The Patchworks

The next school shooting is inevitable. Unless one government intern can make a miracle of his odd jobs.

‘God Saves & Satan Invests’; Shepard Fairey

Gabriel Dunne’s D.C. internship has him tracking gun violence in America. But before he can start, Gabriel’s boss tasks him with planning her wedding; Parker wants help seducing their fellow intern; security chief Hubbard hounds him about expired passwords; the shredder guy needs saving from his deadly machine; and Congress threatens a government shutdown that’ll send them all packing. When a colleague is victimized by just the kind of violence their office exists to prevent, these ordinary bureaucrats must rally, or become statistics in America’s next mad shooting spree.

The Patchworks, due out September 2017 from Moonshine Cove Publishing. Will America realize sensible gun legislation before then?


My first novel (Two Pumps for the Body Man, 2016) did for American diplomacy and the War on Terror what Catch-22 did for military logic in World War II: The enemy can’t kill us if our institutions kill us first. The Patchworks examines American gun culture with a similar black humor.

Avery Dick Disappoints

dick-liberiaI had high hopes for the Avery Dick series. Diplomatic Security (DS) Agents have some of the most colorful stories in the Foreign Service trade. They walk like cops. They talk like cops. They’re security professionals steeped the gritty detail of protective service. Their beat is peculiar: sniff out bombs and throw up barricades; investigate treason and bust international scofflaws; safeguard state secrets and shuttle around with high-flying diplomats, foreign and domestic.*

That’s why I figured Dick Does Liberia for a blast: a retired DS agent narrates his return to war-torn West Africa on a detail cloaked in mystery. A glance at the chapters suggests a writer in control of his art, making the most of an unserious world: “Dankest Africa”; “Mumbo Jumbo”; “Mercy! Beaucoup”; “Juju Jamboree.” The list is long.

Parts of it deliver: “I awakened several times by what I first thought were the sounds of gunshots very close by. I reflexively took defensive action by pulling my sheet over my head and praying that it was only a neighbor being attacked…” This is the wry, self-deprecating humor we expect of a lawman in control of his situation. A little clumsy in delivery, but sardonic to the core.

It gets better: “In the morning, I identified the attackers—pear-sized almond fruits that had fallen from the trees onto the metal roof above my bed.” He calls it an “an obvious gangbang by a bunch of out-of-control nuts.”

More than a hint at self-awareness—it’s a dangerous, dirty world, but not as dangerous and dirty as it may seem. In fact if you can’t laugh at yourself and all that threatens you, stay at home and watch the tube.

I hoped such prose would fill the pages. It wasn’t to be.

Unfortunately by this point our dick Avery Dick had already checked brevity with his piece at the embassy gate, failing to bring on the banter. Much of the proceedings are delivered as monologue, reading more like the minutes of a jaded Country Team briefing or grudging welcome cable/post report than the street tough chatter between cops, the witty ripostes between men of the badge.

Full Review


2 Pumps hi rezReaders interested in a Diplomatic Security tale set on the front line of the war on terror can take a look at Two Pumps for the Body Man.

Jeff Mutton walks the diplomatic beat protecting American officials in Saudi Arabia. An expert with guns and knives, grenades and rockets, he’s survived assaults and sieges, stabbings and chokeholds, car bombs, carjackings, criminal hits, and countless other enemy threats. But instinct tells Mutton the menace he now faces dwarfs all these killers combined. The fool!—his foot fetish has him in hot water again.

Part soft-boiled noir, part literary satire, Two Pumps for the Body Man is an unserious look at a serious situation, a grim reminder that no matter how high the barricade, how sharp the razor wire, there is no front line to the War on Terror. And the enemy is everywhere, even within.

Now available from New Pulp Press through AmazonBarnes and Noble, and elsewhere.

Fireworks in the Kingdom

News sources are reporting three suicide attacks in different cities around Saudi Arabia during the last 24 hours, just as Ramadan comes to an end in the Kingdom:

An explosion in the Eastern Province targeted Shiites at a mosque in Quatif. There appear to be no injuries or deaths other than that of the suicide bomber.

