Re-Released: Rain Down, A Crime Novella

Sometimes, you just need a second chance.

This week I’m re-launching my crime novella that was published back in 2016 by Endeavour in London. Not enough readers know about the story, unfortunately, especially with so many books out there and so much competition for our entertainment these days. Now I’ve been able to get the rights back to the book so I can (hopefully) reach more readers by re-releasing it on my own—with a great new cover as well. 

Rain Down takes place in my hometown of Portland, Oregon during the economic meltdown of 2009. For me that period also marked the end days of an old Portland that’s nearly unrecognizable today. I’m not reminiscing so much as stating plain reality. Seeing my manuscript and notes again after even a few years, I realize that almost all locations in the novella have changed dramatically. Still, the plight of those stressed to breaking points at all levels of our dog-eat-dog society never does change and if anything is even worse today. Rain Down is about that, all wrapped in a crime story. 

This tale started as a short story, “Asphalt Jornalero,” that was published in Underground Voices back in April 2009. Another version emerged as a crime noir screenplay, Trickle Down, that placed in the top 15 % of entries for the 2009 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. The story might’ve died there but it refused to expire, so I expanded on it, giving it room to breathe and get a few things off its chest. 

I’m re-releasing the ebook version first on Amazon only (here) for various publishing-related reasons that I’ll spare you. It’s also available as a slim paperback. It’s all in an attempt to reach more readers this time around, because I like this feisty little tale with its characters and truths that are just aching for a second chance in life. I’m hoping you’ll like it too.

 Here’s the official book description: 

A man with no name hits the streets of Portland to find a friend he fears may have been killed for taking a stand.

It’s 2009, and the economy’s falling apart. Formerly homeless, the no-name man owes what little he has to his friend Oscar. As a fellow day laborer, Oscar had always stood up for their rights—maybe one time too many.

Now he needs to find Oscar and soon, he realizes, or he just might take the rap himself. He dodges the cops, tries to save his drug-addicted ex, and discovers that a desperate condo developer and his wife are conspiring to cover up a tragic crime. To get at the whole truth he’ll finally have to face his past, and accept who Oscar really was—only then can he reclaim his name and place in a harsh world.

Rain Down is hard-hitting crime noir with a heart, all in a compact novella totaling about 95 print pages. 

***

You can find links to buy Rain Down here. Happy reading, folks. If you do happen to read and enjoy Rain Down, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or your favorite bookstore online.

 


Published: My Translation of Where the Desert Meets the Sea

I'm happy as ever to report that my translation of Where the Desert Meets the Sea came out this week.

In this illuminating and heart-stirring historical novel set in post-WWII Palestine, the boundaries of love and friendship are challenged by the intractable conflicts of war. Check out my Translation page for more about the novel.

The author, Werner Sonne, worked for German broadcaster ARD for more than forty years as a radio and TV correspondent both in Germany and abroad. He’s traveled in and reported on the Middle East since 1973 and wrote the novel as a way to better understand the roots of the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His original German version is titled Jerusalem, Jerusalem.

Congrats and Bravo, Werner! And many thanks to publisher AmazonCrossing and editor Liza Darnton.

I was able to translate part of Where the Desert Meets the Sea while on a residency at the Europäisches Übersetzer-Kollegium (European Translator College) in Straelen, Germany, with support from the Kunststiftung NRW (Arts Foundation of North Rhine-Westphalia). It was an amazing experience that I'll never forget and hope to repeat.

New Novel Coming in Fall 2019: The Preserve

I’m excited to announce a new novel: The Preserve. This one’s been a long time coming, after repeated false starts. It began as a far different story nearly fifteen years ago and existed in various guises as I revised and sought a good home for it in vain and eventually threw it back in the drawer, then self-published it later for a short time (under a different title) only to banish it to the drawer for what I once understood as eternity.

The Big Island of Hawaii setting and some basics of story remain, but most is all new, completely revamped by yours truly with more blood, sweat and tears than I thought I still had and a good beer to celebrate. A key step was realizing that the oft-tormented but somehow always surviving Wendell Lett from my novel Under False Flags (2014) needed to be there no matter what, which meant moving things from the present era to the 1948 US Territory of Hawaii. Wendell Lett never says die and neither did I!

In The Preserve, a WWII veteran turned deserter seeks a cure to his combat fatigue (PTSD) at a mysterious facility called the Preserve, but his handlers aim to turn him into a vile assassin for a deadly plot that runs all the way to General MacArthur. The Preserve is based on true events such as the Yamashita gold conspiracy, includes real-life characters like nefarious US intelligence operative Ed Lansdale, and offers a sobering take on the dark side of American hegemony in the postwar era. 

