There are so many new books, you might be in a quandary as to what books you want to own NOW.  Allow me to be of service, and do some blatant self-promotion at the same time.

First of all, if you don’t own it already, I insist you purchase MAN OVERBOARD: The Counterfeit Resurrection of Phil Champagne. 

“A fascinating adventure of deceit and deception as depicted by the facetious and brilliant, Burl Barer. This was a riveting read from start to finish fraught with twists and turns that keeps the reader captivated and entertained. A true crime library is not complete without Man Overboard.” — RJ Parker, award-winning true crime author and publisher.

HEADLOCK_concept2_Revised1_KindleNext on your list should be  HEADLOCK  my rave reviewed PI novel where I get to be the hero.  Well, it was pretty obvious that no one else was going to write a book with me as the hero, so I wrote it myself.’

“Jeff is the most appealing private eye since Archie Goodwin…the funniest and freshest mystery I’ve read all year!” – Cluelass

Now, here is one to PRE-ORDER right now for arrival in March, 2016:

A TASTE FOR MURDERTASTEforMURDER_concept1_var1_12-28-2015

A TASTE FOR MURDER Will Be Available March 8. Pre-Order Now!
Then Be Watching Investigation Discovery On March 12 When The Book and Authors Will Be Featured On “Epic Mysteries”

“A true crime murder mystery that will leave you gasping for breath”Steve Jackson, New York Times bestselling author of BOGEYMAN and NO STONE UNTURNED

“A doozy of a murder”Suzy Spencer, New York Times bestselling author of BREAKING POINT

Burl Barer, with co-author Frank Giradot, has hit yet another home run with this crime story. A smart and well-written who-dunnit tale.Cathy Scott, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of THE KILLING OF TUPAC SHAKUR

Frank Rodriguez, a much-loved counselor of troubled teens, lies dead on the bedroom floor. His wife and step-daughter are in shock, and so is the medical examiner when he performs the autopsy. Aside from being dead, Frank is in perfect health.

Demanding to know the cause of her husband’s death, Angie Rodriguez badgers the police, insisting that Frank was murdered. The cops attribute her assertions to overwhelming grief, but soon they too believe that Frank didn’t die of natural causes.

When the police enlist their number one suspect to help in the investigation, things spiral out of control until police are dealing with a daring plot to murder Angie’s best friend, and allegations of another homicide so evil and perverse that even seasoned L.A County Detectives are shocked beyond belief … and so will the readers!

Now, here are other brilliant suggestions!  SAVAGE HIGHWAY by Richard Godwin!

“The road novel from hell, a scarifying, terrifying savage highwaytour of a nether world that Godwin convinces us is right beneath our feet, a surrealist inferno that makes Dante’s version look like a Rotary breakfast. By no means for the fainthearted, SAVAGE HIGHWAY has one lesson for any readers who plan a visit to the American Southwest: take the train.”-Castle Freeman Jr., author of THE DEVIL IN THE VALLEY.

I loved it too!  Meanwhile,  Tod Goldberg has a new collaborative effort you won’t want to miss –– House of Secrets, written with Brad Meltzer.  And don’t miss out on Tod’s GANGSTERLAND.

”The Mafia plus the Torah makes for a darkly funny and suspenseful morality tale…[Goldberg] can spin a good yarn.” —The Millions



Here are some of the proposed covers for my forthcoming true crime mystery  A TASTE FOR MURDER — my first full-length non-fiction thriller co-written with famed crime journalist Frank C. Girardot, Jr.  The final version will most likely be a variation on #3.   The book comes out March 8th, and there will be a one-hour TV special, EPIC MYSTERIES: A TASTE FOR MURDER Saturday night, March 12th 9pm PT/ET  on  Investigation Discovery!






HEADLOCK_concept2_Revised1_Kindle  I alway wanted to be the hero of a private eye novel, and it was obvious that the only way that could happen is if I wrote a PI novel, and made myself the hero.  This novel was great fun to write, and people seem to get quite a kick out of it.

It is available in a snazzy new paperback edition, and also as an eBook.  There will also be an audiobook. I would like to narrate that one myself, but I might have someone else do it, just to see how it turns out.

Frank C. Girardot, Jr and I  teamed up for the true crime epic mystery, A TASTE FOR MURDER.   This is going to be a one-hour special on INVESTIGATION DISCOVERY’s EPIC MYSTERIES in March 2016.   Yeah, I thought it was going to be February but it keeps changing.

