Inspiration for MAKE IT WRITE

Belfast Co-op Community BoardWhy I took this photo of a typical community board remains a mystery even to me. But it soon became the inspiration for my short story Make it Write. The photograph was taken at the Belfast Co-op in Maine.

belfast

Like all community boards, it’s filled with notices of local events, lost pets, local concerts, and business cards for lawyers, dog walkers, cat sitters, etc. This ordinary looking community board made me think about what would happen if there was a business card that read, I CAN HELP. Nothing else on the card except for a phone number. Help with what was the first question that popped up in my mind followed by this must be a scam. I then wondered what would happen if I took one of the cards and called. What would the price be? For my character, George Jensen, a failed novelist, in  Make it Write the price may be more than he bargained for.

Make it Write Book Cover Final2r-002

MAKE IT WRITE is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

 

 

Latest Review on THE LATE SHOW

Below is the latest rave review on THE LATE SHOW AND OTHER TALES OF CELLULOID MALICE

Available at Amazon  and Smashwords 

The Late Show Kindlw Cover-004

Interplanetary Funksmanship

Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2020

Verified Purchase

Author John Greco’s book of short stories, “The Late Show,” ties together the writer’s passion of old movies (mostly Films Noir, peopled by the likes of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson) and tales which end in some twist of fate for their protagonist, anti-hero, or villain.

I don’t want to go into too many details, because reviewers who give spoiler alerts are missing the forest for the trees. But, there are husbands and wives whose marriages have soured; spoiled rich kid heirs and random innocent bystanders; a beloved fixture of the community who finds his purpose in life suddenly and sadly obsolescent; a vegetarian hitman who got into his line of work by turning some tables; a hippie-dippy chick whose crystal ball needs some new batteries; someone who lost his temper, and leaked a little blood on his way into the Bijou; and, to borrow a line from Johnny Cash, some of Hollywood’s has-beens, would be’s and never weres.

Greco expertly taps out some dark tales on his typewriter, but even the darkest have a light touch — he doesn’t bog the reader down in excessive gore and depravity. Drawing upon the experiences of his youth and early adulthood, many of his tales are set in New York City and Upstate. He has an uncanny knack for conveying these locales not unlike crime thriller writer Mickey Spillane.

This is the first book of Greco’s I’ve read, and his stories are quite entertaining, written in the style of the golden age magazine fiction of midcentury. Definitely recommended

 

 

Book Review: The Big Goodbye

Goodbye

Chinatown is one of the golden apples of 70s cinema. Sam Wasson has written an interesting, if sometimes overly detailed history on the making of the movie. Wasson brings you into the minds of the creators and participants: Robert Towne, Robert Evans, Roman Polanski, John Alonzo, Jack Nicholson, and Faye Dunaway. It’s also an intimate portrayal of Los Angeles and the Hollywood of the 1970s. Like the movie,  it’s convoluted at times. But the story is fascinating. It took Towne years to write the screenplay and he didn’t want to give up control. But filmmaking is a collaborative art, and the director, especially a director of Polanski’s caliber, has the final say. Wasson writes that the film’s ending is more Polanski’s doing than Towne.

The Big Goodbye is more than about Chinatown. It’s about the end of a golden era in films. Soon movies like Chinatown, The Conversation,   Marathon Man, The Godfather, and Network would give way to mindless blockbusters. There was more money to be made with trashy, splashy lightweight entertainment, lots more money, and after all, that’s what the business is about. Making money and box office trends, not art.

 

 

Latest Review on The Late Show

The Late Show Kindlw Cover-004

Interplanetary Funksmanship

Reviewed in the United States on June 21, 2020

Author John Greco’s book of short stories, “The Late Show,” ties together the writer’s passion of old movies (mostly Films Noir, peopled by the likes of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Edward G. Robinson) and tales which end in some twist of fate for their protagonist, anti-hero, or villain.

I don’t want to go into too many details, because reviewers who give spoiler alerts are missing the forest for the trees. But, there are husbands and wives whose marriages have soured; spoiled rich kid heirs and random innocent bystanders; a beloved fixture of the community who finds his purpose in life suddenly and sadly obsolescent; a vegetarian hitman who got into his line of work by turning some tables; a hippie-dippy chick whose crystal ball needs some new batteries; someone who lost his temper, and leaked a little blood on his way into the Bijou; and, to borrow a line from Johnny Cash, some of Hollywood’s has-beens, would be’s and never weres.

