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Shayna Billups left Tommy Ruzzo and Seatown, Florida in smoking ruins before escaping to New Orleans. She’s slinging rum drinks at a pirate-themed dive bar when a treasure map grabs her attention. All alone and thirsting for adventure, Shayna follows the clues to North Carolina where she assembles a band of drug-dealing pirates to wage war on a murderous mayor and his blood-thirsty biker gang.

As the bodies pile up, Shayna wonders if Ruzzo will find her before she ends up in Davy Jones’ Locker.

Author S. W. Lauden recently took some time to discuss CROSSED BONES with The Big Thrill:

What do you hope readers will take away from this book?

I’ve heard it said that “love can make people do crazy things.” I’ve also been told that “life will take you funny places if you let it.” This book tests Tommy Ruzzo’s devotion to Shayna Billups, and the results are a bloody mess.

How does this book make a contribution to the genre?

I hope CROSSED BONES will give hardboiled and Noir readers a reason to crack a few smiles while watching bodies pile up in the afternoon sun.

Was there anything new you discovered, or surprised you, as you wrote this book?

I wrote Crosswise while vacationing in Florida. For the follow up, CROSSED BONES, I drew on some of my past experiences touring with a rock band. In that situation you end up playing a lot of college towns and tourist traps, forcing you to understand the cities you visit through the prism of highways, bars and nightclubs. I think that unique perspective on regional culture influenced the over-the-top settings in the second Tommy Ruzzo book.

No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?

Bad decisions are more fun than good ones, even when you know you’ll end up paying for them in the end.

What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?

For crime and mystery fiction, it’s definitely Arnaldur Indriðason, Don Winslow, Jo Nesbo, Raymond Chandler, and Kem Nunn. On the literary side, I’ve always loved Kurt Vonnegut.


S.W. Lauden’s short fiction has been published by Out of the Gutter, Criminal Element, Dark Corners, Dead Guns Magazine, Akashic Books, WeirdBook, Spelk Fiction, Shotgun Honey and Crimespree Magazine. His debut novel, Bad Citizen Corporation, was published in November 2015 by Rare Bird Books. The second Greg Salem novel, Grizzly Season, was published in October 2016. The first Tommy Ruzzo novella, Crosswise, was published in March 2016 by Down & Out Books.

To learn more, please visit his website.