Tag Archives: Bill Crider

Black Cat Mystery Magazine #3, Halloween 1981

black_cat_3Bill Crider on his story with Joe Lansdale for Black Cat Mystery Magazine #3, an indie anthology digest, from his interview for The Digest Enthusiast book five:

BC: Wow. “A Right to be Dead” was a long time ago. Joe Lansdale and I were corresponding by letters (as I said, a long time ago), and I was trying to write a story that might fit Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine. What I came up with was “A Right to be Dead,” and I thought it had a great first line, which I still remember: “The dead man sat up and looked around.” It didn’t sell to Shayne, so Joe said he’d look it over and punch it up, which he did. I wrote most of it, and he did the polish and the marketing.

He eventually sold the story to Black Cat Mystery Magazine, which was published in Canada. I was thrilled, and I was even more thrilled when the editors agreed to buy another story from us before “A Right to be Dead” was published.

After the TDE interview was published, Tore Stokka wrote to say the story was reprinted in Lansdale’s anthology For A Few Stories More.

Bill Crider Discovers Digests


F&SF Dec. 1951

Excerpt from our interview with Bill Crider, author of the Dan Rhodes series, for The Digest Enthusiast book five:

“It was when I was in junior high that I really hit my stride, though, and that was thanks to one of those big Groff Conklin anthologies of SF stories, The Big Book of Science Fiction. I thought the stories were wonderful, every one of them. I’ve always been one to read everything in the book, so I read the copyright page and discovered that all the stories had been published in magazines. The next day I was at the local bookstore (yes, even my small East Texas town had one), where I located a couple of digests, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Astounding Science Fiction. I bought those and was soon off on a real binge. I bought every SF digest that I could get my hands on.”

The Digest Enthusiast #5

The Digest Enthusiast #5 Jan. 2017 cover by Joe Wehrle, Jr.

TDE5 is now available in print and Kindle editions. Here’s the lineup:

• Interview with Bill Crider: The inside story on Dan Rhodes, EQMM’s Blog Bytes and Bill’s storied career with digests—with special coverage of the beloved DAPA-EM.

• Digest News: the latest from Dell, Fate, F&SF, Nostalgia Digest, Video WatcHDog and our contributors; readers’ response to TDE4; plus Tom Brinkmann’s portraits of synchronicity.

Peter Enfantino’s overview and synopses of Martin Goodman’s Justice Amazing Detective Mysteries.

Steve Carper cracks the riddle of the remarkable Ellery Queen Selects series.

Peter Enfantino reports on the editorial insights of Robert A.W. Lowndes on his ultimate manifestation: the Magazine of Horror.

• RAWL on Writing for Publication, a summary by Richard Krauss.

• Reviews of the UK’s Worlds of Fantasy #4, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction edited by Peter Nicholls, Charles Beckman, Jr.’s Honky Tonk Girl by Gary Lovisi, and Marvel Science Stories May 1951.

• Genre fiction by Lesann Berry, Richard L. Kellogg, and Joe Wehrle, Jr.; with illustrations by Brian Buniak, Michael Neno, and Joe Wehrle, Jr.

• Plus contents lists and sources; digest magazine checklists; Haiku by Clark Dissmeyer; cartoons by Brad Foster and Bob Vojtko; and more.

Print version, $8.99, includes nearly 100 B&W cover images, 152 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″ digest.
 Kindle version, $2.99, includes over 50 color cover images.

For information on previous editions visit the Larque Press website.

(Please repost if you love digest magazines.)

Mail Order Mystery

Black Cat Mystery Magazine #2

Black Cat Mystery Magazine #2

I collect digest magazines—titles and the work of specific authors. I also make mistakes. One of the authors I’m tracking is Bill Crider; his short story appearances in digest magazines. He writes mostly novels, so you might call it a short list. He also writes columns for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Mystery Scene Magazine, and although I enjoy both, I’m not specifically collecting them. I’m after his short fiction.

Black Cat Mystery Magazine was a title I’d never heard of until I gathered a list of Bill’s short stories from Galactic Central. Black Cat was a small press digest from 1981/82 that ran six issues, retitled Black Cat Mystery Quarterly beginning with #4. It was published by March Chase Publishing and edited by F. Clare-Joynt in Toronto. It ran a mix of genre fiction and articles. I was happy when I found one at Abe Books from a Canadian dealer.

It arrived yesterday in one of those fiber-padded envelopes that was itself encased in an additional plastic seal. A little odd, but I understood once the plastic was removed. The envelope inside was soaked. Completely saturated as if the package had been submerged in water, yanked out and then sealed to lock in the moisture. And the carrier—Canadian or U.S.—did a good job. In forty years of mail order magazines I’ve never seen anything like it. What the hell were they thinking?

It was 100 degrees give-or-take in Portland yesterday so it only took a few hours of sun to dry the thing out completely. It isn’t stained. At least the soaking appears to have been administered with clean water. It’s badly warped, worthless as a collectable, but can be read.

