Friday, February 27, 2009

Plots With Guns - Numero Cinco

The Winter issue of Plots With Guns is up with stories by Greg Bardsley, Anonymous-9, Frank Bill, Jason Hunt, Keith Rawson, Jonathon Woods, Neil Richter and the much anticipated ruminations of Mr. Maviano.

Ass-kicking as usual. Nicely done, gentlemen.

Writerly Stuff This Weekend

Book 'Em Mysteries - 1118 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA 91030 626-799-9600

Friday, February 27, 5.00p.m.

Peter Robinson signs All the Colors of Darkness
Detective Inspector Alan Banks returns in another electrifying novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of "Friend of the Devil." A beautiful June day in the Yorkshire Dales, and a group of children discover a man's body hanging from a tree. DCI Alan Banks soon finds himself plunged into a shadow-world where nothing is what it seems, where secrets and deceit are the norm, and where murder is seen as the solution to a problem.
Isn't murder always the solution to a problem? Or is that chocolate cake? I always get those two mixed up.

Which can get really awkward, believe me.

Saturday February 28, 12:00 noon

Dianne Emley signs The Deepest Cut
Back from the dead. That's how it feels for Nan Vining-a Pasadena homicide cop, a struggling single mother, and a woman determined to find the brutal madman who left her for dead a year ago. Now, in Dianne Emley's brilliant new thriller, Nan Vining must face the truth: her attacker is still out there and he's killed at least three other women.
Ever notice how madman are always brutal? Single mothers are always struggling?

My mom asks me why I can't write "happy stories". With, like pink unicorns and shit. You know why I don't write happy stories? BECAUSE THEY'RE BORING.

And unicorns frighten me.

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Mysteries To Die For - 2940 Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, California 91362

Saturday, February 28, 11:00 a.m.

Peter Robinson signs All the Colors of Darkness

If you're over on the county line you might want to catch Mr. Robinson here tomorrow morning.

Saturday, February 28, 1:00 p.m.

Dianne Emley signs The Deepest Cut

More brutal madmen and single mothers than you can shake a stick at. Is there really a limit on how many people you can shake a stick at? "Sorry, sir, no more stick shaking for you. You've reached your limit."

Unless they mean... Oh. Okay, sure, in some states.

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The Mystery Bookstore - 1036-C Broxton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024

Friday, February 27, 12:00 noon

Peter Robinson AND LUNCH signs All the Colors of Darkness

Yeah, I know. The lunch isn't signing, he is. Fucking grammar nazis.

But you can eat lunch! Today! Right there in the store! With the author! And ask him questions with your mouth full of food so all he hears is "Affmuaff nom nom nom" and maybe has to duck a piece of flying pastrami! Dear god, stop me! from using the!!se exclamation po!nts before I kill again!!!11!!

Sorry. I haven't had enough coffee. Which is probably a good thing. This is me uncaffeinated. Good thing I don't do cocaine. I'd probably phase through the floor or something.

Saturday, February 28, 5:30pm

Diane Emley signs The Deepest Cut

Yep, same Diane Emley as the ones above. Unless there are two of them. Evil twin, maybe? I hope not. I don't think a goatee would suit her.

Now, Linda at the Mystery Bookstore recommends this book. In fact, it's listed as LINDA'S OTHER ADULT FAVORITE. All caps. Just like that.

And I could take that phrase sooo many different ways. But I won't.

Because I'm classy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The New Economy Brought To You By Warren Zevon

San Bernardino, CA

When times get tough sometimes you have to make allowances. Maybe you lower your prices, maybe you extend some credit, maybe you take something in trade. Like guns.

An attorney in San Bernardino, Gary Stephen Redinger, 59, was arrested last week for allegedly taking guns and narcotics as payment for his lawyerly services. Sheriff's investigators raided his home and came up with more than 30 firearms and, possibly, some meth. There appears to be some debate on that last.

He's currently out on $50K bail. The trifecta is complete.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Modern Execution: Old Age

San Quentin, CA

In 1981, Thomas Francis Edwards spotted two young girls as they were walking to a picnic at the Blue Jay Campground in San Juan Capistrano. He followed them to a secluded spot and shot them, killing 12-year-old Vanessa Iberri. He was captured nine days later in Maryland and sentenced to death in 1986.

Yesterday, almost thirty years after he was captured he died of natural causes.

In and of itself, I don't find that fact very interesting. What does grab me is that it wasn't until September, 2008 that all of his appeals finally ran out and a judge affirmed the sentence. The state courts affirmed it in 1991. The federal courts took another 17 years to get to it.