Meanwhile,  my nephews, Lee Goldberg and Tod Goldberg both have new books coming out.  Buy them. Please.  Not that they need my support, but I do what I can for them, and they do likewise.





There are certain things all mystery writers haves drilled into our heads, and we all have a screw loose.  We are all warned against using certain JEPS.   JEP is short for jeopardy.  Using those threats of harm, or actual harm, are deemed manipulative and emotionally upsetting to the reader.

I gave this a great deal of thought, and I believed that I could do one of the big “no-nos” if I did it as a magician does slight of hand. Yeah, and Buzz Lightyear thought he could fly.  Well, so far it remains in the air and is at least a partial refutation of JEP dogma.  Mystery writers will spot it instantly; hopefully, readers will HEADLOCK_concept2_Revised1_Kindle just keep reading.

The next challenge was writing the book in first person, and first person present tense.  First person, as your teacher will tell you, “imprisons you in one character.” 

John Gardner writes that “first person locks us in one character’s mind, locks us to one kind of diction throughout, locks out the possibilities of going deeply into various characters’ minds, and so forth.” (The Art of Fiction). First person is a form with very strict limitations compared to writing in third person omniscient.  Hence, my riddle:

Where is the only place where God is not omniscient? 

The answer: In the Bible.

Yes, God is a character in the Bible. He is a player in the story. Moses is also a character.  Although the first five books of the Bible are “The Books of Moses,” not a single word is written from the perspective of Moses. And none of it is written from the perspective of God, So, God is not the omniscient voice in the Bible because God is not telling the story, yet the story is told from an omniscient perspective. 

Now, here is an amazing illustration of God hand-delivering to Moses the TEN ROMAN NUMERALS. moses roman numerals

While you meditate on that, I’ll warn you that at a certain point in HEADLOCK, I do something really dangerous —a real risky stylistic twist of tense.  Jane Gelfman, famed literary agent, said “What you’ve done is heretical, but it works.”  Whew.

Before I began, she did warn me:  “Don’t  be too funny. You have a tendency to be too funny.” 

HEADLOCK isn’t funny to me because I seldom make me laugh. When I said “any toy store can sell you a Talking Barbie, but you can’t even special order Listening Ken” I was simply making an observation,  It is now a meme I see posted on Facebook,  At least I get credit for the line.

In my next missive, I’ll explain HOW I actually researched and wrote a book that is fiction yet inspired by real events, real people and contains tons of historical fact.


          The origin of HEADLOCK: by Burl Barer,

 Bill Macdonald, famed TV and film producer,  and I were hanging out one day in Los Angeles when  he said to me, “Burl, you should write a small town ChinatHEADLOCK_concept2_Revised1_Kindleown.”  I said, “Okay.”  

So, it would be a private detective in a small historic town, there must be corruption and colorful characters and a twist ending that you don’t see coming.

    Simon and Schuster, pleased with my work on THE SAINT – A NOVEL, asked me for a mystery or thriller.  The editor wanted to see the first few chapters. If they liked it, they would tell me to keep writing and then deliver.  I took Bill Macdonald’s advice and started thinking about that “small town Chinatown” idea.

    Well,  being an investigative true crime writer living in Walla Walla, Washingto, who had one New York Times best seller (Murder in the Family), I thought I should take on the role of the PI and tell it from my perspective. 

     (2)  When hawking the first edition of MAN OVERBOARD in San Francisco, I was paired with my old pal, Professor Christopher Buck, a long time friend and fan of my  radio shows.

He wrote a fascinating book about the Book of Certitude by Baha’u’llah, the Central Figure of the Baha’i Faith.   Chris Buck explained to me about the complaints leveled against both the Qur’an of Islam and the Sacred Scriptures of the Baha’i Faith regarding the use of tenses  — past, present and future.

Baha’u’llah Himself stated that He made sure the texts were “brought into conformity with the grammatical conventions of the people in order to forestall the cavils of the opponents of the Cause.”   

    Mohammad faced similar opposition.,  For example, in the Quran, when it speaks of creation, it isn’t a past event, but an ongoing process.  This was a shocking assertion in the early 600’s, and it wasn’t until recently that creation being ongoing was established as a scientific fact.

    In speaking, we mix up our tenses all the time when telling stories — we jump from past tense to present tense all the time. “Let me tell you about last night — there I am, I’m sitting in a bar…”   mcfeely street view

    See what I mean? That’s telling a past event in present tense. I wanted to play with tenses, and I also wanted to “get away” with overturning convention, if possible.