An explosion outside one of the holiest places in Islam, the tomb of the Prophet Muhammed (Peace Be Upon Him) in Madinah, apparently has killed six, including at least four security forces.

And, in the early morning of the Fourth of July–U.S. Independence Day–a suicide bomber detonated his explosives belt across the street from the U.S. Consulate in Jeddah, scene of a deadly attack 12 years ago when five terrorists stormed the U.S. mission there in an hours-long siege. The bomber this morning killed only himself, apparently failing to detonate additional explosives in his vehicle parked near the consulate wall. Two Saudi officials responsible for security were lightly injured.

For more on the Kingdom’s struggle against terrorism at home, including against Western interests and Al Qaida-inspired attacks in the months following the U.S. invasion of Iraq, read Two Pumps for the Body Man, a neo-noir satire of diplomatic life on the front line of the War on Terror.

 

Diplomatic Security

This trailer from the film America’s Diplomats shows how our diplomatic security personnel train for the worst case scenario—from protests and threats to bombings and outright assaults on our missions overseas. Their storied bureau turned 100 this year.

Learn more about the daily grind of our DS personnel in Two Pumps for the Body Man, a noir cop tale set on the front lines of the War on Terror.

DeWildt’s Brutal Rural Noir

KillwKindnessC.S. DeWildt writes a sick rural noir in Kill ‘Em With Kindness, no surprise given the strength of his previous release Love You to a Pulp.

The narrative blazes through the rural backwoods of Horton burning down churches and meting out vengeance on more than a few good ol’ boys—some who deserve it, some who don’t. And as with DeWildt’s previous work, the writing includes special twists of imagery: “Chief rubbed his thumb and forefinger on the end of his sheathed baton. Turning and pinching it like a whore’s nipple.”

The plot here is streamlined, a single trip down a dark rabbit hole. Protagonist Nick inserts himself in a bar fight between damaged goods Kimmy and her rivals for the affections of town bully Chad Toll. Used to flying low and living off the proceeds of his basement weed farm, Nick is sucked into Toll’s world of brutal crimes and daily retribution, a world where crows are trained to hunt and peck with painful precision and dogs to double-team the enemy and cough up fingers when done.

DeWidlt’s forest is filled with darkness and cruelty, and the consequences are “mutilated genitals, being eaten, beaten, used for profit, exploited under heavy thumbs that Horton seemed to have one too many of.” Because when all’s said and done we still have Chief, cop and ultimate progenitor of so much more than just the town’s inbred violence. Nick’s quest is the oldest kind: “Anything available vs. the evil that threatens everything.”

If there’s a downside to Kill ‘Em With Kindness it’s that DeWildt was going up against his own best writing in Love You to a Pulp (“the real deal: hard and fast but also rich with literary merit… writing that rings true, the best of the best… this writing puts its blade through your heart, pointed and sharp, balanced between fine-grained detail and cosmic philosophy). Less cosmic philosophy and rural mythology this time around, but still some fine writing: “The long, straight gravel drive was dark, shaded with little slashes of sunlight that ripped through narrow breaks and turned the corn stalks into the shadowy fingers that bad-touched everything that dared come close.”

If you like your noir fast, brutal, and twisted jump on this pickup truck barreling down the dirt roads between Horton’s lost corn fields.

Dark, hilarious, cutting

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 9.37.30 PM

Exactly the kind of review that makes it all worth the effort. Somebody thought enough of Two Pumps for the Body Man to post this.

Mission Accomplished.


Came on top of a great plug from killer noir writer C.S. DeWildt (Love You to a Pulp and just last week Kill ’em with Kindness) who said of Two Pumps:

“…Full of action, great pacing, superb characters. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.”

You write and you write and you write and it takes years. And in a matter of just seconds–just seconds–someone boils it all down and make you want to whip that horse some more. Sorry, horse.

Get Pumped–The Cover Issue

I never pictured myself a graphic designer. But in putting out Two Pumps for the Body Man, I had the chance to try my hand. Here are a few samples I drew up before arriving at the finished product.

SDDTSClassic cover sheet for SDDTS material. Wait, SDDTS material?

DSToo racy.

Desert Too much desert.

Staircase no borderCreepy in a way I didn’t intend.

