Category Archives: Uncategorized

Nick Carraway, P.I.

How “The Great Gatsby” foreshadowed the
American hardboiled crime novel

In my younger years, my father gave me some advice — wait, that wasn’t me.

Let’s try again: In my younger years, I read The Great Gatsby twice. Once in high school, again in college, sprinting through its nine economically-written chapters so I could write the obligatory paper on “Car Culture and the American Dream in Gatsby.” Much like Daisy Buchanan, I didn’t slow down to pay attention to the details, because I wanted to get back to what I really loved in those days — reading hardboiled crime novels. Which is funny, because had I paid attention, I would have seen that Gatsby is, in all but structure, a hardboiled novel. Don’t believe me? Let’s go back to West Egg; I’ll fix you a julep and tell you what I mean. Continue reading Nick Carraway, P.I.


The Field of Flowers

vert-poppy-fade-matteThis is a standalone story from a time when my influences were more in the horror genre, though you can see where things are heading –the unnamed narrator is a cop. The title’s not the most original, I suppose, but I’m not changing anything about it at this late stage. There comes a time when you have to put your early work under glass with a sign reading “Do Not Touch,” and this story is definitely in that category.

His skin was the color of eggshells.  Of paper.  He’d been exsanguinated.


The call came in around 6:45 a.m.  A runner found the body.  Joggers find so many things for us in law enforcement.  Them and hikers.

The body of a young white male, the report said, seen in the blackberry bushes that overran a slope leading down to a creek.  The first patrol officer on the scene didn’t disturb anything, just took one good look and called for a detective and a crime-scene unit.  We later realized that his assiduousness nearly cost the victim his life.
Continue reading The Field of Flowers

Welcome …


Why a Reading Room? When I first created a website, I knew I didn’t want a typical blog (nobody’s interested in what I had for breakfast this morning, usually not even me). But like most writers, I do shorter pieces between longer projects, and I wanted a place for those — bits of writing you can enjoy with a cup of coffee and a croissant (or whatever your indulgence is).

For example, this is where you’ll find “Origins” essays on both Sarah Pribek and Hailey Cain, an early short story with a supernatural twist, and pieces on books or movies that fascinate me. This includes “Nick Carraway, P.I.,” where I argue that “The Great Gatsby” is a forerunner of the American hardboiled crime novel.

I hope you find something here you enjoy. As always, get in touch with your thoughts at