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  • Catch Tiki Chris’ Interview on Koop Kooper’s Cocktail Nation This Weekend!

    Posted on July 21st, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments
    Koop Kooper

    Koop Kooper

    Yours truly, Tiki Chris will be featured on Koop Kooper’s Cocktail Nation Lounge & Exotica Radio Show this weekend…Check it out at www.cocktailnation.net.

    The interview concentrates on the release of my kool new Tiki tome, “Murder on Tiki Island: A Paranormal Mystery in the Florida Keys”. It’s a neo-noir style thriller, set in 1956 and filled with swingin’ chicks, hot tropical days, kool cars, palm trees, ghosts and a twisty plot that will keep you turning the pages.

    Murder on Tiki Island by Tiki Chris Pinto

    Murder on Tiki Island by Tiki Chris Pinto

    Murder, Sex, Exotic Cocktails and Exotic Women. And of course, some very eerie phantoms…Set in New York City and the Florida Keys in 1956, Murder on Tiki Island is a noir-style murder mystery which follows Detective Bill Riggins (Murder Behind the Closet Door) through a series of strange, unexplained events surrounding a murder and paranormal phenomena on Florida’s world-famous Tiki Island Resort. Influenced by the style made famous by pulp fiction’s greatest authors from Raymond Chandler to Mickey Spillane, Murder on Tiki Island weaves an intricate web of lies, murder, and the occult shaken with a shot of hot dames and a chaser of cool tropical breezes.

    “Murder on Tiki Island” features Marina the Fire Eating Mermaid on the cover and a custom Tiki by Tiki Hana on the spine (print version).

    Penned by “Tiki” Chris Pinto, author of the noir mystery ghost story Murder Behind the Closet Door, this 1950s style thriller will keep you hanging on edge from the first sentence to the last. Swing back to 1956, when jazz and rock ‘n’ roll both ruled the airwaves, giant finned cars ruled the roadways and Tiki Bars were the hottest spots on the nightlife scene. Riggins, a New York City detective, takes a ‘forced vacation’ to Tiki Island in the world-famous Florida Keys and Key West. Once there he gets mixed up with the seductive daughter of the resort’s wealthy owner; gets taken for a wild ride by a beautiful blonde bombshell; and gets himself suspected of a brutal murder. Skeletons, mermaids, Mai Tais, Exotica music, fishing and phantoms all come together to make this Key West murder mystery a fun, old-fashioned pulp noir novel that’s sure to please anyone who digs the mid-century scene, or just loves plain old fashioned noir-style detective novels. Tiki Chris Pinto’s Florida Keys murder mystery will have you spooked and guessing throughout the entire story, with a few twists that will get you saying, “Wow, daddy-o! Dig that crazy scene!”

    If you dig what you read here at the Tiki Lounge, you’ll love this book. Check it out:

    Murder on Tiki Island official website

    Murder on Tiki Island available at Amazon.com (print version, $11.95)

    Murder on Tiki Island available for Kindle/iPad/Mac/PC ($3.99)

    Murder on Tiki Island for B&N Nook ($3.99)

    Stardust Mysteries Website

    Listen to Koop’s Show this weekend! www.cocktailnation.net.

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the library at Tiki Lounge Talk, the swingin’ B-Lounge for kool kats & hep kittens.

  • Murder, Sex, Ghosts & The Jersey Shore: Murder Behind the Closet Door

    Posted on July 16th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments
    Murder Behind the Closet Door, The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery By Tiki Chris Pinto

    Murder Behind the Closet Door, The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery By Tiki Chris Pinto

    Murder Behind the Closet Door: The Wildwood Paranormal Mystery by Christopher “Tiki Chris” Pinto, paperback now ON SALE for only $10.76 at Amazon.com!

    Many of you who follow this swingin’ B-Lounge already know that yours truly is an aspiring writer millionaire.

    Last year I published my first full-length retro-style neo-noir novel, Murder Behind the Closet Door. Original price for the 600-page masterpiece was $16.95, $3.95 for the kindle version. A hefty price tag for any tome, but everyone who’s read it has said it is worth it 🙂

    A few months ago I re-tooled the layout to bring the paperback down to a more manageable (and less intimidating) 425 pages, at a tag of $14.95. Sales increased!

    Well, Amazon has done me the great favor of running a DISCOUNT on the book now, which makes it even more enticing! Now you can get the paperback in all its glory for only $10.76, a fantastic bargain for this wild ride. Or, of course, you can still pick it up on Kindle or Nook for $3.95.

    Why buy this book?

