The short version:
Writer submits to an anthology, signs contract, never receives her comp copy; a friend mails her a copy at considerable expense, and she finds her title has been changed with a typographical error to "She Make's Me Smile," and a superfluous scene of animal abuse, a suggestion of rape, and other edits have been made without her approval. She writes to the editor, saying in polite terms, "What the hell?"

Her questions, paraphrased (If this was me, it would make Chuck Wendig's colorful vulgarian exclamations seem tepid):

1- Why there was a mistake in the title
2- Why my bio was shortened? There were much longer ones (like his own) so it wasn’t for space issues.
3- Why the story was changed?
The publisher's response:
lets see.on the contract, it clearly says publisher has the right to EDIT work. you signed it. are you saying you are a dishonest and immoral person and will now try to deny you signed the contract? well i have a copy right hereand as for the story. the editor had a hard time with it, it was very rough and he did alot to make it readable. despite what you think, your writing has a long way to go before its worthy of being printed professionally.we did what we had to do to make the story printable. you should be thankful, not complaining. ah, the ungrateful writer, gotta love it
Now, writers can be a touchy lot. We are very eager to see our work in print. Not everyone responds to edits in a professional manner, but you do NOT make edits without approval unless they are correcting typographical errors, streamlining usage to the publisher's stylebook, or other minor changes. And you do not write your own paragraph to insert into someone's story and call it an edit. It is not an edit, it is a collaboration. Or in this case, a defacement.

This is the added paragraph. If you read Ms. DeGeit's post, you will notice that she intentionally made her character gender neutral; the editor made him male, and sexually aroused by an animal getting beaten. This isn't a "this line is awkward, can you reword this?" or a "Can you give us a little background as to why this character beats his dog?" It's "I've decided your character is male, and to give him this backstory."

“Something strange happened then. I recalled a moment when I was a boy. I was playing in my backyard when the dog in my neighbor’s yard escaped through an open gate. My neighbor, an elderly man who lived alone and spoke in a thick accent (I later discovered that is was German), managed to corral the dog back into his yard. I watched, fascinated as the man ripped his long black belt from the loops at his waist and brought it down with a hellish fury upon the dog’s back. The dog slunk down and rested it’s head upon its paws, resigned to its fate. Why didn’t it fight back? Why didn’t it bite the hand of the master?
With the only friend I ever truly had writhing between my legs, I became aroused.”
Ugh. For one, this is just awful writing, and awful characterization. If you want someone to be erotically aroused by animal abuse, it does not happen from seeing your neighbor do it once. May I recommend this fine article, if you want to incorporate this sort of life-changing event in a disturbed character's life: Frenzy, at Alice Miller's site.) But it doesn't matter if it was brilliant; this is not Mrs. DeGeit's work. This isn't an edit, it is an insertion, without approval. The lack of professionalism in his response is galling. Pluck smash!!

Now, I've had edits I don't like. I had one editor cut the first five paragraphs of a story. It was one of my first publications, of a very profane and silly story about four metalhead stoners who become the horsemen of the apocalypse. I hastily signed the contract, didn't see the attachment, and missed the edits. And I did complain upon publication, and the editor pointed me to the previous email, and he was right. I didn't complain publicly, because they did not rewrite my work, they trimmed it. I promoted the story to my readers without grumpiness, and I submitted the "unexpurgated" version to another zine, which accepted it without edits, and even had their artist make a nifty illustration:
Not with a Bang, but a Squeaker, at Schlock Magazine.

No matter how excited you are to be published, remember:
Yog's Law: Money Flows TOWARD the Writer.
There is no publishing without the writer. The writer must whip themselves into shape, and the writer's every word is not always honey, and the writer does need to learn to edit- but have some self-respect. Mandy DeGeit is perfectly in her rights in this, minus the fact that the contract was vague and she assumed she was dealing with professionals. Don't let publishers treat you like shit. Like accepting bad treatment in any relationship, it becomes a habit.

And this is not to excoriate editors. I know plenty, and I appreciate their hard work. It is no picnic.
I am an editor, for the Lost Children anthologies. I respect the writer's work. I've corrected authors with a dozen excellent novels under their belts, writers I idolize. We all make typos and mistakes.
And I've had to ask for rewrites from fine writers who I consider friends. You need to be tough, to respect the reader as well as the work. But I didn't write a damn word of the rewrites. I made suggestions, and one writer went so far as to change the ending in a way that really made the story stronger than I imagined it could ever be. I don't consider myself a great editor. I get gut feelings with a story, that I visualize as "holes" in the world it creates inside my head. I try to explain how to fill that hole. I don't get the can of spackle and fix it myself.

