Friday, April 20, 2012

Free E-book Ploy, Part IX

Were you looking for a couple of free Kindle novels? I've got two.

Try LUCY CRUZ AND THE CHUPACABRA KILLINGS if you're looking for an amateur sleuth with a bit of a hardboiled edge.

Try THE CONRETE MAZE if you want a hardboiled/noir type.

La Bloga Interview and Free E-books

If you were wondering about how to read up on Steven Torres... And I know there were many of you thinking just that... Try La Bloga, a very cool blog that covers Latino/Chicano culture. Click here to scoot over there. Two of my e-novels are available free of charge for Kindle and Kindle app. over there.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Etan Patz

Saw an article in the online version of the New York Times about law enforcement searching a basement in SOHO. Not that they expect to find anything. It's been 33 years. But that's a shocker. The fact that so much time has passed - a third of a century. I was nine when his disappearance in broad daylight on his way to the bus stop by himself for the very first time made headlines. I'm a parrent now - a three year old I love with every fiber of my being - and I cannot imagine the pain those parents went through. The pain they still go through.

I didn't know there was a prime suspect in the case. I remember how for years after he went missing he was "spotted" in different places. Israel, I heard once.

Finding remains might bring closure. Would I want closure?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The 5-2 Tour: "Twelve Apologies" by Ray Succre

Gerald So, editor at The 5-2, invited me to highlight one of the crime poems on display there, and it was a little difficult making a choice, but I did it. I teach Intro. to Lit. each semester and this poem by Ray Succre called "Twelve Apologies" might just wind up on the syllabus next year. It would go alongside William Carlos Williams' poem "This is Just to Say." if you haven't read that one, I'll type it out from memory:

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

And which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
They were delicious
So sweet
and so cold.

The ambiguity is palpable and teachable. Succre produces a poem in something of the same vein, but I think my students will enjoy it more. The series of vignettes on petty crimes makes me wonder what brought the narrator to offer these apologies. And I do wonder if the title is a nod to the Twelve Apostles.

Anyway, get to reading.

Ray Succre


Mr. Arnolds, my neighbor five years ago: It was me. I'm the one who ran over your cat. I didn't even see it. I'm sorry that I suggested your daughter may have done it. I'm sorry.

Jan Arnolds: See above. I'm sorry.

Grandma J.: The coat you bought me last year? The one I always say I've just taken off whenever you call? I drunkenly lit it on fire five months ago. I'm sorry.

Amad, my old friend: Remember when I threw that monstrous party and you passed out, and by morning, some measly person had stolen your cigarettes and poured soup on your crotch? They gave me some of the cigarettes not to say anything, and the soup was my idea. I'm sorry.

My ex, Andrea: When I lost my job because of corporate cutbacks? That was a lie. I told my boss that if she talked to me that way again, I'd piss on her head. She fired me. I'm sorry.

Bookstore On the Bay: It was me. I stole all those books. I figured out how to remove the magnetic strips, and would do so while chatting up your clerk. I did this daily. He thought we were pals. I read all of the books I stole, at least. One a day for almost an entire summer. I'm sorry.

Little Lisa: We only went out for a single day in the third grade, and we broke-up because I wouldn't give you my pen. Listen, I told everybody we did it. I'm sorry.

Laurel, a waitress in Olympia, Washington: That guy who stole my wallet off the counter while I was in the restroom, which made me unable to pay for my coffee that one time? I didn't own a wallet. I'm sorry.

Safeway of America, Inc.:  I was the one who stole Eraserhead. I gave you the wrong phone number which truly was an accident because I'd just moved into a new place with a new number, but you didn't check my I.D. and when I was about to sign the little rental agreement, I noticed the phone number I'd given had pulled up the first name "Esther", so, quickly and unfortunately for Esther and your company, I signed it "Antonio Banderas" and never returned the video. I'm sorry to you and I'm sorry to Esther and I'm sorry to Mr. Banderas, as well.

To a certain couple: Red fruits don't cause Alzheimer's disease. I made it up. You can start eating strawberries again. I'm sorry.

To Aaron from sixth grade: Though it’s been twenty years, I've still got your Nintendo game, Bionic Commando.  I convinced you I had given it back and that you had lost it, but I just hadn't beaten the game yet. I moved to the other side of the country with it. I'm sorry.

To Kat, a neighbor in a high-rise apartment building I once resided in: Sixteen years ago, I needed to make a local call and my phone service had just been disconnected. You had offered to let my use your phone for local calls. I knocked but you weren't home. Later, I found the telephone service grid on the second floor, so I spliced into your line with my room's phone, thinking that it wouldn't really matter as long as I switched it back when I was done. When I picked up to make my important call, you were home and you were ordering something on it. The salesclerk couldn't figure out what ordering number your item was supposed to have, so you had to explain to him (and though you didn't know it, to me) that it was the jelly-apparatus on some page 36 . The Rhino II, I think it was called. I didn't mean to overhear it. I hope everything worked out and I'm sure blue was a wonderful color. I'm sorry.

Want more crime poetry? Try here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Sara Gran Story...

Pretty much what the title says, from the LA Times. Click here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Hunger Games - Possible Spoilers

Saw the movie, didn't read the book. Downloaded it, though. Does that count? In any event, to the movie - never came out of a theater with a greater desire to chase down the weak in the parking lot and end them...

Of course, I didn't act on that. For one thing, I'm slow of foot. For another, I'm pretty weak myself. (All the more reason to strike first, I suppose...) Finally, I'm too lazy to chase anyone unless it's my daughter heading for the street. Didn't take her to the movie.

Overall, I liked the film. The central character (Katniss?) is appealing (fights on behalf of others, wants to do what's right, etc.) but if there is a flaw in the story (and I've no idea if this carries over from the book) it is the villains. There aren't any. Plenty of killing, but no one is bad. There's Donald Sutherland, but he's a bit more smarmy than outright evil, no? A touch of Machivelli, but no more than I'd expect from anyone in politics. There was a guy in a funny beard - couldn't figure out what his role was at all.

And there was a blond kid from District One - Thor? Vlad? I don't remember. Anyway, he was nasty, but I've seen much worse when I was in high school. In the end, he seemed to have gone nuts anyway, so clearly he's an object of pity.

In any event, this version of "The Lottery" was... wait. Sorry. The Hunger Games. Right, this version was strange because there didn't seem to be a backstory either. Why, exactly, were people willing to sacrifice their children? (And who thought sending 12 year olds to fight against 18 year olds would be a good idea?) I mean, I couldn't figure out why Katniss didn't take Prim and her mom and head out into the wilderness. I sure as Hell would. And I don't have a bow. Heck, I don't even have a string. No survival skills whatsoever. When lost in the wilderness, my first instinct is to check my pockets for change for the candy machine whenever I stumble across it.

Not to say something like this couldn't happen - the Romans and the Greeks (and plenty of other cultures) have enjoyed death matches with victims culled from the provinces. I just wish there had been more of an explanation of how the USA got to that point - there was a rebellion and a treaty and this is what they came up with? Wow. I'm thinking there were about a dozen negotiators who fell asleep at the wheel.