Book Review: Clean Hands

Book Review: Clean Hands   Clean Hands is a slick, fast-moving thriller, written with skill and aplomb by a talented writer who knows how to keep action flowing swiftly.  It’s very neatly crafted, and reads like a taut suspense movie.  Patrick Hoffman does a lot really well with his novel, but there are a few shortcomings that […]

Forensics and Faces from the Past

Forensics and Faces from the Past   A lot has changed in the field of forensic art since I first started back when the dinosaurs roamed. I entered the field in 1981, working for the North Idaho Regional Crime Lab. The lab handled physical evidence from the ten northern counties of Idaho, the FBI, ATF, […]

Creative Writing Courses

Creative Writing Courses One of the questions I am sometimes asked is if I feel it’s advisable to take creative writing lessons? For me, the answer is both yes and no as every writer will have their own unique journey. However, by delving into my own experiences of courses, I hope to explore the answer […]

What Makes Sherlock So Special

What Makes Sherlock So Special What indeed! Sherlock Holmes has been with us for over one hundred years and the public’s interest for him remains unquenchable. He is known the world over and is so familiar that his name has become part of our vernacular. Moreover, he is the most portrayed character in film and […]

Author Greg Mitchell of The Beginning or the End: How Hollywood—and America—Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the BombThe Beginning or the End — Q&A with Greg Mitchell

THE BEGINNING OR THE END A Discussion with Author Greg Mitchell by Michael Barson   Barson 1) Given the tragic aftermath of the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan in August of 1945— actions that soon would lead to MGM’s decision to film “The Beginning or the End”—were you surprised to discover in your research […]

Body for Sale

Body for Sale The Victorian Era was a blizzard of societal change, an avalanche, a cascade, a tsunami. We look on the age as prim and tightly buttoned-up, but perhaps it had to be because so many things were unraveling at such a rapid pace. Manners, morals and attire needed to have the appearance, at […]

Psychotherapy for Characters

Psychotherapy for Characters Theatre trips are magical. I love the anticipation before the curtain raises, the imaginative sets, the actors, the story, the applause. As much as I enjoyed performing in school plays, I’ve never been able to act. Therefore, when a writer friend of mine, Phoebe Locke, recommended a psychotherapy service for fictitious characters […]

The Author So Prodigious He Had No Idea How Many Books He’d Written

  The author so prodigious he had no idea how many books he’d written Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle regularly come top of lists of mystery authors with the most titles sold. But in a contest to win Most Consistently Prolific Crime Writer of All Time, there’s one man who is in a […]

Book Review: Five More American Mystery Classics

Book Review: Five More American Mystery Classics   The American Mystery Classics series continues to republish some great crime novels of the past, featuring some of the greatest talents in the genre, including some legends who have unfortunately fallen into undeserved obscurity. John Dickson Carr made his name with the “locked room” mysteries and impossible crimes […]


THE LONDON MONSTER   In 1790, nearly a century before Jack the Ripper haunted the streets of London, another predator held sway. The Monster, as this mysterious miscreant was soon dubbed, used to walk up to a beautiful, well-dressed lady, insult her with coarse and earthy language, and then stab her in the thigh or […]

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