So, vet who you submit to. READ the magazines you submit to. For one, this saves time on rejections because your story isn't a good fit. Secondly, you see the level of professionalism. Do they accept just anything? Does it look more like your little cousin's Facebook status than a well-edited publication? Do the same writers keep showing up, issue after issue, a circle jerk of buddies who might deign to let you into their club if you kiss enough pimply ass? This is beyond the ripoff artists who charge "reading fees," who mention payment but never pay, who accept your work and sit on it without a contract, and so on. The one editor who taught me the most about being a pro is Alec Cizak, formerly of All Due Respect, now editing Pulp Modern. He had serious edits for a story, but went about it professionally. He mailed two copies of a contract. He published on time, he sent payment promptly, and he made my story look damn good.

He's an ideal publisher; there are plenty more. Your work deserves that kind of treatment. If you don't believe that, than why are you sending it out? If it's not good enough to deserve respect, rewrite the damn thing or throw it out.

~ the Plucker

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Friday, May 11, 2012

Screaming for Avengers: Two Confessions

I have a confession to make.

I never read comic books as a kid.

The earliest I remember was picking up an issue of Star Brand for 35 cents in junior high, trying to get into it, and failing. I always liked the Hulk, but that was from the TV show. Same with the Superman movies, and the Batman TV show. I came into it second hand. I've enjoyed many comics and graphic novels since, from The Dark Knight Returns, to the first Marshal Law books, to Kurt Busiek's excellent Astro City, which remains my favorite superhero series. And if you don't like superheroes, his standalone "The Tarnished Angel" is a great noir story.

But as someone who didn't grow up with comics, or love them wholeheartedly later, I have some unpopular opinions. I think Zak Snyder's ending to Watchmen was an improvement. I like Ang Lee's Hulk movie better than the Ed Norton one. I find the X-Men annoying, because the mutie as race minority allegory is patronizing and doesn't make sense when mutants can zap you to dust by forgetting to wear their sunglasses. We have reason to fear them. But that's an argument for another day, maybe when the Wolverine movie comes out.

I was not sold on Marvel's lead-ups to the Avengers. Iron Man, I loved that movie. The rest were all flawed in some way. Captain America probably the least, but it needed more action and less montage. And he should have punched out Hitler. Thor was good fun, but there was a lot of running and silliness and the Devastator was a boring villain. The Incredible Hulk had its moments, but I doubt I'd watch it again.

I was worried about the Avengers when the opening and villain introduction were rather tepid. Nick Fury and SHIELD were not sufficiently bad-ass. That is rectified by the end of the movie, thank goodness. My review will be short and sweet. Every character shines in this one. Much has been said of the fantastic interplay of the heroes, and that is a great strength. But even alone, they are the best incarnation on-screen, even Stark as Iron Man. Let's face it, they all have issues and spending time with any of these guys gets tiresome. It's a testament to Robert Downey Jr.'s characterization that we don't want Rhodey to drop a deuce in every one of Stark's suits by the end of an Iron Man movie. And that's fine, he should be a flawed man.

But in the Avengers, they can be more annoying than ever, because the doses are smaller. Cap can be an out of touch goody-good. Banner can be aloof, condescending and always have "You won't like me when I'm angry" unspoken, on the tip of his tongue, a passive-aggressive bully. Thor's elevated speech and godliness can be more than a joke. The best scene is likely when the gang is all arguing due to trickster god Loki's manipulations, aboard SHIELD's hovercraft air carrier. And that includes the Hulk going apeshit, which should be my favorite scene.

Well played, Whedon. That's confession two. Despite being a Firefly fan, I've always been very critical of Joss Whedon's writing. It's very good, but there was always fan service, which rubs me the wrong way. I find it condescending, especially when superhero movies have been blockbusters for a decade. But I will humbly say this is his best script yet. I forgot he was attached to it until an hour in. He's very subtle, he is respectful to the material, but makes it his own. And he has given us iconic characterizations of superhero icons that will be the measuring stick for many years to come; they all come into their own. He makes Black Widow much more than sexy kick-ass window dressing, and damn, he knows how to use effects. This is the first movie in years where the CG effects haven't required me to forcibly suspend disbelief.

