Defending Your Influences

We recently had award-winning author Michael Kardos as a guest on the Writer Types crime and mystery podcast. We started out by asking Michael—who is also a drummer—about his musical influences instead of his writing influences. Michael was a good sport about it, admitting that Billy Joel and his long-time drummer, Liberty DeVitto, were two of his heroes growing up.

My co-host and I both come from mostly punk/Indie rock backgrounds, so his response gave us a (hopefully) funny bit that ran throughout our discussion. At some point we even got around to Michael’s excellent books, including BLUFF, BEFORE HE FINDS HER, and THE THREE-DAY AFFAIR.

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Recommended Reading 2015

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It’s that time of the year. I’ve made a list, checked it a couple dozen times, and now I’m posting it here.

This is not a “Best Of” list in the traditional sense. More of a “Man, I read some great books that got published this year!” list. The titles and authors are in no particular order, and there are probably a few I forgot.

If you haven’t already read these books, you should. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday are all great excuses to support your favorite booksellers. As if you need another excuse to buy books. (UPDATE: I’ve gotten some great suggestions for this list on other platforms. If you want to mention a book I didn’t, please leave it in the comments below Because: Conversation! —Thanks!).

WTD JS Go Down Hard_FrontCover Contenders med-res cover Young Americans

Novels

  • CANARY by Duane Swierczynski
  • CONTENDERS by Erika Krouse
  • STRANGE SHORES by Arnaldur Indridason
  • HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY KIDNAP STRANGERS by Max Booth III
  • THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN by Paula Hawkins
  • RUMRUNNERS by Eric Beetner
  • UNCLE DUST by Rob Pierce
  • THE MAGICIAN’S LAND by Lev Grossman
  • A NEGRO AND AN OFAY by Danny Gardner
  • WORM by Anthony Neil Smith
  • WAYS TO DIE IN GLASGOW by Jay Stringer
  • GO DOWN HARD by Craig Faustus Buck
  • VORTEX by Paul D. Marks
  • NEW YORKED by Rob Hart
  • YOUNG AMERICANS by Josh Stallings

Bull Hashtag Cartel Zero Saints

Currently Reading

  • THE MAN IN THE WINDOW by Dana King
  • THE CARTEL by Don Winslow

Still On The TBR List

  • KILL ME QUICK by Paul D. Brazill
  • HASHTAG by Eryk Pruitt
  • ZERO SAINTS by Gabino Iglesias
  • BULL MOUNTAIN by Brian Panowich
  • THE SUBTLE ART OF BRUTALITY by Ryan Sayles

safe-inside-the-violence_cover Redbone_Cover DreamingDeep Knuckleball_frontcover_dress_fin

Novellas & Anthologies

  • THE FURY OF BLACKY JAGUAR by Angel Luis Colon
  • DREAMING DEEP by Anonymous-9
  • THE DEEPENING SHADE by Jake Hinkson
  • REDBONE by Matt Phillips
  • DEAD HEAT WITH THE REAPER by William E. Wallace
  • KNUCKLEBALL by Tom Pitts
  • SAFE INSIDE THE VIOLENCE by Chris Irvin

December Boys City Of Rose Hard-Boiled Heart FLOODGATE

Looking Forward To 2016

  • CLEANING UP FINN by Sarah M. Chen
  • GRAVEYARD LOVE by Scott Adlerberg
  • CITY OF ROSE by Rob Hart
  • DECEMBER BOYS by Joe Clifford
  • ROUGH TRADE by Todd Robinson
  • HARD-BOILED HEART by Will Viharo
  • FLOODGATE by Johnny Shaw

S.W. Lauden’s debut novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is available now from Rare Bird Books. His novella, CROSSWISE, will be published by Down & Out Books in 2016.

Crime Wave? Let’s Go Surfing!

tap sourceGenre can be a tricky business. No writer wants to believe that their work is so easily classified—possibly even dismissed—as just another story in a long line of similar works that came before it. As a reader, though, I have benefitted greatly from the way that books are classified.

Charles Bukowski led me to John Fante way back when because of a passionate employee at my local bookstore. Umberto Eco and Gabriel Garcia Marquez led me to Jorge Luis Borges in much the same way. Years later, Jo Nesbo led me to Arnaldur Indridason thanks to the sometimes amazing, sometimes infuriating Amazon algorithm. Lev Grossman led me to Emily St. John Mandel. The list goes on.

So, it’s been interesting to publish my first novel and get feedback from people outside of my own head about what I wrote. For starters, I am not kidding when I tell you that I didn’t know I had written a straight mystery. I was aware of the murder(s) and I knew that the protagonist was spending a crazy amount of time trying to solve them, but in my head it was still somehow a crime novel. Now it says the word “mystery” right on the cover. Go figure.

A few of the customer reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, however, are calling it “Punk Noir”. That makes sense because the book, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION, is named after a fictional punk band. And I like “Noir” because, well, Noir will always be one of the coolest things anybody can call anything.

dawn patrolOne genre that I have long been fascinated with as a reader is “Surf Noir”. A definition can be a little hard to pin down, but it’s primarily used to describe many of Kem Nunn’s fantastic books, and a couple of Don Winslow’s equally fantastic books. From there things get a little more blurry, with the term “Surf Noir” getting applied to books that may have surfers as characters or simply take place at the beach.

If you are new to Surf Noir and looking for some books, start here:

And while you’re at it, please check out this fast-paced, :30 second trailer for my debut “mystery” novel, BAD CITIZEN CORPORATION. The video definitely has surfing in it, whatever the genre might be.