Charlie's Books

Charlie's Books
Buon Giorno, Amici!

Our motto ...

Leave the (political) party. Take the cannoli.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Right now 6 Stella crime novels are available on Kindle for just $.99 ... Eddie's World has been reprinted and is also available from Stark House Press (Gat Books).

Friday, January 18, 2013

Quintan Lawman, MFA Graduate … DRL (again) ... Book reviews: Townie ... and Rîmaru: The Butcher of Burcharest … Noir Bar in New York event ... More Glib than Profound …

The short story below is a wonderful piece Quinton wrote while in prison (Star Island) last summer; a rewrite of Genesis in third person, which he says was a lot of fun. Quinton also has started a blog: Q Continuously

Quinton’s thesis is tentatively titled War Puppets. The book takes current events, along with human behavior, and magnifies them. By the time he’s done with the story (at least two more books), he hopes to have an explanation in place as to why so many morons seem to sit on seats of power … how is it we can repeatedly fail to learn from history, and why we have so hard a time with this whole "global society" thing.

Here’s the short Star (Shutter) Island piece Quinton wrote last summer.

Your God

You think this is easy? You think you can just snap your fingers and create Heaven and Earth? Well, if you’re God, you can. You flip the switch, and you get light—good to go. The explosion is awesome, and makes one hell of a bang.

There still isn't much to look at, so you make both night and day by spinning the blue planet hanging in the third slot. Sometimes it faces the sun, and sometimes it doesn’t.

You want more? What are you going to do about it? Right now, you’ve got a spinning ball of water flying through space. Sure, you could create some underwater plants and coral, but what else? You need some land. No problem. You pull, drawing up a massive continent from beneath the water. It’s heavy, but it gives you what you need: another environment in which to create. Not too shabby.

You go on a gardening kick, creating grass, herbs, fruits, and all that good stuff. These change, growing and waning with the seasons you’ve created by making the planets orbit the Sun.

You’re particularly proud of the Sun, but you also like the Moon. You made it orbit the Earth as a little accent piece, like planetary jewelry, to light up the night a little. Earth, by the way, is what you call this third planet. You’re quite pleased with yourself, oh great creator of things.

As you measure them, you’re about four days into creation now, but still bored. So you throw some life into the mix. You think it’s easy to just pop creatures with brains into being? You think wiring a neural network together to form thought is a cake-walk? Again, you’re God. Creating things is kind of your bag. Snap your fingers, and you’ve got birds, fish, and even a few sea mammals. Pretty slick, huh?

You watch this all for a day, really enjoying it. You're not really sure where you came up with the idea of "days" to measure time because you live in all times and all places. You shrug, not worrying about it because you've got an idea brewing in your head.

Day five brings back the boredom. So far, your creations have multiplied, mutated, and grown—and that’s great. Hell, you even smack them with a meteor once just to see what happens. Poor bastards.

This fifth day, however, is special. It’s this day you figure out the ultimate in reality entertainment—humans. You make them interesting, capable of conniving, loving, and fighting. You give them paradise, but you also give them free will. You rub your hands together maniacally as you consider the possibilities.

For fun, you make these humans look a little like you. They’re smaller, and a whole lot less omniscient, but you’re particularly proud of the free will thing. You bless them and send them on their way, warning them of bad apples.

Congrats to Quinton!

Quick follow-up on D.R.L. (lasts week’s graduate profile) ... Darren has a wonderful blog called Thought Vomit (highly recommended reading)  ... and this series of posts ) is flat out terrific.