But I made a mistake. It’s issue #2, and I wanted #3. What the hell was I thinking?


Paperback Parade #94 with Bill Crider

Paperback Parade #94

Paperback Parade #94

Yesterday’s mail brought two lovely arrivals. Since we’re all about digests here we’ll start with Gary Lovisi’s Paperback Parade #94 featuring King Kong. Here’s the contents:

“Paperback Talk” by Gary Lovisi
“King Kong: The Paperbacks & The Film” by Gary Lovisi
“Ozaki: A Collage & A Homage” by Bill Crider
“Ozaki: Life on a Buckslip” by Richard A. Lupoff
“Ozaki/Saber Paperback List” by Gary Lovisi
“Matchless Paperbacks” by Richard Greene
“Earl Norman Spy Series” by Tom Johnson
“Disaster & Philip Wylie” by Richard L. Kellogg
“PEC Sleaze Spy Series” by Gary Lovisi
“A Look at Sneak Previews” by Graham Andrews
“The Man Behind Daniel Boyd” interview by Gary Lovisi
“Reflections of Issac Asimov” by Philip Harbottle

Editor: Gary Lovisi
5.5” x 8.5” 100 pages, full color throughout
$15 + postage for a single issue
$40 for three-issue subscription
From: Gryphon Books

Survivors Will Be Shot Again by Bill Crider

Survivors Will Be Shot Again by Bill Crider

Hat tip to Gary for highlighting TDE4 in his “Paperback Talk” column which is loaded with PB and digest news items. And I was delighted to see so much coverage on Milton K. Ozaki aka Robert O. Saber, who appears briefly in the third Suspense Novel, “Naked Villainy,” by Carl G. Hodges—especially by the triple treat of Lovisi, Lupoff and Crider!

And speaking of Bill Crider, yesterday’s second arrival was his new Dan Rhodes mystery, Survivors Will Be Shot Again, the title pulled from real life “No Trespassing” signs. (Try an image search and see for yourself.) I had to laugh at the gator tail snaking through the lower right corner of the fence on the cover. You can read the first chapter over at Criminal Element. Check out Bill’s Pop Culture Magazine for PC news, the latest on his writing, and occasional grammar tests.

Two Steps Forward

EQMM August 2016

EQMM August 2016

When The Digest Enthusiast launched in January 2015 I ran classified ads in all the major digest magazines on newsstands for three consecutive issues. Unfortunately even at the very reasonable rates available, I wasn’t able to continue and TDE has been absent from the very type of magazines we pay tribute to each edition, ever since.

That is until now. The magnanimous Bill Crider, who writes the “Blog Bytes” column for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, highlights TDE and this very “Digest Magazine” blog in the current issue (pg 26). What a thrill it is to see this coverage in “The World’s Leading Mystery Magazine.” It also appears on their website, The Mystery Place. Many thanks, Bill.

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The American Bystander #2

The American Bystander #2

A new humor magazine, The American Bystander (TAB), is using current technology and techniques to find its audience. The second issue arrived in my mailbox yesterday, loaded with cartoons, comics and laugh-out-loud prose. Here’s a little background in their own words:

“The implosion of book and magazine publishing has left a lot of established artists and writers with no way to reach the readers who love their stuff. And for younger talents, an always-difficult career is now practically impossible. We just couldn’t take it anymore, folks, we had to do something…so we created The American Bystander. What happens next is up to you.”

TAB chairman Michael Gerber uses Kickstarter campaigns to fund the magazine’s development. As an added incentive he’s offers free classified ads to supporters. As a POD/digital publisher myself I was happy to take him up on the offer and glad to see three pages of highly varied ads in TAB #2. Here’s what ours looks like:


Bill Crider and Dan Rhodes

Survivors Will Be Shot Again by Bill Crider

Survivors Will Be Shot Again by Bill Crider

I first became aware of Bill Crider online from his rapid fire Pop Culture Magazine blog and soon learned he was a prolific writer with dozens of novels to his credit. Perhaps most famously, he writes the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, with the most recent, Survivors Will Be Shot Again, due August 9 from Minotaur Books.

When I began publishing The Digest Enthusiast I started sending Bill copies in hopes he’d like it and recommend it to his readers. He did. In fact, when I met him at Bouchercon 2015 he said he loved it.

Bill is an energetic, generous soul; not only a fine writer himself but a champion of writing and writers. An example for us all.

On Tuesday Bill checked into the hospital with kidney problems and testing. The news got worse. On Wednesday it looked like lymphoma. On Friday he wrote: “Very aggressive form of carcinoma. Looks bad. Love to you all.”

Sad, bad news. My heart goes out to Bill and his family. We can only hope and pray the treatment goes smoothly, with less pain and anxiety than news like this conjures up.

Tom Fisher and the Not So Private Eye #10

No So Private Eye #10 1982(?)

No So Private Eye #10 1982(?)

