Oct 022013
 
Paperback 703: Pyramid G411 (PBO, 1959)

Title: Honey in the Flesh
Author: G. G. Fickling
Cover artist: Harry Schaare

Yours for: Must keep, if only for back cover

PyrG411

Best things about this cover:
  • I'm finding her cleavage both sexy and distracting. It's great if you don't think too much, but there's something proportionally and positionally off about her (mostly not visible) left breast. Like it's high and up and in. I actually love her dress and wish I could see more of it. And of course the gun is the perfect accessory.
  • Hurray for female private eyes, of whom there were (pre-1980s) far, far too few.
  • "The bodies beautiful" must be referencing some concept that had currency once that I don't know about. I feel like I've heard of "the body beautiful set" before, but that may be from some other, cheesier paperback that I own. That's a very romance-language construction (noun adjective). English doesn't normally ... do that.

PyrG411bc
[Click to see full size]

Best things about this back cover:
  • Straight-up Hall-of-Fame back cover concept. You know how dull these things can be. But this? Visually arresting and also kind of hilarious (I mean the "Age" and "Physical Description" parts, not the dead parents part). 
  • Not the best insurance application "photo" I've ever seen. Or maybe it is, as I don't think I've ever seen one.
  • God bless a book with a clear cover artist credit. 
  • Honey West and Mark Storm, your News 5 Weather Team.

Page 123~
"I've read about guys like you."
"Oh?"
"They get their kicks by squeezing two things at the same time."
"I don't follow you, Honey."
"The second squeeze is on the trigger."
"What trigger?"
"The one you've got buried in my ribs."
"What?"
Eventually, Godot shows up.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]
Aug 202013
 


They’re at it again: bookstores have dropped the eBook price of Marcia Clark’s sensational legal thriller to just $2.99.

Guilt by Association is the first book to feature Los Angeles District Attorney Rachel Knight, and if you haven’t met this force of nature, you’re in for a treat. Download it now:

Google Play | iBookstore | Kindle | Kobo | Nook | Sony

Aug 072013
 
Paperback 680: Dell 338 (1st ptg, 1949)

Title: The Lady Regrets
Author: James M. Fox
Cover artist: Uncredited

Yours for: $11

Dell338

Best things about this cover:

  • Unexpected dog attack! I imagine these are actors on a movie set and the dog has *nothing* to do with the picture. Which would explain ... everything.
  • The rarely seen Male Fear Hand!
  • Her boobs are upset that they have been so dramatically upstaged.
  • This cover has done the impossible, which is to offer me bondage and have me barely even notice said bondage. Angry dog trumps all.
  • That dog is highly opposed to the copping of feels.
  • "Black Room Murder" sounds made-up. If you google it (in quotes) you get several references to this book.


Dell338bc

Best things about this back cover:

  • Los Angeles!
  • Possibly the most satellite-like Mapback I've ever seen. It's just ... lines. I (still) love it.
  • "A Grim Game of Find-The-Girl" = awesome description of half of all hard-boiled crime stories.


Page 123~

"So now you know, Jackson," I said, stepping on the cigarette butt to kill it.

If I focus on just this sentence, I can persuasively argue that this book is exceedingly well written.

~RP

[Follow Rex Parker on Twitter and Tumblr]
Jun 112013
 


Perfect summer reading for the price of an ice cream cone (ok, maybe an ice cream cone with sprinkles): Guilt by Association, the first book in Marcia Clark’s legal thriller series, is currently priced at $2.99 (eBook only).

Buy it now from iBookstore | Kindle | Kobo | Nook | Sony

Killer Ambition, the third book in the series and “the best yet" (Publishers Weekly) goes on sale next Tuesday the 18th.

May 162013
 
“If you’ve stood in MacArthur Park surrounded by an evangelist reciting scripture through a megaphone, eaten in a pupuseria with plastic floral tablecloths covering its tables or spent a day at a weathered miniature golf/arcade fun zone in the suburbs, you will recognize Lange’s Los Angeles.”

-

Jigsaw Magazine interviews Richard Lange, author of the newly released thriller Angel Baby.

So based on this characterization, how many of you recognize Lange’s LA?

