LITTLE MONSTERS: New Independent Film Features Child Murderers

Little_MonstersLITTLE MONSTERS has everything a successful independent film needs, a veteran director with a passion for his craft, a hungry production team who can eke out every resource from a shoestring budget, and a stable of actors from Las Vegas who take pride in their craft. David Schmoeller’s realization of his own script entices you with crime, drama, and suspense. The film explores bullying in America at its core by examining how the horrific crime of two ten-year-olds has shaken America. Everyone from the victim’s family, to the seedy tabloid market, to the vigilantes with a bone to pick has a hand in this story. But something happens about midway through the film. Schmoeller brings this twenty-thousand-foot view slowly and methodically down to the personal level of the characters. It’s subtle at first, but when you realize what happened, the film takes on new meaning. These two bullies (now 18 and recently released from Juvenile Detention) become human. We feel how these events have changed them, how the events have eaten away at their lives, and the lives of those around them. Scenes become engrossing, wrapping you up with complexity and providing you with a window into the souls of these characters. This is where the actors shine, playing off each other and bringing you with them into their emotional worlds. The scene where Carl (played by Charles Cantrell) meets his mother after being incarcerated for eight years is film masterpiece. Being a fan of Schmoeller’s early work (Puppetmaster (1989); Tourist Trap (1979)), it’s wonderful to see how his films have changed over the years with the rise of independent filmmaking, yet his works still hold true to his ability to scare you, to shock you, to play with your emotions. LITTLE MONSTERS is no different. If you get a chance to see this film, you must see it!

LITTLE MONSTERS will have its Las Vegas Premiere at the Vegas Independent Film Festival (VIFF) – it will be an “Encore Closing Night” Screening at Brenden Theaters at the Palms on Thursday, May 9th, at 7pm (Red Carpet at 6pm). Tickets are available for this screening from Fandango HERE.

Watch the trailer:

Like LITTLE MONSTERS’s Facebook page for updates.

Read Jonathan Sturak’s interview with David Schmoeller from November 2012.

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Noir Nation Facebook page saves mobster’s life

Yuri, a Russian mob assassin, decides to put off killing Vasily the drug dealer to give Noir Nation a “LIKE.” The Noir Nation Facebook page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/noirnation

Want to kill someone today? Give Noir Nation a thumbs up instead.

The Noir Nation Facebook page can be found by clicking here.

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THE ADVANTAGE OF NOT BEING A NATIVE: RICHARD GODWIN REVIEWS JAMES THOMPSON’S HELSINKI BLOOD

HelsinkiBlood300Helsinki Blood begins with Inspector Kari Vaara recovering from severe injuries that occurred in his previous case in Helsinki White, and recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumour. Avoiding company, he has a haircut that:

“…revealed the scar that runs four inches across the left center of my head to the hairline over my eye. The ugly gunshot wound on my face was no longer bandaged but not healed.”

And so it begins, a raw sense of one man’s struggle against improbable odds, some of which are historical. There is an implicit narrative sense of factors weighing against the protagonist, suitably so, since this is a Nordic novel. There is something elemental to Thompson’s writing, a brackish taste of the Sagas and Eddas beneath the tight prose. The acute visceral physical details the author weaves into his descriptions of his protagonist evoke a sense of inner scarring beneath the Inspector’s tough persona as Vaara battles his own demons. He also struggles to deal with his abandonment by his wife, who is suffering from PTSD, as he is left to care for their infant.

Vaara embodies the paradox that the best detectives have strong criminal shadows. Many decisions he makes are a way of ensuring he stays on the right side of a criminal world in which he is an unwanted and belongs. There is nothing safe about the depiction of crime here. There is an immediate sense of its impact on Vaara’s life and that of his wife. And while the first person narrative delivers an intimate portrait, at the same time Thompson delves into the wider picture, exploring the political and economic factors that may aid and abet criminal syndicates.

Vaara’s situation is complex. He is a wealthy man. He is also a target for criminals who want his money. Thompson has written his protagonist into a tight squeeze. He takes on a missing-persons case. As he hunts for a 19 year old girl who has Down syndrome and who may have been kidnapped and sold into a sexual underworld, Vaara finds himself at the centre of a political web. Thompson’s exploration of the implications of prostitution rackets raises questions about the economics behind it.