And this is a comic book movie. It is not a movie with superheroes in it. The heroes clobber each other, change sides multiple times, begrudgingly become a team, just like they do in the comics. It's like pro wrestling. They get a lot of things pitch perfect. The Hulk is played as terrifying to anyone who's not a god or wearing armor. The bad guys, armored aliens, aren't just ugly, violent and stupid, but they have a goofy menace to them like all good comic book cannon fodder does, laughing and shooting their laser guns right up until the Hulk pops their head like a grape. The dialogue is fantastic, and the back and forth banter in battle makes the long, repetitive slugfest remain exciting.

The film is full of nice touches, and I plan on watching it enough times to catch them all. Now if you don't mind, I want to go get some shawarma.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mind Your Business

The first American coin, the Continental Dollar, was not emblazoned with the motto "In God We Trust." Nor E Pluribus Unum, the unofficial motto of the 13 original colonies, "One of many, One."

Treasurer Salmon P. Chase urged that "In God We Trust" be  put on coinage during the Civil War to suggest that God was on the side of the Union, and it was added to our paper currency in 1956 after lobbying by The Fellowship, the group that created the National Prayer Breakfast.

The original coin was labeled with "Fugio," Latin for "to fly," and a sundial meaning Time Flies, and more importantly, three words long forgotten from our lexicon:

Do we even know what that means anymore? Everyone's business is our business now. We watch reality shows, to discuss the petty peeves and peccadilloes of otherwise unaccomplished people. "Mind Your Business" was not a finger-wagging phrase to chide you for nosiness. It stated a simple fact: if you are overly concerned with your neighbors' business, you cannot adequately mind your own. The penny version, shown below, was designed by Benjamin Franklin, that coiner of aphorisms.

Other writers find me to be prolific. I consider myself rather lazy as a writer. I write one or two times a day, at lunch and after dinner, every day. Sometimes I only eke out 500 words, but I always write something. Where do I find the time? By minding my own business. I don't care if two women want to get married. Or if some guy wants to hoard guns. Or if a has-been movie star went on a self-destructive rant again. This is not my business. Oh, I have political opinions, and I vote religiously. But unless someone's basic human rights are being violated, I don't care what other people do. Some woman wants to have 30 children to serve the Lord? Go right ahead, I'll even pay taxes for their health care. A guy likes to rock climb and sucks at it, and we have to pay to put him in a cast every six months? Have fun, maybe you'll write 127 Hours 2: Another 48 Hours.

You want to make snarky comments about someone's lifestyle choices, cluck your tongues and shake your heads? By all means, have at it. But don't expect me to take you seriously.

Time flies; do your work.

That's my two cents... or $1.01, actually. On another note, I collected coins as a kid, until my collection was stolen by movers. I never owned a real Continental coin, they range from thousands to hundreds of thousands. If I am ever shamefully rich, I will buy one of these and keep it in my pocket. 

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Angola: The Farm

The Louisiana State Prison, nicknamed "Angola" after the plantation land it sits on, is unique, infamous and impressive all at once. They also call it "The Farm," because all prisoners work, and the farms on the grounds feed the inmates. Some have likened this to slavery, but a working man gets in less trouble, and Angola has over five thousand prisoners, a large percentage of which will never walk free again. Louisiana's sentencing guidelines are some of the toughest, and the prison has a hospice for all the elderly cons it must take care of. And not all are convicted of violent crimes.

Angola has a great variety of programs to keep the prisoners involved. There is the Angola Rodeo, which is as dangerous as any other, and garners criticism comparing it to the Roman gladiatorial arena. There is also a golf course for prison staff, where prisoners with the best behavior records can work as caddies, and recreational grounds and ball parks they can use as well. There are two programs for fathers in prison where they can meet with their families once a year.
Angola Prison Rodeo

However, the last thing you'd say about Angola is that it coddles prisoners. The prison has a long history of violent abuse and it was only turned around in the last two decades. Sex slavery rings were common, the "Red Hat" cell block was a pit of inhuman misery, and the guards were among the lowest paid in the nation. It has turned around, and while at first glance this may look like a country club, when you watch these prisoners or read their articles in The Angolite, the prison magazine, you see they are different from most convicts in other prisons. They have some dignity. They are not marking time in a cell, they can see the fruits of their labor, whether they sport a silver rodeo belt buckle, harvest crops, or ease a fellow con's pain in the hospice. And according to the Shreveport Times, Angola has a lower rate of recidivism than local facilities, but this may not be correlated to these programs.

