Dark Brink of Love


I guest edited the noir volume of Nicolas Winding Refn’s The title of the volume is DARK BRINK OF LOVE.

The first of three chapters is now live. Usually you need to create an account to see content on the site (it’s free and easy), but they’ve made this volume available to everyone, no log-in required.

Here are the contents:

First off, there’s the film: STARK FEAR from 1962. Made by two University of Oklahoma professors, Ned Hockman and Dwight V. Swain, it’s a psychological horror noir set and filmed in and around Oklahoma City and Norman. It stars Beverly Garland and Skip Homeier. The first time I saw it was on a very rough public domain copy–it’s been beautifully restored by Peter Conheim. It’s a weird, unsettling, dangerous-feeling picture. Watch it here.

In “Derrick Noir: Okies Go Hollywood,” Philippe Garnier introduces STARK FEAR, showing how the pieces came together on this singularly twisted curiosity. Read his intro to the film here.

In “The Planet Murderer,” Chris Offutt considers how his father Andrew Offutt, a prolific writer of porn novels, crossed paths with STARK FEAR scribe Dwight V. Swain, in the process meditating on literary heritage and the blood that runs from fathers to sons. Chris has allowed us to use some incredible photos of his dad, and there are also many book covers from John Cleve (Andrew Offutt’s alias). Read it here.

“‘Why’d You Go, Daddy? Was I Bad?'” is a stunning story from the author of BUCKSKIN COCAINE, Erika T. Wurth​. Wurth imagines what it might have been like for Cortez Ewing, the Native American actor who plays “The Chief” in STARK FEAR. Accompanying the piece are James Mooney’s Ghost Dance Recordings and a selection of noir-infused public domain photos. Read it here.

J David Osborne​, author of BLACK GUM, A MINOR STORM, and BLOOD AND WATER, gives us “Oklahoma: Heartland, U.S.A.,” inspired by the title of a tourism ad by Swain and Hockman. It’s head trip noir story about his Oklahoma fifty years after STARK FEAR, populated by a new variety of desperate people on the ropes: juggalos, small-time crooks, and searchers. Also accompanied by some weird, noir public domain photos. Read it here.

Gabino Iglesias​, author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS, in a story and photo series, delivers a motel noir infused with paranoia and destruction and inspired by the shadowy locations of STARK FEAR. Read/view “Stark Raving Mad” here.

There’s a bunch of stuff from me and Tyler Keith​:
1. I wrote a speculative memoir from the point of view of former child star Skip Homeier, “The Bad Husband.” Read it here.
2. I wrote a long story, “Cruising the El Nora,” inspired by the El Nora Motel, a key location in STARK FEAR. It includes original photos from Tyler Keith. Read/view here.
3. I read “Cruising the El Nora” with an original score from Tyler Keith. Listen here.
4. I interview Tyler Keith about writing noir songs, growing up in the Christ-haunted south, and touring in punk bands, and he plays a handful of songs live in the studio. Listen here.
5. I read a sci-fi story by Dwight V. Swain. It features a nudist camp, x-ray glasses, Nazi secret agents, and goatees that “jerk with contempt.” Listen here.

Also, a couple of byNWR mainstays:
Charlie Beesley helps us discover his Discarded America.
Peter Conheim brings us more tales from the Restoration benches.

If you missed my volume intro, here it is.

And I made a playlist on Spotify for the volume.

That’s a lot. Sorry. This is a project I’ve been working on for about a year, and I’m glad it’s finally out there. Thanks to the amazing contributors. Thanks to James Banks, Jules Holland, and everyone at Bureau in the UK. Thanks especially to the minds behind byNWR: Jimmy McDonough and Nicolas Winding Refn. If you want to get a peek behind the curtains of byNWR, check out this piece in The Quietus.

One more quick note:
-Chapter 2 of DARK BRINK OF LOVE will go live on April 1st. It features contributions from Ace Atkins, Laura Lee Bahr, Violet LeVoit, and Theresa Starkey.
-Chapter 3 will go live on May 1st. It features contributions from Sarah Weinman, Scott Adlerberg​, Marya E. Gates, and Jack Pendarvis.

Thanks for reading.
You are now entering the Dark Brink of Love…




GRAVESEND is nominated for the PRIX SNCF DU POLAR 2017. If I’m reading this right, you can get a free digital copy with an application to SNCF e-LIVRE and you can vote for the prize.

There’s also a great trailer here (the GRAVESEND bit starts at the 50 second mark).

I talked to my publisher & pal J. David Osborne on his podcast. You can also download it on iTunes. Subscribe while you’re at it. One of my few go-to podcasts these days. Thanks for having me on, David.

My story, “Most Things Haven’t Worked Out,” from Mississippi Noir (Akashic Books, 2016) is nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

A couple of new songs by Sean Rowe I’ve been pretty obsessed with this week: “To Leave Something Behind” and “Gas Station Rose”

Kim Morgan on True Romance is one of the best things I’ve read lately. I watched True Romance almost every day in high school. I loved it. Still do.




Seeking With Groans

I’m going to be in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend. I’m giving a keynote, “Seeking With Groans: Revival and Redemption in Walter Mosley’s RL’s Dream,” on Saturday afternoon at the University of Arkansas’s Annual GSE Conference. And I’m reading from Gravesend at 6:30 at Nightbird Books. Really pumped for this. Thanks to old pal Rachael Price for making it happen. If you’re nearby, it’d be swell to see you.

A few other things I’ve been meaning to post:
1. Here’s Gravesend in the window at Square Books. So fucking cool to see (and to have the best cover).

2. Here’s a noir bookmark the Oxford Public Library made up. Ha. Not sure how I wound up on this list but I’ll take the hell out of it.


3. Bummed to miss AWP, especially the reading I was supposed to do at Left Bank Books with Scott McClanahan, Noah Cicero, Patrick Wensink, Stephen Graham Jones, J. David Osborne, and a bunch of other great writers. But it was nice to see this shot of David at the book fair pop up on Facebook over the weekend.


4. Also really swell to see a quote from my L.A. Review of Books review of Richard Lange’s Angel Baby on the cover of the forthcoming paperback edition.

angel baby



My first novel, Gravesend, is coming out later this year from J. David Osborne’s Broken River Books.  Here’s information on the Broken River Books Kickstarter (not the annoying kind), which will help get the press off the ground. An excerpt of the book is up at Vol. 1 Brooklyn. And here’s the amazing cover art by Matthew Revert: