Friday, June 5, 2009


Stole this youtube clip of Neil Smith yakking about PwG from Keith Rawson's excellent Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fingertips blog. Neil's HOGDOGGIN' is in the greasy mitts of noir freaks everywhere...except here in coffee-soaked Brunswick. Amazon have been pushing it recent order containing Megan Abbott's QUEENPIN, Sean Doolittle's RAIN DOGS, Christa Faust's HOODTOWN and the hardcover collection of Paul Pope's excellent HEAVY LIQUID is clearly lost and everything else just gets later and later. Wait. That's Australia Post or some courier's fault...ah, whatever, it's SOMEBODY'S fault. I know I can just get it replaced, but that's a pain and I'm just feelin' bitchy today.

Anyway, the point of this is simple: fuck up my HOGDOGGIN'(which better be here next week) and I won't be placing another order for...uh...probably a couple of weeks.

Harsh words, I know.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


In the shameless spirit of self-promotion, may I quickly plug my stories NADIA-VERDINIQUE'S SATURDAY NIGHT SUPERLATIVE up at PLOTS WITH GUNS (re-titled PLOTS WITH RAY GUNS for this issue of future-noir) and LEMONADE, my second effort for THE FLASH FICTION OFFENSIVE.

Very proud to be a part of PWG, edited by ace crimedog Anthony Neil Smith (buy YELLOW MEDICINE! Buy buy!) who has been lovely about this story. I'm also story-neighbours over there with Pinckney Benedict (author of the excellent DOGS OF GOD) Kieran Shea and my new buddy Jimmy Callaway who rocks his shit out big time.
Ok. Plug over.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Let's get this out of the way:

I owe Adrian McKinty two apologies.

First, Adrian, I would like to apologise for spitting in your eye when we chatted briefly following your panel at last year's Melbourne Writer's Festival. I'm pretty sure, somewhere around when the above photo was taken, I let a bit of a fleck loose and it flew into your eye. You carried on like it never happened. Whatta pro. So, yeah, sorry about that. Although, to be fair, you did fuck off pretty sharpish from The Ned Kelly Awards a bit later leaving Dave, Yvonne and I to sink overpriced beers and be dulled into a near-coma by Tara Moss.

The second apology is for not getting this review up earlier, but I do have excuses: 1. I wasn't sure you'd want to be associated with a half-arsed blog called TRASH CLASSIC 2. Nobody reads the thing anyway, except for Jamie (hi Jamie) so I thought I'd wait and put a review up on Amazon, which as you know i did 3. Um...I also put it up at the facebook Living Social thing. So, Yeah...

Ok, so even though I gobbed in his face and sent him running from the Ned's, I was lucky enough to score an ARC of Adrian's latest, FIFTY GRAND. It's a cracker.

In Fairview, Colorado, the hit-and-run death of an old Cuban man is hushed up and ignored. Life goes on. The dead man's daughter is a cop back in Havana and she wants some answers. She smuggles her way into the States, a harrowing trip, sets herself up as one of the many invisible illegal immigrants working menial jobs and goes on an old fashioned quest for revenge.

McKinty's prose is often beautifully poetic (the Cuba flashback sequences here are just lovely), but he's just as adept at crafting violent, visceral action. The first few chapters of FIFTY GRAND contain some gut-churning moments of, pardon me, very cool McKinty-ian ultraviolence before the whole thing settles down somewhat and our mystery unfolds. It's an interesting structure: kicking off like one of his earlier excellent Michael Forsythe books (DEAD I WELL MAY BE, THE DEAD YARD, THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD), FIFTY GRAND then slowly becomes its own, somewhat calmer, beast and it's protagonist someone very, very different.

Detective Mercado lives and breathes on these pages. She's as whole as any a character in recent crime fiction and her journey throughout the book is engrossing stuff. Her past is complex and the circumstances of her present bewilder, anger and amuse her appropriately and alternately.

We're very lucky to have Adrian McKinty living in this country. Without him, we'd be left with Leigh Redhead and Peter Temple (both of whom are great) and Shane Maloney and Tara Moss (both of whom are not). That's not a lot of homegrown talent. Ok, Adrian's Irish and he's also technically American, but for fuck's sake, while he's here he's ours, so let's celebrate the fact that one of the true heroes of smart pulp hangs his hat here. Buy this book. If you can find it...Adrian, please get your peeps to do something about your shelf space here, dude, I'm beggin' ya.