An excellent documentary on Angola and prison life in general is The Farm: Angola USA. The film documents the hospice, the rodeo, and the difficulties in housing a large prison population, many for life sentences. At least three of the prisoners featured were released after long legal fights over their convictions. Which is available to view on Liveleak:

Direct Links to: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

I found out about The Angolite through my writer buddy and ex-con Les Edgerton, author of The Bitch, Just Like That, The Perfect Crime, Gumbo Ya-Ya and many more. Subscriptions are $20 a year, and having read my first issue of this slick and well-written magazine, it is quite a bargain. The July/August 2011 issue had an in-depth article on illicit cell phone use in prisons, plus articles on the "Long Termers," cons in Angola for 25 years or more, the Returning Hearts family visit program, plus short "expressions" and poetry by convicts, including a touching elegy to a lifer who'd rehabilitated himself yet died behind bars, an old trusty they called "Papa Smurf." It's great reading, and gives an insight into prison life.

Subscribe to the Angolite

© 2012 Thomas Pluck

I post on Twitter as @TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Nutley Brass

Even before the tanning mom, I was embarrassed to come from my hometown of Nutley- where Martha Stewart spring like a decorating demon in a puff of brimstone and potpourri- at least until the Nutley Brass covered the Ramones and the Misfits.

This came about at the height of the lounge resurgence, when everyone loved Esquivel and Richard Cheese was covering everything. I like what the Brass does better. They infuse their versions with an unironic glee. I wonder if they learned music from Mr. Kohere, like I did? From the sound of our band, he was a great music teacher, but I had him for Humanities, an advanced course that mixed art, history and literature. We learned music history, but all I remember is how pop singers were terrible because they need microphones, and abortion was wrong because you might abort Beethoven (The flip side to his logical fallacy, that you could also abort Hitler, was overlooked).

There's still plenty to be ashamed about in Nutley, like the whites-only swimming pool*, but the town always had its share of free spirits and iconoclasts. The area called "The Enclosure" was an artist colony in the 1800s, and is listed on the register of historic places. Today, it is just a bunch of expensive homes by Mill Pond (which everyone calls the Mud Hole). There was also Angelo Nardone's sculpture garden, a glorious eyesore of overgrown Roman sculpture, that the town fought for decades, tearing it down the moment its owner fell ill and was admitted to the VA hospital.
Nutley also stars in my novel, mostly as backdrop to one story arc where a kid from out of town moves in and faces off with a brutal bully. The Nutley Brass won't be making an appearance in this one, but I'll give them a homage someday when I make a character an aging band geek.
* Update: the swimming pool owners settled for $1 million, sold the pool and moved out of state. The current ownership does not discriminate.
© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Spinetingler Awards

No, not that Tingler!

First of all, congratulations to everyone who was nominated for a Spinetingler Award this year. The winners are listed here: Spinetingler Awards

I'm very proud to have a story, "Black-Eyed Susan," in the winner for Best Anthology, Beat to a Pulp: Hardboiled. Special thanks and congratulations to David Cranmer for editing the anthology, and calling me at the last minute when he needed a story.

It is 99 cents for Kindle; check out what the fuss is about.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Crime Factory 10

This is how they do it down under...

The Crime Factory issue #10 is out, with an interview with Megan Abbott, a deposition by Josh Stallings and my story "Lefty," about some goombahs on a fishing trip to the Louisiana bayou. It is available as a PDF from their website (Follow the Crime Factory link) and will soon be available for Kindle. I wish it was available in print, but they only do that for special issues like Kung Fu Factory. I wonder if Createspace could turn this PDF into a print on demand zine, or Lulu? I think it would be worth the trouble. So read it on your PC or your e-reader, it's free and they always get a great line-up of contributors!

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Every Shallow Cut

Every Shallow Cut
Every Shallow Cut by Tom Piccirilli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have a confession to make. I don't like stories about writers. Or losers. Or writers who are losers. Well, that's not technically true, as most noir tales are about losers of some sort, and a few writer stories like Misery are interesting, mostly because of the crazed fan with a chainsaw. I am picky with the kind of loser story I like. If you are on a path of self-destruction, that's fine. If you are crushed by forces bigger than you, that's fine. If you're a schlub, I am not interested, 99% of the time.