It is interesting to note that some of Thompsons’ characters are thinly veiled portraits of politicians and businessmen. He has absorbed Helsinki, he has digested it, and he has expressed it as a microcosm in his fictions. He adeptly balances the feel of Finland with a tight muscular American style of storytelling. He is an author who conveys the private lives of his characters while allowing them to reflect on the wider political implications of the dilemmas they face.

“Helsinki is crawling with prostitutes, awash with them. Girls working their way through the university, seasoned pros, sex slaves, and everything in between…. Pimping is a serious matter, but as long as prostitution isn’t organized, there’s no law against it.”

Vaara explores a world in which young women go to capitals promised jobs and end up being raped by the clients of criminal syndicates playing the political odds.

“It’s like her mum said, she was promised a job in Helsinki. Then, when she got here, the men who brought her talked about her owing the money for arranging her work and the cost of the trip over, and took her passport. They locked her in this apartment.”

There is a dual culture at work in Thompson’s fictions which makes him unique among the Nordic writers. Thompson made a smart career move when he settled in Helsinki, for he is perhaps its predominant chronicler, and he does it through a reflective consciousness which embodies all the virtues of great American storytelling, while adding a particularly Nordic flavour that avoids a sense of bleakness through the sheer resilience of his central character and the prose. This is Nordic literature in the elemental sense of order overcoming the chaos that is crime. Vaara may just be that element, a scarred fighter for justice in a world where too many are denied it. He would fit in Njals Saga or Hrafnkels Saga, and yet he is being penned by an American from Kentucky who may have the necessary angle of detachment to observe a society that carries its own denial of the burden of its past.

Yet at the same time the novel is highly contemporary. Vaara is up against the mafia. And given the extent of brutality existing in crime and enforced prostitution it takes a man like Vaara to combat it. Thompson lures the reader into Helsinki’s dark heart. But it is Vaara, troubled, ill at ease, but redemptive and worthy, who acts as a central focus for the novel’s action. He is its scarred conscience. He is its beating heart. Hard as a knuckleduster and utterly human, this is a book that does not pull punches. Thompson has painted a starkly realistic picture of the criminal underbelly of Helsinki and he has redeemed it with a great and unlikely hero. For Vaara is not a saccharine saviour, he is an ambiguous character who is also moral.

“Whatever happened to the concept of duty, that sacrifice for the good of others is not only laudable, but expected, especially when it comes to family? I’m scared for Kate, because of the psychological dangers that lie within her, and the psychical dangers that loom from without.”

If you want to read crime fiction that is distinctive, read this. There have been many comparisons of Thompson’s style to other Nordic writers, but I think the analogies fall short and miss something that has emerged from the dual culture at work in his novels. He is not a native of Finland and that gives him an edge. Thompson has carved his own particular niche out of the first rate writing coming out of the Nordic countries, and it is one that leaves you thirsty for more. There is a combination here of a precise cold scalpel and humanity. Thompson is an inheritor of Gothic Noir, and creator of the detached and involved, the ruined and redeemed Vaara, an Inspector who embodies all the contradictions that inhabit a life. I highly recommend this.

1 1 1 1 a a a a GodwinBio: Richard Godwin is the author of critically acclaimed novels Apostle Rising, and Mr. Glamour.  His third novel, One Lost Summer is being published in mass market paperback this June. It is a compelling story of breathtaking lyricism and ruined nostalgia. He is also a published poet and a produced playwright. His stories have been published in over 28 anthologies, among them The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime and The Big Book Of Bizarro.

Richard Godwin was born in London and obtained a BA and MA in English and American Literature from King’s College London, where he also lectured. He has travelled the world extensively. His Chin Wags At The Slaughterhouse are highly popular and unusual interviews he conducts with other authors and may be found at his blog http://www.richardgodwin.net/blog . They have been compared to the Paris Review in terms of style and quality. You can find out more about him at his website http://www.richardgodwin.net/ . He is also a highly requested public speaker and recently spoke at The House of Lords on cultural diplomacy.

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Vegas Loves VEGAS WAS HER NAME

Author Jonathan Sturak was invited to the Clark County Library on Flamingo Road in Las Vegas on Saturday, April 6 to meet library patrons and discuss his new novel, VEGAS WAS HER NAME. Guests holding books about the history of Las Vegas or about gambling secrets stopped by to learn about the new crime novel by Noir Nation Books set in Las Vegas. The event was a success!