It's an awesome time for noir fans. We've got new Leonard, Lansdale, Ellroy, Stark, Pelecanos, A.N Smith, Abbott, Huston, Bruen, Gischler and more I'm probably leaving out, coming out between now and October. FIFTY GRAND jostles for shelf space amongst all these. Adrian probably curses his luck, me, I'm thankful another of my fave writers has a book out during this mini-boom of (hopefully) five star reads. The only way this could get any better would be if Jim Thompson rose from the dead and pumped out another book to be a part of the party.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


The main reason I stopped posting stuff here was that I had a whole stack of fiction I wanted to try and get out there (more on this later). One of the things you can check out now, if you want, is up at website affiliated with OUT OF THE GUTTER magazine. One of my biggest problems as a wannabe writer is that my ideas start big and they just keep getting bigger. I sat down one Saturday afternoon and belted out the following in about an hour. Most of that time was spent seeing how many words I could actually LOSE from the story. If you want to check it out, you can here. Won't rock your world or anything, but it's only 350 words, so it won't take up too much time either. It's the first time I've tried anything like this. I'm going to keep working on them, trying to boil them down to as few words as possible. Anyway, that's that. News on longer works soon. Thanks for reading.


In what will seriously take some doing to top as the most bizarre news of the year, the folks at recently reported on the first Mixed Martial Arts fight of twenty-three year old Kyle Maynard. Nothing special about that right? MMA has blown up huge and is now the biggest pay per view draw around. Yeah, well, Kyle Maynard happens to be a congenital amputee. He has no arms or legs.

Crazy, right?

Freakshow, right?

Reducing a burgeoning sport that grows in global legitimacy every week to a carnival, right?

Yeah, maybe. But let's hang on a sec.

As a fight fan, I'm kinda appalled by the idea of this guy getting into a cage and getting repeatedly pummelled in the face, but at the same time, I'm amazed at the size of the guy's fucking BALLS. I'm an able-bodied, thirty-something guy who scrapes in at just over six feet. I'm reasonably fit, I do a wee bit of yoga and am developing my flexibility. There is no way you would get me in a cage to fight some amped up Pantera-fan who wants to punch my button nose off my face. No way. Not even with training. I don't wanna train. I watch THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER, training hurts like a motherfucker.

I spent some time in London, Ontario living with my girlfriend directly above a total MMA meathead, who I had to confront about his noise levels at three in the morning. The guy was a total thug who, you guessed it, had cage fought. Fabulous, I thought, as he threatened to drag my skinny ass out into the snow and beat the shit out of me. Thankfully, his friends calmed him down, as I was not pussy enough to back off, but there was no way I was going out into the snow with this guy (he ended up finally getting evicted, so the good guys won and no blood was blood, that is). Now, all I can think about is how Kyle Maynard would've beaten the front door open with his head and screamed "Come on, you cross-eyed fuck! I'll bite your balls off!"

Incredibly, it seems Maynard actually has skills. I have not seen him fight, as I still find it a (hypocritical, I know, as I celebrate him here) but a friend of mine has and says that somehow Maynard CHOKED A GUY OUT. How you choke-hold a guy with no arms or legs boggles the mind, really, doesn't it? So let's all hold our knee-jerk reactions (probably shouldn't have written that) to his desire to fight and take it somewhat seriously.

Post-fight, Maynard had this to say:

“I didn’t win tonight...I have to get back on the horse and perfect things. This has given me a taste. I want to get back in there and do it again. I’m only 23 years old. I’ve got a lot of time left athletically.”

Who knows? He may actually do it. Yeah, ok, probably not, but let's at least respect the guy's dream.

Before I go, I should mention that you can read the full article here and you should - it's a cracker. Props to journo Brian Knapp, who's objective reportage also has a nice noir-ish ring to it. The description of the venue leaves me wondering if Charles Willeford is still alive and pumping out fight articles:

"The setting was far from ideal. Partially enclosed by a steel skeleton, the “arena” came complete with a dirt floor peppered with straw, a wooden press box and bleachers, a hot dog stand, a row of portable toilets and a live band. Sexual enhancement fliers were passed out to the crowd before the first fist flew, and cigarette smoke choked the air, as Maynard and Fry -- the ninth and final bout on the card -- competed in a square cage of black chain-link."

Nice, huh?

Fight fans: not all meatheads.

Congenital amputees: Balls. Of. Steel.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


There is no way that this should work: take the most beloved Astro Boy story by Osamu Tezuka ("The Greatest Robot On Earth"), give it to modern manga master Naoki Urasawa (Monster) and let him go all future-noir murder mystery with it. Not only does Urasawa pull it off (at least in the first two volumes), he's created something streching the boundaries beyond remake and beyond homage that's full of re-worked Astro characters, intrigue and really, really nice pictures.


(properly too.)