David Corbett

So far in my stint here at Murderati, I’ve largely refrained from what my cohorts refer to — with a merry wink and a mischievous grin — as BSP: Blatant Self-Promotion. Well, today’s the day I lose my cherry — on that front, anyway.

I want to share with you news of a short story collection — with a notable Murderati pedigree — to which I humbly, which is to say proudly, contributed, and which came out just last week.

It’s titled West Coast Crime Wave, and is the brainchild of publisher Michael Wolf and editor Brian Thornton, who put together an amazing collection of stories, with four Murderati connections — stories by me and previous Murderateros Simon Wood and Naomi Hirahara, plus an introduction from the one and only Ken Bruen, who graciously remarked:

Story collections are a lot like rock albums. Two classics trailed by a mediocre bunch of the dithering and the damned. Welcome to the editing savvy of Brian Thornton. When you see BT is the editor, you know it’s the gold guarantee and is it ever.

Some backstory: Michael Wolf has launched an eBook publishing house: Bstsllr.com, and West Coast Crime Wave is his maiden effort. 

Michael cut his teeth as founding Vice President of Research for GigaOM Pro, the research division for GigaOM, a market technology research firm that sought to rethink the whole world of market analysis, and in his work he realized that technology-driven markets were changing things far faster and more completely that the old school could comprehend—and this was nowhere more true than in book publishing. (Check out this interview with Michael—or this one, if not this one —for his vision for the industry and his company.)

Michael tapped Brian Thornton to edit his first anthology, and Ken had it absolutely right. Brian did a masterful job, not merely due to his grace and intelligence but his sheer tenacity. He managed to herd a uniquely rabid crew of cats — including a scientist who clones and patents ”human immune system hormone genes” and “produced the first commercially successful nanotechnology device,” and an academic renegade with a Ph.D from Yale (call us the not-so-dithering and quasi-damned) — and we set our tales in an intriguing array of west coast locales, from Alaska to Los Angeles:

Authors whose names are highlighted, including me, have interviews or story excerpts posted on the anthology website, with more to come.

THE LAST SHIP, by Bill CameronOregon Coast

BLIND DATE, by Scotti Andrews — Seattle, Washington

RETURNING TO THE KNIFE, by David CorbettMarin County, California

THE TOWN AT THE END OF THE ROAD, by Ted HertelTalkeetna, Alaska

MRS. LIN’S ART OF TEA, by Naomi Hirahara — Los Angeles, California

THE RIDE HOME, by Jim Thomsen — Kitsap County, Washington

SURF CITY, by Steve Brewer — Santa Cruz, California

THE LAW OF INVERSE CONSEQUENCES, by Karla Stover — Tacoma, Washington

SYDNEY DUCKS, by R.T. LawtonSan Francisco, California

RED MENACE, COMMIE FOR HIRE, by Steve Hockensmith — Los Angeles, California

OFFICER DOWN, by Simon Wood — San Francisco, California


Berkeley, California

JACKIE BOY, by Sam Roseme — San Francisco, California

THE GHOST TREES, by Thomas P. HoppWest Seattle, Washington

BAD HISTORY, by Jim Winter — San Francisco, California

BRIDGET’S CONCEPTION, by Doug LevinPortland, Oregon

DETOUR DRIVE, by Terrill Lee Lankford — Los Angeles, California

PAPER SON, by Brian Thornton — Seattle, Washington

* * * * * 

If you want to give West Coast Crime Wave a spin (and I truly madly deeply hope you do), it can be had for a proverbial song — said song now being valued at the insanely reasonable price of $3.99can you believe it, people! — from both Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes and Noble (Nook).

* * * * *

Jukebox Heroes of the Week: A bit of hip-hop promo for my real hood, Vallejo, CA, from a succession of homegrown rappers. I acquired the link in doing research for my next novel, from a detective on the Vallejo PD Major Crimes Unit, who was more than grateful for the unwitting gang intelligence it provided.

There will be some no doubt who think I should say Jukebox Zeroes, but I wish the suits at the local Chamber of Commerce or even the Progressive Posse felt half this much passion and love for this town.


42 thoughts on “WEST COAST CRIME WAVE

  1. Allison Brennan

    Hi David — you have some great authors (and great people!) in this antho! I love the west coast … though I'd love to move north of California if I can ever convince my husband. There's a website, I think Dogpile.com though I might be wrong, where you answer a bunch of questions and the computer tells you the top ten places you should live. 9 of my 10 were in Washington State. Anaconda was #1. Can't convince the family, however …

  2. Reine

    I'll download it it as soon as I wake up. I am sound asleep right now, but brain itched and I had to check the iCloud. There you were with this terrific bit of info on West Coast Crime Wave with the neat little insertion that, "Michael Wolf has launched an eBook publishing house: Bstsllr.com." I am so glad to hear that!

    Best on this, okay?

