The fifth book in the Zack Taylor mystery series is now out: A Sharp Medicine.
I studied writing with Stephen King, and have published over 70 short stories, story collections, poetry, and non-fiction. I've appeared on stage, television, and in an independent feature film, and co-wrote and acted in a short political satire film. I've also appeared on Jeopardy, losing in a spectacular fashion. I've traveled to all 50 states, Mexico, Canada, and through Europe.
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Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I remember reading an excerpt from Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine at a very young age. The story talked about a new pair of sneakers at the start of Summer being absolute magic with their potential, and it sparked something within me that continues to today.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Long ago, I read about the legend of the Wendigo, and it's such a powerful and disturbing idea, I've never let go of it. Wrote a bad version of the book a long time ago, but wasn't good enough to make the book a good one. Last year, the idea for making it work came to me, and it's now coming to fruition.
All The Crooked Paths is a collection of three books: Crooked Paths, More Crooked Paths, and The Last Crooked Paths. Fifteen stories of mystery and crime, dark chronicles of those who walk a crooked path, and so very often pay a terrible price for what they do.
Here are five more tales of crime and mystery, telling of those who walk crooked paths and pay the price for it. Here are crooks and cops, killers and victims, and those who walk the line between good and evil. Take a few short trips down the darker side of life, where crime can be a casual or planned event. This set of stories shows people on the run, and police and ordinary citizens.
Zack Taylor's life is once again in shambles. Having narrowly escaped death, guilty over the pain he's caused a loved one, he's hurting and angry. When looking into the disappearance of a reporter, Zack's death wish may be his cure for his troubles as he uncovers corruption and evil in a world of politics, passion, and power.
In these five tales you'll read serious stories about dragons, swords, castles, people on quests, demons, witches, and also fairy-tale characters acting out in fun. So there's a little something for everyone. These are lands where the people may be like us, but the landscape is of the fantasy realms, and anything can happen. You may change upon this journey, like the characters themselves.
Trapped by a final promise to a dying woman, a reluctant Zack Taylor seeks her missing grandson, a slippery con man of the art world. Zack discovers the corruption beneath the glossy exteriors, confronting murder, greed, fraud, and a host of crimes that belie the beauty of the art in which the people deal.
More tales of crime and mystery, those who walk crooked paths and pay the price. People on the spot, when things have taken a bad turn. A young woman facing a deadly challenge. A man who walks into the wrong bar with the wrong attitude. A boxer who refuses to quit. A DA with a grudge. A rich man who finds his motives questioned by the police. These are the stories of the darker side of life.
Zack Taylor's new life is crumbling. His fledgling business is in jeopardy, he's been dumped by his lady love, and a murderous gang leader is bent on revenge. A shattered Zack is enticed onto a movie shoot to provide martial arts expertise and security, when a sudden murder raises the stakes. Zack must deal with his own demons, as well as a host of shadowy tricksters with secrets to hide.
When a single mother is wrongly accused of murder, Zack Taylor must work to clear her name. Not an easy task, as everyone in the Maine town of Mill Springs thinks she's guilty. Zack finds, however, plenty of people who wanted the victim dead. He discovers that when small-town politics mix with big-time ambition, the combination can be lethal.
Troubled ex-con Zack Taylor is haunted by the accidental death of his brother years before. Zack's guilt and anger have pushed him into a shadowy, wandering life, with little purpose and few attachments. When he hears of the death of his close friend Ben Sterling, a supposed gunshot suicide, Zack finds he now has a purpose-- to find out what happened. Then his purpose becomes an obsession.
This collection of ten tales of horror involves monsters, mayhem, and murder: everything from war to everyday homicide, to otherworldly terrors from hell dimensions. The horror may be internal or external, in your heart or in your cellar. Here are people making bad choices, and people reacting to terrible situations. These are stories to make you think, tremble, and shiver with fright.
Here are five books combined into one big volume of stories, thirty tales in different genres. Strange new worlds and encounters with the unusual, in stories from light to dark. Some to make you laugh, some to make you think, and some to scare you. Dip into the Big Book for a taste of monsters, mayhem, myth, magic, and murder.
Crime and Mystery
Fables and Fantasies
In the snowy Canadian wilderness, a terrifying legend springs to life, sparking a series of gruesome crimes. Government agent Sean Laporte is sent to investigate, and contends with an obsessive, resourceful foe, a hostile environment, and an elusive search for the truth. He is soon pulled between worlds of myth and madness, a present haunted by the past, and a primitive world of mystery and power.
How does the world end? Self-launched bombs, asteroid from space, rain of fire, alien invasion, or virus and pandemic?
Maybe none of those. Maybe it's giant lobsters. Or zombies.
Here are five different takes on the end of the world-- as we know it. It's a tango done at the Apocalypse, dancing as the race of Man comes to a close. Come take a whirl.
