02 October 2023

Detection at the Opera

Given that crime plays such a big part in opera, it is surprising how few detectives show up on the stage. Surely this is in part historical, most operas being composed before the golden age of detective fiction. The many murders, assassinations and betrayals of the genre tend to be handled by private revenge, royal or judicial fiat, or even, as in Lohengrin, by trial by combat.

Though Oedipus of Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex, and Hamlet of Ambroise Thomas's opera of the same name, are exceptions, both based on ancient, even mythic sources. In operas dealing with what were contemporary settings or events, the investigator is hard to find.

So it was with great interest that I noticed a revival of Umberto Giordano's 1898

Fedora, an opera, not about the hat, itself beloved in detective fiction, but a Russian Countess, who tries her hand at detection. The libretto was based on an 1882 play by Victorien Sardou– a drama that opened just four years after the birth of Sherlock Holmes.

Rich, beautiful, fascinating, and impulsive, Fedora is splendidly embodied by Sonya Yoncheva in the Metropolitan Opera's recent production. A fine singer, an excellent actor, and a great beauty, Yoncheva is as close to an ideal Fedora as one is likely to get.

This is important, as Countess Fedora holds central stage in each of the three acts, and without a virtuoso voice and a charismatic presence, the wild melodrama of the opera would be impossible to sustain. The Met's promotions promised romantic passion wrapped around a mystery and proved to be a rare instance of genuine truth in advertising.

Both the romantic passion and the mystery are propelled by the countess. She is much in love with her fiance, one Count Vladimiro, and the opera opens on her first visit to his home. She has barely arrived when the Count, badly wounded, is rushed inside by his coachman and servants. He's been fatally shot. Police are summoned, servants questioned, and a neighbor, Loris Ipanoff, becomes the prime suspect. Motive, unknown, but Nihilist terror is one theory.

When the police fail to apprehend Ipanoff, the grief-stricken and impatient Fedora swears vengeance. Dismissing the efforts of the crime squad, she sets out to find him and gain proof of his guilt. This will be a plot line familiar to many contemporary readers, but I suspect was something of a novelty at the time of the opera's debut performance.

In the second act, Fedora is in Paris along with the suspect, a susceptible romantic who has fallen in love with her, a sentiment Fedora welcomes in two ways. She hopes to use his affection to secure his confession, but she is not entirely immune to Loris Ipanoff's charm, especially when embodied in as handsome a tenor as Piotr Beczala.

At a lavish party in her Parisian residence, Ipanoff at last admits to the shooting, but claims that it was not murder and that he has proof of his real innocence. Fedora demands the evidence, and he promises to present it after the party.

So far, I think Miss Marple, if not Sherlock Holmes, would approve. Fedora has pursued the case with ruthless devotion and a fair bit of dexterity. However, she makes a grievious amateur mistake: she jumps to conclusions and informs the Russian authorities of Ipanoff's confession before seeing his exculpatory evidence.

When he arrives, Ipanoff presents a dramatically different version of the fatal event, and he has a letter from the philandering Count to prove his case. Admitting she was wrong, the Countess confesses her real feelings for Ipanoff, but it is already too late. A tragic ending is ensured and appears promptly in the final act of the opera.

The libretto of Fedora makes a clean sweep of the unfortunate Ipanoff's relatives and dispatches the remorseful Countess for good measure. Modern taste, of course, is kinder to investigating amateurs of both sexes. Think of Hitchcock's North by Northwest, where the female lead switches allegiance and winds up with Cary Grant, a completely understandable move.

Nineteenth century opera audiences were less forgiving, as well as passionately fond of deathbed scenes of beautiful women. The wilful and independent Fedora dies - admittedly most elegantly - restoring the 'natural' order and providing a cautionary tale for any later sopranos with a taste of sleuthing.

The Falling Men, a novel with strong mystery elements, has been issued as an ebook on Amazon Kindle. Also on kindle: The Complete Madame Selina Stories.

The Man Who Met the Elf Queen, with two other fanciful short stories and 4 illustrations, is available from Apple Books

The Dictator's Double, 3 short mysteries and 4 illustrations is available.

01 October 2023

Banned in Florida

Prohibition Peepers cover
Gorgeous cover!

A new Michael Bracken anthology has just launched, Prohibition Peepers. In coming weeks, I intend to blab incessantly about it.

