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G.J. Bingham


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G.J. Bingham


“Art is not a handicraft, it is a transmission of feeling the artist has experienced.”

—Leo Tolstoy

Welcome to Painting with words.

"Mystery is just an intellectual process...

Suspense is an emotional process.

Create an emotional process."

—Alfred Hitchcock


"Mystery is the shovel.

Suspense is the sound of dirt hitting the coffin lid."

—G.J. Bingham

Every image is a Rorschach Test. Every reader carries their own baggage to the dance.

I like to think, whatever's inside my bags may be twisted and knotted and kicking to get out.

Or maybe I just like dancin'.

Okay, sometimes we need to mix a few metaphors to get where we're goin'.

Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham

A study in darkness


The Casebooks of Nicolaus Vagelle & Alya Korikova.


"He has sharp eyes, hard, dark eyes, that see everything. But not hard when he looks at me. He is comfortable with sharing his space, but after these months, I think maybe he hides his thorns well."

—A Blues Bouquet

"Mutt waited with his back to the street, a small bag of 'personal possessions' on the concrete between his feet, hands clasped behind him, a pose he was familiar with. His eyes held on the cloudless sky. He would not look back until the bus arrived. He would not look back to the closed gates of 'The Farm.' Angola Prison.

“’Never again, bitch,' he whispered."

—A Criminal Obsession

"Three a.m. The scream ripped at the alley’s blackest shadows, only to be swallowed by concrete and steel. But screams here were too common, and this one would go as unanswered as the rest."

—A Sharp-Edged Seduction

"I once knew a man, important in my life, who believed in ownership, who believed he could own a person, and who believed that his ownership justified his violence. Whether or not he believed that to be love, I would never know. He did not live long enough for me to find out. But that was not this life. That was more than nine thousand kilometers ago.”

—A Savage Liaison


A collection of short stories, interconnected, creating a complete novel-length work.

Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham

Why A Collection?

Well, it goes something like this...

In an era where time grows ever-shorter, and fewer people read anything but their social media pages, where paper books are relegated to “the elders,” the fiction market needs “handlers,” and short story magazines have bled off to a select few...

I had an idea.

(It happens.)

I’ve spoken with publishers, editors and other professional writers and heard much of the same: "Book publishers will not touch short story collections, unless the author brings a famous name with a legion of followers. It’s about economics.”

So, never one to ride anything but a broken-backed horse into battle…always fighting against cliché and “popular thought...” if I could be juvenile enough to think I might support myself in a career with scant odds of success (I’ve done it before, many times)...

...I began writing short fiction.

Yes, I'm aware that Don Quixote was anything but short.

My first short story was published back in 1995 (Ace Publishing - an anthology), and I can do it again. So, as any professional writer must think, what do I need to shorten the odds against me?

Write what I love.

“Write the stories I want to read.” (Tarantino)

A beloved Genre.

Make it familiar.

Make it unique.

Make it compelling.

Grab an audience and drag it into my world.

If readers no longer have the impulse to spend time on a novel, hook them with stories they can devour in one sitting. If they have lost the desire to buy short story magazines, give them a volume of stories, interconnected, each leading subsequently to the next, carrying those same characters and milieu forward (novel-ish).

Then expand. More story. More meat.

This collection began with a single short story idea.


I wrote it as a pastiche of my favorite detective from childhood. (The title should've been a giveaway.) Then the character compelled me to write another. And another. Until, 100,000 words later…

Yes, I have learned, characters can control the narrative—and your life. GJB

Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham

The Journey

Well, I can't say it was a Joseph Campbell boat ride.

Who knew Dad could have been Martin Scorsese with his Polaroid?

Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham

Born in the heart of Chi-town, growing up on the South Side, one might as well say I was destined for a Noir-Life.

At least in my head.

G.J. Bingham is an award winning writer and artist, having published short stories, graphic novels and comic books since 1984.

Here, once again, he turns his hand to prose in his favorite genre since Mom handed him her Sherlock Holmes collection—

the Mystery.

She was also the one who dropped Bram Stoker's infamous creation on his bed, late one evening, so we can blame her (thank her) for nudging this young boy into the darker waters at an early age.

And as tribute, respectfully submitted with the launch of this new webpage:

“A Study In Darkness”

A collection of short, and not so short, stories with his favorite creation:

Consultant, Nicolaus Vagelle.

From his brief debut in

“A Spider Hole Beguiling,”

to a novella, “Hades’ Kiss,” Vagelle is pulled forward into ever darkening warfare against the evils of the damaged mind.

And a love he might not survive.

Why Novellas?

They've been around for a long damned time.

They are the stuff of greatness.

They include my favorite stories, and authors, ever.

need proof?