    Good question. Let me just take a sip of my coffee and bourbon, and I’ll lay it down for you (siiiiiip).

    Hudson House, one of the two haunted houses in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    Hudson House, one of the two haunted houses in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    This book swings you back in time to Wildwood and Wildwood Crest, the grooviest, funnest towns on the Jersey Shore (sorry Asbury Park, you’ve got nothing on Wildwood). The action starts with a heart-wrenching murder…as experienced by the victim…then moves into the life of Heather, a 22-year old woman starting her life as marketing manager for the famous Hunt’s Pier on the Wildwood Boardwalk in 1979.

    Almost immediately her story turns to one of mystery and fascination, as she admits to being haunted by an entity in her closet. This all seems innocent at first…

    The Wildwood Boardwalk, 1970s

    The Wildwood Boardwalk, 1970s

    Using my own style of flashback, character-weaving and time-rearrangement, the story unfolds to reveal a multi-layered plot of murder, revenge, phantoms, wartime coverups, denial, hot women, the afterlife and the people who protect us from myriad unseen demons. All of this wraps itself around a solid, noir-gumshoe style detective story, featuring one of the freshest, most interesting and exciting hero detectives to come along since Mike Hammer (IMHO), Detective Bill Riggins. (Riggins is also featured as the main character in my latest novel, Murder on Tiki Island, and will continue his adventures in the upcoming Murder Under the Boards: The Atlantic City Murder Mystery.)

    For an in-depth look at Murder Behind the Closet Door, visit the MBTCD official website.

    OK, that sounds cool, but why should I think Tiki Chris’ writing is worth 11 bucks?

    Fair question. Short answer is if you dig what you read here, you will absolutely dig this book, and my other writings.

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto, old-school style

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto, old-school style

    Although I compare the book to those of Stephen King, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler and Dean Koontz, my style doesn’t copy any of theirs…my style is my own, hammered out over 30+ years of writing, learning, experiencing and, well, drinking.

    I’ve been writing since I was 12, winning a prize from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin for a short story, then taking a stab at writing a full-length musical (entitled “Swingtime”) which was performed at my high school during my senior year (it too was a neo-noir style drama).

    In 1989 I picked up the pen for my first paid advertising assignment, and have been writing advertising copy professionally (and making typos) ever since (just like Mad Men, I’m the Creative Director of a national ad agency…except my office is in Hollywood, Florida, not CA).

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto and Jeannette Pereda in "One Crazy Mystery", Stardust Productions, 1995

    "Tiki" Chris Pinto and Jeannette Pereda in "One Crazy Mystery", Stardust Productions, 1995

    That same year I formed Star Dust Productions Mystery Theater, and began writing and producing comedy plays and murder mysteries, mostly for dinner theater settings. With my wife Colleen, we successfully ended a 10-year span of over 400 performances of six different shows (written by me) with a 1930s radio show performance on the Ocean City Music Pier, NJ.

    After moving to South Florida in 2000, I decided to turn my talents toward writing noir fiction, and began a series of short stories and flash fiction (due out in book form & ebook this summer). A flood of memories from my shore days in Jersey came with the move, and in 2002 I sat down to write my first novel. I decided to make it something I’d want to read myself, something fun and full of action, something spooky yet believable, with interesting characters and an unusual plot line. At 2am on a thunder-filled south Florida night, “Behind the Closet Door” was born.

    Today, I write for The Fort Lauderdale Examiner, manage the Facebook Retro Tiki Lounge, and of course run amock here at Tiki Lounge Talk.

    So, yeah, I’ve got some experience as a writer, right? So trust me, the book is solid.

    What makes Detective Riggins so special?

    .45 Auto used by Detective Riggins in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    .45 Auto used by Detective Riggins in Murder Behind the Closet Door

    Riggins is not your regular ole goodie-two-shoes, uphold-the-law kind of guy that you read about in most books or see in a lot of flicks. To say he’s flawed is a true understatement. He’s big, tough, sarcastic, arrogant and has his own code of conduct and sense of morality that doesn’t always jive with the establishment, but he’s smart enough to stay out of most trouble, and to get away with dealing out justice the way he personally thinks it should be dealt. He does some screwed up stuff but in the end you’ll find yourself on his side, routing for him to succeed. He’s an old-time tough-guy cop with a young, hard-drinkin’ jazz-diggin’ spirit. He learned how to kill on the battlefields of Korea and still carries his military-issue .45 automatic. He likes hot rods and fast women and doesn’t have time to settle down with just one dame. He’s a New York vice cop who has a deep hatred for pushers yet a soft spot for junkies and hookers, as he usually sees them as victims. He doesn’t have many friends on the force; he prefers to hang out with beat musicians and barflies, as he finds them much more interesting. And somehow, for reasons he’ll never learn (but you will), he seems to attract the spirits of the murdered dead.