I managed to violate two so-called rules of writing a  mystery, and got away with them both.  It was rather like pulling off the perfect crime.  Details in our next conversation.  

Seatac Media’s live stream goes dead and I’m pissed off. is the ultimate excellent repository of Seattle-Tacoma media loretowerofseatamedia20161, information, airchecks AND, up until now, a 24 hr Internet radio station playing great oldies PLUS excellent new shows including my very own True Crime Uncensored’s Greatest Hits.

Despite the educational and historic value of’s streaming “radio station” it has been forced to go silent because it can’t afford the licensing fees required to play songs. It wasn’t as if Jason Remington was rolling in loot from this endeavor — it was a labor of love, and he kept the station going on donations from listeners — primarily those of us who have a deep love for Seattle-Tacoma radio.

Now, it would seem to me that if he didn’t stream these shows  but merely offered them “on demand” from the website exactly as he does the historic airchecks….well, you get the idea.   There are numerous episodes of TRUE CRIME UNCENSORED uploaded and some airchecks of John Maynard, Kevin O’Brian, Gary Shannon; Tom Murphy and Burl Barer from the KJR Reunion along wth tons of other cool stuff.

Check it out ... 



Sloan_26926707_ver1.0_640_480  PF Sloan, famed composer of innumerable hit songs, a member of the famed Wrecking Crew of studio musicians, and the singer on many hit records that never bore his name, died on a Baha’i Holy Day (November 15th, 2015).

In both Judaism (Phil’s religious heritage, and mine) and the Baha’i Faith, to die on a Holy Day is an honor.   PF Sloan deserves all the honor he can get, even in death. He was a one-of-a-kind talent with a remarkable, versatile voice.

For example, every singer you hear on Jan and Dean’s Little Old Lady from Pasadena is PF Sloan.  No Jan. No Dean. No backup singers.  Just PF Sloan.

At one time, PF Sloan was seven different “artists” on Dunhill Records. The Grassroots’ first album according to some sources, was entirely PF Sloan and Steve Barri plus studio musicians. “Where were you when I needed You” is classic PF Sloan material from the first Grassroots’ LP, recorded decades later by the Bangles.


Sloan was the true pioneer of singer/songwriter performers, but in order to pursue his solo career he had to sign away all royalties from all the hit songs he’d written for Dunhill – he wouldn’t get a cent for thirty years! This contract was crooked and unethical and perhaps illegal…but PF Sloan was compelled to sign it by threats of death against his parents.

Well, thirty years came and went, and Sloan came and went as well.  The man who wrote so many hits, including Eve of Destruction, seemed to have evaporated into the ether. Songwriter Jimmy Webb, a big fan of Sloan, composed the bitter sweet PF SLOAN whch became a big hit last year for UK singer, Rumer, who didn’t realize that PF Sloan was a real person.

     I always wanted to meet PF Sloan, and when I did, I wasn’t dissapointed. You couldn’t find a more gracious man on Earth, and to sit right there and have him sing “You Baby,” “Sins of the Family,” and “Eve of Destruction”  to our gang at Outlaw Radio was a treat beyond description,  His autobiography What Exactly is the Matter with Me?” is available from

     The last time I saw PF Sloan, he said how good it was to see me again.  He was so damn ENJOYABLE to be around, and when he relaxed and realized he was among friends, and that he was safe, that’s when the spirit of PF Sloan – vibrant, impish, creative, clever, radiant and filled with  almost conspiratorial glee —   emerged in full.

 God  bless PF Sloan.  And if you are an atheist, allow me a bit of Jewish humor that Phil would appreciate: “Nothing bless PF Sloan.”  (If you don’t get it, ask a a Rabbi or me to explain it)

In the meantime, let’s all sing along with a PF Sloan classic!


I’m thrilled and delighted that there are NEW true crime audio book adaptations of BODY COUNT, MAN OVERBOARD, THE ALASKA MAIL BOMB CONSPIRACY, and (coming soon) MURDER IN THE FAMILY.

BODY COUNT — the true story of Robert Lee Yates, Jr.. the Spokane Serial Killer.  A bullet to the head while the women were giving head — once they were dead, then he could get it up while he couldn’t when they were going down.  Shocking, disturbing and that’s only the first double homicide in my hometown of Walla Walla, Washington.  Twenty some years later , Yates was on a killing spree in Spokane, and also in Tacoma, Washington.  You can get this audiobook for 20% off from   Just enter the discount code OUTLAWCRIME when you make your purchase!

