from Steven Torres

December 2006

Jonathan Santlofer Speaks…

I first met Jonathan Santlofer in Austin, Texas during the second ConMisterio. It was a wonderful convention, intimate, unlike some. When he described some of the action found in his books, I knew I had to pick one up and plague him with questions. I got his first novel, The Death Artist. Now, getting a person’s first novel is not always the wisest strategy. They may be good, but they don’t always have the high sheen of polish that later works will have after the writer has had some experience, found their voice, learned their craft. I can tell you that Mr. Santlofer’s first novel is as gripping a pageturner as I’ve ever read, and if he’s gotten better since, then Lord help us writers of normal abilities. A review of his work at my blog if you like to know more about The Death Artist. If you want to know more about Jonathan, link here.

The Laura Lippman File

On the one hand, it may seem like there’s really no point in introducing Laura Lippman. She’s published a bunch of books that have gotten into the hands of mystery lovers everywhere, and she has won just about every mystery writing prize under the sun. On the other hand, I should say something about how I got her to speak with me. I met her for the first time at this past Bouchercon in Madison. She was telling a story about being at a party and losing a shoe. I didn’t ask any questions about that since, well, it seemed ungentlemanly to pry. Later, however, after hearing so many people rave about her work (not just at this B’Con, but at all the others I’ve been to) and rave about her as a person (again, not just in Madison, but in Chicago, Toronto, and Las Vegas as well), I decided to approach.

My gimmick was simple, buy one of her books and ask if she’d be willing to answer a few questions for my website if I read the book and my questions weren’t too stupid. She agreed though she could easily have pointed out that she had other things to tend to in her own life since, well, she’s Laura Lippman, isn’t she?


The book was No Good Deeds, and I quite enjoyed it. It was serious. Darker than I expected. Ms. Lippman was able to keep many plot points in the air without any of them crashing to Earth or into each other. That’s a skill I haven’t mastered just yet. Anyway, a fuller review resides at my blog. For now, follow the Q&A;.

And The Winner Is…

Going to be getting a very nice handbag made by my wife and a set of four hardcovers of the novels I’ve published so far and an early ARC for my novel coming out next year. It’s entitled “The Concrete Maze.” Many thanks to all those who entered. There were a lot more than I had expected. A bigger hat was needed to pull the name out of.

Congratulations to Lynn who heard about it on DorothyL. To the right witness a photo of what has been won. Now all I need is a mailing address.

That was the last contest of the year for the website. Check my blog for other, smaller contests over the winter.

September 2006

Short Stories…

The good people at The Summerset Review have seen fit to publish one of my stories. It’s called “Desert People.” I hope you enjoy it.

Firefox News (not to be confused with Fox News or with the software company) has just published my short story “A Smile at the End of the World.” The title really does tell you a lot of things about what goes on. It is the end of the world and there is a guy who can’t stop smiling. But it doesn’t tell you why the world is ending or why he’s smiling.

CrimeSpree Magazine has seen fit to publish my story “Elena Speaks of the City, Under Siege.” I really think this is one of my best stories ever, and I’m quite proud of it. How many 2nd person, present tense stories are there? And how many of them are good?

My Bronx Noir story is set for publication nest summer. I titled it “Early Fall” and it really breaks my heart to think how true to life it may be. SJ Rozan (featured elsewhere on this front page) liked it, so I’m quite pleased.
Last Contest of the Year…

Here’s what you win: Hardcover copies of each of my novels, an Advanced Review Copy of an out-of-series hardboiled/noir NYC novel that will be published by Dorchester Publications next summer (the title’s in limbo, the book is pretty good if I can judge from early reactions), AND a Carrero Creations bag to carry it all in. The bag, made from whole cloth by my wife, will be specialer than anything she’s made for my promotional efforts before. If you haven’t seen her handiwork, click here. The books are worth about $23.95 each (maybe add a nickel since I’ll sign them) but the bag would probably retail in the neighborhood of $50. IF you could get it retail. You can’t (not yet anyway), so click here to enter.