    If you’ve read through this whole long-assed post, I guarantee you will truly dig this book. You can read the first few pages on Amazon, and can find snippets of it at Stardust Mysteries Publishing or the official Murder Behind the Closet Door website.

    Oh, and if you do dig it, please post a review on Amazon.com. Every little bit helps, and maybe someday you can say you’re pals with a famous mystery writer 😉

    -Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from the library at Tiki Island Resort, Florida
    Tiki Lounge Talk – Everyone’s favorite B-Lounge for kookie retro fun stuff!

  • Queen’s Park Swizzle – Your Weekend Tiki Cocktail!

    Posted on July 15th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 2 comments
    Queen's Park Swizzle

    Queen's Park Swizzle

    Came across this over the weekend and thought it sounded pretty good. This drink is basically a Mojito made with dark rum in place of silver. But what really makes it cool is the whole thing about the “swizzle”.

    Queen’s Park Swizzle

    That strange-looking stick with the star pattern end sitting next to the cocktail…that’s what makes this cocktail so much fun. It is, in fact, a Swizzle Stick. Not the plastic goodies we’re used with Tiki heads and the name of the bar imprinted along the side, but an actual branch of a (get this) Swizzlestick Tree (Quararibea turbinata) which grows on islands in the Caribbean. I kid you not. The branches branch out in a sort of star pattern, and the pirates and islanders found it a great tool for stirring up rum and mixers in a whole new way. You basically add the ingredients into the glass, then “swizzle” them by placing the swizzle stick into the glass and spinning it left to right as fast as possible, kind of the same way boy scouts use a stick to start a fire. Pretty neat. Here’s the recipe…

    3 oz. 80-proof Demerara rum
    1/2 oz. simple syrup
    1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
    2 dashes Angostura bitters
    8 to 10 mint leaves
    Crushed ice
    Garnish: mint sprig, squeezed-out lime shell

    Ok, now start out by putting the mint leaves in a highball glass, and use a muddler or spoon crush slightly, then o guide mint leaves up the sides of the glass. The idea is to coat the sides of the glass with the mint oil. Add remaining ingredients and fill with crushed ice. If you don’t have a real swizzlestick branch, use barspoon to swizzle—gently twirl the spoon between the palms of your hands, moving up and down the glass—until frost forms on the outside of the glass. Top off with ice, and if you want the pretty color float a tiny amount of grenadine off the back of a spoon. Garnish with the mint spring and enjoy life.

    I’m sure you carvers and engineering types out there could easily make your own swizzlestick. I’ve heard it’s damned near impossible to find them outside of the Caribbean, so maybe this could be a biz op for you. Maybe carve them out of Monkey Pod.

    Cheers, kids! Catch you on the flipside!

    -Tiki Chris reporting from Pirate’s Cove Tiki Bar, just off the Caribbean Sea in sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  • Hotel, 1967 for Mod Movie Monday!

    Posted on July 12th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto No comments

    hotel_posterHere is one of those kool little movies lost in time, a slice of life from the late 1960s that takes a peak into the lives of people, from the lowly thief to a Duke and Duchess and everything in between, all trying to just get by.

    Hotel, 1967

    Starring Rod Taylor, Karl Malden, Melvin Douglass, Cathrine Spaak and Kevin McCarthy, and based on the novel Hotel by Arthur Hailey

    The movie poster over there <— does a decent job of laying out what this flick is all about. Several different characters in different plot lines, all tied together by the Hotel Manager, Peter McDermott, played by the swank, sophisticated Rod Taylor. Talk about a real tight guy who had his act together, the Hotel Manager could take care of millionaire guests, handle the staff, help put together big-buck deals and swing with the craziest chick in the joint all with the finesse of a true gentleman…the only thing he couldn’t manage was to take a swallow of his drink.

