Category Archives: crime thrillers

Dropped Dead

Creeping Siamese by Dashiell Hammett (1926)

Tuesday’s Detective Tale   May 24, 2022

A man stumbles into the Continental Detective Agency. He drops dead on the floor.  Stabbed in the left breast, the man’s wound is staunched with red silk—which seems to be a sarong.

If you love crime stories with ace detectives, then you must be a fan of Dashiell Hammett. This story is a cool little plot puzzle with imaginative clues. Good one!

“Hammett did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.”  Raymond Chandler.

 

Read the short story here:

Click to access Hammett_Creeping_Siamese.pdf

Listen to other short stories by Dashiell Hammett (Creeping Siamese is not available in audio).

We like to remember Dashiell Hammett as the inventor of hardboiled detective fiction with brutal realism and wry humor. Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency for eight years before he began writing his stories.  His first short story was published by The Black Mask in 1923.

 

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Author of the Week, Mark Z. Danielewski, May 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 9

 

Mark Z. Danielewski

(Supernatural, Ghosts, Horror, Thriller, Contemporary Fiction)

 

“My interest is in how meaning is communicated via language, and I believe the shape, positioning, even the colour of the language has an effect on meaning.”

“Write what you love. Love will hold you through the hard times and hold the world during the good times.”

“We all create stories to protect ourselves.”

 

Mark Z. Danielewski  (born  1966) is an American fiction author.  He studied English Literature at Yale. He is known for his debut novel House of Leaves, which won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. His second novel, Only Revolutions, was nominated for the National Book Award. He wrote the novella The Fifty Year Sword.  Danielewski’s work is characterized by experimental choices in form, such as intricate and multi-layered narratives and typographical variation.

Read The Guardian’s interview with Mark “House of Leaves changed My Life.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/02/house-of-leaves-changed-my-life-the-cult-novel-at-20

 

Watch a chat with Mark, Los Angeles Times:

 

 

 

Visit Mark’s website: https://www.markzdanielewski.com/

Browse the “Index of Authors’ Tales” tab above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors.

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Author of the Week, Susan Hill, February 7

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   February 7   Monday

Susan Hill

(Novels/Short Stories, Mystery and Ghost Fiction)

 

“Ghost stories … tell us about things that lie hidden within all of us, and which lurk outside all around us.”

“I wrote ghost stories because I’d always enjoyed reading them, and they seemed to be fizzling out… I don’t take them terribly seriously. It’s like a cake, with ingredients.”

“Though they don’t always have to be set in fog, weather is incredibly important in ghost stories. As is suspense: you’ve got to turn the screw very, very slowly.”

“I have only read very classic traditional English ghost stories, other than Henry James, who wrote some magnificent short ones as well as the longer ‘Turn of the Screw.’ He, Dickens, and M.R. James are my influences.”

 

 

Dame Susan Hill, Lady Wells, DBE is an English author of fiction and non-fiction works. Her novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror, and I’m the King of the Castle, for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971. Other awards include Whitbread Novel Award for The Bird of Night (1972); and the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Albatross (1971), a collection of short stories.

Her Simon Serrailler Crime Mysteries are popular novels, beginning with the first in the series The Various Haunts of Men.

Reviews:

“A gripping whodunnit and a subtle study of the mind of a psychopath”  Daily Mail 

“I loved this book. Masterly and satisfying” Ruth Rendell 

“This book must be judged as a potential successor to the great sequences of detective writing by PD James and Ruth Rendell…excellent” Daily Telegraph 

“She has the priceless ability to construct a solidly-researched narrative that keeps the reader turning the pages”  Independent  

Interview with Susan Hill speaking about wickedness, her dark new novella – and why she would never read the latest Man Booker winner.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/25/susan-hill-books-interview

Interview about ghost stories:

 

Here is the trailer for The Small Hand, a short story by Susan Hill

Visit Susan Hill’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Hill/e/B096X8W23Z

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over

200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors, audios too.

 

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Author of the Week, Rod Serling, January 3, 2022

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK,  January 3, Monday

Rod Serling

(Screenwriter, Playwrite, Television Producer, Narrator of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror)

 

 

“Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science Fiction is the improbable made possible.”

“I find that, within the framework of the science fiction or fantasy genres, the use of travelling back in time is a very effective way of producing contrasts, of  producing contrasts, of producing a kind of free-wheeling storytelling device.”

“I take off and write out of a sense of desperate compulsion.”

“The instinct of creativity must be followed by the act. The physical act of putting it down for a sense of permanence.”

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man … a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.”

Rod Serling  (1924 to 1975) was one of the most talented storytellers of our modern times. Well known for his science-fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone, he won a 1955 Emmy Award for his script Patterns, a 1957 Emmy for his script Requiem for a Heavyweight, and a 1959 Emmy for The Twilight Zone. He was also co-author of The Planet of the Apes. Serling taught dramatic writing at Ithaca College in New York.

In his youth he enlisted in the U.S. Army the morning after his high school graduation, fought in World War II, and earned the  Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

Rod Serling died at age 50 after heart surgery.