Bill Crider Rides into Town…

I’ve interviewed a lot of writers, but Bill Crider, my latest subject, has probably published as many novels as the rest of them put together. And it’s not like he’s publishing them himself out of his basement or anything. These are well received, much appreciated books in hardcover and paperback from regular publishing houses like St. Martin’s Press, a company with the good taste to publish my work as well. As you’ll read in the interview, he’s got a slew of different mystery series — including a professor, a sheriff, and a private eye. He also runs one of those blogs that people in the know use to stay that way: Bill Crider’s Pop Culture Magazine. If that weren’t enough, he also has a job. Anyway, enough… Read about him here.

Roundtable of Interviews

Linda Landrigan, the editor of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, has recently put together an anthology of stories ranging from the first few issues to 21st century stuff. The book is a Hall of Fame for short stories and well worth the cover price. Since I’m a big fan of short stories and of AHMM in particular, I thought I’d hold something of a roundtable. I cornered four of the featured authors as well as the editor of the volume and asked them some questions. Some of the questions were pointed, some were blunt, but they responded and were only a little uncomfortable. I decided, however, that once put together, the roundtable would be a really long read, so I’ve broken it up:
If you’d like to read what IJ Parker, author of the Akitada series had to say about her award-winning short stories, read here.
If you’re interested in James Lincoln Warren’s Alan Treviscoe series, then click here.
On the other hand, if you’re more interested in Steve Hockensmith’s award-winning short story writing, then go here.
SJ Rozan’s award-winning stories are discussed here.
Whatever you do, don’t forget Linda Landrigan’s answer to what I think is the central question. Click here.
Summer 2006

Contest #1:

I have two Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of Missing in Precinct Puerto Rico: Book Four to give away. Very simple. Send me an email by July 15th, and I’ll pick two winners from out of a hat or other appropriate receptacle.

Contest #2:

In honor of the fact that Dorchester Publications is going to be publishing my first book in the series as a paperback, I’ll be giving away three copies of that book. (It comes out at the end of July.) Email me by August 15th to enter. Just to let you know, Dorchester considers the book to be a THRILLER.

Praise! Praise! And High Praise!

Kirkus Reviews likes my latest effort. Here’s the part I like the best: “Though it’s often hard to tell where Torres (Burning Precinct Puerto Rico, 2004, etc.) is going, his procedural engages interest with strong prose, convincing detail and local color.” Read the rest here. I figure that not knowing where I’m going can’t be too bad for a mystery, right? They did get the year wrong, though. It’s actually set in 1982.

Jennifer Jordan at Crimespree Magazine has also read the book and liked it quite a great deal. That means a lot to me since I know the quality of her reading. You’ll not read her review (unless she decides to publish it) but I will hint that she feels there is a scene that “tears ethics in two.”

Superwriters SJ Rozan and Michele Martinez have both blurbed the book saying things like :

“Torres’s characters are authentic and his story is absorbing; and the bonus is the window he offers into rural Puerto Rico. Fascinating and satisfying.” (SJ Rozan)

“Richly imagined and vividly atmospheric, at turns poignant, hilarious and disturbing, Missing in Precinct Puerto Rico is a tour de force. Steven Torres is a writer of great talent.” (Michele Martinez)

I blush.

Where I’ll Be…

Stories are coming out from Demolition Magazine in July, as well as Shots, Crimespree Magazine, and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in October.

Demolition and Crimespree are running stories connected to the Viktor Petrenko franchise, while Shots and Alfred Hitchcock are running stories in the Precinct Puerto Rico series. Both of those are prehistorical stories. That’s right, Puerto Ricans in caves. No, no. The Shots story, “The Tent of Babel,” is about Sheriff Molina when he was a young soldier in the Korean War. The AHMM story, “The Valley of Angustias,” is about the case Luis Gonzalo solved that got him the offer of the position of sheriff. (No, this is not the one involving a little girl and a monster.)

Where I’ll Be, Part Two…

I’ll be giving book talks in libraries here in Connecticut (South Windsor and Manchester). I’ll be heading to ConMisterio in Mid-July. I’ll be driving around New England in August, looking for bookstore managers and librarians to bother. Bouchercon in Madison, WI in September.

Older news and announcements here.