    God I love new stuff to read.

  3. Reine

    Damnit, Corbett, once again you got me so excited I couldn't sleep, and I had to buy a book. Well the price was certainly right, and I think I'm going to love it. You Rati are getting me reading short stories again. Wow. I never thought I would, but now after reading the intro to West Coast Crime Wave, I think maybe I just read a batch of baddies. Or maybe it was the ones we had to read for English 1A. Boring as hell. Nearly spoiled reading for me altogether. You, and the the gang here, well you've rescued me from SSDD (short story denial disease). Good night!

  4. David Corbett

    Allison: My nephew, after years in Christchurch, NZ, has moved back stateside to first Portland and now the Seattle area, and he's loved both. Portland in particular is a great place if you have kids into the arts — the schools are amazing. Kids get incredible encouragement and are often getting their creative legs firmly beneath them, with real professional opportunities, before they graduate from high school.

    Reine: Sorry to hear your experience with stories soured you. I have to admit, I find they often have the same quality range as novels, with this caveat — stories are just harder to pull off. Like Stephen said, it's hard to write less.

    Zoe: Thanks for the attaboy. Yeah, I feel pretty grateful to be among this crew.

    Phillipa: I think that's a great idea, actually. A Murderati anthology. Hmmm…

  5. Schwartz, Stephen Jay

    If you're gonna plug something, that's the thing to plug. What an awesome group of authors. It sounds like an amazing collection. Congratulations, David!

  6. Doug Levin

    Thanks for the call out, David. (I'm the academic renegade in the collection.)

    Re, the thread and Portland: my hometown now (and place where my WCCW story is set). Indeed, lots of arts opportunities, though the schools have the usual budget trouble.

    Re, Vallejo: in the early 1980s, back when my stomping grounds were in Northern California, I used to occasionally make the trek there to see shows at the Empress Theater.

  7. David Corbett

    Doug: The Empress got a face lift a couple years ago, but then the economy went south, the downtown developer went into a ditch and things have pretty much hit stall in a big way. We're getting some momentum going little by little by I-mean-little, but the bankruptcy really put the spin on the tailspin.

    Thanks for checking in. Great story, btw.

  8. David Corbett

    BTW: I've just been informed that, if you do get the anthology, and consider it worthy, if you could please write a reader review for Amazon and/or B&N, it would be immensely helpful.


  9. MJ

    I read this post – went over and bought the collection for my Kindle – and came back to comment. Cool! Fave writers and fresh stories about another part of the world.

    David – I'm going to stalk your website until I see an online class, OK? One of my other lawyer commenter pals here (Allison, was that you?) recommended a course with you to keep my soul from being permanently shrunk and mounted on a firm partner's wall and I will keep my Rust Belt Tax Lawyer fingers crossed until it comes to pass.

  10. David Corbett


    I'm flattered, and Allison is a great cheerleader. I did an online class through UCLA Extension and it was so much more work than a standard classroom experience I haven't done it since. But maybe I should reconsider, and just do one on my own.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    And yes, I hear your wails of weariness on the lawyer front.

  11. Reine

    David I love it. Review as soon as my daughter is out of the hospital.

    Louise, the kindle app is fantastic on iPad. You'll love how well it works and how easy to read.

  12. Reine

    Well yes, David, but now I love them again, because you and Zoë in particular have helped me rediscover how wonderful they are. I was trying to say that the West Coast Crime intro with its review helped me to understand what had soured me for so long while reading anthologies – that they would often include a few of the great and a lot of the not so hot. Not true with with the murderati. I hope you got what I was trying to say, because it was meant to be positive. If not I'll have to finally give up this commenting

  13. David Corbett


    I knew you were being positive, no worries there. The clumsiness was in my response, not your comment.

    Oh, and believe me, if you ever stop commenting we will form a posse and come to your door. I can't imagine this blog without your comments.

    I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter. I hope she's doing all right.

  14. Doug Levin

    Thanks, David and Lisa (and others for reading the anthology!).

    I've heard a bit about the Vallejo municipal bankruptcy — bad for a community, good for crime fiction, maybe. I think I've read that in several cities, police are not responding to residential B&E because of budget/manpower constraints. Maybe that's just a rumor.

  15. CarlC

    David – Thanks for the headsup on this collection. It's now ready for download to my Kindle, and I'm looking forward to reading it while traveling next month.

    Allison – I hope that one of the Washington places on your list is Sequim, where we live. It's a great place, with super people, and I know you'd love it here. Not usually much crime to inspire a mystery writer, but you probably get your ideas from all over the place, so that shouldn't be a problem.

  16. David Corbett


    A rumor? If only. Unless it's in progress, you won't get a unit responding. Not just that, but detectives often wait until a shooting victim is dead before reporting to the hospital. A mere assault, even by gunshot, has to take a lower priority to crimes in progress.

