Monthly Archives: September 2010


I haven’t found the Word file for Trouble Comes Back yet, so I probably need to find a scanner and some OCR software and get all the text out of the hardcover, but here’s how I’m thinking.

And here’s what the product description will say:


Jason Keltner, Robert Goldstein, and Martin Altamirano are lifelong friends. They eke out a living on the edges of the entertainment industry in Southern California and fall into thwarting an occasional criminal caper. This time out, a chance encounter with burned-out rock legend Dwight Cooper, aka Uncle Trouble, turns them into bodyguards for Dwight’s young daughter, who is in danger of being kidnapped. There’s art in the artlessness of this deft little crime novel. The plot and pacing seem a little haphazard, but the three main characters are well crafted, complex, and whole. Lesser characters are vividly drawn, and the interplay between characters is skillfully handled. Snyder has an especially fine way with dialogue, and the verbal shorthand that longtime friends might employ rings true. And, maybe best of all, the obscure, playful allusions to such philosophers as Godel and Heisenberg reflect the author’s respect for his readers’ intelligence. A delight for discerning crime-fiction fans.

—Thomas Gaughan


In a year that has already seen some excellent output in the mystery genre, Trouble Comes Back is one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve encountered.

The strength of the author’s book is not in the story — although that part is certainly adequate. Keith Snyder’s power is in his writing and his characterization. Any misgivings about not understanding or identifying with the three amigos he has created (Jason Keltner, Robert Goldstein, Martin Altamirano) were laid to rest with passages like the following, where Jason asks his recovering addict buddy what was the hardest part about giving up drugs:

“When you go on drugs… Whatever your emotional age was, stop
the clock. Say you start using when you’re fourteen, and you
stop when you’re twenty. You get to start the clock again right
where you stopped it. It was eight-thirteen in the monrning when
you stopped the clock? Well, guess what, bud, it’s eight-thirteen
now. Everybody else you know, they had that time to grow up, but
while they were making progress and doing the work, you were off
in a little suspended animation cocoon called ‘I’m getting high’.”

The relative age of the characters makes no difference in a book featuring that depth of insight. And throughout Trouble Comes Back, Keith Snyder pens sequence after sequence that advances three intensely emotional, intellectually solid young men to the pages before your eyes. Twentysomethings or not, these guys have values that are as powerful, and even politically correct, as you’re likely to find in earlier genre tough-guy tropes—a sense for family preservation, protective tenderness for children, attentiveness to work ethic, and what is necessary to move forward. Coupled to this underlying core of decency is a keen eye for the times and a sharp sense of humor…

Jason, Robert, and Martin remind me of Travis McGee and his buddy, Meyer — they just do their thing, and if they have an opportunity to help someone, and that opportunity might earn a few bucks, whatthehell. The theme of Trouble Comes Back deals with children caught in parental battles, the destructive nature of ambivalent love, and the value of friendship—all excellent, time-worn topics, well-told by a fresh new voice. From that perspective, there are no “gray areas” surrounding Keith Snyder’s book. It’s now on my Top Ten List for 1999.


This book has so much going for it. It’s literate, sophisticated, funny and fast. It gets inside LA’s struggling, freelance artist world completely and with real affection. It presents a model of male friendship that is unusually honest and deep.
—Ben and Julie Kaufmann

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Kindle storefront

The internal server errors should be gone now. If you’ve got time to test the link (click the graphic below), please let me know in the comments.

The product description for The Night Men hasn’t shown up yet, but this is what it’ll say:


Quirky, whimsical and musical, this fourth Jason Keltner mystery…weaves past, present and passages from a fictitious book into more of a magical mystery tour than a mystery.

The friendships forged in the fires of youth are often strongest, and those formed by Jason and Roberto and Martin, three California boys, have survived into adulthood. A call from a gay friend whose newly opened Brooklyn music store has been vandalized spurs Jason to action. And the likelihood that it was a hate crime calls to mind the events that caused three very different high schoolers to bond years ago. With an assist from Roberto, who flies in from the west coast, Jason embarks on a bizarre quest to find out who was behind the vandalism and determine the meaning of a strange Web site that uses the name of the music shop. The original adventure that brought the boys together and their current challenge are told in tandem with readings from a pulp novel of great importance to them. The resulting search for the mysterious Inscrutable Whom, the restoration of the Magic Music Shop and the resolution of the vandalism make for a “coming of maturity” tale that complements the coming-of-age story of their first meeting.

Snyder’s approach to the mystery is highly original, and both his characters and the setting he creates are engaging and effective. This is a title that needs help finding its audience, but it might win cult status when it does.


In his third [sic] outing, (Trouble Comes Back, 1999, etc.), Jason Keltner, musician, makes it clearer than ever that he is also Jason Keltner, wannabe warrior whose bible is his treasured copy of The Night Men, a pulp fiction novel in which Tom Carter—p.i., latter-day knight-errant, and authentic hard guy—takes a bare-knuckles approach to moral ambiguity that Jason would love to emulate, if only he had the same bare knuckles. But Jason’s no quitter. When the call for help comes in from his friend Zeb, proprietor of the Magic Music Shop, he rushes out instantly even though it’s the dead of an icy winter night, the Brooklyn Bridge is treacherous even for a foot crossing, and there’s nothing he can do to reverse the no-holds-barred vandalizing that has reduced Zeb’s shop to rubble. Is the trashing the mindless, homophobic hate crime that at first glance it seems? Or is it somehow uglier and more complex? Truly, it’s a case for intrepid Tom, whose motto, incidentally, is the unabashedly chivalric “when you can’t save yourself, save someone else.” Driven by healthy dollops from The Night Men, the story moves back and forth in time as Jason chases the answers. Tom’s terrific, sure, but flawed, floundering Jason is infinitely more likeable.

Though billed as “A Jason Keltner mystery,” it’s not much more than mystery lite. Instead, it’s really a belated coming-of-age story—Jason’s 30-something—that’s frequently funny and at times surprisingly moving.


Over the past 43 years, Walker has brought us such authors as John Creasey, John le Carre, Marcia Muller and, most recently, Keith Snyder — one of a handful of contemporary mystery authors willing to experiment with structure and style. In fact, Snyder’s book The Night Men stands as one of the best of 2001, despite its lack of formal award nominations. In it, Snyder took a true risk and penned a mystery novel without a murder, creating an homage to the form that featured a beautifully rendered book-within-a-book. By showing how his young characters are forever changed by their first experience with the hardboiled genre, Snyder vividly illustrated why crime fiction matters.
—Katy Munger

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That was faster than I expected

My Kindle storefront is now open for business!

(Click above.)

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And more author branding: INTO STONE cover

I’ll let you know when both stories are live. In the meantime, what do you think of this little campaign?


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Author branding underway: New DEAD GRAY cover

Once the new cover is out of review and up on Amazon, this is what book buyers will see:

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The Night Men is now available for Kindle

THE NIGHT MENThe Night Men at the Amazon US store for $2.99
The Night Men at the Amazon UK store for £2.20

Reviews and stuff at the hardcover page.


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Coming soon: THE NIGHT MEN on Kindle

Here’s a preview of the Amazon product image. What do you think?



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