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Interview with Frank Bill, author of new novel ‘Donnybrook’

Frank BillFrank Bill is the author of a collection of short stories, Crimes in Southern Indiana, and a newly released novel, Donnybrook. As his new novel proves, Frank Bill is a meteoric talent whose fine blend of 151 proof prose, unforgettable Thieves Guild collection of characters, and complex plotting worthy of Tarantino have Mr. Bill being likened to classic and contemporary masters alike, ranging from Jim Thompson to Daniel Woodrell. Noir Nation finds him more than worthy of the comparison. Frank Bill is an original breed of writer whose novel, Donnybrook, defies genre and brings the reader into a realm where the poetry of violence and the spirituality of survival are put forth in a wholly American way that only Mr. Bill can deliver. He took time away from his writing desk to talk to Noir Nation editor, Cort McMeel.

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Interview with Frank Bill

Noir Nation: What was the book or short story that you first read that made you think, “I want to do this. I want to be a writer.” ?

Frank Bill: It was actually after I’d watched the movie Fight Club with my wife and noticed in the film credits that the movie was based upon a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. I couldn’t find the book so I ordered a copy. But I bought Invisible Monsters. Devoured the pages in one or two settings. The tone, style and language were unlike anything I’d ever read. It was like a book of one liners or phrases and thoughts you and your buddies had growing up and hanging out. Then I read Fight Club and Survivor and I told myself I could do this.

Noir Nation: In Donny Brook there are many different variations and shades of “evil” — to you, personally, of this rogues gallery of badasses and misfits which character was your personal favorite or the most “fun” for you to write, and why?

Frank Bill: Chainsaw Angus. In the first draft he was my guy to root for. I’m kinda of an anti-hero type. I mean 95% of books use the same ole format. I write about people that others do not. In doing this I created layers. A fighter. A blue collar worker. A self centered and self reliant male with survival skills. A man who’d do what he to do regardless of how it affected others. He has this breaking point. And when that’s met, look the fuck out.

Noir Nation: In the back of the novel you thank your martial arts and boxing teachers. Could you tell our readers at Noir Nation a little about your martial arts background?

Frank Bill: From age 11 to 17, I studied Tae Kwon Do. Earned a first degree black belt. From 18 to 26 I studied a closed door Chinese martial art. Then left that school in search of another. While doing this I trained in western boxing, dabbled in BJJ and then trained at a Muy Thai gym for about 6 months until I started studying NG Family Chinese Kung Fu for about two or three years.

Noir Nation: Are there codes of conduct or rituals that you draw from the discipline of martial arts and apply to the discipline of writing — if so, what?

Frank Bill: Dedication and time. I try to write every day, even if it’s only in my journal, a notebook or my moleskin. You know Kung Fu means hard work. And as a writer you only get out of it what you place into it.

Noir Nation: You clearly admire Oriental martial arts & the literature of the East, as you mention The I Ching in the novel. What is the one text such as The I Ching, Book of Five Rings, The Hagakure, etc, that inspires or influences you the most?

Frank Bill: The I-Ching, the book of changes. When I studied closed door Chinese Martial Arts, my teacher taught us about the elements and how they break down. How every person has a main element and pieces of all of them and these elements offer insight into a person’s character. They dictate a person’s every action and emotion.

Another book would be Tao The Ching by Lao Tzu. Which is a book of Taoists sayings and is looked at as a way of life or philosophy upon living. It’s not something one sits down and reads in a day but over the course of years.

Noir Nation: In Donny Brook there is violence and action beyond measure but you also DONNYBROOKcoverhave a Soothsayer (Purcell), a mysterious fight society in Mr. Fu’s tomb-cave, the promise of Angus rebirth and being unleashed on the world, and Johnny Cash’s foreboding song “The Man Comes Around” serving as the soundtrack at the end of the book. Should Donnybrook be seen on some level as the preface to a Frank Bill full on apocalyptic novel?

Frank Bill: I hate the term Apocalyptic. Its more about the values and jobs we’ve lost as a class of people but also how people react to this loss. How we survive.

Noir Nation: You write action like Bukowski writes boozing, to a distilled perfection. Which writer or film maker do you give a nod to (if any) in informing or inspiring this characteristic within your writing?