So from the time he committed the murder in 1981 to the time the government finally said, "Yeah, y'all were right the first time. Kill him," took 27 years.

Appeal after appeal after appeal. The man confessed to the shooting. One of the victims was left alive and could ID him.

The appellate system is crucial. When it works it keeps innocent men and women from being executed. But there's something wrong with a system that takes almost 30 years just to confirm that, yes, this man did something so heinous that he needs to be killed.

Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1977, forty-three people on death row have died from natural causes. Compare that to the thirteen who have been executed.

I'm having trouble with the math here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Writerly Stuff This Weekend

The Mystery Bookstore - 1036-C Broxton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Goddamn, they've got a busy weekend.

Friday, February 13th

Val McDermid signs A DARKER DOMAIN at 4:00pm.

Val McDermid, winner of nearly every major award the crime fiction world offers, pioneered what is now called "Tartan Noir" – a uniquely Scottish take on the conventions of the hardboiled genre. To say that, however, is to minimize the power of each separate novel, which all explore the long-echoing repercussions of past wrongdoing. Detective Karen Pirie, head of the Cold Case Review team, investigates the disappearance of a strike-breaking miner, 23 years after the fact; although he was seen in 1984, no one had reported Mick Prentice's disappearance until now. While Karen pursues the cold trail, new evidence appears in another decades-old crime: the 1985 murder of heiress Catriona Maclennan Grant and kidnapping of her baby son, who was never found. The two cases hold a tangle of secrets darker than anything Pirie could have imagined. McDermid artfully weaves the past and present together in this tightly-plotted novel, ratcheting up the suspense with each page. Excellent.

T. Jefferson Parker signs THE RENEGADES at 7:00pm.

Deputy Sheriff Charlie Hood, introduced in L.A. OUTLAWS, returns for a second adventure in this modern Western, set on the mean streets of L.A. County. Hood has a new partner, Terry Laws, a veteran cop everyone calls "Mr. Wonderful." But when Mr. Wonderful is shot dead in the passenger seat of their cruiser, Hood's job is to find the man who knew that Laws didn't always live up to his nickname.

Saturday, February 14th

Sue Ann Jaffarian signs BOOBY TRAP at 2:00pm.

In her fourth adventure, Odelia is settling happily into married life when she learns – from the surgeon's own mother – that a plastic surgeon to the rich and famous might be the Blond Bomber serial killer.

Robert Gregory Browne signs WHISPER IN THE DARK at 4:30pm.

Okay, side note here. I know Rob. He's of... a delicate constitution. So if you can, please show up. I mean, I've seen the man cry. And last time he threatened to get a job as an underwear model. WE REALLY DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN. He showed us pictures. I had to wash my eyes with bleach to get the image out. Bad enough he goes around wearing a loincloth and bellowing like Tarzan. And you have to hide the Crisco or he oils himself up and makes monkey noises. All this will happen.

UNLESS YOU BUY HIS BOOK

Good thing for y'all he's a damn good writer. With, like, plots and stuff. Here, check it out.

Detective Frank Blackburn finds a beautiful woman covered in blood, naked, brandishing a pair of scissors. She can't say who she is or where she comes from – but she knows things that make Blackburn thinks she may be the only eyewitness to a series of twisted murders by a killer who leaves "artistic" touches on his victims. Blackburn brings Jane Doe to psychiatrist Michael Tolan, whose own wife, Abby, was one of the killer's victims – and Dr. Tolan soon finds that Jane Doe knows things about Abby that only Abby could have told her.
See? Now is that a plot, or what? If you read it out loud in that movie announcer voice it's even better. But you have to start it with "In a world..." or it doesn't sound right.

Leighton Cage signs BURIED STRANGERS at 7:00pm

Now that's a cool title.

In this sequel to BLOOD OF THE WICKED, Brazilian Federal Police Chief Inspector Mario Silva investigates the discovery of a secret cemetery in a park near the nation's official capital, Brasilia. More than three dozen unknowns are buried in the cemetery, including 24 children – and each of the corpses is missing a body part. As rumors of a satanic cult threaten local tourism, Silva cleans up after a corrupt local cop and argues that the case deserves the federal government's attention.

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Book 'Em Mysteries - 1118 Mission St., South Pasadena, CA 91030

Sunday, February 15th

Thomas Perry signs THE RUNNER at 2:00pm

"After a nine-year absence, the fiercely resourceful Native American guide Jane Whitefield is back. For more than a decade, Jane pursued her unusual profession: "I'm a guide . . . I show people how to go from places where somebody is trying to kill them to other places where nobody is." Then she promised her husband she would never work again, and settled in to live a happy, quiet life as Jane McKinnon, the wife of a surgeon in Amherst, New York. But when a bomb goes off in the middle of a hospital fundraiser, Jane finds herself face to face with the cause of the explosion: a young pregnant girl who has been tracked across the country by a team of hired hunters."