    Add in Karl Malden as down-on-his-luck petty crook, who’s specialty is lifting hotel keys from unsuspecting clients and burglarizing them while they sleep. Then pepper the works with a strange mystery, an age-old power play, a couple of hookers, some good ole’ fashioned racism (by the old guard, and how it’s totally uncool to the Manager) and a steamy romance. That’s Hotel.hotel-dutches

    The story takes place at the (then) 60+ year old St. Gregory Hotel in New Orleans (I’ve been trying to find out what hotel was used for the exteriors, but haven’t had any luck). The owner, Melvin Douglas, is facing a $2million loan payment that he just can’t meet, and will lose the hotel unless he gets either and injection of dough from the union (which he doesn’t want to deal with), or sells it to a real estate firm who will tear it down to build condos (sound familiar?). A third option presents itself when a rival hotel chain owner expresses a keen interest in buying the joint…but he has his own ideas how to manage the hotel, and that doesn’t sit so well with the owner…

    Rod Taylor and Cathrine Spaak in Hotel, 1967

    Rod Taylor and Cathrine Spaak in Hotel, 1967

    Parallel stories intertwine with the Duke and Duchess who are hiding a horrible secret, Karl Malden adding a little comic relief with is tip-toe snatch and run routine, and The Manager trying to keep tabs on everything at once. A couple of very swinging cameos by Carmen McRae singing in the lounge and a few scenes with Richard Conte (of Ocean’s 11 fame) add to the koolness of this flick. That and the fact that you’re watching a time capsule from 40+ years ago makes Hotel worth a watch.

    Dinner & Booze: A swank hotel like this would no doubt have all the best on the menu -Waldorf salad, Delmonico steak, vichyssoise, and since it’s in New Orleans, catfish. Throughout the movie the Manager constantly tries to have a double whiskey at the bar, and is always called away before he can take a drink. You, however, can drink up!hotel-mcdermot

    Fun stuff: Karl Malden, after coming up short with his night stealing routine, says something along the lines of “Damned credit cards…nobody carries cash anymore!” Funny that 20 years later he would be doing those commercials for American Express cards…you know, “never leave home without it”!

    Here’s a clip from Hotel:

    -Tiki Chris reporting from the screening room over the beach at Tiki Lounge Talk, your web lounge for the koolest Mod Movie Mondays around.

  • Futurama TV Show uses Tiki Chris Pinto’s Car in Season 6 Episode 16!

    Posted on July 11th, 2011 "Tiki Chris" Pinto 1 comment

    Futurama's hot rod on top, my CUSTOM 53 Chevy hot rod with fins I designed myself on the bottom.

    Futurama's hot rod on top, my CUSTOM 53 Chevy hot rod with fins I designed myself on the bottom.

    YES, it is true. The proof is in the photos! There is only ONE 1953 Chevrolet Bel Air in the WORLD with my custom-made shark fins, and it’s sitting in my garage. Now, another appears to exist 1000 years in the future.

    Imagine my surprise while watching the new episode of Futurama last week, a show I’ve watched and dug since it first aired in 2000, when the “Tron” motorcycle cop/car chase scene so obviously used my own, custom designed hot rod as the car being chased! My jaw dropped, as you might have guessed. Good think I had it on TiVo so I could rewind it and watch over again to make sure I wasn’t nuts.

    Futurama's car, and my 1953 Chevy, from the back. The fins are exactly the same. And I designed them.

    Futurama's car, and my 1953 Chevy, from the back. The fins are exactly the same. And I designed them.

    It’s not just the fins…the overall look of the car is absolutely an early 1950’s GM vehicle, which is common in the show (Futurama was the name of the GM auto shows in the 50s, and also their shows at the World’s Fairs). Specifically it has the same rounded look as the 1954-54 Chevy, and even has a similar grill and side molding. But none of those cars had fins. In fact, all the GM cars of the 50s had fins that mimicked jet planes and rockets, never sharks, like these.

    The front-side view of the Futurama Car, and my 1953 Chevy. Tell me they didn't copy mine! I dare ya.

    The front-side view of the Futurama Car, and my 1953 Chevy. Tell me they didn't copy mine! I dare ya.

    Now, of course the cartoon car is highly stylized…for the cartoon. Plus it’s in “TRON” mode. But the similarities are unmistakable. I really can’t imagine anyone else in the world pairing these exact style sharkfins with what is absolutely an early 1950’s stylized Chevy. Sure, there’s is a 2-door, and, well, it’s a hovercar. But…

    I’m actually very honored that they used my personal custom design in an episode. That puts my lil’ old 53 Chevy Star Dust right up there with The Warecar (The CAR), Christine, the Original Warecar (the original Batmobile) and the 59 Caddy hovercars that appear often in the show.

    My '53 Chevy Hot Rod

    My '53 Chevy Hot Rod

    If anyone from Hollywood sees this, please tell Mat Groenig thanks, and I’d really like a signed cell or photo of the cast as a thank you.

    Check out my car’s website at 53ChevyHotRod.com, and see for yourself how close it is!

    You can see the clip the car is featured in at Comedy Central.

    -Tiki Chris Pinto reporting from the garage at Tiki Lounge Talk.