Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Homicide detectives Turner Hahn and Frank Morales are back on duty in their new novel, Guilt of Innocence.

The two are investigating a couple of murders which pushes them to the limits of their wits.  One case involves the death of a very successful corporate lawyer.  A high-priced corporate lawyer who happens to be married to a woman who heads the largest cosmetics firm in the country.  How the murder took place is perplexing enough.  But as more bodies begin to drop, Turner and Frank soon realize they are facing a maniacal mastermind who may very well be smarter than both of them combined.

Twists and turns, dead ends and red herrings...with an ending that will truly be surprising.  This case has it all.  And this is only case number one!

Case number two involves the disappearance of a young girl fifteen years earlier.  A Cold Case File.  Except it is not a cold case any longer.  The girl has returned.  And now lies on a cold metal table in the morgue.  Someone has gone out of their way to make the homicide look like a suicide.  Apparently, a crime syndicate is frantic to make sure neither Turner nor Frank find out the facts surrounding the girl's disappearance fifteen years earlier.  A hit man is in town grimly eliminating everyone who may have known the girl.  A hit man with orders to possibly rub out Turner and Frank as well.

And again, the real killer is someone whom no one would have ever suspected.

Turner and Frank are at their best.  Dry wit, interesting characters, lots of action, vivid imagery, and two genuine classic mysteries.  All of it can be found in Guilt of Innocence.  Find it here, or anywhere ebooks are sold.

B.R. Stateham is a six-four year old curmudgeon who writes genre fiction.  With an antiquarian's body, yet with the mind of a fourteen year old boy, the author's imagination still wanders down dark alleys and mean streets looking for a dangerous rendezvous or dons a Federation uniform and straps on his waist a 20 megawatt laser blaster to go out and hunt Martian grave robbers.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Forgive my recycling another one of my stories, but considering the prompt this week, writing a tense scene with an open ending, I felt this one was quite appropriate.  It also fit well under the word limit.  So, let's take a peek into a make-shift movie studio, and I'll let you decide how it ends...


The director sighed.  Already had a buyer for his usual fare, and now this happens. One hundred thou offered to make a snuff? An actual, honest-to-fucking snuff film? The order’s from some big-name actor, so the money’s real enough. The actor’s rep let Clyde look at it in his briefcase. Let him feel it up for a sec too. Even brought the gun he wanted to be used. A nice shiny new 9mm Glock--loaded. ‘Like your other films, please’ he said quietly, ‘except this time, when the girl puts the gun into her mouth and pulls the trigger…’

Clyde felt like he was going to be sick. So far, he’d had no problem unloading his work. He has the girl make herself feel real good, then she sucks on his old Colt 38 with the broken firing pin for awhile, pulls the trigger, looks right into the camera and laughs. But this time?

He’d picked this cutie up at a bus stop on the edge of town and brought her out here to the cabin. Told him she was 18, but he didn’t believe a day over 15. Promised her a few bucks, make her a movie star, you know the routine, and she’d come willingly enough. But, still. A snuff film?

He took her into the master bedroom, where he had his lights and camera already set up. Clyde told her to lie on the bed and get comfortable and try to relax. He handed her a bottle of some cheap whiskey he had stashed there for just such occasions. As soon as she unscrewed the top, she started gulping it down. Clyde hoped to hell she wouldn’t puke it up later on film. A scene like that would certainly decrease it’s value. He told her he had some stuff to take care of in the other room, but he’d be back in about 15 minutes and then they would make the movie. She just nodded and kept gulping. Clyde went into the back bedroom he’d converted to a kind of office and sat down at the desk. He really needed to think this through.

He put the Colt and the Glock on the desk and lit a smoke. This should have been an easy decision, but he couldn’t just wave off a hundred thousand dollars. At the rate he was going, that’s more money than he would see in 25 lifetimes. But, we’re talking death for real here…

Clyde always figured there were two sides to everything. Were there this time?

Nobody makes snuff films. Not for real, anyway.

Apparently, there’s at least one guy out there who believes I would.

This kid can’t just disappear.

Told me she had no family--totally on her own.

I’ve never even punched anybody out, much less killed anyone.

I wouldn’t actually be pulling the trigger.

How could I live with myself if I let this girl die?

A hundred thou buys a lot of therapy.

Doesn’t matter how you look at this. When all is said and done, it comes down to cold-blooded, premeditated murder.

Yes. It does.

Four o’clock. Clyde thought the kid must be pretty well looped by now, considering she’s probably been gulping steady for the past 15 minutes.


He picked up the gun from the desk and went into the bedroom. The girl had already removed her clothes and was on the bed, sitting up against the headboard. Her eyes were barely open and lifeless in the room’s dim lighting. The bottle of whiskey sat almost empty on the nightstand against the wall.

He placed the gun on the bed next to her and asked if she knew what she was expected to do with it. She closed her eyes, nodded slowly, picked up the gun and began caressing it.

He positioned himself behind the camera and said, “Five, four, three, two…”

Monday, May 6, 2013


This is my twisted take on a blind date; an oldie, but a favorite of mine I wrote for A Twist of Noir.  My main character is based on the deaf hit man character created by Christopher Grant in his story, Reverberations, which you can read here. 

Jimmy Callaway followed with Closed Captioned, that featured this fascinating fellow, and you can read his story here.

Mine, entitled Blind Date, follows, and was the third in this delightfully bizarre series.  I hope you enjoy them all.