May 072012
 

Tomorrow marks the publication date of Marcia Clark’s second Rachel Knight novel GUILT BY DEGREES. Celebrate with a tour of Rachel Knight’s Los Angeles as depicted in the novel that CNN recently proclaimed a “a fast-paced story” that “crackles with authenticity,” and the Financial Times called a “blade-sharp read.”

The Biltmore: Rachel Knight’s home: “A grand historical landmark in the heart of downtown L.A. I’d been lucky enough to score a sweet deal as a long-term resident after getting a sentence of life without parole for the murderer of the CEO’s wife. Recently, the CEO had upgraded me to a suite with two bedrooms, claiming it wasn’t getting much use anyway. I’d been a little reluctant to be on the receiving end of even more of his generosity. But when he continued to insist, I caved in. It did make sense that my old room, being smaller and more affordable, was easier to book.”

 

The Tar Pit: “The cozy, art deco–style restaurant and bar on La Brea had great food and  amazing drinks. Though I was kind of a purist when it came to booze, anyone who was even slightly more adventurous raved about their cocktails, like the Fashionista and the Warsaw Mule.”

 

Guido’s : “Strings of white lights hung from windows facing the small inlet of water next to the restaurant, giving it a festive holiday feel. At six o’clock the dining room wasn’t yet busy, but the small, intimate bar near the entrance was packed with regulars, some talking, some watching the basketball game on the television that hung from the ceiling. The atmosphere was relaxed and convivial, and the manager greeted us like we were his favorite cousins.”

 

Les Sisters: “Famous among those in the know for serving up some of the best Southern-style cooking this side of the Mason-Dixon Line, it would fit the bill for us in more ways than one. Aside from the killer food, the prices were reasonable, the people were great, and it was way off the beaten path, so we wouldn’t risk being seen together, which would’ve been bad for the shot-caller of a gang and not so great for a prosecutor either.”

Griffith Park: Griffith Park is a beautiful place, miles of green and home to the famous observatory as well as the Greek Theater. But what most don’t know is that it’s also a notorious body dump – as some unsuspecting hikers have had the misfortune to discover.

Rivera: ”Toni told us we owed her dinner—why, she didn’t say. But we’d been meaning to check out Rivera, a Nueva Mexicana restaurant downtown that was supposed to be the bomb, so I got us reservations. Whatever Toni thought we owed her, I figured that would settle the score.”

The Courthouse: Rachel’s home away from home: the Criminal Courts Building – now known as the Clara Shortridge Folz Justice Center. Her office is on the 18th floor, giving her a great view of downtown LA.

Marcia Clark is a former LA, California deputy district attorney, who was the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case. She wrote a bestselling nonfiction book about the trial, Without a Doubt, the national bestselling thriller GUILT BY ASSOCIATION introducing DA Rachel Knight, and is a frequent media commentator and columnist on legal issues. She lives in Los Angeles.

 

Mar 252012
 
James Scott Bell
Twitter.com/jamesscottbell


Today, through the wonder of digital publishing, Iam announcing the re-birth of my first series character. City of Angels, Book 1 in the Trials of Kit Shannon series, is nowavailable for an introductory price of $2.99 on both Kindle and Nook.


Let me give you the background.


I was writing stand alone legal thrillers for theCBA (Christian Booksellers Association) market, and was trying to think of aseries idea. I noticed (it’s not hard to notice!) that the majority of readersin this market are women (even more than in the ABA market), and that the mostpopular genre of the time was “prairie romance.” This genre was set in the1800s (think Little House on the Prairie).The usual lead character was a young woman of marriageable age, pluckily usingher faith and grit to overcome challenges and find true love.

As I pondered that, it seemed to me that genre couldmove forward, historically speaking. One slice of history that has not beengiven its due is the story of my own home town, Los Angeles. It’s a great, richtapestry, fascinating and colorful. Especially when it comes to courtrooms andthe law.

So I came up with this concept: a young womancomes to turn-of-the-century Los Angeles with a determination to practice law. Itwas a perfect historical moment, rife with conflict, because at that time womenwere barely getting into the legalprofession. There was a lot of male resistance to the idea. And Los Angeles in1903 had all sorts of fascinating cross currents. It was moving from western boomlet toward urbanadolescence. There was high society and low criminality. It was then (and stillis) a city for dreamers and charlatans alike.

