J.L. Abramo talks about global events that impact his current reading, works by Erik Larson and Bryan Burroughs and his hopes for new Tim O’Brien novels


What are some of the titles in your to be read pile?

I was born in 1947.  In that year two critical events effectively ended the centuries-long dominance of the British Empire and changed the map of the world—the British withdrawal from the Indian sub-continent and its partitioning into India and Pakistan, and the British withdrawal from Palestine leading to the creation of Israel. On my TBR list are two books by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight and O Jerusalem, dealing with each of those historic milestones.  


What book are you currently reading?American History Cover

Having just finished reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, set in Berlin in 1933-34 when Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party was beginning to gain total control of Germany, I am now reading Public Enemies by Bryan Burroughs which is set in America in those same two years when the infant FBI was hunting down the likes of John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, Pretty Boy Floyd, Clyde Barrow, and others.

What do you hope to add to your to be read pile soon and why?

Erik Larson refers often to Hans Bernd Gisevius, who served in the Gestapo and the German Intelligence Service during World War II while a covert opponent of the Nazi regime, and who later testified at the Nuremberg trials.  I plan to add his book To the Bitter End: An Insider’s Account of the Plot to Kill Hitler, 1933-1944 to my TBR pile.  It accounts a number of such plots to end Hitler’s life, and the subject intrigues me.

What author do you want to see have a new book out soon?

Having read The Things They Carried, Going After Cacciato, and In the Lake of the Woods, I have been continually moved and awed by the writing of Tim O’Brien and hope he will write more soon.


JL Abramo photoJ.L. ABRAMO was born and raised in the seaside paradise of Brooklyn, New York on Raymond Chandler’s fifty-ninth birthday.

Abramo is the author of Catching Water in a Net, winner of the St. Martin’s Press/Private Eye Writers of America prize for Best First Private Eye Novel; the subsequent Jake Diamond Novels Clutching at Straws, Counting to Infinity and Circling the Runway (Shamus Award Winner); Chasing Charlie Chan, a prequel to the Jake Diamond series; and the stand-alone thrillers Gravesend, Brooklyn Justice and Coney Island Avenue, a follow-up to Gravesend.  His latest novel is American History.

Abramo is the current president of Private Eye Writers of America.For more please visit: www.jlabramo.com 


Online Issue 15


TSP OI15 cover

Darrin Doyle’s short story collection, Scoundrels Among Us, hit shelves this week and Darrin is here to talk about the common thread that ties these stories together. “A lot of fiction contains somebody doing something bad or wrong, but often they’re making bad decisions for themselves (or to themselves). My collection features many folks (mostly men) behaving in creepy, questionable, violent, or otherwise unseemly ways.”

I found the collection to be a celebration of the absurd and highly entertaining. Darrin also shares what’s on his TBR pile – including works such as Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves, Christine Schutt’s All Souls, Christine Sneed’s The Virginity of Famous Men and Katie Chase’s Man & Wife.


Hunter Shea admits his love for Real Housewives and talks about the scariest night of his life and inspiration for Creature. Hunter also talks about his cats, Iris and Salem, in this author assistant feature.

Judy Penz Sheluk talks about her writing companion, a pup named for a character from NCIS: Gibbs

James Oswald talks about writing from the female perspective, insights from social media and claims to be “rubbish” at performing one specific author task.


Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse reviewed by Sandra Ruttan

Scoundrels Among Us by Darrin Doyle reviewed by Sandra Ruttan

Solemn Graves: A Billy Boyle World War II Mystery by James R. Benn reviewed by Theodore Feit

The Sinners by Ace Atkins reviewed by Theodore Feit

A Book To Look Up


What is ‘voice’ anyway?


Thoughts on Horror


I suspect there could be as many conversations about what horror is as there are about what noir is. Laura Lauro’s tweets pointed me to the Aeon.co article by M.M. Owen, which is well worth a look.

“Horror is what anthropologists call biocultural. It is about fears we carry because we are primates with a certain evolved biology: the corruption of the flesh, the loss of our offspring. It is also about fears unique to our sociocultural moment: the potential danger of genetically modifying plants. The first type of fear is universal; the second is more flexible and contextual. Their cold currents meet where all great art does its work, down among the bottomless caves on the seabed of consciousness. Lurking here, a vision of myself paralysed in the dirt, invisible to those I love.”


Darrin Doyle shares what’s on his To Be Read Pile


Fun Fact: Darrin says, “I saw Ben Affleck at the airport in Washington, D.C., then boarded a plane, flew to Detroit, and saw Willem Dafoe!”



What are some of the titles in your current TRB pile?

51hngprhful-_sy346_I have such a large pile. It’s a mix of contemporary and classic authors: Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves, Christine Schutt’s All Souls, Bill Knott’s poetry collection I Am Flying Into Myself, Ha Jin’s War Trash and The Crazed, Alison Lurie’s Foreign Affairs, Bernard Malamud’s The Fixer, Christine Sneed’s The Virginity of Famous Men, Katie Chase’s Man & Wife.

What book are you currently reading?

I recently finished Jess Arndt’s story collection, Large Animals. What a wonderful book: dark, surreal, challenging, funny, serious, and laced with dazzling prose.

What do you hope to add to your TBR pile soon and why?

51rvdbjtwrl-_sy346_I’m trying to keep up with the releases from Tortoise Books. I’m so proud to have two of my books with this press because they consistently publish interesting, well-written works. So I’m eager to pick up Jeremy Wilson’s Adult Teeth and Joe Peterson’s Gun Metal Blue.

Bonus: Which author do you want to see have a new book out soon?

I’m looking forward to whatever Jess Arndt comes up with next (see Answer 2). I also recently discovered Bill Cotter – who writes down-and-dirty comical fiction in the mold of John Kennedy Toole and Charles Portis – and will keep an eye out for his next project.


Check out our interview with Darrin about his latest work, Scoundrels Among Us.

Scoundrels Among Us is reviewed here.


IMG_8884Darrin Doyle’s most recent book is the story collection Scoundrels Among Us. He has previously published two novels – The Girl Who Ate Kalamazoo and Revenge of the Teacher’s Pet:A Love Story – as well as the story collection The Dark Will End the Dark. He believes in Bigfoot, shaves on days of the week that contain the letter T, and teaches at Central Michigan University. His website is darrindoyle.com.

Online Issue 9

While the #SecondCivilWar tweets remind of us what can be great about social media, many are feeling less than excited about the Fourth of July this year.  For those people, Oprah is broadcasting from the north with a message of hope.


Life on the Inside: Roy Harper Talks About the Origins of SHANK and HEIST


Check out Brian Cohn’s soundtrack for The Last Detective 

and find out what’s on his To Be Read pile


We also have Paul Levine’s soundtrack for Bum Deal


Michael Zimecki talks about

Death Sentences, his Protagonist’s Fears and His Inspirations


Exit Strategy by Charlton Pettus

Murder on the Left Bank by Cara Black

Dead If You Don’t by Peter James


Did you miss it?

Brian talks to Chris Holm about his ink… tattoo ink, that is.

Online Issue 8 had some great stuff. Paul D. Brazill, more Brian Cohn, and Anne Frasier’s soundtrack for The Body Counter

Online Issue 7 featured Kevin Wignall, Jo Perry and Chris Roy.

Our full Online Issue Archive is available through the link at the top of the page, or here.


The uproar over the ALA’s decision to rename an award has me squirming about racial language while David Nemeth pokes white people with a big stick over the controversy and Scott Adlerberg talks about asylum seekers and immigration issues in fiction.