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Guest Post: Lawrence Kelter on The Black Car Business, Vol. 1

Lawrence Kelter
Thanks to publicist Wiley Saichek, I'm pleased to welcome author and editor Lawrence Kelter, guest-posting about the new Down & Out Books anthology The Black Car Business, Vol. 1. —Gerald So


The "black car" has appeared both conspicuously and inconspicuously throughout the annals of fiction—its presence both mysterious and menacing, its appearance enough to pause your heart.
It’s the sedan just within sight that seems to be mimicking your speed and movements as you walk down the dark deserted street late at night. As the hairs rise on the back of your neck you wonder, Who is behind the wheel and what is the driver’s intent? It’s The Black Car Business and its presence means your life is about to abruptly change. You try to assure yourself there’s nothing wrong, but your pace quickens nonetheless, and soon you’re running, desperate for that narrow sliver between two buildings to slip through, the one too narrow for the black car to pass through.

It’s that car parked just down the block that sends chills down your spine and keeps you awake throughout the night.

It’s the sanctuary you race toward when you’re being chased, only to explode when you turn the key.
 
It’s the one that skids off the icy mountain overpass and plunges into the cavernous grotto.

It’s where Clemenza garrotes Carlo just as he’s about to be driven to the airport.

It’s The Black Car Business.

Turn the pages as ten masters of the noir art befuddle and frighten you with their stories. We promise a read you’re sure to enjoy.
 
Contributors: Eric Beetner, J. Carson Black, Cheryl Bradshaw, Diane Capri, Jeffery Hess, Lawrence Kelter, Dana King, Allan Leverone, Simon Wood, and Vincent Zandri.


Q & A

You have twenty-one crime and suspense writers, and their tastes and voices cover quite a range. Give us an idea of how wide that range turned out to be once you saw the finished products.

I can’t put into words how incredibly diverse these stories are, but I’m sure readers will be delighted by the array, which covers a time from the 1920s to current day. We’ve got gangsters, gumshoes, thugs, goons, hooligans and more, and that just story number one. I found it so incredibly interesting to see how each of the scribes took the black car in a different direction (no pun intended). I remember reading some of the submissions and saying, “Huh, I never would’ve thought about that.” I’m glad someone did though. This is a good one. I can’t wait for it to be released.

You’re a successful novelist with northward of twenty books of your own out there. Why take the time away from your own work to take on the headaches of editing an anthology?

Because that’s what we do, we writers lead from the heart and follow our passion wherever it takes us. I’ve wanted to see the Black Car Business fleshed out for quite some time and I’m glad its finally happening. Aside from the above, it was a great learning experience and a heck of a lot of fun.

Anthologies have become a much more prominent piece of the crime fiction landscape over the past few years. Akashic probably started it with their [insert city name here] Noir series. Now there’s Unloaded, The Night of the Flood, Black Car Business and those are just the examples from Down & Out Books. Why do you think anthologies have become such a big deal?

Credit to James Patterson, he developed the “sound bite” literary market. So many readers have only a short opportunity to capitalize on a good story and often time opt for a brief read. Patterson’s chapters are usually no more than a page or two. A reader can pick up one of his books with only a small amount of time to spare and still get a good dose of suspense. I think he’s helped train readers in this manner. Sort of like shopping at departments stores only on Wednesdays when everything is marked down. Or maybe I’m dead wrong. Perhaps it’s the art of Edgar Allan Poe making a resurgence—great suspense, twists and turns crammed into the space of just a few pages. Sounds good to me.

With The Black Car Business behind you, what’s next?

I’ve spent a lot of time on project development in the last two years and now it’s time to put the lime in the coconut, or more commonly, put the bread on the table.

The Stephanie Chalice series has been my bread and butter, with more than half a million copies sold. I’ve been so busy with other projects that my Chalice output has been a little off. That’s fixed now—beginning April ’18 and continuing each month thereafter—that’s right, I said each month—Chalice is back in a new series I’ve chosen to call the City Beat. These are small novels of about one hundred pages, and as I said, this will be a monthly series. I’ve been brow beaten to death by Chalice fans complaining that I’m just not writing enough to keep them happy. A book a month is a hectic pace but I’ll stick to it until arthritis kicks in—or my fingers fall off.

I’m the new voice of Vincent Gambini and Mona Lisa Vito, that zany couple from My Cousin Vinny. Back To Brooklyn, the sequel to the iconic comedy was published last summer and received a warm reception from readers and critics alike. We’re moving forward. Next up is the official movie novelization. If you thought Vinny and Lisa were funny on the big screen, just wait until you start turning pages. Updated with added scenes and even more laughs, this literary version of My Cousin Vinny will have you rolling on the floor. Early in 2019, we’ll release You Should Know, the next chapter in the My Cousin Vinny saga. I foresee a longer and merry future for Vinny and Lisa. Am I sure? Yeah, I’m pos-i-tive!

Lastly, if you enjoyed The Princess Bride you’re sure to love The Treasure of Indecisie, a fantasy set in the age of enchantment, a story within a story that’ll have you laughing out loud. Out June ’18.

—Lawrence Kelter

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