Coming Fall 2019 from Skyhorse Publishing / Simon & Schuster. Oh, and I really like that cover.

Here’s the book description from the publisher:

A Heart-Racing Military Thriller Ripped from the Pages of History
  
Who will reap the rewards of war?
  
Hawaii, 1948

Troubled WWII hero turned deserter Wendell Lett desperately seeks a cure to his severe combat trauma, and The Preserve seems to be his salvation. Run by Lansdale, a mysterious intelligence officer, and Lett’s ambitious wartime XO Charlie Selfer, the secretive training camp promises relief from the terrors in his mind. Together with Kanani Alana, a tough-minded Hawaiian also looking for a new start at The Preserve, Lett begins to feel hopeful.

All illusions are shattered, though, when Lett discovers The Preserve’s true intentions—to rebuild him into a cold-blooded assassin. The deadly conspiracy runs deep, all the way to General Douglas MacArthur, and his refusal to cooperate is met with merciless punishment. His only hope is Kanani and her dangerous escape plan that would grant freedom from The Preserve—if he can hide while surviving the harsh wilderness of the Big Island.

Based on true events, The Preserve is a fast-paced historical thriller that will leave you breathless.

Published: My Translation of A Thousand Devils

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I'm happy to announce that my translation of A Thousand Devils is out today — the second in Frank Goldammer’s bestselling Max Heller series.

In this historical crime thriller set among the ruins of postwar Dresden, a disturbing murder reveals a high-stakes conspiracy leading to the city’s all-powerful Soviet occupiers. Check out my Translation page for more.

Congrats Frank and Max!

Spring '18 Update: New Novel Translation and More

It's been a while since I've announced any news, so I'd like to update you on another aspect of my work. As some of you know, I also translate novels. 

I want to tell you about my latest translation, releasing May 1. It’s titled The Air Raid Killer in English and is the first in a series from German author Frank Goldammer featuring detective Max Heller. The publisher is AmazonCrossing, who have been performing amazing feats to bring more foreign fiction to English (and vice versa). Here’s the official dope:

As World War II ends, a killer’s game begins.
In the final days of the Nazi regime, with the historic city of Dresden on the brink of destruction, terrifying rumors spread about the Fright Man, a demonic killer who exploited the cover of a nighttime air raid siren to mutilate and kill a young nurse. Just as seasoned detective Max Heller begins investigating, the Fright Man kills again…

The investigation seems hopeless. Desperate refugees flood the streets, all of Heller’s resources are depleted, and his new boss is a ruthless SS officer. And like so many others, Heller and his wife, Karin, survive on meager rations while fearing for the lives of their sons at the front. But as tensions mount and enemy firebombs decimate the city, dangerous new clues come to light—and the determined Heller pursues a violent and twisting path to unmask a monster.

One thing I really admire about Max Heller is that he will stop at nothing, even when starving, even when under threat of official persecution or worse. The next in the series, A Thousand Devils, comes out this fall. You can order The Air Raid Killer through most bookstores and the ebook on Amazon, here.  

I’m excited about my recent translations, including The Honest Spy by Andreas Kollender, which came out last fall.

You can always find out the latest about my translation work on my Translation page. 


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A quick word about my own writing: I was happy to hear that I’ll have a new novel published in the spring of 2019. I can’t reveal much more since it’s early days and the contract’s barely signed. But I can say that it features a favorite character from one of my other novels, is set in 1948 on the Big Island of Hawaii, and deals with mysterious and controversial real-life exploits during the postwar period in the Pacific. More about this in a future newsletter.


 

Lastly, meet the newest members of my crack in-house editorial team:

Monty and Trina

Thanks for reading!
—Steve

 

PS: This update was taken from my latest newsletter. You can sign up for the mailing list here.

Out Today: My Translation of The Honest Spy

I translate fiction when I'm not writing my own stories. It's challenging yet rewarding work, and I feel lucky to get to do it. Today I'm happy to announce that my translation of Andreas Kollender's great historical thriller The Honest Spy is officially out today.

The story is based on real-life German hero Fritz Kolbe and is as relevant as ever these days. Read more about the actual Fritz Kolbe here or check out my Translation page for more about the novel. 

Congrats Andreas, and vielen Dank Fritz!