Crime writer Derrick Ferguson gives Grand Central Noir a generous review over at his blog today, noting that “at its best GRAND CENTRAL NOIR evokes the feel of . . . Will Eisner stories.” Here’s what he had to say about my story:

  • “Meet Me at the Clock” by R. Narvaez is a story that’s soaked in hopelessness right from the opening paragraphs. By the time Lew Conrad got on the train I knew that this story was not going to end well for him and I was right. And “Meet Me at the Clock” is one of several stories in the anthology that gave me the distinctive impression that the actual crime-related plot isn’t all that important to the writer. R. Narvaez is much more interested in exploring this day in the life of this second rater who deserves the fate he gets at the end of the story.

You can read the entire review here. Remember, the proceeds of the charity anthology go to God’s Love We Deliver. Several authors from the anthology, including me, will be reading from their stories this Sunday, July 14, 6 p.m., at Shade Bar, 241 Sullivan Street, New York.


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Take the Train to GRAND CENTRAL NOIR

"I want to stand beneath the clock just one more time."--Mary Chapin Carpenter

“I want to stand beneath the clock just one more time.”–Mary Chapin Carpenter

I am proud to announce I have a short story in Grand Central Noir, a neat compilation of crime fiction centered in Grand Central Terminal. Compiled by the Smoking Elk of Pulp Fiction, Terrence P. McCauley, the anthology includes I.A. Watson; Charles “Salty” Salzberg and Jessica Hall; Ron “Fortissimo” Fortier; “Sassy” S.A. Solomon; moi; Amy Maurs; R.J. “Cookie” Westerhoff; J. Walt Layne; Kathleen A. Ryan; Matt “The Hammer” Hilton; W. Silas Donohue; Marcelle Thiébaux; “Jerseylicious” Jen Conley; Seamus “Wishes He Was Puerto Rican” Scanlon; and McCauley himself. There are a million “noir” anthologies out there, but what’s most important about this one is that it’s for charity: all monies go directly to God’s Love We Deliver, whose stated mission is to “improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition.” All the writers did a great job evoking the mystery of Grand Central, and, with your help, that dedication can benefit a great cause. Buy the book! But it now!

Here is an excerpt from my story, “Meet Me at the Clock”:

     Lew Conrad stared out the window and watched the feathery stuff descend onto the cars and the street and the sidewalk. Blankets. This could be bad. This could screw everything. He closed the curtains and dressed as quickly and quietly as he could in his bedroom. He didn’t want to wake his wife. They always got along better when she was asleep.
     But, with an abrupt cease of her snoring, the great and powerful Magda stirred. Without lifting her head from the pillow or opening her eyes, she said, “Want coffee?”
     Lew tied his tie right up to his neck. “No thanks,” he said. “You make me bitter enough.”
     His wife mumbled, “Suit yourself.”
     Then she went right back to sawing her way through a redwood.
     Lew put on his best Brooks Brothers business suit – a little worn at the pants cuffs but only a busybody midget would notice – and then his shoes and then rubbers over his shoes. He took his old-fashioned gray fedora off the dresser and walked out of the bedroom. As far as the wife knew he was off to an imaginary office in midtown. Let her keep dreaming. Only a nuke could get her out of bed anyway.
     In the living room, he took out a videotape box of The Godfather Trilogy. He slid out the sleeve for Part III, which he’d thrown away a long while ago, and pulled out a fat envelope containing one hundred hundred dollar bills. He put the envelope in his inside jacket pocket.
     He left the apartment building earlier than usual, and when he got outside he saw there was just one or two or maybe three inches on the ground, and so he decided, what the hell, he’d save what was left of his subway money and walk the thirty blocks to the 125th St. Metro-North Station in Harlem. How bad could it be? It was just a little snow. But the sky churned, as dark gray as a tunnel rat, and as he slogged his way uptown the snowfall grew heavier. And heavier. He slipped at a corner. And again a block later and almost lost his old hat. He really should have checked the weather. What a stupid thing to foul up.
     When he got to the station, his pants wet to his thighs, he ran up the stairs and caught the 5:50 a.m. to Scarsdale just as its doors were about to close.
     Lew felt it was only the first of many lucky breaks he was going to get that day.

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ROACHKILLER Wins 2013 Spinetingler for Best Anthology/Short Story Collection

My Spiney sense is tingling.

My Spiney sense is tingling.

I am proud and frankly pretty goddamn giddy to announce that Roachkiller and Other Stories won the 2013 Spinetingler Award in the category of Best Anthology/Short Story Collection. The book was up against some very tough competition, including Beat to a Pulp 2: Round 2edited by David Cranmer and Matthew P. Mayo; Crime Factory: Hard Labour, edited by Andrew Nette, Cameron Ashley, and Liam Jose; Lonely No More by Seymour ShubinRed Heads Die Quickly by Gil BrewerShort Stack by Icy Sedgwick, Gill Shutt, Mihaela Nicolescu and Jane Osis; Sleepwalking by Ray NaylerShotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels (Volume 1), edited by by Kent Gowran, Ron Earl Phillips, Sabrina Ogden, and Chad Rohrbacher; Shoebox Train Wreck by John Mantooth; and Ugly Behavior by Steve Rasnic Tem. It’s humbling to be in such talented company.

