Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Concrete Maze - more blurbs/news

More backpatting. I thought I'd share a couple more blurbs for the novel I have coming out this Summer - The Concrete Maze. Then I'll share some news.

Brilliant, beautiful, and ultimately devastating.
Steven Torres knows New York City, and knows noir,
better than the rest of us combined. He's taken that place where literature meets crime and made it his own.

Sara Gran, author of
Dope and Come Closer


Man, Steven Torres is a talented writer, and if you haven't discovered him yet The Concrete Maze is the perfect place to start. It's tough, fast-paced, gripping, and hard-boiled to the bone....I simply loved it.

Jason Starr, author of


The Concrete Maze has all the clockwork of a tightly-wound thriller, but
Steven Torres knows where to find the beating heart inside the machinery. Hard but humane, with the echoes of blood history at every
plot turn, this book is written to linger."

Sean Doolittle, Author of
The Cleanup

If it looks like I could have written these blurbs myself, that's a reflection of how kind these writers are. Not really knowing them personally (I've met Mr. Doolittle, and had some conversations with Mr. Starr, but have never met Ms. Gran except cyberly)they could have each blown me off and chucked the ARC in the trash. They didn't and I'm grateful.

Now, the news. I've been given a look at the cover art for The Concrete Maze, and I thought it arresting. It features Starr's blurb on the cover. If I could figure out how to post images, you'd get a glance. Oh well.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I've often been a little confused when hearing mystery readers at conferences say that they don't think the stories they read should be violent. The hardboiled/noir writers I know always answer that the world is such and that it is our job to reflect that. Of course, that's not necessarily our job - we can just entertain and different boats are floated by different things: cozy cats or ballpeen hammers. Whatever.

My writing falls more on the hardboiled side. I enjoy these stories more myself, and the violence is a part of the world that most people in the states don't get to look at and understand. The world we live in is one where mothers have cut off the trigger fingers of their young boys to keep them from being dragged into civil wars. People get hacked to death with machetes. Worse, legions starve to death wtih shiploads of food rotting in dockside warehouses. The world's a tough place for many people, and I want to show that to that part of the world that doesn't normally get to see it - the part of the world that often makes decisions about the rest of the world.

Given this, I'm excited to see that Akashic Books will be putting forward story collections from Cuba, Nigeria, and Turkey. These countries deserve the attention and the flavor of the stories will be different from what I'm used to and so it is welcome. These books, won't, by themselves, cure my myopia - fifteen or twenty stories can't reveal every facet of life in a country. But this is a start for me. Can't wait.


The past few days have been hectic with teaching and paper grading. I've also been working hard on two novels - another Bronx novel (like The Concrete Maze, yet different) and a thriller with an international scope. About 26,000 words on the thriller and 10,000 words on the Bronx novel. Haven't written any short stories recently though I have more than a few ideas for them. Just trying to figure out where to send them all (I still have a half dozen or so that I haven't found a home for yet). Included in the half dozen or so is a series of stories with a sci-fi slant - kind of BLADERUNNERish, but with a frumpier detective who is actually afraid of the new technologies he investigates. Anyway, if you know of a receptive home for these,let me know, and I'll check them out.

I've also been putting together profiles for CrimeSpree on Jonathan Santlofer and Megan Abbott. That should be running in an upcoming edition. This also means that I've been reading and what great fun that has been. Great writers the both of them.

Anywya, when I've added about 10k on each of the novels, I'll feel a lot more comfortable with them and will tell all about them.

Meanwhile. It appears my second novel Death in Precinct Puerto Rico is out already in paperback. I'd link to Amazon or some such, but trust me, it's there.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Kiss Her Goodbye - Allan Guthrie

Marvelous book. Wonderful book. I can say that it truly hit the spot - with a baseball bat of course. The story is classic - when the daughter of a very hard man meets a tragic end, he wants to know why. How he gets his information is through a journey filled with broken noses, kicks to the ribs, and, yes, a little vomit. At first, one thinks the story is just a delightful romp through very dark places (perhaps not delightful for the characters, but entertaining for the reader, to be sure)but toward the end there are revelations and discoveries and doubts brought out that raise the hard man to a level of pathos almost* reaching to that of the tragic hero. I didn't expect that the last ribs to be broken would be my own.

Of course, dark as this book is, it does feel like an introduction to life in Scotland -- just like the writings of another favorite, Russel McLean or another, Ian Rankin, or another, Val McDermid. With these representatives, Scotland will not soon be confused with a happy ending land like Hawaii.**

*I say almost, because the hero does not die (I don't think that's a spoiler since the hero himself seems not to care whether he lives or dies).
** Not that there was that much chance of confusion to start with.