Brash Blog

Big Ideas and Big Names in suspense from Brash Books

Get the big ideas from the biggest names in suspense on the Brash Books blog. Here, you'll find posts by some of your favorite mystery authors sharing their views on crime fiction - along with inside stories about everything from how they wrote their bestselling thrillers to what inspires them.

You'll also hear from experts in the mystery and suspense genre, along with fans, publishing insiders, and of course, Brash Books. Posts will range from informative to controversial - but you can bet every one will be a compelling read. This is your destination to explore great crime fiction writing - past, present and future - from the authors, readers, and publishers who keep it alive.

Brash Books will publish my first novel, Double Wide, on Nov 1. I wrote the first version of it in the 1980s. What are we looking at here, more than three decades? Sounds about right.   The idea originated on a bus in Mexico. I was a young newspaper reporter looking for a good story. I was single, had vacation time coming and didn't fancy sitting on a beach in some alleged paradise. A friend who used to pitch in the AAA Mexican League described what it was like to play baseball south of the border, the wild times, the characters he'd shared the field with.   It sounded good. He gave me the name of a guy with the... more

Read More of Leo Banks: The Story Behind DOUBLE WIDE

Barb and I have always made shopping a big part of our recreation, particularly when we go off on a day trip to the Chicago suburbs or Des Moines. I now realize – looking back on the book-, record- and video stores I have frequented – that we experienced a kind of Golden Age of shopping. It says something that my favorite shop of all time was a laser disc outlet. I would spend about three hours there. On Father's Day, we celebrated "my day" and Barb’s birthday with a Des Moines trip – actually, we mostly go to Clive. There’s a fine Half-Price Books on offer – the place where all my enthusiasms have gone to die – and a big, well-stocked Barnes & Noble. I shop at Barnes... more

Read More of Max Allan Collins: Support Your Local Bookseller…And Amazon, Too.

HBO/Cinemax has officially cancelled the Quarry series, but this comes as no surprise. A shake-up at the network, as well as a conflict between the star (who is committed to another series pilot) and the director of all eight episodes, spelled it out long ago. What’s most disappointing to me is that my script for season two will not be produced, and I was really happy with it. We had thought some other network might pick the show up, but that now seems unlikely. I am happy to have had a quality show that gave my Quarry books a higher profile. My hitman has now generated an award-winning short film, a festival-winning feature, and now a first-rate series, and my writing was a part of... more

Read More of Max Allan Collins: A Cancellation and a Nomination

As some of you may have heard by now, earlier this year I was diagnosed with stage III prostate cancer. I began hormone treatment seven weeks ago, and a week from tomorrow I will undergo a high dose brachytherapy (internal radiation) procedure at the University of Virginia Emily Couric Cancer Center followed by five weeks of external beam radiation. I'm told my prognosis is good. While the tumor is aggressive and locally advanced, scans have revealed no evidence of metastatic disease, and the cancer at this stage is apparently curable. I'm also feeling well physically; I continue to work and since the onset of my treatment have mostly been able to go about my daily routine. How cancer... more

Read More of Andy Straka: On Cancer, Vulnerability and Action Heroes

According to Otto Penzler, the Grand Master Speaketh too long, actually, in accepting his “Edgar” at the banquet last Thursday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. I told Otto that maybe I should have dropped the thank you that I gave him for publishing the Mike Hammer short story collection recently. The banquet found me dressed in my James Bond Halloween costume. I was in great company – not only my wife Barb, but my agent Dominick Abel, Barbara Allan’s editor Michaela Hamilton (whose guests we were), Lee Goldberg and Joel Goldman of Brash Books, and Charles Ardai of Hard Case Crime, among others. We had ringside seats, and were right there to helplessly watch M.C. Jeffrey... more

Read More of Max Allan Collins: The Grandmaster Speaketh

Patrick E. McLean is the author of the novella The Lucky Dime, out now, and the novel The Soak, coming in May, both featuring a professional thief named Hobbs. Publishers Weekly raved in their review of The Soak that "Richard Stark fans will relish heistmeister Hobbs, an older Parker in everything but name." In this essay, Patrick discusses why he loves to write and read heist novels. The first part of the answer is I obviously like writing non-heroic or actively anti-heroic characters. It’s a bit difficult to make that sympathetic with a serial killer, but a thief/criminal mastermind is easier to pull off. Deep down, I guess I’ve always loved those kind of stories. And,... more

Read More of Patrick E. McLean: The Lure of the Heist