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Mysteries To Die For - 2940 Thousand Oaks Boulevard Thousand Oaks, California 91362

Saturday, February 14th

T. Jefferson Parker signs THE RENEGADES at 12:00pm.

If you missed him on Friday in Westwood, you can catch Mr. Parker up in Thousand Oaks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What I'm Wearing On Casual Fridays

Sacramento, CA

David Hadeen, 36, way up north in Sacramento, has fashion. He has flair. He has a sense of goddamn style.

He robbed an adult store last weekend, stole a -ahem- "sexual-enhancing device". All while wearing a cape, sequined hat and waving around a wooden sword.

Like I said. Style.

-Thanks for the tip, Nomi.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In The Twenties They Just Jumped Out of Windows

Los Angeles, CA

With the economy melting faster than Joan Rivers' face under a klieg light it's not all that surprising that some people are going a little crazy. Most of them, though, don't get to go crazy in $125,000.00 cars.

Mustafa Mustafa (isn't that kind of like Smith Smith?), driving a rather nice Bentley, took cops on a low speed car chase through the city Monday night that lasted several hours until he finally stopped the car and shot himself. According to police, "He was distraught over financial stuff."

Yeah, who isn't?

Okay, people, rich or poor, I don't care. Stop it.

Seriously. Stop it. Y'all are going a little too bugfuck for my taste and I'd really wish you'd just put down the gun, take an Ativan and think things through.

Look, lots of us have had the desire to eat a bullet at one point or another. If only to just make everything fucking stop.

Financial ruin is not the end of the world. Unless you're in for a hundred large to Big Wahine, that Samoan loan shark in Gardena who likes his boys plump and pretty, it's probably not as bad as you think it is. And even he, in all his mumu'ed glory, is usually willing to negotiate. Probably just take a kidney.

And the car chases? Not a cry for help. No, really, they're not. They're the mark of a narcissistic mindset that wants the world to know just how fucking bad everything is. This is L.A. You get more than three cops on your ass at any speed and you're on the evening fucking news. Everyone knows your name.

Even me. And that's really about as low as you can get.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Not What They Meant By Hot

Tarzana, CA

They call her Mia, but her real name is Roberta Abdue Dos Santos Busby. From Brazil. Lives in Simi. Single mother, two daughters, 4 and 8. Stripping part time in Tarzana. Just went back full because she lost her bill collector job. Rough times.

And that was before they set her on fire.

She's working the other night at Babes and Beer. Counting tips. Goes outside to meet a couple people, they douse with her something flammable, light her up. She's in critical condition.

Police are looking for the suspects, Rianne Theriault-Odom, 27, who might have been a dancer at the club and Nathaniel Petrillo, 22. Both have priors. Burglary for her, drug possession and credit card fraud for him. A real winning pair.

Why? Pissed off dancer and psychopath boyfriend, maybe? Busby grabbed a bigger share of tips? Did more dances? Who the fuck knows?

Like I said, rough times.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Might Have Trouble Collecting

Covina, CA

When you break your lease you usually have a penalty. Maybe some back rent. Maybe you lose your security deposit. They don't really care if you bailed to another town, moved in with your boyfriend or, apparently, were murdered and set aflame by a psychopath in a Christmas Eve massacre along with most of your family.

Alice Ortiz was killed in Covina along with 8 members of her family on Christmas Eve when a Santa Claus clad Bruce Pardo walked in to a party, started shooting and sprayed race car fuel over the whole house, burning it to the ground.

Alice left behind her son, Michael and her daughters Monique and Cecily, who were living in her apartment with her. A few days later the apartment's mamagement company showed up with a bill for $2821.23 claiming "insufficient notice to vacate."

You're right. She really should have called them up a month ago and said, "Hey, I'm gonna be leaving in a hurry on Christmas after a psycho burns me alive and leaves my children motherless, so think of this as sufficient notice to vacate."

This is the part I love:

"I asked, 'Do you really want to enforce this?'" Nord recalled. "Their response was, 'Our lawyers say we can.'"
Nice way to avoid the question there, folks.

It's nice to see that human decency is alive and well in these troubled times. And that the good folk of this management company (no word on who it is - yet) are such ball-less cowards that they're hiding behind their lawyers, too afraid to answer a simlpe question.

Cover your ass, people. It's the American Way.

(Hat tip to Brett Battles for bouncing this my way.)