Two books* in recent memory have been exception to this, and one of them is Every Shallow Cut, Tom Piccirilli's raw and unflinching tale of a man in a death spiral. A bullshit artist in a world of bullshitters clinging to a crumbling bullshit world, our nameless narrator was happy once, but built his house on the soft clay of imaginary dreams. The inevitable sinkhole has consumed his wife, his work and his life. He trades his last possessions for a gun in a pawn shop, and goes tracking the condescending villains of his personal tragedy, only to find they are as pathetic and devastated as he is. Every Shallow Cut is a subtle masterpiece that lays open the story of the man who's lost everything and goes looking for answers.

Highly recommended.

* (The other book is The Ask, by Sam Lipsyte).

View all my reviews

Friday, April 27, 2012

We Were Intrepid, Once

I climbed onto the roof of my building today to watch the fly-by of the Space Shuttle Enterprise atop a 747, for its final air voyage before it becomes a museum piece on the deck of the USS Intrepid. I remember the sense of wonder, a tickle in the gut, when I watched the first space shuttle launch, the Columbia. I recall the emptiness when the Challenger exploded over the ocean. And worse, when we later learned it was avoidable, and that they burned up in the shuttle's slow death spiral into the sea.

So there is another sense of loss, seeing the iconic shuttle fly for the last time. I know the space program will go on, with the Orion vehicles. At least I hope it will. The shuttles were what a car maker calls a "halo vehicle," a money loser that drives other sales. The Dodge Viper never makes money, but those who can't afford it might buy a sporty, affordable car from Dodge. The shuttle may have struggled to remain relevant, but it looked like what our dreams expected when we thought of futuristic space travel, and that made us interested in what NASA was doing, even if the science was a little dubious. Like when John Glenn flew up there to test zero gravity's effects on an aged body. Hey, I was fine with the astronaut getting a freebie flight up there.

Will we watch the Orion launches with the same sense of wonder? I hope so. It's a rocket based system. Not as sexy. I hope it will be much safer for the astronauts, though. 2 missions out of 135 failed, with loss of life. The engineers said the design would have a 1 in 100 chance of failure, and sadly, it looks like their math was correct.

We tend to think of the space program as a luxury, but I think President Kennedy was correct about its importance. We must dream big. We should not abandon our fight for the stars. It is not a zero sum game. Every space launch does not leave a child unprotected. And while we wage war with impunity, we cannot point a finger of blame at the rocket taking humanity to Mars.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Review: Paths of Life: Seven Scenarios

Paths of Life: Seven Scenarios
Paths of Life: Seven Scenarios by Alice Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are few books that have succeeded in changing my way of thinking. One of them was The Confidence Course by Walter Anderson. This groundbreaking book exposes the breadth of child abuse in the world committed under the guise of discipline. "Man hands down inhumanity to man," wrote Philip Larkin. And psychoanalyst Alice Miller- who left the Psychiatrists association for their refusal to let go of Freud's abuser-forgiving "Oedipus Complex"- shows in stark detail how "every smack is a humiliation," and we force ourselves to think we deserved it, because the truth- that our beloved parents hit us out of frustration or anger- is too much to bear.
I was blessed with a good childhood. I was never spanked or slapped that I remember. However, I learned that one expresses his anger by shouting, frightening his loved ones, slamming doors and punching walls, from my alcoholic father. It's a behavior I struggle with. I avoid confrontations, because I am afraid of what my fists will do. When I was five, a playmate hit me in the head with a chunk of asphalt because he wanted the car I was playing with. My mother had to pull me off of him. Ever since then I have fought battles with temper. I've trained in MMA to have an outlet for it.
This short book will help you decode your own behavior, with a little introspection. And when you unravel it, you can begin to change it from the roots.
Its revelations are also stunning: not every abused child goes on to become a criminal, but every violent criminal studied has revealed a litany of abuses that "they deserved." And they take it out on the rest of us until the day they die. Miller does not absolve the violent of their behavior, but shows us how to reduce it in future generations. We have yet to listen.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Two Books for the Price of One

I have a few trade paperbacks of Lost Children: A Charity Anthology to Benefit PROTECT and Children 1st I'd like to sell. They are for sale at Watchung Booksellers, and cost $9.99

It contains 30 flash fiction tales by myself, Paul D. Brazill, Chad Rohrbacher, David Barber, Fiona "McDroll" Johnson, Ron Earl Phillips, Lynn Beighley, Susan Tepper, Nicolette Wong, Benoit Lelievre, Seamus Bellamy, J.F. Juzwik, Nancy Hansen, JP Reese, Luca Veste, Sam Rasnake, Sif Dal, Veronica Lewis-Marie Shaw, David Ackley, James Lloyd Davis, Roberto C. Garcia, MaryAnne Kolton, Vinod Narayan,  Paula Pahnke, Susan Gibb, Ingrid K.V. Hardy, Gil Hoffs and Erin Zulkoski.

