Rosa St. Claire at Examiner.com just named my novel White Heat one of the best fiction books of 2012, along with Megan Abbott's Dare Me, Blind Night by Michael W. Sherer, Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson, The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling and a handful of others. I'm honored to be included with these great writers. http://www.examiner.com/review/best-fiction-books-of-2012-and-new-titles-for-2013
Available on Amazon now: 51-50 -- click the title Cleaver is a cop who
just can't take it anymore. He knows he's going to step over the line, it's
just a question of when. It's the smirk that blows him away in this stripped
down psycho noir short story.
It was the smirk that
blew me away. A half grin in the eyes and mouth, mocking, laughing. Maybe at me
- maybe at the badge. They were leaning against a grimy cinder block wall under
a sooty sky. Thumbs hooked into pockets of baggy lowrider pants, fingers, long
and lean, twisting into coded signals. Eyes hollow. Eyes I don't even want to
meet in the darkest dream. Hollow men. Hollow boys. Nothing behind those eyes.
Nothing. They don't care. Don't give a damn.
It was that smirk
that blew them away.
Cops aren't supposed
to have feelings. We do a good job of hiding them. Burying them. But we're just
like everybody else. We hide them in bravado or work. We hide them in a bottle
or in "inexplicable" rages. But they're there, like the molten lava
in a volcano just waiting to burst through to the surface.
***************** Reviews of "51-50": "Hat's off Mr.
Marks - noir is your playground and you do it better than any other current
--Kat Yares, Amazon VineTM-Voice
"Writer Paul D.
Marks can get inside a character's head and walk around better than anybody.
His latest short story, 51-50, does just that…"
--G.B. Pool, author
of "The Johnny Casino Casebook 1 - Past Imperfect"
THE NEXT BIG THING: BROKEN WINDOWS (P.I. Duke Rogers
Series – Book 2)
I was tagged last
Wednesday by my friend and fellow mystery-thriller-suspense author,Dave Zeltserman for this.
What is the working title of your next book?
Broken Windows. It's
the second installment in the Duke Rogers series that started with White Heat.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
My then-agent wanted
me to do a sequel to White Heat. At that time it wasn't a series, I wanted to
do something else. But she talked me into it.
As the first book, White Heat, was set in 1992 during the time of the
Rodney King riots, I needed to set it around that time. So it's set a couple years later when
Proposition 187, which dealt with illegal immigration, was a big thing in
California. It seemed like a logical
progression, as White Heat dealt with racial issues stemming from the Rodney
King riots. That said, both novels are noir-thrillers, with some topical
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in
a movie rendition?
If Nick Nolte were
twenty years younger he'd be perfect for Jack.
For Marisol, Penelope Cruz or Salma Hayek. And for Duke Jeremy Renner.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
murder of an undocumented Mexican worker, P.I. Duke Rogers finds himself sucked
into the political turmoil of 1990s Los Angeles.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your
I don't like to
outline, so my "outlines" are generally screenplays – I write the
early draft/s in screenplay format for a variety of reasons, but one is that I
can work faster that way. I'd say the
first drafts of the ms to work out the plot and characters took about two
months and then I moved onto the prose drafts.
What other books would you compare this story to within
Some readers or critics
have compared White Heat to Elmore Leonard, Lawrence Block and Michael
Connelly. Chandler and Hammett. So I
guess you could do that for Broken Windows too since it's in the same vein and
continues Duke's and Jack's story.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
In the form of a
mystery-thriller, White Heat, the first Duke Rogers book, explores racial
tensions after the Rodney King trial verdict came in in 1992. I wanted the
sequel to deal with another topical subject that could also stand in for
today. California's 1994 Proposition 187
and the "illegal alien" controversy seemed to fit the bill for
another thriller that worked on more than simply that level and is certainly a
hot topic now.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I like to deal with
various issues in my writing. In White
Heat it was racial tensions, which are still evident today. But sometimes it helps to look at things in
the past to get perspective. In Broken
Windows it's the immigration issue. And
I hope, in both, that I tackle it from all sides. Different characters have varying opinions on
the various issues – meanwhile the roller coaster of the plot keeps moving
forward. And now the hand off to Elizabeth Barone, author of Sade on the Wall, Outlaw Love Story and others:
I'll be speaking to the Palmdale City Library's Mystery Book
Discussion Group tonight about my novel "White Heat." It's at 7 p.m. at the Larry Chimbole Cultural
Center, 38350 Sierra Highway, Palmdale, CA.
For more info, please call the Palmdale City Library at 661-267-5600.
Dark Passage (1947) with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, screened on Los Angeles station KCET over Labor Day weekend and on Turner Classics on Wednesday of this week. The screenplay, by Delmer Daves (who also directed), is based on a novel by David Goodis. This is a movie that I like to see at least once a year, both for the story and the terrific San Francisco locations, some of which you can still see today.
Vincent Parry, an innocent man, is thrown into San Quentin for the murder of his wife. For a Goodis story it has what might be considered a happy ending. And I think, in this case, the movie improves on the book. It takes what's good about the novel and fleshes it out in ways that work.
Historian and critic Geoffrey O'Brien said "[Goodis] wrote of winos and barroom piano players and smalltime thieves in a vein of tortured lyricism all his own, whose very excesses seemed uniquely appropriate to the subject matter. As his titles announce—Street of the Lost, Street of No Return, The Wounded and the Slain, Down There—he was the poet of the losers…" *
It is through the movie version of Dark Passage that I discovered Goodis many years ago. And he is now one of my favorite writers – truly the King of Noir. His stories often deal with people who were once riding high and who've fallen on hard times, to say the least.
Goodis did a stint as a Hollywood screenwriter, eventually leaving Hollywood to return to his native Philadelphia, where he led an "interesting" life to say the least. If I had to pick a favorite Goodis novel it would be Down There, upon which Truffaut's movie Shoot the Piano Player is based. And I know what I'm going to say is heretical to some, but I like the book a lot more than the movie in a lot of ways and, in fact, I don't like the movie much at all, though it's still worth watching. That said, Dark Passage, both the book and the movie are definitely worth checking out.
*Hardboiled America, Lurid Paperbacks and the Masters of Noir; Geoffrey O'Brien; Da Capo Press