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Interview with Blackout City Podcast

Mark Slade of Blackout City Podcast just interviewed me for his blog.  Here is an excerpt:


RICHIE: First of all, I love Dean and I love Jerry, but I don’t love Dean and Jerry, so all those movies are out. Then, anything with a message or is that is too cute, Delicate Delinquent, for example — out. Many people love Nutty Professor, but it seems needy and cloying in that mawkish Robin Williams way. No, my favorite Lewis movie is probably my favorite because they showed it so much on TV when I was growing up: Hook, Line, and Sinker. It’s probably not his best, but his mugging doesn’t dominate, and it hints at something dark and cynical in its plot. And hey I love that last shot!

Read the entire interview here. Also: I recently read my story “Old Pendejo” for Mark’s other podcast Dark Dreams.

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Huzzah! Spinetingler Nomination!

I am very proud to announce that Roachkiller and Other Stories has been nominated for a 2013 Spinetingler Award in the category of Best Anthology/Short Story Collection. Now I need my fans—both of you—to vote for me to win. Click the big VOTE HERE on this page. On the first page, scroll all the way down and you’ll see where to start. Roachkiller is on the fourth category page. As you’ll see, I’m up against some pretty tough competition, including Beat to a Pulp 2: Round 2; Crime Factory: Hard Labour; Lonely No More by Seymour Shubin; Red Heads Die Quickly by Gil Brewer; Short Stack; Sleepwalking by Ray Nayler; Shotgun Honey Presents: Both Barrels (vol 1); Shoebox Train Wreck by John Mantooth; and Ugly Behavior by Steve Rasnic Tem. It’s intimidating and wonderful to be in such talented company. At the same time, it means I need your help! Run by Spinetingler Magazine, the Spinetingler is one of the most prestigious web-based awards for mystery fiction. They are open about the fact that one of the goals of the awards is to increase exposure for some books and authors, and that this can be a factor in nomination. Vote! Vote now!

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Out of the Gutter — and in Paperback

Mami warned me to stay out of the gutter. Too late!

The latest issue of Out of the Gutter is out in paperback, and I’ve got a story in it. It’s called “To Mistress,” and,  it may best be described as BDSM noir. It was a small idea I’d had for a while, but I was inspired to finish it after reading about the murder of Brittany Killgore, which exposed a local bondage community to unwanted attention.

Out of the Gutter 8 contains “the most popular pieces posted this year at Out of the Gutter Online, as well as the editors’ personal favorites and several brand new stories with a digital age theme, written just for this issue. With the material separated into flash fiction and longer pieces, Out of the Gutter remains the perfect companion when you’re on the go and looking for a fast, cheap thrill.”

Edited by Matthew Louis, Joe Clifford, and Court Merrigan, the issue also contains stories by: Nicola Murphy, David Corbett, Les Edgerton, Matthew C Funk, Jen Conley,  Ryan TheWalnuts Sayles, Isaac Kirkman, Mike Monson, and David James Keaton. The book is also available for Kindle.

Check out this excerpt from my story:

To Mistress
I did this for you because you would have made me do it.
      On December 5, you were found dead in your home. It was on the news, a picture of you smiling over a birthday cake. “Mom of 3 Bludgeoned to Death.” I recognized your face. “Donna Hornak.” That was your name. A pretty name, almost musical.
      Don’t worry — I will never say it out loud.
      Someone broke in and beat your skull open. Nothing was stolen. You were divorced. The police suspected your ex-husband. But he was two states away with your kids. So far there are no other suspects.
      In the kitchen last night, my wife said to me, “Manuel, you still haven’t told me where you want to go for the holidays. My mother’s on my back.”
      “Yes,” I said. “What’s wrong with you? We have to tell her soon.”
      I went to the basement, and Mayra called after me, “And we have to finish the Christmas list.”
      I locked the door, turned on the computer, and looked at pictures you took of me. Gagged. Hooded. Tied. You weren’t in any of the photographs but you held the camera.
      I waited until the wife turned the TV on before taking down my pants.

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Guest Blog @ Pulp Curry

In which I guest blog at Andrew Nette’s Pulp Curry. Nette is the author of Ghost Money, a crime novel set in Cambodia, 1996. I’ve yet to read but it awaits me on my Kindle. In my guest blog, I wax on about my entrance in the world of crime fiction. Here is an excerpt.

  • About a decade ago, I was like a lot of writers: I talked about writing but I didn’t scribble a single story. Not a sentence, not a dependent clause, not a word. Then at some point I read a notice from Mississippi Review calling for postmodern noir stories. I had no idea what the hell they meant by that, but I was intrigued by the opportunity, and also my girlfriend at the time wanted me to do something with whatever meager talent she perceived in me.
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