Here are five tales of people going off the beaten track of reality to experience something completely new and unwordly. Stories of individuals in pain who ride a rollercoaster of odd happenings that show life in a different perspective. People running to something or away from something, or finding something unexpected.
Five stories of crime and mystery, people who walk crooked paths and pay the price for it. Stories of criminals and heroes, killers (accidental and deliberate), rumrunners, safecrackers, people framed for horrible deeds. Some of these stories have been published in mystery magazines.
Published: December 10, 2011.
Fiction » Fantasy » General
(4.00 from 1 review)
These five tales are a mix of fear, fun, and fantastic elements. Some of these stories are
humorous, some are scary, some end well, some badly, and some have mixed blessings for
those involved. Kind of like life. Fable and fantasy blend to make a journey into other lands and times and magics.
This bawdy, probably offensive, parody of Epic Sword and Sorcery fantasy pays homage to the great Fritz Leiber, and his immortal characters. Here, Fatbird and the Gay Louser are rather far from heroic, but manage to hack and slash their way to fortune, while rescuing a princess.
Published: December 8, 2011.
Fiction » Fantasy » Historical
A strange little man gets kicked around all his life, but then has a chance for sex, riches, and
glory, when he uses his powers to help a young maiden in dire straits. This is a funny, bawdy take on an old tale.
Published: December 7, 2011.
Fiction » Fantasy » Paranormal
When a mysterious enchanted maiden in the forest is awakened by the prince, they marry, and she becomes queen. But she and her little men have a dark secret. This tale of dark fantasy puts a new twist on an old story.
Published: December 6, 2011.
Fiction » Fantasy » General
The ugly High Count is rich and powerful, and when he demands to wed the daughter of a noble, she cannot refuse, though her heart is not in it. Her mute sister, though, practices the dark arts, and will stop at nothing to save her sister. No matter who gets hurt.
on Jan. 04, 2011
This is one of the series starring the character of Maryland attorney Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae. Sam is a hard-boiled, tough-gal lawyer who helps the downtrodden, and this book is a slam-bang action ride. In the classic vein, the book opens with the arrival of a troubled (and troubling) client. Sam starts off on a simple matter, and soon becomes entangled with a batch of baddies, bodies, bruises, and blood.
Sam's gritty background and determination enable her to go where others could and would not. She can navigate different worlds, from the street-hard gangbangers to the suited sharks of courtroom and boardroom.
Despite growing frustration and ever-increasing personal danger, Sam is determined to find out the truth, amidst a nest of deceit and depravity. Because she has to keep others safe, her moral code allows for lapses in strict legal conduct. And she admits she can't save the world and everyone in it, but she can try to help a few of those in need.
If you like your mysteries with a hard edge, and enjoy reading of the tribulations of tough lady lawyers, you'll want to meet Sam McRae.
on Nov. 23, 2011
Within these few stories of various length, tone, texture, and ideas, the author has shown us grief, and joy, and love, and pain, and loss. But most importantly, heart. For that is what makes a story, and we have that in abundance. Well done@
on Dec. 26, 2011
Unsettling little tale of the sea, and of the strange things that happen on the water. Violence, revenge, and long-buried secrets make for a spooky Downeaster yarn.
Nice framing story adds just the right touch. Works as a great caution to anyone who thinks they can get a free lobster by pulling someone else's trap. Watch out for those old-time fishermen!
on Feb. 22, 2012
In the first book of his new series, Wind Castle, author Brian Hammar has given us a wondrous new world of imagination. Think of Oz, Narnia, and Middle-Earth, with all their glorious strangeness, and yet their perils and lurking dangers.
In this magical land, many of the creatures of mythology and legend reside: griffins, dragons, unicorns, trolls, even Sasquatches. The land itself is alive, giving sustenance and healing. But of course, there is something wrong in this world that must itself be healed-- before it destroys the land and all that dwell within.
On orders from his boss, George Severe goes looking for this rumored place, and finds it-- and finds a lot more than he ever could imagine. Aided by his crusty, folksy, guide Annie, he's soon embroiled in a battle for the soul of the land and its people. A war is brewing, and George must aid a peaceful, embattled folk who know little of defense or aggression. But George is no warrior-- he must find other means to stop the spreading violence of a charismatic, power-seeking madman.
George falls in love with this marvelous magical place, but he's torn by thoughts of his family left behind. We're with him in this conflict, and want him to succeed, but what will he decide? Will he lose himself in saving others?
There is much to enjoy in this debut novel. We are constantly reminded that we're not in Kansas, that this is a place where different rules apply. It is a fully-fleshed-out fantasy world, and one you might like to visit.
on Dec. 08, 2012
Pete Morin has given us a fun little tale of murder and mayhem on old Cape Cod. We get buried treasure, an ornery suspect who looks like a pirate, boats blowing up, and an intriguing mystery.
The characterizations are sharp and well-drawn. The style shows the writer has a feel for the area and its people.
An entertaining read.