Frank Bill: Thanks, I appreciate the kind words, Cort. Action comes from Asian films, anything from the Hong Kong Martial Arts or Gangster films to the Korean films like the Old Boy Trilogy or The Man From Nowhere. Then there’s the Japanese films of Takashi Miike. Or you can jump over to Europe and catch guys like Xavier Gen. But then come back across the pond and pick up on the old Eastwood films from the 70’s. I’m a big movie buff.

Noir Nation: You mention Selby, Woodrell, Bukowski and Harry Crews as writing heroes. Can you tell us in one word for each the quality they inspire in you as a writer?

Frank Bill: Selby, Urban-loss. Woodrell rural-strife. Bukowski, boozer’s-road-atlas. Harry Crew, a raw-carnival ride.

Noir Nation: Donnybrook is definitely written by an aficionado of the fight game. What is the best fight televised or witnessed live in a bar/street/wedding etc that you’ve ever seen? Who were the combatants? (and please describe the action for our bloodlust addicted readers.)

Frank Bill: Anyone of the Micky Ward vs. Arturo Gatti fights. Those were all out slugfests, like a Rocky movie. And I couldn’t begin to describe the fights, they were like a roller coaster ride of flesh, knuckles and hurt.

Noir Nation: What makes a better Friday Night in your opinion? Texas Chainsaw Massacre and a bottle of bourbon or Any Which Way But Loose and a case of PBR?

Frank Bill: Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Makers Mark. That film still holds up today. An all time favorite.

Noir Nation: The soothsayer character Purcell mentions an endtimes coming. In one interview you talk about the old America of jobs and self-reliance disappearing. Is your fiction more concerned with on a micro level how your characters survive in these waning times or do you view your themes as more macro…in that you the artist are cataloging the final days of American Empire?

Frank Bill: Not cataloging the final days but asking questions. I mean to me it’s interesting to see how our kin suffered so we could have a better existence, only for us to watch others squander it away. As a culture, we’re more reliant on others to do things for us rather than to do them ourselves. The characters I write about are trying to get by in this type of environment, where times are changing and the only thing a person can do is survive.

Noir Nation: When you sit on your porch many years from now sipping on Peach moonshine what do you hope to have accomplished or wrought on the face of American fiction?

Frank Bill: Stories that hold the test time by being read and re-read and hopefully remembered.

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Will you still love me tomorrow?

Noir Nation No. 1 was dedicated to Amy Winehouse, who lived a dark life in the open lights. It’s hard to know which killed her, the darkness or the light. Or a bad combination of the two.

In this song, she asks, “Will you love me tomorrow?”

Amy Winehouse, Noir Nation will love you tomorrow and forever….

Editors’ Pick: GAIJIN COWGIRL by Jame DiBiasio

aa90ff7e2bf33d5f4f5331b65084b737Jame DiBiasio moved to Hong Kong from New York in 1997. He is an award-winning financial journalist and editor. Gaijin Cowgirl is his first novel.

 

 

 

 

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Gaijin-CowgirlGaijin Cowgirl

Working Tokyo nightclubs is easy money for beautiful and troubled American Val Benson – until a wealthy client with a dark past reluctantly gives up a map to a stash of Japanese war loot and tempts his favorite girl into a dangerous treasure hunt. But the Congressman’s daughter is not the only one interested in the map: Yakuza, crooked cops, human traffickers, rogue CIA agents and her father are hot on her trail, snapping at her high heels.

So begins the dark, epic journey of a new anti-hero of Asian Noir, a protagonist both ambiguous and courageous, and utterly unreliable. From comfort women and tomb-raiding in Japanese-occupied Burma to the murderous echoes of the Vietnam War, long forgotten crimes come roaring back to life, as Val leaves a trail of destruction and chaos in her wake.

Together with her best friend, the equally unreliable nightclub hostess Suki, a British kickboxer and a washed up Australian treasure hunter, Val travels through Tokyo, Hong Kong and Bangkok to the Thai-Burmese borderlands for a dramatic showdown with her pursuers. Finding the treasure before someone less deserving does is her only hope for survival, and perhaps redemption.

Gaijin Cowgirl by American writer Jame DiBiasio is a breathless page turner with a beautiful, dangerous heroine to match.

Click here for a free preview on Amazon…