My story, ‘Dime Detective’, features a slightly atypical private detective in the final days of 1932. After the civilization had been drawn into WW-I (1914-1918), North Americans were hit with the Spanish Flu pandemic (1918-1920). Morals activists turned the temperance movement into a national forced abstinence mandate, resulting in the Volstead Act and 18th Amendment, banning drinkable alcohol.

God wasn’t finished with America. The Great Depression set in (1929-1939), overlapping Prohibition (1920-1933), the Dustbowl (1931-1940), and the build-up to WW-II (1939-1945). Those twenty-five years (1914-1939) leading up to the Second World War were rough, but in some ways, the 1930s remains one of my favorite eras.

Sparked in the 1920s, musical creativity exploded in the following decade with the swing era, the landscape of the big bands. That music sticks with us today, works such as Louis Prima’s ‘Sing! Sing! Sing!’ (1936), famously covered by Benny Goodman (1937) with Gene Krupa and Harry James. Japanese love that piece. Few people today know Glenn Miller’s famous ‘In the Mood’ (1939) originally began life as ‘Tar Paper Stomp’ (1930) by Wingy Manone, which spawned numerous spin-offs. Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, the Dorsey brothers, and Cab Calloway, not to mention wah-wah specialist Clyde McCoy. What an era!

Mechanical beauty: The late 1920s and 1930s saw some of the most beautiful motorcars ever built. Packard, Bugatti, Mercedes SSK, Bentley, and the ACD group– Auburn, Cord, and Duesenberg, combined sweeping form with function.

And of course it was an era hard-boiled noire and mystery lovers revere.

Booth Tarkington

Most Famous Novelist Unknown Today

Generations X, Y, Z can’t be criticized when the most famous author of the 1920-30s, Booth Tarkington (1869-1946), descended into oblivion after his death. He is one of only four novelists to win multiple Pulitzer Prizes for Fiction (along with William Faulkner, John Updike, and Colson Whitehead). His best known work, The Magnificent Ambersons, (1918) won the 1919 Pulitzer, and was made into movies at least three times, one directed by Orson Welles.

Considered the most important author of his time with a number of works turned into films, Tarkington, along with James Whitcomb Riley, Meredith Nicholson, and George Ade, formed what has been described as an Indiana Golden Age of literature, only to fade into obscurity with the advent of WW-II.

The author created an inverse image of the infamous George Amberson Minafer in a 11-year-old boy named Penrod. His friends group is multiracial, certain to get Penrod books banned and burned in Florida schools. The choice of names was fraught: Sam, Herman, and Verman, a nickname to arouse the ire. Tarkington couldn't foresee his vision of an expanded racial universe could be tarnished by a careless, offhand choice of nicknames.

Penrod is a cross between Tom Sawyer and Dennis the Menace, who, along with his pals, might have influenced the Little Rascals / Our Gang franchise. As a book-devouring child chomping through our thin school library, I discovered the series: Penrod, Penrod and Sam, and Penrod Jashber. The first two books were mostly short stories, the third more of a novel. The latter featured him playing private detective.

Is there any wonder I thought of Penrod when Michael asked us to write a private eye story in the prohibition time frame?

In my story, Penrod Jasper (the surname comes from my grandfather) is twelve as is Sam… actually Samantha. She has a touch of my niece and I fell in love with her. She’s outspoken, trusting, fearless, and won’t back down for any reason. I’m also fond of one of my gangsters, a hulking, not-so-bright muscle named Ferd. And there’s Queenie… Discover them for yourself.

Penrod detective office frontispiece

Enscribed in Black and White

I had the opportunity to read a few stories prior to publication and one unintended factor struck me– this book will be banned in Florida. Each story I read, mine included, dealt with not merely race relations, but race and relations.

I interpret it as our small way of telling rising racial supremacists that we reject their world. Most of us want to live and love in peace and prosperity, kindness and consideration.

In future articles, I’ll be talking about the following:

  © 2023 Prohibition Peepers


30 September 2023

Crime Scene Comix Case 2023-09-022, Statue

Once again we highlight our criminally favorite cartoonist, Future Thought channel of YouTube. We love the sausage-shaped Shifty, a Minion gone bad.

Yikes! In this Crime Time episode, only one outcome is possible.

  © www.FutureThought.tv


That’s today’s crime cinema. Hope you enjoyed the show. Be sure to visit Future Thought YouTube channel.

