Books that scared the bejeebies out of me

This is not my list of best all-time crime books, or a list of my favorites, but instead this is a list of those books that, for whatever reason, ended up scaring the bejeebies out of me. 1. I THE JURY by Mickey Spillane (1947) – I picked this up in a used bookstore in Jerusalem, decades ago.  It was a raw looking pulp paperback with a dame on the cover. (She is always a dame in a Mike Hammer novel.)  I stayed up with it late into the night and as the murder count rose I grew ever more terrified.  Bodies were falling every which way and somehow I was certain the killer was walking the streets outside my apartment and I was next.  I prefer...

5 Books That Changed My Life

5 books that changed my life – made me want to be a writer. These are novels that suck you in and cast a spell, make you lose track of time.  Total immersion experiences. Reading each of these was such a powerful experience that I said to myself, “Cool, I want to try to do this too.” A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. I read this as a kid (9 or 10) and was utterly transported.  I still think about the amazing scene when Meg confronts It. Unforgettable. The Dead Zone by Stephen King.  I remember reading this through the night and being totally spooked.  I only recently realized, rereading it, that a long chunk of...

Five Movies That Get Me In The Mood To Write

  I don’t believe in writer’s block, but I do believe in writer’s malaise. Sometimes I just can’t get my ass in gear. When that happens I find that certain movies get the creative juices flowing and I can always rely on these five to get me sprinting to the keyboard. This isn’t a list of my favorite movies. Gun to my head I’d say that honor goes to Miller’s Crossing, but ask me next week and I might say The Great Escape or Chinatown. And this isn’t a list of great movies about writing, of which there are many. This is simply a list of the flicks that get me moving.   Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid...

5 Films That Influenced Me

As a kid, I have to admit that I was never much of a reader. I didn’t like to read, preferring to watch movies instead. Maybe it was because I was an only child and watching movies with my parents was a way for us to bond somehow. Fortunately for me, my dad had pretty good taste in movies and it helped me appreciate good films from bad. The five movies that changed my life all have something in common because, like a good book, they tell a good story. In no particular order: 1. The Searchers Much has been made in recent years about whether or not this film should rate as high as it does on various lists. I first saw it on TV when I was...

Five Things That Influenced Me

SCREAM (film) — Hilariously, this was my first date. It didn’t go well, because the guy in question thought I needed hand-holding, when I was in fact enthralled with and delighted by Kevin Williamson’s post-postmodern take on how horror had nothing new left to say, and how the fact it had nothing new left to say was something brand-new and exciting to say. At one point, a character named Randy is watching John Carpenter’s Halloween and slurring “He’s behind you!” at Jamie Lee Curtis on his television. All the while, the masked killer in his own home is standing right behind him. Concurrently, a journalist who’s placed a bug in that room is...

My Five (actually Six) Favorite Novels Set In Detr...

My Six Favorite Novels Set in Detroit (or near Detroit) 1. THE DOLLMAKER, Harriet Arnow (1954) an immediate popular and critical success, THE DOLLMAKER tells the devastating story of a Kentucky family that moves north to reap the riches of the factories going up in Detroit. This book is due for another resurrection, which it enjoyed about 25 years ago when Jane Fonda starred in the TV version of it. Gertie Nevells makes a compelling hero. 2. CITY PRIMEVAL, Elmore Leonard. (!980) As with Loren Estleman, there are so many books from which to choose. With his usual flair for dialog and unerring sense of place, Leonard tells the amusing and...