Tuesday, October 31, 2006

MIAMI, Hotbed of (Literary) Crime

By Paul

I have a manuscript due on my editor's desk in New York Friday.

Check that. It's overdue. I've been graciously granted an extension until Friday. After that, the fourth "Solomon vs. Lord" novel will miss its June 2007 publication date.

So, today, I'll be brief. Just a plug for "Miami Noir" (Akashic $15.95), a short-story collection edited by Les Standiford, due out tomorrow. Sixteen crime stories by Florida writers...including me, even though I've been banished to the Left Coast. As readers of the genre know -- from John D. MacDonald and Charles Willeford to Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard -- Miami is fertile soil for fiction.

Standiford describes it this way in his introduction, "The truth is that Miami, though naturally lovely, is a frontier town, perched on the border between the known and the rarely before experienced. We are not only on the edge of the continent, we are to this country what New York was in Ellis Island's heyday, what the West Coast was in the middle of the twentieth century."

James W. Hall, who won last year's Edgar with his short story, "The Catch," opens the book with "Ride Along, a chilling tale of a college professor who wants to experience the dark side. Vicki Hendricks, who raised eyebrows and temperatures a few years ago with her erotic novel, "Miami Purity," has a wonderful story entitled "Boozanne, Lemme Be." W ithout giving too much away, a 4'10" burglar falls for a large, busty femme fatale, and that can only lead to trouble. In "Dead Storage," Christine Kling writes in the voice of a 16-year-old girl who's abused by her father and plots revenge. Classic noir set in the humid remains of a rusty trailer park.

My entry is "Solomon & Lord Drop Anchor." Lawyer Steve Solomon tries to collect a debt for a beloved client. When lawful means don’t work, perhaps a scary trip on a fishing boat will. Victoria Lord hops aboard to make sure Steve doesn’t commit too many felonies.

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I loved Patty’s post yesterday on her cars. Perhaps we should all pick one from our past. For me, it would have to be my Bricklin green MGB from the mid-1970's. Can there be any better way to picture lost youth?

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Finally, this being Halloween, one more photo. Many readers know I base Victoria Lord's character on my wife Renee. Likewise, Victoria's mother, "The Queen," is based on Renee's late mother Irene Markey. Here's Irene, dressed as a "gold digger" at a 1970's party at the long-gone Palm Bay Club in Miami.

By Paul


  1. Do I get to be the first to ask why a guy keeps a sexy picture of his beautiful mother-in-law around? Great pic--I assume there are some inherited genetics involved. And good luck with the deadline!

  2. Looking forwaed to your story and June's S&L. Please meet that deadline!

    Tom, T.O.

  3. Ah, our bad-boy cars and impetuous youth. Great picture by the dock. The Queen looks almost as faboo as the lovely Renee.

  4. I think you need to get back to work, dude. And I'm with Jeff. I won't delve too deeply into why you keep a sexy pic of your mother-in-law around.

    Mark Terry

  5. I too wonder if there's a bit of The Graduate at play here.....you owned a Alpha Romeo, right? And you were down in Miami in the early 70s working for the Herald,right? Any chance you were at that party?

  6. Obviously, I've been busted by Jeff, Mark & Anon. (I think I was a valet parker at the Palm Bay Club Halloween Party).

  7. Perhaps not just "Literary" crime: I just read that FBI figures put Miami as #327 'safest' city in America, Miami Gardens at #339, Orlando at #347 (and St. Louis, MO in last place at #371).
    No wonder so many mystery writers gravitate to Fla--great materials source.
    Coral Springs, btw, is #10, Port St. Lucie is #25, and Boca Raton, #50, whatever all that means.
    Keep writing, please.

    Tom, T.O.