29 September 2023

The Bachman Books - Or, Not Stephen King

Stephen King
Photo by Shane Leonard

Once upon a time, an underpaid, overworked schoolteacher from Maine wrote some books. A lot of books. He loved horror, but he also knew that might limit him. So, on horror he put one name, using another for decidedly not-horror books, with one exception. As his first published novel was a story about a teenage outcast with telekinetic powers, you can tell which type of story he liked to write.

The novel was Carrie by Stephen King. But the other books, three dystopian thrillers and a noir story about a guy who ain't givin' up his house, didn't really fit the King mold. Not when he had a major streak of successes with his first four novels: Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Stand, and The Shining. All these are not just horror classics but, in the case of The Stand and The Shining, literary masterpieces the snooty MFA-prof-having-dirty-thoughts-about-student set cannot bring themselves to acknowledge. Maybe King will have to die first for them to accept him. Except he's already rejected him, so it'd be like inducting the Sex Pistols into the Rock Hall.

But what of those other books? King originally took his mother's maiden name and the name of someone he knew and combined them into "Gus Pilsbury." Now, I have a hard enough time selling books as "Jim Winter" (a Star Trek reference only one person in 30 years ever figured out. Captains April and Pike would be so disappointed.) Stephen King is an easy-to-remember name. Gus Pilsbury makes me think of biscuits or cinnamon rolls or... Oh, look. Laura Lippman (another market-friendly name and one, like King, gracing her birth certificate) has a new one out!

King picked up on this. After Carrie and Salem's Lot, he wanted to see if he could do it again. So out went "Gus Pilsbury" and in came "Richard Bachman," complete with a fake bio and a picture of one of his editors as the author photo. King even listed a religion for Bachman. (Rooster worship, for the curious.) As Bachman, King had four books in the trunk. Actually, he had five, but he wasn't happy with one until he took it out in the 2010s. What were they?

Rage - Inside the mind of a mass shooter. When King wrote this, he was a schoolteacher and one not that far removed from the high school angst and anger that power this story. Also, mass shootings were rare. Then came Columbine. The shooters admitted in their journals they took inspiration from this story. So King decided to kill his own novel. But how is it as a novel? Meh. There are little King flourishes in it. His catch phrase, "friends and neighbors," shows up. But it's a lurid trip into the mind of a teenager who loses it with fatal consequences. You can still get it in older copies of The Bachman Books, but otherwise, no recent reprintings. It will probably stay that way for decades to come.

The Long Walk - King embraces his inner Ray Bradbury, then gets dark. Really dark. Every year, a select group of teenage boys participate in the Long Walk, starting at the US-Canadian border and following US 1. In theory, they could make it all the way to Key West, but no one can stay awake that long. Why do they do it? The Prize. In a gambit King will repeat in The Running Man, the boys risk getting shot in order to get the Prize, implied to be more money than God has and never having to worry about food, housing, health care. It's a sham run by a militaristic figure called "the Major." The America depicted in it could be taken straight from The Handmaid's Tale. As a non-horror novelist, King is finally finding his groove.

Road Work - Probably my least favorite of the Bachman books, but I understand where it comes from. King wrote this as his mother was dying. A single mom who had to keep as much of her struggle from her kids as possible, she was the center of his universe, at least until he met Tabitha Spruce, aka Tabitha King these days. The novel is a bitter, angry story about a man who resent eminent domain long before it was abused to put in shopping malls and overpriced housing. In this case, a fictional Midwestern city is adding a bypass which will go through where his job and his house both sit. Rather than move and take the money, he sits on his hands and ignores the warnings. He loses his job and his wife, and it doesn't end well when the construction crews finally show up. 

The Running Man - Probably the best known Bachman book. Soon after King was unmasked as Bachman, he sold the film rights. It became an Arnold Schwarzenegger action romp. King wasn't happy with the movie, but both are fun dystopian stories. In the book, Killian is a black man who is a grinning, sleazy figure arranging for the poor to participate in fatal gameshows to keep the masses entertained. Had they followed the book, one might picture Laurence Fishburne channeling his inner Marvel villain in the part. In the movie, Killian is the host, played by Richard Dawson of Family Feud fame. In both, Ben Richards kills him off, only more directly in the movie. While it has the dark dystopian themes of the earlier Bachman books, it's probably the most fun to read.

