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Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, December 1, 2014

On Geezer Fiction (Guest Post by Russ Hall, author of TO HELL AND GONE IN TEXAS)

You may not know this about me but I do not care about book covers.  (Or maybe you do, and you've been silently judging me for my crappy covers for years.  Whatevs.)  But, yeah, when it comes to judging a book by it's cover, no worries if it's me.  I mean, I can tell when a cover is butt-ugly, in the same way I can tell the difference between hamburger, steak, and cat food, but when it gets down to the nitty-gritty I have an artist's eye the way I have a great face for radio.  Color, composition, may as well be talking about wampeters, foma, and granfalloons (except I actually know what those mean.)

However, I do have a lot of author friends.  And a lot of them do have a lot of strong feelings about covers.  Which I have to listen to.  So when the cover of TO HELL AND GONE IN TEXAS by Russ Hall came out I was surprised to find myself the first one to jump in:

"It's Elmore Leonard meets The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly!  Awesome!"

Take a look for yourself:

Now, ain't that a sexy book you want to know more about?  And almost as amusing as that beautiful cover on its own is this found art from the Red Adept Publishing Facebook page photo album of New York Times Bestseller Kate Moretti looking like she's about to blow you all to Hell and gone:

But enough bloviating.  Let's get to meet the author and then let's jump right in with a guest post.  And, as always, stick around for the end where our mutual publisher RAP will be hosting a giveaway.

About Russ Hall

Russ Hall is author of fifteen published fiction books, most in hardback and subsequently published in mass market paperback by Harlequin’s Worldwide Mystery imprint and Leisure Books. He has also co-authored numerous non-fiction books, most recently DO YOU MATTER: HOW GREAT DESIGN WILL MAKE PEOPLE LOVE YOUR COMPANY (Financial Times Press, 2009) with Richard Brunner, former head of design at Apple, NOW YOU'RE THINKING (Financial Times Press, 2011), and IDENTITY (Financial Times Press, 2012) with Stedman Graham, Oprah’s companion.

His graduate degree is in creative writing. He has been a nonfiction editor for major publishing companies, ranging from HarperCollins (then Harper & Row), Simon & Schuster, to Pearson. He has lived in Columbus, OH, New Haven, CT, Boca Raton, FL, Chapel Hill, NC, and New York City. Moving to the Austin area from New York City in 1983.

He is a long-time member of the Mystery Writers of America, Western Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. He is a frequent judge for writing organizations.

In 2011, he was awarded the Sage Award, by The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation—a Texas award for the mentoring author who demonstrates an outstanding spirit of service in mentoring, sharing and leading others in the mystery writing community. In 1996, he won the Nancy Pickard Mystery Fiction Award for short fiction.

Guest Post

In the past, in addition to other thrillers, I had written some cozy mysteries that featured a retired school teacher named Esbeth Walters. She didn’t brook a fool gently and would get involved in solving crimes even when the local law asked her to butt out, especially then. In one of her adventures she got next to some quite gritty characters and Booklist Review said: “Agatha Christie meets Elmore Leonard.”

Well, I quite like Elmore Leonard, and I would say that this time there’s a lot more of his influence in TO HELL AND GONE IN TEXAS—certainly far less Agatha Christie, if any. I think of a number of thriller writers to aim for who are at the top of their game, like Lee Child, the team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Dennis Lehane, and a host of other luminaries in this space. But this latest thriller of mine falls in a new and growing category as well, that now beginning to be known as geezer fiction.

Al Quinn is a protagonist who just retired as a sheriff’s department detective. His brother is a year older, and while they should both be enjoying their so-called “golden years,” they are instead swept into the jaws of fierce jousting between brutal Mexican cartel killers and federal agencies that have learned to be as vicious in return. Like the early Clint Eastwood films, it’s not always easy to tell who the good guys are, and worse if you happen to be between them.

The category of geezer fiction deserves a word or two. When the protagonist is no longer necessarily young and attractive, as such characters once were almost without exception, you have people at the same age of a good number of those in the reading audience who actually deal with real world threats. For baby boomers, and anyone no longer threatened by acne, this is worth a whoop or two.

Take, for instance, the mystery series of Colin Cotterill, which begins with The Coroner’s Lunch and features Dr. Siri Paiboun, a 72-year old reluctant coroner in 1975 Laos. One of the things that endears us to such characters is perseverance in the face of adversity and challenges, and being a senior and taking on hardened criminals is certainly that.

Now consider Al Quinn, who hoped to live alone and have a quiet retirement, but finds himself having a brother he hasn’t spoken to in twenty years foisted onto him. Together they must face some of the most vicious members of a Mexican cartel murder team. Not your everyday happy retirement, is it? Al Quinn must indeed hone his edges and be as tough as those coming after them if he and his brother aren’t to lose their heads, literally, a penchant of the cartel killers.



Trouble big as all hell.

Retired sheriff’s detective Al Quinn hasn’t spoken to his brother, Maury, in twenty years. When Maury lands in the hospital under suspicious circumstances, though, Al reluctantly abandons his quiet country seclusion to look into the matter. A second attempt to take Maury out drives the brothers back to Al’s lakeside home, where Al knows the territory, but they’re not alone for long. ICE agents demand that Maury rat on his silent partner, city cop Fergie Jergens comes investigating the murders of Maury’s lady friends, and someone takes a match to Al’s house.

Al soon learns his problems are only getting started—his brother’s in trouble on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Caught in a ruthless power struggle between the ICE and Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican mafia bent on ascendancy, Al learns the hard way who he can trust—and who’s willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.

With everything he loves on the line, Al will learn just how far he’ll go to protect his own.

Buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, or GooglePlay!  And make sure to tell all your friends about it on Goodreads!

Read an excerpt


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