If you buy one from the above link, or go into the store (map below) and buy a copy, send me the email receipt via the Kontactr form to the right, and I will give you one of the following free gifts, first come first served. $5 of the sale goes to PROTECT and Children 1st, and $5 goes to support a great local independent bookstore, Watchung Booksellers. They've agreed to sell the book for us, so for a limited time I'm giving out freebies if you buy from them:

Dark Horse Presents #10, with "Dead Reliable" by Andrew Vachss, and illustrated by Geoff Darrow

D*CKED: Dark Fiction Inspired by Dick Cheney (Ken Bruen, Scott Phillips, Hilary Davidson, Harry Hunsicker, Tony Black, more)

Noir at the Bar: Short Fiction by Frank Bill, Matthew McBride, Pinckney Benedict, Dennis Tafoya and many more

Angel's Tip, by Alafair Burke

My beat to hell copy of STEAL THIS BOOK! by Abbie Hoffman

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,  by Laura Hillenbrand (hardcover)

The Blasted Heath Boxset: 5 ebooks on a classy USB key with a steely collector box. All The Young Warriors by Anthony Neil Smith, Dead Money by Ray Banks, The Man in the Seventh Row by Brian Pendreich, Phase Four by Gary Carson, and The Long Night of Barney Thomson, by Douglas Lindsay.

Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Winter 2010 (Ray Banks, Sophie Littlefield, Anthony Neil Smith, Matthew McBride)

Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Spring 2011 (Ray Banks, Tom Piccirilli, Patti Abbott)

Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Fall 2011 (Ray Banks, Gil Brewer,  Alan Leverone)

Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Spring 2010 (Hilary Davidson, Dave Zeltserman, Paul D. Brazill)

Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Summer 2010 (Ray Banks, Chris F. Holm, Frank Bill, Stephen Blackmoore)

Out of the Gutter #4 (Ray Banks, Anthony Neil Smith, Sandra Seamans, Chris Pimental)

Pulp Modern #2 (Patti Abbott, Michael Moreci, Matt Funk, more)

Three magazine bundle:
Crimespree Magazine #45, (Hilary Davidson cover)
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Nov 2011
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Nov 2011

The above books vary in condition but all are readable, though the Abbie Hoffman book will fall apart on you, rather like the yippie movement in the '70s. I offer it for nostalgic value only.

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© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Song Stuck in my head: Lonely Boy

I've been a Black Keys fan for some time, but their newest albums took some time to grow on me. Now, I can't get enough of them. I love the rambunctious energy of this song, and how the hard bass line and retro organ lend it to a '70s muscle car chase, like in Dirty Mary Crazy Larry.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Friday, April 20, 2012

When You Were a Young Adult...

The more hear the marketing term "young adult" the more it bothers me, but that's not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to ask what books you enjoyed as a teenager, or a tween. My wife was reading Stephen King at age 12, and to this day if we see a clown in a sewer, she trembles with fear. I didn't read Mr King until I was in high school, if I recall. My favorite "young adult" books were surprisingly tame, but I still have great memories of reading them. My mother thought I was weird for reading nonfiction books voraciously as a little nerd kid, but I slowly warmed to fiction after reading books that put forth supernatural horror legends as truth (kind of like "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark meets In Search Of"), and from there Stephen King's real horror tales were but a stepping stone away.

The Tripods series, by John Christopher

I read these out of order. The first one I read was The City of Gold and Lead, which occurs after an alien invasion and takeover of Earth. The aliens are tall fleshy bipeds not unlike the critters in Independence Day or "Hammerhead" from the Star Wars cantina:

Or at least they did in my imagination. These books were great fun, and reading of their flight and rebellion against the aliens fueled playtime adventures in the woods and decrepit railyards we romped in. They'd hold up today, and my kid is going to read them. Unless we're ruled by aliens, then. I still remember how the enslaved kid beat his alien captor's nose in with a back brush. John Christopher also wrote The Lotus Caves, about kids who explore a moon and find a lost astronaut living it up on hallucinogenic mushrooms. As you can guess from the title, it is a lot like the Lotus-Eaters section of The Odyssey.