Thinner - Really, a thinly disguised Stephen King book, and the one that unmasked him. Billy Halleck runs over an old Romani woman and is cursed by her son to grow ever thinner. At first, this is great for the overweight Halleck, but soon, he starts resembling a concentration camp survivor. This hasn't aged well, but is the novel which blew his cover. While the references to Gypsies and their culture have not aged well, there's no mistaking Portsmouth, NH is really Derry. It reads and looks like a King book. Yet sales of the book suggest the next Bachman book scheduled, Misery, would have broken through and put "Bachman" on the bestseller list. Instead, King got an inspiration for The Dark Half.

The Regulators - King's not even trying to hide it now, especially since the four-volume Bachman Books collection had been out for years. It's a sequel to Desperation, which is not my favorite King novel. There's a meta-story here where Bachman, whose bio now says he died of cancer in 1987, wrote the sequel without meeting King or reading Desperation. It doesn't really work, and King puts Bachman to bed for close to two decades.

Blaze - King calls this a trunk novel. It isn't even dystopian, nor is it a thinly disguised King novel. When Stephen King did not know what kind of writer he wanted to be, he penned this noir novel about a slow-witted, brutal man nicknamed Blaze. Blaze does some horrible, evil things, yet he isn't evil. He is a victim of circumstances. Ironically, King had even less faith in this story than he did Carrie, but once he dug it out, he rewrote it in American Typewriter font to recreate the vibe he had when he wrote the original. It's probably the best of the six books, but maybe because he wrote it with an innocence one eventually loses writing over time.

28 September 2023

The Art of Misdirection

Mention red herrings in mysteries, and one's mind turns naturally to Agatha Christie, she of the artful misdirection, the nasty suspects, and the unexpectedly important clues. But Kate Morton's new Homecoming, provides worthy competition and adds two interesting twists to the old formula.

For one thing, there are no obvious villains. For another, all the victims are genuinely, a reversal of the common pattern, most felicitiously summarized in one of my favorite mystery titles, Nobody's Sorry He's Dead. In Homecoming, by contrast, everyone is sorry and so they should be.

But what of suspects? Here again Homecoming has some surprises. The venue is a small town in the Adelaide Hills of Australia in the late 50's. Everyone knows everyone and most are on good terms, while those closest to the victims are almost uniformly decent, public spirited, generous, and kindly natured. Little joy there for the unfortunate detectives. 

The case, concerning a mother and three of her children found dead after a picnic and a fourth child, a weeks old infant, missing, not only proves impossible to solve but becomes a famous true crime novel, a bestseller in both Australia and in the States, home to its author, Daniel Miller. Like the rest of the characters, he is a decent fellow, a careful researcher, an empathetic interviewer, and altogether an ethical journalist.


And here is the other clever touch, his book becomes a trusted source for one of the key protagonists in Homecoming, Jess Turner-Bridges, the grand daughter of Nora, who is the sister-in-law and aunt of the victims. In 2018, when the much loved Nora takes a serious fall and winds up in grave condition in the hospital, Jess returns to Sydney from London where she has been working as a journalist.

Nora's fall soon triggers Jess's investigative instincts, because it occurred on the dangerous attic stairs, long forbidden to the household. Why had Nora, well into her eighties, risked those stairs? And was there any connection to what one of her carers describes as an upsetting letter from South Australia, location of the small town where the famous case occurred fifty-nine years earlier?

Inveterate readers of mysteries will know that Jess's questions will eventually lead to at least a partial solution of the case, but the unraveling entails a complex narrative skillfully done. Events of the 50's are relayed by our omniscient narrator, while we have Jess's perspective on contemporary 2018 events in London and Sydney. 

We also have old documents and newspaper reports and most importantly, Daniel Miller's book, As If They Were Asleep, which is Jess's bible for most of her investigation. Chunks of Miller's narrative form a counterpoint to her personal life, her memories of her grandmother and of Polly, her absent mother, who has a complicated life story of her own. 

Throughout the book, the consequences of romantic disappointments, bad advice, and a desperate longing for children confirm the notion that domestic life can have as high stakes as any thriller. Homecoming delivers a good story while showing that there are still new ways to outwit the reader and to keep mysteries mysterious.