    We went from 158 cops to 90. We have a good, professional force. Yes, they're paid well, perhaps too well. I have friends who scream about this. But the force has changed from one the feds wanted nothing to do with to one they consider a model of cooperation and professionalism. The local PD really fears that a two-tier pay-and-benefit structure, with new hires getting significantly less, will attract only mediocre applicants or worse.

    So the citizens are stepping up, volunteering, and we're trying to make a go of it with a smaller force and greater resident involvement. We went from 10 to 300 neighborhood watch groups in the past two years, for example.

    But the bankruptcy became an object lesson in what NOT to do. Only Harrisburg PA and a town in Rhode Island are now seriously considering Chapter 9. Everybody else got religion.

    And yes, the new book is all about this (can you tell?).

  17. Larry Gasper

    David, I picked the collection up when you posted about it on Facebook and it's next up on my KIndle. Really looking forward to it. Oh, and I second MJ's comment on having a correspondence class for us folks out in the boonies.

  18. David Corbett


    Oh boy, now the pressure's on. I'll have to think about it seriously. And I shall.

    And thanks to you and JT and everyone else who's picked up the book or intends to.

  19. Reine

    David, you are so dear. And thank you.

    Our daughter is end-stage renal failure. Yesterday was admitted to Loma Linda and had yet another emergency repair of pseudoaneurism when other treatment failed. She is my hero, huge fighter, reader, blog writer. She's been on hemodialysis for unbelievable years. Still she sets the best example of living in the moment for everyone else in the family. Amazing human being.

  20. Shizuka

    I was looking for something intense, but broken up to read on a plane.
    Awesome! You answered my mental call.

    And the song cracked me up.
    I'm guessing it's not a completely proportionate representation of Vallejo's population.
    If it is, I have the honor of knowing one of Vallejo's very few white citizens.

  21. Shizuka


    I don't know what to say about your daughter.
    I'd pray for her if I was someone who could do that.

    Her amazingness, I think, is something she gets from you.


  22. Reine

    Shizuka, thank you. Good and kind thoughts are always helpful. But Miss J gets all the credit for her fight. As for my contribution? I cave and invert when it comes to my kids' pain. I have to fight to not give in to comete collapse.

  23. David Corbett

    Reine: I can only echo what Shizuka said. I think your daughter has a powerful role model in you. And yet I can only imagine the prolonged heartache the whol family has been through. I too am not much of a prayer person, but you are very much in my heart right now, and for the duration.

    Shizuka: Well, actually, about 40% of the city's population is white, but it is a very multicultural city, as they say. I just learned of a Guamian festival here in town, there's a large Filipino community, plus Portuguese, Pacific Islander (in addition to the Guamians), Asian of all stripes, Latino of all stripes, et cetera. It's an interesting burg. People often remark on the city's potential, and have been doing so for at least 40 years.

  24. Reine

    Ah . . . sorry, hands giving out — so that would be, ". . . complete collapse." And being here and writing is how I manage most days.

    All of you are much too kind to me. Really. I mean it.

  25. Allison Davis

    Work insane, but I'm adding this to my downloads as soon as I have five minutes that's not billable….can't wait to read it. Is it only available electronically? So if I get for gifts, we send the download? Love the home boys.

  26. CarlC

    David – Chances are only a Californian would consider Sequim to be close to Woodinville. It's probably only 70 miles or so as the raven flies, but we would have to cross several bodies of water to get there (it's basically a Seattle suburb from our perspective). Sequim is on the north edge of the Olympic Peninsula, just about 25 miles south of Victoria, BC. Several light years away from the lifestyle over in what I call "Pugetopolis".

  27. KDJames

    Hahaha! I am such an idiot sometimes. I'd noticed Cameron tweeting about a west coast crime wave but I thought he was referring to a news story, so I ignored him. Why yes, I have been distracted by other things lately.

    I just did all the clicky "buy this now" things and added this book to my ever growing collection of e-bits to be read. Thanks for indulging in BSP, David. I would have missed this otherwise. Best wishes to Michael Wolf in the new publishing endeavour!

    Also, Reine? I think you may be the strongest woman I've ever known. And I know some incredibly strong women. You and you daughter will be in my thoughts.

  28. David Corbett


    You're right, I'm clueless about the local topography up there. Been up in that area a few times but always too briefly to really learn the terrain. My nephew landed there because a job opening beckoned. He'd have happily stayed put in Portland, especially with the girls loving their arts school, but a job is a job, and now he's been elevated to station chief, so my guess is he's staying put for a while.

  29. Louise Ure

    Thanks for the Kindle link, David and Reine. And Reine, my best hopes are with you and your daughter.

  30. Zoë Sharp

    Hi David – and all those who would love to read this great-sounding anthology but don't have a Kindle – you can download for free Kindle Reader for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or just about any other electronic device, from the Amazon site.


Comments are closed.