The Pinballs, by Betsy Byars

The closest to a stereotypical "Y/A" book that I enjoyed was The Pinballs, from the spinner shelf of my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Murray. It was written by Betsy Byars, about three children in foster care, who feel like they are bounced around like pinballs, without any control. Many children have this feeling, and my parents had divorced, so it resonated with me. I don't remember too much except the children were realistic, and learned to take control of their lives by the end, without it being too happy of an ending.

Blubber, by Judy Blume

I can't remember how many Judy Blume books I read back then. Blubber sticks in my mind most, but I also read Iggie's House and Tiger Eyes, I think. I read almost everything on Mr. Murray's shelf, but I had no problem reading books that were supposedly "for girls." Blubber is a great book about bullying and schoolbus dynamics. It shows how easily kids go from friends to enemies and how adults' treatment of a peer will change their position in the kid pecking order. Maybe I'll read it again after I tackle Moby Dick.

Strange Companion

This one also lured me into fiction because it was about animals. I was reading all the nonfiction books about wildlife that the library had to offer, and this is about a boy who is lost in the woods when the ranger who is taking him to his father's remote cabin is kicked to death by a moose. I was into woods survival then, and with the Cold War raging under Reagan, we thought we'd be eating slugs and living like Lord of the Flies any day now. The boy sort of befriends an injured crane, and they survive together somehow. Then when he is an adult, the bird shits on his car and their friendship is ruined. Maybe I'm making up that last part.

So, what were your favorite books in the sixth grade?

 © 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: The Beasts of Valhalla

An enjoyable novel that goes from murder mystery to James Bond film. The lead character is interesting, an ex-circus dwarf turned criminologist, karate expert, and private investigator. He has little trouble with anything a dwarf deals with on a daily basis. I can suspend my disbelief for mad scientist shenanigans, but can a dwarf drive an unmodified car? Petty, I know, but this is the main character we're talking about. I forgot he was a dwarf, and it felt like the author did, too. It's a good rollicking story, but left me feeling rushed and like much had been forgotten. The first act is excellent, but once the huge conspiracy unfolds, it becomes a very different story, more plot driven than character driven, and while we meet some very interesting characters, they are mere kindling for to keep the steam boiler running. One major helper simply disappears.

I'll admit, I read this as I am tying my own novel together and digging out problems at the root, so I was quite critical with this one. For a quick fun read, it works. I was expecting a lot more, and left disappointed. I am told this book was a turning point for the series, and I will go back to see if it had a more emotional foundation in the earlier books.

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Guest Spot: Mr. Glamour, by Richard Godwin

This is the first of my Hump Day Guest Spot series. Hopefully it will be weekly, every Wednesday I will offer up the reins of the Pluck You, Too chariot to someone whose work I admire, whether they be a blogger, writer, artist, musician, designer, circus acrobat, actor, etc... This week we begin with Richard Godwin, who runs the best interview series of crime authors on the web: Chin Wag at the Slaughterhouse. He is also quite the accomplished writer, penning crime, horror and dark fiction. His latest is Mr. Glamour, a twist on the twisted serial killer novel. 
And now, I give you... Mr. Richard Godwin:

Designer goods, beautiful women, wealthy men, a lifestyle preyed on by a serial killer.
A killer who is watching everyone, including the police.
Latest headlines?
No, an outline of my second novel, Mr. Glamour.
My debut novel Apostle Rising was published in paperback by Black Jackal Books last year. It was about a serial killer crucifying politicians, and sold extremely well, received excellent reviews, and sold foreign rights to the largest publisher in Hungary.
Now Black Jackal Books have published Mr. Glamour, and I’d like to tell you a bit about it. The settings are exotic, and the pages drip with wealth. The story’s told in my usual style, and my readers will know what that means. I have been told I write with a blend of lyricism and graphic description. I like to explore what motivates people and I certainly do so with the leading characters in Mr. Glamour.
The two central cops, DCI Jackson Flare and Inspector Steele, are unusual and strong in their own ways, as reviewers are already picking up. At the beginning of the novel Steele hates working with Flare for personal reasons. She doesn’t by the end, and the investigation takes them both on a journey which changes them and their opinions of one another.
Let me give you the setting if you are tempted to read Mr. Glamour.