27 September 2023

DAHAAD ("Roar")

In my continuing quest for something consistently watchable (and knowing full well that Season Two of Bosch: Legacy is coming back in October), I happened across the web-based series Dahaad, and it’s a keeper.  The title translates as “Roar,” in Hindi, and the show itself might be described as Bollywood noir.  This is not to damn it with faint praise.

For openers, the Indian film industry is the biggest in the world; “Bollywood” refers more particularly to the subset of Hindi cinema, and as a pejorative, to the happy-sappy musical features and romances (masala movies) that have historically been tentpole successes for the major studios.  There’s more diversity than these labels suggest.

Dahaad begins with the customary product awareness warning, but instead of assuring us no animals were hurt, it tells us we might get hurt feelings.  There is, for example, Hindu-Muslim violence; there’s caste discrimination; the police and body politic are corrupt; brutality against women is a commonplace.  There’s even sex – discreet, by American standards, but the fact that it’s there at all is probably grounds for pearl-clutching.  In fact, my guess is that Dahaad has something to offend everybody.

The basics.  It’s a police procedural.  They’re trying to chase down a guy who preys on women.  A serial.  So far, so good.  You’re thinking you’ve seen it before.  But not exactly.  The thing that drew me in is that the crimes – the opportunity, the M.O., and the baseline, what makes the victims victims – is generated by the culture.  It’s in no way separate, or free-floating.  The brutalization of these women, as we might say of all women, is socialized.

This is of course not peculiar to Indian society, or to Hindu social practices specifically, but in this case, the women have been led to believe they’re of no value, if they haven’t married by a certain age.  The bait is a love match, an escape from convention, deceit masquerading as rescue.  They elope, and abandon their families – the families return the favor, their daughters having shamed them – and when the women later turn up dead, suicides, who will claim them?  They’re nobodies twice over.

So the first hurdle in the story is even realizing there’s been a crime, then the realization that there have been dozens of murders, over a period of years, and lastly to understand that it’s a pattern, that they’re dealing with a hidden, methodical psychopath. 

Other pressures and prejudices interfere with an effective pursuit.  Predictably, the chain of command is influenced by politics and religion, not to mention nepotism, bribery, class, and clan.  The investigating officer is a woman, still single in her early 30’s, and of a lower caste, so she’s unclean.  All the minor aggravations and humiliations obtain.  But she keeps plugging away.

You know early on who the guy is, and so do they, about halfway through.  But they can’t pin it on him.  One of the sidelights is that the series is really procedural.  The storyline doesn’t get wrapped up all that neatly; it plods, a bit.  The cops get frustrated.

You have to give it two episodes, at least (out of eight, total), to get used to the rhythm.  It’s in Hindi, or a choice of language soundtracks, subtitled in English.  The subject matter is definitely creepy.  These things mitigate against.  I, on the other hand, think the positives reward attention.  The two lead cops, and the bad guy, held me all the way.  The heroine, Sonakshi Sinha, is well-known as an actress – if not to me – and exceedingly glam, from her stills in previous parts.  She definitely mutes it, in this show.

There’s one scene I thought was gratuitous, or even cruel.  The cop’s mom keeps bugging her to settle into marriage, and tries to set her up with potential suitables.  Finally, the daughter blows up at her, and deals out crime scene photographs of the dead women.  This is what happens, the cop tells her mother, to desperate people, because they’ve been led to believe they have no value, and they grasp at straws.  This is what happens.  They’re found dead.  Do you understand how a mother like you made them victims?

Of course I’m not a Hindu woman of marriageable age, and I felt the scene was preachy and hurtful.  But when I thought it through, it occurred to me that there might be quite a few young Hindu women who’d watch that scene and pump their fists, and shout out loud, You go, girl!

Dahaad is about being heard.

26 September 2023

Be Careful What You Wish For

Hanging out at
Bouchercon San Diego.
I swore I would never edit an anthology of “crime fiction inspired by the songs of —.” That’s Josh Pachter’s lane. He’s created several excellent anthologies with this premise, and I’ve contributed to four of them: Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Buffet, Billy Joel, and the Beatles. Other editors have also ventured into this lane, and I’ve contributed to some of them, as well: an Alec Cizak anthology inspired by the songs of Waylon Jennings and a Sandra Murphy anthology inspired by songs of the 1960s. I’ve also been invited to two more inspired-by anthologies I’ll name later if my stories get accepted.

