Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Review...

Of Blackout in Precinct Puerto Rico. Amazing review actually. Here are a couple of snippets:

Perhaps this is the only thing you need to know about Blackout in Precinct Puerto Rico by Steven Torres: No matter how many books you read, this book is the best police procedural mystery you are likely to encounter in ten years of reading....

As this first-rate tale of crime and punishment unfolds, with the scope and power of a Greek tragedy, and as almost everyone in Angustias proves to be overly and dangerously fond of rumors, gossip, and secrets, author Steven Torres applies his considerable writing skills to produce a spellbinding novel that rivals the narrative brilliance and thematic significance of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez's A Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

Now, I wasn't thinking Greek Tragedy when I wrote the book, but I was thinking Marquez.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Book Drop...

The latest Precinct Puerto Rico novel - BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO - has arrived, hitting store shelves all around the world. There have been reports of dancing in the streets of Rio de Janiero, but that's nothing new and probably unrelated to any of my literary efforts. Sales are expected to be robust. My mother said she'd buy a copy and my father waffled a bit but might come around.

If you're not ready to buy the book, do take a look at what must be the greatest book review ever written. You will think I shamelessly decided to write my own reviews. I did not.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sarah Says...

Sarah Weinman makes some interesting comments about the 1970s over on her blog. In essence she says that the decade sucked. There will, of course, be some who whole heartedly agree and those that vehemently disagree. I'm on the fence, an uncomfortable place to be... Here's what I said:

While I would agree we can't write off a decade as "not fun," it's not because the"70s were a blast". I was born in 1969. For me, the 70s weren't all that much fun - no, I didn't have to go to Viet Nam. But I lived in the South Bronx with a shooting gallery directly across the street (I sometimes have to remind myself that "shooting gallery" doesn't bring "heroin addicts coming and going at all hours along with the muggings and prostitution and vomit that comes with them" to everyone's mind). My parents were scared. My aunt and uncle spent a day tied up in their apartment, their hands and feet numb after thieves left them. Luckily their elementary school aged children came home and found them this way... They moved out of NYC soon after that. My parents disliked the 1970s in the South Bronx so much that in 1980, we moved to Puerto Rico.

So, I don't think it was the times that were bad - some had a blast, some were miserable.

Don't forget that the 1960s gave us Charles Manson and the Tet Offensive as well as the assassinations of Kennedy, King, and X. Not really great times when looked at from that point of view.

Of course, on the other hand, the 70s gave us bell bottoms, and that's pretty hard to forgive.

It is, I think, impossible to sum up any decade in a bon mot or even a few pages. Every person will have multiple ways of looking at a year or set of years (Or even a day or an hour). Were the 60s about free love and Woodstock? Or about attack dogs and water cannons?

Hell, even one issue can be impossible to define clearly - when you think of the Civil Rights movement, do you think first of the laws that were passed or of billyclubs and lynchings? Think about it. I'll wait. Now. Which is it? Which is the right answer?

And about bell bottoms, seriously, those who are older and, therefore, wiser, please explain them to me.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Levels by Sean Cregan

I haven't read the book, but you can go to Amazon for a description. I just wanted to say that having seen the cover art and read the description, I'm pretty sure the story is set in my old neighborhood in the Bronx. In fact, I think our old apartment is one of the lit windows on the cover.

I wonder who's living there now...

Monday, March 08, 2010

Yes, Yes, A Contest...

You've probably been wondering "How can I get a copy of Steve Torres' latest?" Well, I've got some news for you... First, I usually go by the full name "SteveN" though I'm not a stickler for it. Just want to avoid troubles down the road, you see. Then, I'll ask three questions. Be the first to chime in with the right answer to any one of these three, and I'll send you a copy of the ARC for BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO*.

Here are the questions:

1 - The Barnes and Noble listing listing for BLACKOUT refers to a certain "Bennett" in a New York Times Review of the book. I've never been reviewed in the Times, nor have I ever gone by the name of Bennett. Who is the Bennett referred to?

2 - The Amazon listing for the book refers in the Product Description to another of my books. In fact, the product description is entirely based on that other book and has NOTHING to do with my current opus. Which other book is it referencing?

3 - In the book, only Gonzalo's first two deputies make an appearance. (The book is set the earliest and was, in fact, the first I wrote.) Name the deputies.

Note: if someone is intrepid enough to answer all three questions correctly, the answers will not only cancel each other out (the first two alone would do that) but mean that the smarty-pants owes me a book....

* This one has nothing to do with the goatsucker, El Chupacabra. Look for that on kindle one of these days.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Who Killed Blockbuster!

Ouch! Their stock is downgraded to Caa3 status - junk. Wow. I assume stores will be shuttered by Memorial Day unless they'd like to keep losing money. Blockbuster killed themselves. I moved to Netflix and love it. Online video is making headway. And frankly, Blockbuster was never as good as they easily could have been. Way overpriced. Inflexible. Etc. Still, I used to rent the occasional video game. Is there a place to do that?

Monday, March 01, 2010

Nice Words from a Good Guy

Friend Bill Crider (yes, I address all my acquaintances like Quakers) has been kind enough to read and review my latest effort: BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO.

Once again, Texas leads the way... The way to good taste and good reading.