My idea, then, was to follow this young woman fromher arrival in L.A. through the growing pains of the city. This would mirrorher own growth and quest to practice law. I would include real, historicalfigures in the plots (e.g., William Randolph Hearst, Earl Rogers, TeddyRoosevelt, Houdini, John Barrymore).


Those are two key components for an enduring series character: setting and vocation. You need to know the nooks and crannies of your setting so it can take on the feeling of being another character in the story. And readers love to see authentic details about a character's work life.


Research, friends.  

I began to picture this woman in my mind. I wantedher to be of Irish descent, so she had some fire in her. I wanted her to haveauburn hair and green eyes. And I wanted to name her Kit Shannon.

When I could see and hear Kit,that’s when I really started getting juiced about the project. Which is another secret of an enduring series character: you, the author, have to be truly anddeeply excited about her. You ought to be thinking about her even when you're not writing. She must be someone you  haveto write about. If she’s not, that lack of zest will be evident in yourpages.

So I created a proposal and pitched it to aneditor I knew who worked at the leading publisher of prairie romances, BethanyHouse.

Well, they liked the concept. But they saw achallenge. I was a male author entering a primarily female genre. So they askedme if I would consider co-writing the series with one of their popular femaleauthors. She could, they explained, help me develop a voice for the genre andalso introduce me to a good-sized readership.

I was a bit skeptical, but they offered to fly meand the other author to their home offices for a meet-and-see.

Which is how I met the wonderful, marvelous,humorous, generous Tracie Peterson. We hit it off immediately, and I mean rightfrom the get-go. We signed a three book contract and off we went.

Tracie and I worked exceedingly well together. Webrainstormed plot ideas, then I wrote a “lean” first draft. Tracie added her“layers,” a lot of which were descriptions of the era's dress and etiquette, and more generally awoman’s point of view and voice. I then did a final going over the manuscript,cleared up any questions, and submitted to our editor. (What was nice was, bythe time the third book came out, I’d gotten the hang of the voice myself. Sowhen it came time to contract for another three books, Tracie handed the seriesover to me to do on my own).

When Bethany House showed me the cover art for City of Angels I was absolutelygobsmacked. Because the model looked exactlythe way I’d pictured her.



And when Cityof Angels came out, it hit the CBA bestseller list. Women readers told methey loved this updating of the prairie romance heroine. Which is another secretof an enduring series character: make them fresh. Give them some nuance ortrait or drive that is original, not just a repeat of what we’ve seen before. 

I did make new readers from City of Angels, including among theyounger set. In fact, Tracie and I got several letters from high school age girls whosaid Kit Shannon was inspiring to them. One wrote that the book helped her “notto be afraid of what others think if I’m sure of my calling.” Another wrotethat Kit inspired her to pursue a dream of going to law school. 

Which is why it is now my pleasure to re-introduce Kit Shannon to a new generation of readers. I hope to have the entire series out by the end of the year:



The courtrooms of 1903 Los Angeles are a man’sworld––until Kit Shannon arrives

With shoulders squared and dreams set high,Kit Shannon arrives in Los Angeles feeling a special calling to the law. Yetunder the care of her socialite aunt, Kit quickly comes to realize that fewunderstand her burning desire to seek justice and practice a profession known onlyto men. When her aunt adamantly refuses to support her unconventional careeraspirations, Kit questions whether she is truly following God's will. And whenher growing love for a man pledged to another threatens scandal, Kit knows herdays might be numbered in Los Angeles.

A chance meeting with Earl Rogers, thecity's most prominent criminal lawyer, garners Kit an apprentice position. Andwork on a notorious murder case. Someone has been killing prostitutes in LosAngeles, but Kit is certain it is not Rogers’ client. Determined to find thetruth, Kit runs full on into forces that want to stop her, forces that stretchall the way to the citadels of power in the City of Angels.

"...a great story, historical fiction pluslegal thriller in the style of John Grisham." - WorldHistoricalFiction.com

City ofAngels is a full length (90,000 word) novel at the launch price of $2.99.