 

Interview with Rod Serling, University of Kansas, by James Gunn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rod Serling’s Author Page on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Rod-Serling/e/B001H6OHVE

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Keep the holiday season joy and peace into the entire new year, 2022!

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Author of the Week, Ann Cleeves, November 1

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    November 1

Ann Cleeves

(Mystery, Crime, and Detective Novels)

“I write like a reader, without any planning. I have to write the next scene to know where the story is going.

“I get my greatest ideas By listening to other people. That’s what I’ve missed most during the pandemic: the overheard conversations in trains or restaurants. Places often trigger ideas for books too.”

“I like really complex locations, places that hit you and strike you.   I grew up in North Devon so I know it quite well and I like that mix of cosiness – we think of Devon as having cream teas and thatched cottages.”

 

Ann Cleeves (born 1954)  is a British author of crime fiction. She has written 30 novels in 30 years, and is the creator of detectives Vera Stanhope and Jimmy Perez  dramatised as the TV detective series Vera, and the Jimmy Perez Shetland novels as the series Shetland. Her latest novel is The Heron’s Cry and it features Detective Matthew Venn. For the National Year of Reading, Ann was made reader-in-residence for three library authorities. Her novels sell widely and to critical acclaim in the United States. Raven Black was shortlisted for the Martin Beck award for best translated crime novel in Sweden.

“Ann Cleeves is one of my favorite mystery writers.”—Louise Penny

 

Ann Cleeves and Louise Penny on Writing at Politics and Prose (1 hour):

This is delightful video if you are a writer or lover of reading crime fiction. Worth the hour indulgence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Ann Cleeves Amazon Book Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Ann-Cleeves/e/B001IOF9MG

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Dan Simmons, August 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   August 9

Dan Simmons

(Short Stories and novels in Suspense, Noir Crime, Supernatural, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Historical and Mainstream Fiction)

 

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer even before I knew exactly what being a writer entailed.”

“There’s a unique bond of trust between readers and authors that I don’t believe exists in any other art form; as a reader, I trust a novelist to give me his or her best effort, however flawed.”

“I find that I write more slowly and carefully, even as the deadlines come more frequently. I’ve never been satisfied with the final form of any of my work, but the dissatisfaction may be deeper now — even as some of the quality goes up — because I know I have fewer years ahead of me in which to improve and make-up for my shortcomings.”

 

Dan Simmons (Born 1948)  is a multi-award winning American author.  His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award; his first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award. Most readers know him for winning four Bram Stoker Awards, among many other fiction prizes. One of his favorite authors is Charles Dickens (Drood). His short story The River Styx Runs Upstream was awarded first prize in Twilight Zone Magazine story competition. The Terror and The Abominable are his historical fiction novels.  Stephen King had significant praise for Simmons novels:  “Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel.”

See all Simmons’ literary awards here, 35+  https://www.sfadb.com/Dan_Simmons

Dan Simmons Interview – Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast #96 (Discusses horror)

 

Steven Silver interviews Simmons on ScienceFiction.com:

https://www.sfsite.com/09b/ds160.htm 

 

The Crook Factory is about Ernest Hemingway while living in Cuba in the 1940s. Simmons states in the afterward that 95% of the novel is true. The story is a thrilling plot about an FBI agent and Hemingway’s amateur spy ring called Crook Factory in Cuba at the beginning of WW II. “Simmons spins, the zesty characters it entangles and its intricate cross-weave of fact and fiction .” Publishers Weekly

 

In A Winter Haunting, college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart,  has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Dan Simmons Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Simmons/e/B000APQZD6/

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Comments and LIKES Welcomed!

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Author of the Week, Jeff VanderMeer, July 19

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 19

 

Jeff  VanderMeer

(Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Weird Fiction, Novels and Short Stories, Literary Critic, Editor, Publisher)

 

“Imbuing fiction with a life that extends beyond the last word is in some ways the goal: the ending that goes beyond the ending in the reader’s mind, so invested are they in the story.”

“A dream inspiring a story is different than placing a description of a dream in a story. When you describe a character’s dream, it has to be sharper than reality in some way, and more meaningful. It has to somehow speak to plot, character, and all the rest. If you’re writing something fantastical, it can be a really deadly choice because your story already has elements that can seem dreamlike.”

“Trust your imagination. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write. Revise. Revise. Revise.”

“It is the nature of the writer to question the validity of his world and yet rely on his senses to describe it. From what other tension can great literature be born?”

“Fiction is in constant conversation with itself.”

Jeff  VanderMeer (born  1968) is an American author, NYT bestselling writer, called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. Initially associated with the New Weird literary genre, VanderMeer crossed over into mainstream success with his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. He also wrote the world’s first fully illustrated creative-writing guide, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction.  Among VanderMeer’s  novels are Shriek: An Afterword and Borne. He has also edited with his wife Ann VanderMeer such influential and award-winning anthologies as The New Weird, The Weird, and The Big Book of Science Fiction. His nonfiction appears in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic.com.