Slide1An early favorite. The green’s supposed to evoke the Saudi flag. But I wanted the “desirable object” laying atop the Arabic script–or below it, in place of the sword. It struck me such a design might offend. Rather than present a weakened version of the artistic vision, I dropped it altogether.

2Pumps
This. I wanted a blue cover all along.

Available now.

A Catch-22 for the War on Terror

Two Pumps for the Body Man

Set in Saudi Arabia, Two Pumps did for American diplomacy and the War on Terror what Catch-22 did for military logic in World War II: The enemy can’t kill us if our institutions kill us first.

Jeff Mutton walks the diplomatic beat protecting American officials in Saudi Arabia. An expert with guns and knives, grenades and rockets, he’s survived assaults and sieges, stabbings and chokeholds, car bombs, carjackings, criminal hits, and countless other enemy threats. But instinct tells Mutton the menace he now faces dwarfs all these killers combined. The fool!—his foot fetish has him in hot water again.

Part soft-boiled noir, part literary satire, Two Pumps for the Body Man is an unserious look at a serious situation, a grim reminder that no matter how high the barricade, how sharp the razor wire, there is no front line to the War on Terror. And the enemy is everywhere, even within.

 Available in print and electronic versions from New Pulp Press through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online vendors. Review copies available upon request.
“A wonderfully wacky consular bash in a place called The Kingdom, a nightmarish place straight out of Catch-22 where bureaucrats use very acronym under the sun… haywire bureaucracy at its finest.”
                                -Robert Bruce Cormack, You Can Lead a Horse to Water    
                                                                    (But You Can’t Make It Scuba Dive)

Debut San Francisco Cyber-Noir

Mark Richardson’s Hunt for the Troll (New Pulp Press) is a step up from ordinary pulp. It’s what happens to San Francisco noir when the shiny new promise of Silicon Valley comes to town, pushing back the fog to play some light in the corners. In this case, the light is more ominous than the dark. Our comfortable eyes, adjusted to the power outage, are burned by the glare when the lights go on.

Gone is the reluctant hero and snubnose pistol stoicism; in their place are dot.com entrepreneurism and quantum computing. Gone are the troubled dame and her leggy needs; in their place are the chessboard and another step toward transhumanism.

hftt

The narrator’s a cipher, a man without a name, an identity tattooed on his arm in binary code and a bad-ass alter-ego in the gaming world of Centre Terrain. He’s king and serf in his own domain, part creator and part creation. His story proceeds between worlds: the real world of breakfasts and sex; the gaming paradise he helped build, not unlike a Tolkien wet dream; and that place between sleep and wakefulness that isn’t a dream but nor is it quite real. Is it?

More

Review: C.S. DeWildt’s Love You to a Pulp

C.S. DeWildt’s Love You to a Pulp packs two narratives, tight spirals driving like hammerdrills against the cranium til they breach the dark cavern beneath. You’ll know it when you get there underground with him.

In the first narrative glue-nose dick Neil McGrath sniffs out a mystery involving the pharmacist’s daughter in a Podunk southern town. In the second, McGrath is raised hard by a degenerate father. Drugs, violence, sex (& incest) propel the present. Booze, violence, sex (& incest) litter the past. The present arc comes off with varying degrees of coherence, owing in part to a protagonist warped by a lifetime of headblows and vapor trails. The past is blackness, full of cobwebs and caves, things too awful for a child to bear:

She whined as the filthy men ravaged her and she watched the boy, stumbling on newly found legs over the bottle-littered stead, looking at the scene periodically only when a severe thrust did bring a shriek from his mother’s lips. She looked away and saw McGrath in the doorway of their shared clapboard, a still silhouette like a graven idol backlit and flickering in the light of a single oil lantern.

love you to a pulp

Both narratives trade hits, one-two punches, each knocking down the other, chapter by chapter. Together they bring on hangovers, shiners, doses of regret that’ll test the grit of any crime fiction aficionado; together they inspire awe and reflection. More importantly they dignify a genre more often defined by shitty writing and fake-ass tough guys. Love You to a Pulp is the real deal: hard and fast, but also rich with literary merit.

Full Review

Other Reviews