MAN OVERBOARD — the hysterical and strange story of Phil Champagne who was presumed dead for a decade before being arrested under the name Harold Stegeman for printing counterfeit $100 bills in an Idaho shed.  Yep, this one is funny! And if you are not already a member of Audible, you can have it FREE when you sign up!  Or…

Choosealamb THE ALASKA MAIL BOMB  CONSPIRACY for FREE when you sign up with   This is the true story if Smiley and Lizard — two recalcitrant hard-ass punks who plan a violent murder from behind bars where they are already serving life sentences.  Guess whom they get to deliver the bomb?  Lizard’s sister who is 8 month’s pregnant.

MURDER IN THE FAMILY — My first New York Times Best Seller (let’s hope I have more) will soon be an audio book from,  and an ebook from

Speaking of Wild Blue — my famed PI novel, HEADLOCK is coming out real soon — snazzy new cover, and all the typos and spelling errors of the first edition replaced and repaired. I left in all the jokes and pithy observations such as “Any toy store will sell you  Talking Barbie, but you can’t even special order Listening Ken.”

HEADLOCK_concept2 (1)


The Art of the Radio/TV Interview

I’ve been interviewed by some excellent journalists, questioned by idiots who didn’t really want the answer to the question, and have endeavored over the years to improve, polish and modify my own interview technique to fit the “environment” of the interview.

What I mean by environment is this: the tone texture and questions will depend, in great part,on the nature of the program in which the interview takes place –  yet the basic techniques will not alter.  You don’t ask a question that can be answered “yes” or “no,”  you don’t give the answer and ask if the other person agrees (a variant on the yes/no issue), nor do you ask questions that are convoluted nonsense.  During a live call-in show on KRKO-AM on which I was the guest, a caller asked this question: “Why don’t you admit that you are in league with the devil, and get it over with?”    That isn’t a question, it’s an editorial statement. I answered it as politely as i could.

The best interviewers get the person they are interviewing to tell stories, and you do that by already knowing the story, and then prompting them to tell it rather than you.  For example, my friend Magic Matt Alan has a great story about the famed Orson Welles and he together at the Magic Castle.  Instead of asking “Did you ever meet Orson Welles?”  (this could get the answer “Yes.” and that’s it)  You could ask “Hey, I heard that when you were with Orson Welles at the Magic Castle, you didn’t realize he was a famous director.. (pause prompt)

Matt, being a pro, will immediately know to tell the story — and it is a great story!

Contrast Tom Snyder (may he rest in peace) — the most frustrating interviewer on the planet -= with Paul Ryan (Not the politician,  but the acting/comedy coach). Paul is the best interviewer I have ever seen in action. He is so well prepared, so completely in sync with the mood and character of his subject, that watching him interview someone is, for those of us who are impressed by such things, akin to watching Picasso paint or Marlon Brando act.

Honest enthusiasm makes a big difference, and suppressed hostility is ALWAYS perceived by both the guest and the audience.

Matt Alan is wonderful when it comes to enthusiasm — for a good example, listen to him with famed songwriter PF SLOAN.

On True Crime Uncensored,  my style is modified to fit the “environment” — as one listener stated, I sound like an “arrogant asshole.”  I assure you that I am not arrogant, it is all an act to counterpoint Howard Lapides who, of course, IS arrogant, but as they say, “if you’ve really done it, it’s not bragging.”

The Great Don Woldman was my former co-host on the show, and you will modify YOUR style depending on the style of your co-host. If you listen to some of the shows Don and I did together you can hear the difference in how I relate to him vs how I relate to Howard.  Don and I are often heard together on TRUE CRIME CLASSICS on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at 8pm Pacific Time.




Sewer rats?  Any post with sewer rats in the title gets more hits, although people with a sewer rat problem, obsession or erotic fetish will be irked that there is nothing about sewer rats in the body of this post.

MAN OVERBOARD continues selling well and garnering mostly positive reviews, and award winning director Matthew “Son of Cinema” Berkowitz insists he wants to do the movie version.  The brilliant and affable Daniel Genis is polishing the treatment, and I’m waiting for someone to write me a check.

HEADLOCK : A Jeff Reynolds Mystery is coming soon from Wild Blue Press.  This is the first in a series of private eye mysteries starring ME! Well, not actually.  The hero is younger, better looking, stronger and his “audiographic” memory is still in fine shape while mine has declined over the years.  He is no smarter than I, so that means he screws up a lot.   I wrote this rave-reviewed literary masterpiece in Walla Walla, Washington, amcfeely street viewnd much of the action takes place at the McFeely Tavern.