The Gardner Heist, Part II: The Night of the Theft

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Isabella Stewart Gardner‘s collection remained in place and untouched until the early hours of March 18, 1990. The heist was no elaborate Ocean’s 11 affair; there was no need for that given the light security at the Gardner Museum at the time. Two men dressed as police officers simply rang the buzzer at the employee entrance. The security guard on duty answered, and the men standing outside claimed to be Boston police responding to a disturbance. He buzzed them into the building, simple as that. Continue reading

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The Gardner Heist, Part I: Isabella

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On March 18, 1990, two thieves disguised as police officers stole 13 works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, including Rembrandt’s Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee and Vermeer’s The Concert. Over the next week or so, I’ll be recounting the true story of the Gardner heist, a fictionalized version of which is featured in my upcoming novel Charlesgate Confidential. Continue reading

Berkeley Beacon previews “Charlesgate Confidential”

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Hello! I am in the process of overhauling this blog, which has been neglected for years now, because I have a novel coming out in September and my understanding is that some form of “promotion” on the author’s part is generally considered to be a good idea! In the coming months, I plan to bring you background information on some of the real-life places and events that inform Charlesgate Confidential, as well as my musings on literary and cinematic influences on the novel and thoughts on any contemporary crime fiction and cinema I may consume in the meantime. Of course, I’ll also be linking to reviews, interviews, information on signings or podcast appearances and any other events I may be fortunate enough to participate in as the publication date approaches.

Having said all that, here is a link to an article in my alma mater’s newspaper, The Berkeley Beacon, previewing the novel and including a few word salad quotes from me and some much better ones from a couple of the great editors I’ve worked with.

Charlesgate Confidential is “a riveting tale” from Hard Case Crime!

135-CharlesgateConfidentialAN INGENIOUS DEBUT NOVEL INSPIRED BY A REAL UNSOLVED CRIME!

1946: A group of criminals pulls off the heist of the century, stealing a dozen priceless works of art from a Boston museum. Some of the thieves are captured, some are killed—but the loot is never found.

Forty years later, a college student finds himself on the trail of the missing art—and the multi-million-dollar reward.

But three decades after that, the art is still missing, and as his classmates return to Boston’s notorious Charlesgate Hotel for their big 25th reunion, dead bodies keep turning up. Will the stolen masterpieces be discovered at last?

Continue reading

We live inside a dream

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The night terrors didn’t show up until Monday. I watched the two-part Twin Peaks: The Return finale twice on Sunday night, first alone with my chair pulled up close to the screen and the volume cranked, clinging to every second as has been my custom all summer long. The second time was in public, at Radio Coffee and Beer, which has been showing the episodes on a delay every Sunday. This was the first time I’d gone, which is a shame because the episodes were projected on a big screen with a full house of fans. (The closed captioning was also on, which made me realize just how much [ominous whooshing] this show has.) It was interesting to watch the reactions. For the first hour, people were laughing and clapping and cheering. For most of the second hour, dead silence. Continue reading

Questions in a world of blue

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Every answer Twin Peaks delivers seems to raise three more questions, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The show is not a puzzle to be solved, but a seemingly perpetual self-generating mystery machine. With only the two-hour finale left, some form of “closure” is on the way, but what that will look like is anyone’s guess. I have my own wish list (super-secret Michael Ontkean cameo, perhaps?), but it doesn’t matter; this has been by far the most thrilling TV viewing experience I can remember, even in those weeks where it seemed like nothing was really happening at the time. I’m on board for wherever Lynch and Frost bring us in for a landing, but just for fun I thought I’d look back on as many of the outstanding mysteries I can remember and put my odds on whether they’ll be resolved or not. Continue reading

Drink Full and Descend

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Forget “It is happening again.” How is this even happening? Somehow a cable network gave David Lynch 18 hours and seemingly unlimited resources to spatter the contents of his subconscious all over a huge canvas, allowing him to veer from absurdist comedy to stark terror to experimental filmmaking to musical numbers, and airing it weekly installments like a regular TV show or something. It’s only possible because Twin Peaks is a brand and David Lynch is a name, and Showtime wanted to be perceived as something other than the network that let Dexter run for 80 seasons too long. We’re never going to see anything like this again, and I am savoring every life-giving hour. Continue reading