But last Wednesday (September 20), while driving home from an out-of-town dinner with Temple, I thought of Aerosmith’s song “Janie’s Got a Gun” and knew it would make a great anthology title. When I returned home, I did a quick search on Amazon and Google to see if anyone had done an anthology of crime fiction inspired by the songs of Aerosmith.

I couldn’t find any.

So, at 8:51 Wednesday night, I posted this on Facebook and X-Twitter:

Has anyone produced an anthology of crime fiction inspired by the songs of Aerosmith? “Janie's Got a Gun” would be a great title. You a publisher? Hit me up, maybe we can do this.
I expected a few people to say, yeah, that would be cool.

Instead, the post blew up on Facebook. By the time I shut down for bed at 10:22, I had a publisher and several potential contributors. When I awoke Thursday morning, I had more potential contributors than the anthology could possibly accommodate.

By Saturday morning, after swapping a handful of emails with the publisher—overall word count, number of stories, deadline for submission, potential release date, etc.—we had a handshake deal. I wrote contributor guidelines and sent the information to all the interested writers.

A few dropped out after seeing the guidelines and the due date for delivering stories to me, leaving sixteen writers to fill sixteen slots. By Sunday afternoon, every slot had been filled. About half the contributors are writers with whom I have previously worked, many of the rest are writers I am familiar with in one way or another, and a few are new to me.

Putting this project together ran contrary to my established process. I usually have a plan, and I stick to the plan. This came together unexpectedly and quickly, and it’ll be interesting to see how well the anthology turns out.

So, look for Janie’s Got a Gun: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Aerosmith on November 8, 2024, the anniversary of the song’s release.


Though I have written and edited nonfiction and have written fiction in multiple genres, writing and editing short crime fiction has become my raison d’ĂȘtre.

For much of the last year, Temple and I have been exploring ways to give back to the community of short crime-fiction writers. We considered everything from scholarships to new-writer awards, and each time we ran up against potential barriers, among them: Who would manage these? Who would ensure the scholarships or awards were presented appropriately? And how does presenting something once a year to a single writer each time benefit the community as a whole?

We had no answers.

Then, Stacy Woodson entered the conversation. Temple could not attend the Edgar Awards with me this year, so Stacy became both my guest at Edgar-related events and my guide, getting me from New York to North Bethesda for Malice Domestic, and we spent a fair bit of time discussing what Temple and I were hoping to do.

The upshot from all our conversations was that one of the best ways to recognize and advance short crime fiction and its writers is by increasing publishing opportunities. What many writers want most is to be published. What many writers want second most is to be paid.

Over the following months, we brainstormed various ways to make this happen. Starting a magazine or a publishing company from scratch, while a beautiful dream, seemed impractical. I have years of experience on the editorial side, Stacy has experience with logistics, and Temple has organizational skills, but all of us lack experience in the business side of publishing.

As a small start to increasing opportunities for writers, Stacy and I developed two anthology concepts. I have edited or co-edited several projects for Down & Out, and I have co-edited one for Level Best (Murder, Neat: A SleuthSayers Anthology, coedited with Barb Goffman, due out in 2024). So, we pitched one anthology to each publisher, and both anthologies were greenlit.

Then came Bouchercon San Diego.

Remember the advice I gave earlier this month in “Make Time for Meet-Ups”? Well, Stacy, Temple, and I met-up with many people during the convention, including Shawn Reilly Simmons of Level Best Books. Stacy spent much more time with Shawn then we did, and she organized a post-Bouchercon Zoom call where we discussed, among many other topics, how Stacy and I could work with Level Best to create more markets for short crime fiction.

The upshot? Stacy and I now have an agreement to produce several anthologies for Level Short, the new anthology imprint from Level Best Books. See the press release for more details.

Giving back by creating opportunities—that’s one of the best ways to support the community.

The extra workload is also a reminder to be careful what you wish for. You might get it!

“Neighbor Boy” appears in
Unnerving Magazine 18.

Queer Bait (Book 2 of the Men in Love and Lust series) was released by Deep Desires Press.

Prohibition Peepers: Private Eyes During the Noble Experiment was released yesterday by Down & Out Books. Contributors include Susanna Calkins, David Dean, Jim Doherty, John M. Floyd, Nils Gilbertson, Richard Helms, Hugh Lessig, Steve Liskow, Leigh Lundin, Adam Meyer, Penny Mickelbury, Joseph S. Walker, and Stacy Woodson.