Interview with Jeff VanderMeeer (7 minutes):

 

 

The Fictive Imagination in the Dusk of the Anthropocene. Sonic Arts Festival:

 

 

Detective John Finch is about to come face-to-face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever. Why does one of the victims most resemble a man thought to have been dead for a hundred years? What is the murders’ connection to an attempted genocide nearly six hundred years ago? And just what is the secret purpose of the occupiers’ tower? A three-book series.

Visit VanderMeer’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-VanderMeer/e/B000APJW4U

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Anthony Horowitz, July 5

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 5

Anthony Horowitz

(Mystery, Suspense, Crime Novelist, Screenwriter, and Television Series Author)

“My writing has always been what you call ‘narrative fiction’ in the sense that it’s got very strong plots and twists at the end.”

“Throughout history, story-telling was at the very beginning of life.”

“I fear dying in the middle of a book. It would be so annoying to write 80,000 words and not get to the end. I’m phobic about it. So when I’m writing a book I leave messages all over the house for people to know how the story ends, and then someone can finish it for me.”

“I had three brilliant English teachers at secondary school. They found the writer in me.”

 

 

Anthony Horowitz (born 1955),  English novelist, screenwriter, and children’s novelist, has written more than 50 books including The Magpie Murders,  The Power of Five series, the Alex Rider series, The Diamond Brothers series, and has adapted many of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels for TV.  He is the creator and writer of  Foyle’s WarMidsomer MurdersCollision, and Injustice.  Also the Hawthorne and Horowitz Mysteries: The Word is Murder; The Sentence is Death; A Line to Kill. In October 2014, the Ian Fleming estate commissioned Horowitz to write a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, and Forever and A Day. A third Bond novel is expected to be released sometime in 2022. An underachiever at school, Horowitz started writing at the age of 8 or 9 and he instantly “knew” he would be a professional writer.

 

Interview with Anthony Horowitz about Magpie Murders, film to be released in 2022:

 

Quickfire interview with Horowitz:

https://www.anthonyhorowitz.com/journalism/article/quickfire-interview-anthony-horowitz

 

 

 

 

View his profile page on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Anthony-Horowitz/e/B000AP7TDG

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at

Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a

FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Catherine Cavendish, June 7

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  June 7

Catherine Cavendish

(Fiction: Ghost Stories, Supernatural, Gothic)

“I don’t remember a time I wasn’t writing. I loved reading so much and started at a precociously early age. I kept running out of things to read, so I wrote my own.”

“Ever since I was a child and read The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, I have loved that delicious thrill you can only get from reading scary stories. I do believe there is more to this world than what we can see, hear, touch and feel. Scientists have already proved the existence of many more senses and dimensions than we thought we had a few decades ago.”

[Note: The ghost story has persisted in literature for a long time. Maybe they are reflections of who we really are? Maybe we just love the illusions and the power of the supernatural? Whatever, if you love ghost stories, you must try Catherine Cavendish novels.]

Catherine Cavendish is  author  of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels and novellas.  She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which was featured in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys rambling around stately homes, circles of standing stones and travelling to favourite haunts such as Vienna and Orkney. She lives with her long-suffering husband and black cat in a 260 year old haunted apartment in North Wales.

 

Interview with Catherine Cavendish with Brian Kirk:

Interview with Catherine Cavendish, Author of Dark Avenging Angel

 

Catherine speaks about Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

 

 

 

Amazon Reviews:

“Catherine Cavendish delivers a clever, accomplished book that entirely normalises the ghost narrative and the timeslip aspects of the story, making it perfectly easy to suspend disbelief and imagine myself on one of Hannah’s tours, seeing and experiencing things that jump straight into the realm of the supernatural.” (Crime Review )

“Superb writing […] Cavendish’s writing is spot on, building wonderful characters and weaving a spell on us unsuspecting readers.” (Final Guys )

“Cavendish sets the scene exceptionally well and the book is atmospheric and spooky throughout.” (The British Fantasy Society )

 

Catherine Cavendish Amazon Page:

https://www.amazon.com/Catherine-Cavendish/e/B0059GDROQ

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by

contemporary and classic authors.

 

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Author of the Week, David Baldacci, May 10

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 10

David Baldacci

(Fiction: Thrillers, Mysteries, Crime, Adventure)

“If I worried too much about publishers’ expectations, I’d probably paralyze myself and not be able to write anything.”

“What I do in my thrillers is to try and tell a story with characters you care about. A thriller can’t be just plot or just characters, it has to be a combination of both. I could concoct a really great plot but if I put in characters readers don’t really care about, they are not going to finish the book.”

“Why waste time trying to discover the truth, when you can so easily create it?”

Writing Tip: “Don’t know the ending before you start.”

 

David Baldacci (born August 1960) published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 41 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His works of fiction include  The Camel Club, and The Innocent. Baldacci has also published six novels for younger readers.

 

David Baldacci Speaking at Book Event (20 minutes):

Baldacci’s Amazon’s page:

https://www.amazon.com/David-Baldacci/e/B000AQ0STC

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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