Well, today’s been quite the eventful day.  I’m still having a hard time believing it, and I was there.

This morning started off pretty much the same as all my other mornings.  I was enjoying my usual morning fare:  a nice hot, high fat, high cholesterol, high sodium, and let’s not forget all the sugar, delightful meal at my favorite haunt.  I’ve been coming here for over 20 years and I’ll be coming for another 20.  Small, homey, and most of all, private.   In my line of work, confidentiality is king.  My clients aren’t in the mood to advertise their meetings with me and I’m not much for social networking.

I was on my third java refill thinking about how sweet it would be to get away for a few days.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to run away from something, because I never run away from anything.  It attracts attention.  It’s just that I recently finished a job that ended up being a bit messier than I like.  The client was new, but had passed muster, so I took the gig.  But, there were a few more individuals involved than originally agreed upon, so it required a bit more effort on the part of yours truly.  Mind you, I was never at a disadvantage, but more usually means noise, and noise means trouble.  Now, noise doesn’t bother me any.  I’ve been deaf since the day I was born.  But, I can see it being made--I can feel it.  People running around yelling and banging on stuff?  Noise.

I got the situation under control as I always do, but I figured my new client owed me a bonus for the extra sweat he’d caused.  Oddly enough, he didn’t see it.  I didn’t see or feel any noise while I was persuading him to my way of thinking, though.  A nice bit of closure there.  True, no actual bonus, but closure still.  A job well done.

M point being, I needed some R&R, when an old friend that I haven’t seen in years strolled in and joined me at my table.  He and I go way back and are in the same line, but it’s not like a competition thing between us.  His old lady inherited big bucks from her last sugar daddy, and he’s set for life.  He takes the occasional job just to keep a hand in and stay sharp.  Most he turns down flat regardless, if his gut tells him it’s hinky.  You know, I think I trust his gut more than I trust anyone or anything in this whole world.  If a gig clears his checkpoint, and he’s strapped, he’ll offer it to me.  I usually oblige.  A friend in need… and all that crap.

When he gave me the deets on this one, I thought he’d jumped the track.  He handed me a letter from the prospective client and told me to just read it and consider.  He hadn’t met her yet--yeah, it was a dame--but thought this might have some merit.  I nodded, shook his hand, blinked, and he was gone.  Probably on his way to catch the Concorde to Paris.  Again.

The letter read like an advice column plea.  It seems a Miss Makafee had decided it was time to seek a better half.  She didn’t trust computers--a Big Brother’s Always Watching complex--so she joined a mail order type service.  She provided a complete description of herself (blonde, blue eyes, 5 feet and 2 inches, 110 pounds) and listed her favorite activities as watching old movies, drinking hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, and walking in the rain.

For a quick sec, I had the urge to marry this hottie myself.  It passed.

The response was from a chap who claimed to be a rugged six footer, medium build, with dark hair and eyes.  Said he loved old movies, and fantasized about them holding hands sipping a mug of cocoa.  They set up a meet.

Well, knock me into a week from Thursday.  The mope shows up, and he’s 5 feet if he’s an inch.  Medium build?  Compared to what?  A Frigidaire?  Dark eyes?  Maybe.  If you could find them under all those bags hanging around ‘em.  She didn’t get a chance to quiz him in the likes and dislikes department because when he saw her, he started to laugh.  Didn’t say a fucking word to this babe, just laughed, like it was all some sick prank.  Little honey starts tearing up, runs out of the joint and catches a cab home.  She’s got his number, knows where he lives, and that’s where I come into the picture.  Well, not exactly me; it was my guy, but you already know that part.

So, she’s hurt and all, but more than that, she’s pissed all to Hell.  She wants him ‘eliminated’.  Her word--not mine.  Classy dame is my guess.  One hitch, though.  She’s light on the green.  Now, I’ve got as much heart as the next fella, but I don’t get a tax break for charity work.  Still, we could meet and see where it went.  I don’t take payment in trade, but maybe this chick’s got something I could use.  Never know.

Got a bud to take her a note to meet me at the diner at 4, cause 4 is too late for lunch and too early for dinner.  If the whole thing turns sour, all I’m out is a cup of Joe, tops.

So, I get there early, and I’m on my fourth refill and she walks in the door carrying the white rose I sent along with the note.  First thought that crossed my mind was how could that son of a bitch laugh at her.  She took my breath away.

I mean--literally--I couldn’t catch a breath.  Five foot two?  Maybe.  If she could actually straighten herself upright.  There’s a medical name for that, but it escapes me.  Saw somebody once with that condition in an old Boris Karloff movie, though.  She did have blonde hair alright--or, at least a couple of tufts of it on the right side of her head.  I think one of her legs was shorter than the other by a few inches.  That might have accounted for the fact that she kinda walked sideways; like, take a step and slide, take a step and slide.  You get the picture.

She made it over to my table during my fifth refill, sat down, waved the rose at me, and smiled a funny little crooked smile.  In my head, I was counting my meager blessings and wondering what the fuck I was doing there.  But the answer soon became very clear.  When she winked at me with her one good eye, I knew.  I thought about the basic philosophy I’ve lived my whole life with.  You make do with what you’ve been given and it’s got to be enough.

Maybe there wouldn’t be a tax break on this one, but bullets are cheap, and somebody really owed her.  By the way, I sprang for an early dinner too.