The Hound of the Baskervilles – Conan Doyle

The Sign of Four – Conan Doyle

Red Harvest – Hammett

The Maltese Falcon – Hammett

The Thin Man – Hammett

The Lady in the Lake – Chandler (novelette)

The Scarlet Pimpernel – Orczy

Double Indemnity – Cain

The Postman Always Rings Twice – Cain

Of Mice and Men – Steinbeck

The Mysterious Stranger – Twain

The Third Man – Greene

The Time Machine – Wells

The Invisible Man – Wells

The Island of Dr. Moreau – Wells

War of the Worlds – Wells

From the Earth to the Moon – Verne

The Man Who Would be King – Kipling

A Christmas Carol – Dickens

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Stevenson

The Turn of the Screw – James

The Stepford Wives – Levin

The Catcher in the Rye – Salinger

The Picture of Dorian Gray – Wilde

The Canterville Ghost – Wilde

The Call of the Wild – London

The Pearl – Steinbeck

The Double – Dostoevsky

Roshomon – Akutagawa

True Grit – Portis

The Old Man and the Sea - Hemingway

Animal Farm – Orwell

Heart of Darkness – Conrad

A Clockwork Orange – Burgess

Lord of the Flies – Golding

Goodbye Mr. Chips – Hilton

At the Mountains of Madness – Lovecraft

2001: A Space Odyssey – Clarke

I rest my case.

More than any of his contemporaries, Raymond Chandler changed the future of literary—American—detective fiction. His intention, " study the landscape of evil."

I lived the mean streets!

With my favorite tree.

The Ol' Man's Hat

I'm surprised he didn't name me Mugsy.

Yep. Another black eye just before photo day.

Goin' on Chicago.

In my jammies.

Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham

Chandler coined the phrase...

"the mean streets"

Chandler colonized his world with the ruthless, the self-centered, the sadistic, the psychopaths.

Shadows against the night, his was a dystopian world of grim alleys and wet gutters where a body may lie undisturbed as pedestrians looked away. Where cavalier heroes walked only slightly more erect, and occasionally stooped to feel for a pulse.

"… down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid." The detective "must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor."




"The great egret, broad pristine wings, drifted low on warm currents like an angel through the gloom. She caught the sunlight, emblazoned for a moment, before cypress shadows darkened her again. Black water reflected her white grace. She swept the air again, tilted to one side, and with a single feather, sliced the untroubled surface of the lake. Ripples designed to attract a meal. The gator splashed, clamped onto the wing and rolled back beneath the surface."

— Acheron’s Angel

about as far from those mean streets as i could find.

Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham

a past life



Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham

contact me



is a Novel-in-Stories

Thriller / Mystery / Suspense.

A collection of short detective works

(6 short stories, 2 novelettes, 3 novellas),

The Casebooks of Criminal psychologist Nicolaus Vagelle.

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Hades’ Kiss - ©GJBINGHAM

Grandma & Grandpa (the poet)

Some of my earliest memories:

We lived in the downstairs apartment. And I loved when Mom would take me up for daily visits, despite the bitter smell of pipe smoke and grandma's closet of mothballs...

...but they were so happy to see me. I was four or five.

Grandma could not feed me enough. Those much better smells of roast beef and potatoes. And Grandpa, as small as he was, had to stoop to put his arm around my shoulders and walk through the dining room and recite his poetry.

They were both right off the potato boat, after all (separate boats). Every ounce of cliches.

As I grew into my childhood,

I just figured they had created those cliches. Barry Fitzgerald stole Grandpa's bit.

And when I was learning how to read, grandpa showed me his old roll top desk—a wonderful secret compartment—where he kept all his papers. And from this great secret place, he withdrew his manuscripts. Large-size, narrow-lined, yellow pads. And he would show me his writings as he read from them, his sing-song rhymes.

Though I was in the process of learning the cursive alphabet, his script was infinitesimal on those long pads. I spent as much time amazed at the tiny letters, written by his cartridge pen, as I marveled at the secret desk. And all the while his Irish accent read from his stories... was some years before I understood half of it.

Before I turned seven...

we had moved away. The south suburbs. Not too far for driving, but grandpa didn't drive much, and Dad was too busy working.

We visited on holidays.

I still missed them, real bad. And when we did visit, it was like we'd never left.

The memory of the smells, Grandma's roast beef and Grandpa's pipe. And every visit, even when I was too tall for him to stoop down for, he always took my arm and led me to the dining room and took his legal pad from the roll top desk and shared his latest—and re-shared the others that he'd read so often in years past.

Of course, I never minded. He took such joy in the telling. I realized that was what I was there for, to give them joy, and to relive their happiness.

As I grew, and with the distance, I naturally began to forget. Teenagers have such busy lives. Friends and school and playtime become so damned important, and then...girls! Holidays, Dad would drive into the city and pick them up—Mom did most of the cooking now. They had aged so much from one visit to the next...

Words and Pictures on this site copyright ©JerryBingham


But Grandpa would hold court, and his poetry seemed inexhaustible while he walked from room to room with his pipe in hand.

I don't even recall telling him about my writing during those days. Or about all the hours I spent trying to write even smaller on my own yellow legal pads. And in high school, that one of my favorite courses was Creative Writing. And I never read my writing for him.

Mom was the great reader who fed my book habit early on, but I wish I had taken the time to tell Grandpa that he gave me the gentle push, the confidence, to write on my own.