Tuesday, May 21, 2019





The world of crime fiction has always been a place for the outsider. It's a palace where the halls are haunted by the benighted. Hitmen, grifters, rumrunners, dealers , women and men of the night are all welcome denizens of the shadowy streets where noir,hard-boiled and cozy mysteries intersect. However even among the outsiders there are characters and plots that exist in that hallucinogenic undiscovered country that exist on the fringes of the fringe. These characters are brought to life by authors who push against the stifling constraints of genre and the staid rules of narrative. Whether you call it bizzaro or transgressive or grand guignol it's crime fiction at it's most raw and experimental. It's the type of writing that dares you to expand your mind and reevaluate what the definition of crime fiction really is. I'd like to take a moment and introduce you to three writers who are among some of the most talented guides to the outer limits of noir 


Will Viharo is a man who is as much a character as the people in his books. His life story could be it's own noir tale. A former resident of that modern Babylon Los Angeles Will now resides in Seattle where he spends his days as a dog walker and his nights as a bon vivant hep cat cocktail drinking raconteur. In his spare time he writes. Will's books are a deconstruction of the noir archetypes and motifs while at the same time a reimagining of a specific time and place in American pop culture that isn't so much an alternative history as it is an alternative reality. In his work Yakuza assassins might fight demons, beautiful femme fatales are living statues and the world weary private eye is losing his mind one martini at a time … or is he? The truth is what you fake it in Viharo's world and the line between dreams , nightmares and the mundane is as frayed as your favorite lounge lizard's tie. Viharo is a talented wordsmith who takes his readers on a Lynchian tour of his own fevered psyche. In the hands of a lesser writer the end result might unravel under the weight of it's own surreal logic but Viharo has a knack for the moribund and the maniacal that keeps his stories afloat long after reason has been abandoned like your inhibitions at a party in the Hollywood Hills. Check out "Vic Valentine Lounge Lizard for Hire " to get a taste of the wild world of Will " The Thrill" Viharo. Bring a strong stomach and an open mind. 


Jessica McHugh is an energetic emotionally honest writer with a masterful command of language and pacing. 
She also has a sick and twisted imagination that would make William S. Burroughs blush. Her writing is an exploration of the darkest corners of the everyday experience. Her characters are people living in a world where morality is pliable and every sensation is a visceral journey to the edges of sensory perceptions. Her novels runt he gamut from experimental fantasy to splatterpunk horror to nihilistic noir fiction. Her style is fearless and uncompromising. She can't look away from what her characters are doing to themselves and each other and she won't allow you to look away either. To read one of her books is to bear witness to the not so shocking depths of depravity that human beings are capable of and sometimes revel in. It's like reading Hubert Selby if he woke up in Baltimore and listened to musicals. Raw and raucous her stories are not for the faint of heart but for those that are brave enough you will come out the other side with your brain seared by her commitment to the truth , as her characters see it. Pick up her novel "Rabbits In the Garden " for an introduction to this amazing author.


The term renaissance artist is bandied about with as much care as a carafe of wine at a Russian wedding reception but when it comes to Ed Kurtz the title is warranted. An author, a narrator an audiophile Kurtz is a writer who excels in any genre he chooses to put his considerable focus on. 
"Horror and crime are kissing cousins." is something I've heard Mr. Kurtz say on more than one occasion and he has proved the veracity of that adage time and a time again in his writing. Combining the world weary , biting down on tinfoil whiskey soaked milieu of the crime novel with the stomach churning , nerve wracking body horror of a supernatural tale Kurtz has carved a unique niche for himself in the writing community. Fast paced snappy dialogue and existential dread run throughout his work hand in hand taking readers on a nightmarish trip through the mean streets and the graveyards. His book Nausea read like the Friends of Eddie Coyle directed by David Cronenberg. Kurtz is a master of his own subgenre. Horrific Noir. Pick up "Nausea" for a taste of the macabre and the maddening.. You won't be disappointed. 

This is just a sampling of the talented and unique authors who are kicking down the walls of conventional crime fiction. These and many other writers are not pushing the envelope . They are shredding it to bits and using it as confetti. These kinds of novels aren't for everyone but if you are a reader who yearns for something truly different …
Free your mind.....and pick up one of these books today. 

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