Townie Andrew Dubus III … a recommended reading from two of the faculty at Southern New Hampshire University (Ben Nugent & Diane Les Becquets), the son of the great master of the short story permits a look into his troubled upbringing. Specifically, the lack of a father’s guidance, continuously moving from one tough neighborhood to another from a lack of funds, dealing with his initial fear of violence and later conquering it, only to find a need to suppress the anger and urge to violence that ensues. While I was mostly interested in the author’s relationship with his father (which is perhaps why it was suggested reading for me—my thesis deals with father-son issues), much of how he (the author) dealt with his demon’s were too close to home; perhaps a sense of been there, done that. Ultimately, the author’s life experiences, especially those without so many of the distractions many of us consider necessities, was what won this reader over. At one point, he was literally clueless about a baseball game when he first attended one with a friend. He also learned construction the old fashioned way and worked hard to support himself doing odd jobs (learning as he went). How he first fell in love with an Iranian woman and didn’t recognize her love for him was intriguing. By Part III, Townie resonated well, not because of the violence the author had to experience, but because of the father-son relationship, and all of the author’s internal conflicts; conflicts that perhaps made better sense of his world and his place in it.

Get Townie here ... 

Rîmaru - Butcher of Bucharest … Ion Rîmaru was a Romania serial killer from May of 1970 to May of 1971. The book from Pro Fusion Crime, by Mike Phillips, Stejarel Olaru, Ramona Mitrica (editor) is a well documented tale of not only the killer, his family, and the victims, it also serves as a condemnation of the aftereffects of years of communist rule, whereby citizens were so suspect of authorities, those who admittedly overheard the screams of several of Rîmaru’s victims (since most were attacked in populated buildings/areas), they did nothing. The authors give a detailed historical look at the indifference of those citizens, including actual interviews with a few who heard and/or saw some of Rîmaru’s attacks taking place.

The book might be more intriguing to fans of true crime and/or serial killers, but it did remind me of the horrific murder of Kitty Genovese and how our citizens (in a free society) didn’t bother getting involved.

As for police corruption … the list is too long to document, but the rise of organized crime within the various immigrant neighborhoods of big cities was a direct result of people not trusting the authorities here in America. As for institutionalized corruption, it is more than well-documented throughout American history.

Rimaru - Butcher of Bucharest is a fine glimpse into the mind of a notorious serial killer and an intriguing read. It’s great to see an Eastern European publisher of crime make it here. Definitely recommended reading for those with that special interest in psychopathic behavior.

Get Rimaru - Butcher of Bucharest here ... 

 Noir Bar in the City … Todd (Big Daddy) Robinson has a debut novel, The Hard Bounce, with Tyrus books. Todd will be reading along with some other big time names in the crime fiction world at the Shade Bar, 241 Sullivan Street (Corner of W 3rd) 6pm on Sunday, January 27, 2013. Those big name readers include, SJ Rozan, Matthew McBride, Hilary Davidson, Reed Farrel Coleman, Seamus Scanlon, Kathleen Gernert Ryan, Thomas Pluck, Justin Porter, Albert Tucher, and Terrence McCauley.

I still wear the 4X Thug Lit t-shirt Todd sent me a few years back at least once a week … it’s a beautiful thing … even on me.

 More Glib than Profoundformer high school football mate (we played next to each other on the offensive line one year), Steve Edelblum, writes one of the funniest and informative blogs around these days … after many years of not seeing one another, I met him while with wife #3 in Atlantic City. He was dealing craps and I was throwing money away (one of my last ever gambling fiascos). Then we met again and we shared a few walks along the Point Pleasant boardwalk (post wife #3). Through emails and yapping, I could tell Steve had/has an undeniable gift–writing. Check him out and see what I mean. Balls out funny and always informative.

We used to walk the Boardwalk in Point Pleasant back in the day ... what a pair of nerds.


 I’ve been giving some wake-up FB shout-outs to my fellow SNHU 4th semesterites this week ... if the ugly one has to get up at 3:15 a.m. to work on his thesis, so (theoretically) do my compatriots ... here’s three of the wake-ups. Yes, I can be one annoying MF’er ...

Manhattan Transfer ... Java Jive

The Andrew Sisters ... Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy


And Wham ... Wake me up before you Go Go