Greco expertly taps out some dark tales on his typewriter, but even the darkest have a light touch — he doesn’t bog the reader down in excessive gore and depravity. Drawing upon the experiences of his youth and early adulthood, many of his tales are set in New York City and Upstate. He has an uncanny knack for conveying these locales not unlike crime thriller writer Mickey Spillane.

This is the first book of Greco’s I’ve read, and his stories are quite entertaining, written in the style of the golden age magazine fiction of midcentury. Definitely recommended.

Available at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble

“Bitter Ends” on Sale for Only 99 Cents

For a limited time my collection of short stories, Bitter Ends, is on sale for only 99 cents at Amazon Just click here.

an intriguing collection oft quick, quirky short stories that deal with infidelity and revenge. They read fast and furious. – Joseph Souza – author of The Perfect Daughter.

“Bitter Ends” is jam packed with quick, nasty little numbers full of cheating and murdering spouses and twisty turns of fate. – David H. Schleicher author of And Then We Vanish.

Bitter Ends2-003 Preview with Border

Book Review: Love it or Hate it – it’s Brian DePalma

snakes

Published by Hard Case Crime, Are Snakes Necessary? is Brian DePalma’s first novel. It was co-written with journalist Susan Lehman. Like DePalma’s films, I think people are either going to love this book or hate it.

Okay, first things first. I am a big Brian DePalma fan. Ever since I first saw Sisters way back when. Accusations of Hitchcock imitating have haunted him throughout his career. Well, artists have always borrowed styles from other artists and in film, few are better to steal from than Alfred Hitchcock. Are Snakes Necessary? is a quick thrill ride: a political thriller wrapped in a noir like piece of pulp fiction that much like his films is stylized and at times disjointed. Not surprisingly, there is a cinematic flow and much of the book is dialogue driven. In the words of Elmore Leonard, they left out the boring stuff.

Like Lana Turner in Postman only Deadlier

She took one step into the bedroom framing herself by the open bathroom door. Jimmy stared at her.  Exactly as John Garfield first saw Lana Turner in The Postman Always Rings Twice, he thought: white shorts, halter top, and turban.   Only this time Margaret added one more accessory… – The Late Show and Other Tales of Celluloid Malice

Available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords

Lana Potman 

Book Review: The Perfect Daughter

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I have never lived in Maine, but if you follow and read my blog posts, you know that it’s one of my favorite destinations. It’s scenic, for my photographic endeavors, and it has the inner aura of a place I’d like to live. Shepard’s Bay, a fictional coastal town in Maine, is divided. There are lifelong locals, mostly lobster fishermen and there are the wealthy newbies who are getting prime real estate to build their large new home. It’s also driving up real estate values, forcing many long-time local folks to worry about their future. It’s the type of situation where resentment can easily build up. When a wealthy teenager, Dakota James, goes missing followed by two teenage girls, life in town soon changes.

The Perfect Daughter is a twisty story of a town divided by financial status and secrets, plenty of secrets: love affairs, drugs, wild parties, jealousy, gossip, regrets, and more.

The two teen girls, Katie, from the poor side of town, and Willow, from the wealthy side, have become best friends. After Katie’s disappearance, Ilsa, Katie’s mother is in a panic. A search party is formed and two days later Katie’s found, though bruised, bloodied and with a loss of memory. But where is Willow? The local police, led by Karl, Ilsa’s high school sweetheart, is overwhelmed by this type of situation. He toughest job ususally is handing out parking tickets. Ilsa’s husband, Ray, is a drunk and rarely ever around.

As one secret is revealed, a new layer of secrecy pops up. The secrets, the twists, and turns continue throughout this multifaceted and riveting tale of small-town life on the brink. Author Joseph Souza knows how to keep you on the edge, and just when you think you have it figured out, he smacks you with another twist that leaves you misdirected and wanting for the answers.

Book Review: And Then We Vanish

And Then

In his first collection of short stories, D.H. Schleicher’s And Then We Vanish gives us an intriguing assortment of 11 tales accumulated over a ten year period. Each story ends with a twist, many of which you will not see coming. In each tale, people’s lives change, not always for the better. “When Night Falls on Niagara,” one of my favorites is both a whimsical and mysterious tale and will make you wonder what’s real and not real about one of America’s most famous landmarks. Another gem, “Upon the Unfortunate News of My Death,” deals with modern-day social media. How spreading rumors and misinformation can so easily change lives. “Anthrax and Cherry Blossoms,” “Somebody You Use to Know,” “Boko Harem’s Greatest Hits” are a few more of my top picks. Schleicher has a style that draws you in and makes you care about each of his characters. There is both humor and chills.  And Then We Vanish is available at Amazon.