Something dark is preying on the glitz of the glamour set. There is a lot about designer goods and lifestyles in Mr. Glamour. The killer knows all about design, he knows what brands mean to his victims. He is branding their skins. And he has the police stumped.
As Flare and Steele investigate the killings they enter an exclusive world with its own rules and quickly realise the man they are looking for is playing a game with them, a game they cannot interpret. The killer is targeting an exclusive group of people he seems to know a lot about.
The police investigation isn’t helped by the fact that Flare and Steele have troubled lives. Harlan White, a pimp who got on the wrong side of Flare, is planning to have him killed. And Steele has secrets. She leads a double life. She is an interesting woman who pushes her sexual boundaries in private. She travels a journey into her own past and rescues herself. And in a strange way she is helped by the killer she is looking for. And Flare has some revelations in store.
As they try to catch a predator who has climbed inside their heads, they find themselves up
against a wall of secrecy. The investigation drives Flare and Steele to acts of darkness. And the killer is watching everyone.
Then there is the sub plot.
Contrasting this lifestyle is the suburban existence of Gertrude Miller, who acts out strange rituals, trapped in a sterile marriage to husband Ben. She cleans compulsively and seems to be hiding something from him, obsessed that she is being followed. As she slips into a

psychosis, characters from the glamorous set stray into Gertrude’s world, so the two plots dovetail neatly with one another.
And when Flare and Steele make an arrest they discover there is far more to this glamorous world than they realised. There is a series of shocks at the end of the novel as a set of fireworks go off. Watch out for the highly dramatic ending.
It is already picking up some great reviews.
Advance praise for Mr. Glamour:
“Richard Godwin knows how his characters dress, what they drink and what they drive. He knows how they live--- and how they die. Here's hoping no one recognized themselves in Godwin's cold canvas. Combines the fun of a good story with the joy of witty, vivid writing.”
Heywood Gould, author of The Serial Killer's Daughter.

“Smart, scary, suspenseful enough for me to keep the light on until 3AM on a Sunday night, Richard Godwin once more proves to fans of crime fiction the world over with Mr. Glamour, that he is not only one of the best contemporary writers of the procedural cop thriller around today, he is a master storyteller.”  
Vincent Zandri, author of Scream Catcher.

“Richard Godwin’s top-of-the-line psychological police procedural driven by its heady pace, steely dialogue, and unsparing vision transfixes the reader from page one.”

Ed Lynskey, author of Skin In The Game.
 “Mr. Glamour is a striking effort from one of the most daring crime writers in the business. It is the noirest of noir...and hellishly addictive.”
Mike Stafford, BookGeeks Magazine.

“This first rate detective thriller will have you gripped from the start. Richard Godwin is an author not to be missed.”
Sheila Quigley Author of Thorn In My Side.
“Mr Glamour is, in every sense of the word, the real McCoy: genuine hard boiled detective fiction.  Lean, gritty, and tough, it’s a journey into the heart of darkness ... you won’t soon forget. Connoisseurs of Nouveau Noir will have to add Richard Godwin to the list of writers to watch!”
C E Lawrence, author of Silent Kills.
“Involving and compellingly sinister, Richard Godwin’s Mr. Glamour portrays cops and criminals, the mad and the driven in a novel of psychological noir. Read it while snuggling with your stuffed teddy bear for comfort.”
                            -- Gary Phillips, author of Treacherous: Grifters, Ruffians and Killers
“Read this outstanding dark novel and learn more about what happens when you enter the hall of mirrors and find a reflection that just might do more than frighten you. Outstanding, spell binding and keeps the reader guessing until the very end. This is one outstanding novel written by one amazing author.”
Fran Lewis, Reviewer.
I think Mr. Glamour will appeal to mystery and crime aficionados, to readers interested in psychological profiling and designer lifestyles, to thriller and noir fans, and to anyone who enjoys a fast paced narrative with strong characters.
Mr. Glamour can be bought now at
at all good retailers online and in stores in April. If you Google it you should see a range of options come up.
And you can find out more about me at my website
and my stories here

© 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Come Home," by Chappo

And the song stuck in my head this week is... "Come Home," by Chappo:  

Full disclosure: Sarah went to high school with Alex Chappo in Baton Rouge, and we met him and Caitlynn at a wedding on Saturday, but I really dig this song. And I think you will too. They have a new album coming out May 14th. The songs on this LP remind me of Psychic TV, Spiritualized, and MGMT, all bands I really enjoy, but they have their own wistful and mysterious cheer.

Here is the EP with this song:

 © 2012 Thomas Pluck
I post on Twitter as TommySalami ~ My Facebook Page

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All writing © 2011 Thomas Pluck and may only be reprinted with express written permission of the author. You may link to pages at will. If you wish to repost anything on your website you must contact Thomas Pluck using the contact form. Thank you for your cooperation. -Robocop