Friday, February 15, 2013

The Tall Blonde with the Hot Boiler

I decided to publish my first private eye short story, The Tall Blonde with the Hot Boiler, on Amazon for Kindle. This story was originally published in "Black Mask" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Jan. 2011, so if I knew you back then, you may have already heard about it.  I'm trying to make my older work available as I build my author "brand."  If you like the story, please leave a review on Amazon or use your social media to help me spread the word.

This was my first short story about wino, pacifist, private eye Frank Swiver.  A blonde, somewhat the worse for wear, hires Frank to find her stolen car (hot boiler).  Frank doesn't know why she'd want to pay him big money for something the police could likely do better than he, for free, but he likes her money, and he likes the blonde, so he takes the case.  When he finds the car he also finds something in the trunk that makes him realize he's in to more than just grand theft auto.  


Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I treated myself to a hard-bound copy of Everyman's Library's Collected Stories of Raymond Chandler late last year, and I've read the first ten in the collection—again.  Sure, I've read most of them before in Trouble Is My Business, (also a recent purchase), The Simple Art of Murder, and an obscure little paperback my wife found for me called Killer in the Rain.  Those three books contain twenty of Chandler's stories.  The P.I.s have various names, Mallory, John Dalmas, Carmady, Sam Delaguerra, et al.  They're mostly prototype Phillip Marlowes.  Some are first person narrators, but just as many stories are in third.  

There are some gems, but even the biggest Raymond Chandler fan (like me) would tell you there are some stinkers in there too.  For example, "Blackmailers Don't Shoot," "Smart-Aleck Kill," and "Guns at Cyrano's" are vague, hard to understand, over-written, and have convoluted, specious plots.   

Other stories, such as "Killer in the Rain" are wonderful looks into how a writer developed his characters and plots over the years, from short stories into novels.  "Killer" features many of the basic characters of The Big Sleep, like the pornographer, H.H. Steiner, who became A.G. Geiger in the novel, the psycho-nymph Carmen Dravec, who became Carmen Sternwood, and Guy Slade who morphed into Eddie Mars.

Finally, there are stories like "Goldfish," some 15,000 words, like many of Chandler's stories, too long for today's mystery magazines, with great original scenes, hard-boiled bloodbaths, and a perfect noir finish.  If you haven't read it… do yourself a favor.