I ran across Not So Private Eye #10 searching on “Tom Fisher,” a cartoonist I first discovered in the 70s from his wonderful Softboiled: Night of the War Hounds zine, self-published in 1978. He also published Circus Squadron the same year. I liked his work so much I was thrilled when he agreed to draw the cover of Funny Paper #3 in 1980.

I lost track of Tom in the 80s, but still hope to discover new work by him on the occasional search. Recently, I was delighted to find Not So Private Eye #10 which includes a wraparound cover, several interior illos and reviews of a one story each from Two-Fisted Detective Stories and Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine—all by Tom Fisher! A thrilling detective find.

Turns out Not So Private Eye was a zine published by Andy Jaysnovitch, devoted to the private eye/hardboiled character. The listing in Michael L. Cook’s Mystery, Detective, and Espionage Magazines provides a useful history of the title’s first nine issues. (Info beyond those are based on what I could gather from the web.) The zine is also listed in The Heirs of Anthony Boucher by Marvin Lachman.

#1 Aug/Sep 1978 (7” x 8.5”) 28 pages
#2 Oct/Nov 1978 (7” x 8.5”) 48 pages
#3 thru 8 (8.5” x 11”)
#9 Jan 1982 (5.5” x 8.5”) 20 pages
#10 1982(?)  (5.5” x 8.5”) 48 pages
#11 1983
#11-1/2 1984

Another nice surprise in issue #10 was Brad W. Foster’s (illo) and Bill Crider’s humorous piece on “The Complete Crocadilettante or It’s a Croc(k).”

According to Cook, Tom and Brad, and several other cartoonists, also contributed covers to some of the earlier issues, so I’ll be on the lookout for more of these gems.

Masters in Crime & Mystery

bill_criderBouchercon panel, October 9, 2015
The “Masters” that influenced the “Masters” in Crime and Mystery
Mark Coggins (moderator), Bill Crider, Karin Slaughter, Megan Abbott, Lawrence Block

(I’ll have to plead “star-struck” on this one, please excuse any gibberish in the following paraphrased notes.)

What books or authors have influenced your work?
KS: For true crime: Ann Rule. In my writing I try to show crime for what it is and how it affects people.
MA: For true crime: Helter Skelter, Ann Rule. True crime reflects the underlying social conditions of the times.

BC: Harry Whittington is my favorite author.
LB: I was influenced by my role as editor at a lit agency early on in my career. Learned a lot about writing from reading inferior work—it teaches you what doesn’t work. (Block’s personal reminiscences of the crime fiction field and some of its leading practitioners: The Crime of Our Lives.)

MA: Movies influenced me, helped me form ideas about how stories work, dialogue, romance, film noir, the sets and the costumes. Twin Peaks was the perfect mix of melodrama and crime (a noir tribute).
KS: I read a lot of non-fiction. Stephen King is amazing at characterization.

BC: My favorite heroes are Phillip Marlow, Sam Spade and Lew Archer.
MA: Antiheroes appeal to me, like the protagonist in Double Indemnity.

BC: What do I choose to reread? I think the author’s voice has a lot to do with it.
MA: Who would I invite to dinner (if it could be anyone)?  Raymond Chandler, Shirley Jackson, Poe, Lovecraft.

Recommended reading:
KS: Lee Child’s latest is the best of the year.
BC: Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes, The Big Sleep
MA: Chris Holms’ newest. In a Lonely Place—both book and movie are great

Guilty (reading) pleasures:
BC: Paperback originals and digests
LB: Digests like Sure Fire, Off Beat
[I was thrilled that both Bill and Larry mentioned digests—yes!]

Misc comments:
MA: Currently reading Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter—recommended.
KS: A good series hero has to be interesting, have a moral compass. People change incrementally not transformational.

After the panel I caught a few moments with Bill Crider, who signed a copy of his latest book: Between the Living and the Dead—thrilling!

Between the Living and the Dead

Available now!

Available now!

Life is never easy for Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes. When he is called in the middle of the night to investigate gunshots at a haunted house, Rhodes finds the body of meth dealer Neil Foshee. Recently released from jail, Foshee has his fair share of potential murderers, including former girlfriend Vicki, her new boyfriend, the nephew of Clearview’s mayor, and Foshee’s criminal cousins Earl and Louie.

Complicating matters is Seepy Benton, the community college math professor who has a new summer job. He’s founded Clearview Paranormal Investigations and wants to solve the murder by communing with Foshee’s ghost. But when Benton connects with something else instead and a second body is found, Rhodes is left with more questions than ever. Who’s the dead person? How long has the body been hidden? Is Benton really able to communicate with ghosts? And, most important, what, if anything, does the body have to do with Neil Foshee’s death?

Between the Living and the Dead, Bill Crider’s latest installment in the critically acclaimed Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery series, finds Rhodes dealing with ghost hunters, runaway bulls, and assorted low-level crimes, including people’s failure to use their turn signals. It’s all in a day’s work in Clearview, Texas.

Print and digital