Thursday, 29 January 2009

An Interview - Reed Farrel Coleman


Brooklyn born and bred, Reed Farrel Coleman is the former Executive Vice President of Mystery Writers of America. He’s published ten novels—eight under his own name and two as Tony Spinosa—in three series. His eleventh novel Tower, co-written with Ken Bruen, is due for release in September 09. Reed’s won the Shamus(twice), the Barry, and Anthony Awards. His been twice nominated for the Edgar Award as well. He was the editor of Hardboiled Brooklyn. His short stories and essays appear in Wall Street Noir, The Darker Mask, Brooklyn Noir 3, and many other publications. He is an adjunct lecturer in creative writing at Hofstra University and he lives with his family on Long Island. Visit Reed at http://www.reedcoleman.com/

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

That would be telling! Sorry. I’m about 110 pages into the first novel in a new series. It features a protagonist who is a psychologist, but who suffered a mental breakdown and lived hard on the streets for several years. He’s put his pieces mostly back together again and returns home to New York for the final act in his recreation. That final act revolves around the attempted solution of a long forgoten crime. He has quite a unique perspective on things and a really strange skill set.

Q2. Can you give us an idea of Reed Farrel Coleman’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?

Sure. First, you’re not far off on the ideas thing. I am positively flooded with ideas for books. I’ve often said that I could not live long enough to write the books I get ideas for in a single day. It’s funny how readers think the ideas are the difficult part. But basically, I get up around 7 AM, drink two cups of coffee while reading the local rag—sports first—and doing the crossword. Then it’s down to my home office to answer emails. By about 8, I put in three straight hours. I start with rereading the previous five pages to give myself a running start and momentum. I need that as I never outline and it helps me edit edit edit. I’ve only ever produced one draft of a novel, but by the time it’s done, I’ve reread it a hundred times and edited it to within an inch of its life. I’ll usually take a break and come back an edit some more, add a little bit, edit. The bulk of the work gets done in that early rush and the rest of the time throughout the day is devoted to polishing. Still, I write pretty quickly. My last novel, The Fourth Victim, written as Tony Spinosa, took only 3 months from start to finish.

Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?

In warm weather, I play basketball for about two hours a day five days a week. I love the movies and go quite often with my sixteen year old son. I read less than I wish I could. I do all the cooking in the house as well.

Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn trying to break into the crime fiction scene?

Sit your ass down and write. I find too many of my students and hopefuls spend way too much time worrying about marketing and agents and dreaming about spending their advances. It’s what’s on the page that counts. The rest is an issue of control. But you have to learn the writing is the only part you can ever really control, so focus on that. The most important advice I can give is that a writer should fall in love with writing and not with what he or she has written. The latter is a major roadblock to success.

Q5. Which crime writers have impressed you this year?

Besides the usual suspects like Ken Bruen, SJ Rozan, Megan Abbott, Daniel Woodrell and the like, I discovered that I like Archer Mayor a lot and Gabriel Cohen has come back very strong. I liked Declan Burke and Christa Faust very much.

Q6. What are you reading right now?

I’m reading an ARC of Megan Abbott’s next book, Bury Me Deep. And I just finished James Crumley’s The Last Good Kiss.

Q7. Plans for the future?

Plans is too strong a word for a writer. I will always write and I’ve got some projects in mind. I have at least one more Moe Prager book in me for which I have an idea. I’ve been working on a meta book for two years now in my spare time and have a sci-fi book that I want to finish.

Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?

I’m not a regretter. So while there are things that I might do differently had I the chance, I don’t waste a second rueing my missteps or mistakes.

Q9. Do you fancy sharing your worst writing experience?

The list is so long... I’m joking, really. Let me think. See I don’t perseverate on the bad stuff. Okay. I turned in a novel to my editor and he or she was terribly frightened by the subject matter and many of the motivations I had for my characters acting in the way they did. My agent was quick to jump on my editor’s bandwagon and they both sort of forced me into making changes in the book I shouldn’t have made. What I got was a good enough product, but not the book I wanted. The book didn’t do well and I think some of that is because it wasn’t the book I originally wrote. It was largely ignored by critics and readers. To go back to the previous question, I think I should have pulled the book.

Q10. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?

I always find that to be the most difficult question of all. I guess I’d like you to ask about Tower, the novel I co-authored with Ken Bruen. It was the most difficult work I ever did and the best I ever did. When it comes out in September from Busted Flush Press here in the States, I would highly recommend it as a pretty unique reading experience.


Thank you, Reed Farrel Coleman!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

London Boulevard's Hollywood Treatment


I learned something I didn't know from David Thompson's Busted Flush blog. Ken Bruen's London Boulevard will begin filming soon. And guess who's starring in it! Actually, no need to guess. I'll just tell you. They've got Colin Farrell and Keira Knightley.

David quotes Ken; "I'm just delighted... I think the casting is brilliant and the screenplay by Bill Monahan is terrific."

Smashing stuff, eh? Call over to the Busted Flush blog for the skinny on the novel's shining future.

And while you're in the mood for clicking, jump on over to Colman's Crime Cut Celt and read his interview/interrogation with said gentleman of Irish Noir.

Keeping it in the BFP family, the new edition of Reed Farrel Coleman's THE JAMES DEANS features a foreword by Michael Connelly, two short stories featuring Moe Prager and Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor and a preview of TOWER by Ken Bruen and Reed Farrel Coleman. It is now available from Busted Flush Press. I'll be posting an excellent CSNI interview with Reed Farrel Coleman tomorrow.

So, in the words of Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, "Thank you, come again."


Tales from the Sweety Bottle - The Ladies


Click the above image to read. This is the sixth of a six-part series of stories based on Brennan family anecdotes. The Sweety Bottle was a Lower Falls shebeen ran by my grandfather in the seventies. The Ladies first appeared in the Andersonstown News on Monday 26th January 2009.

Copyright ⓒ Gerard Brennan 2009

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Translink Book Club Launches Tomorrow


If you can make your way to Belfast Central Station tomorrow at 12.30pm, Translink promise to make it well worth your while. They're giving away three books, you see. And the three authors responsible for the books will attend to do the glitz and glamour thing. How's this CSNI relevant? Well, they're only giving away copies of Borderlands by Brian McGilloway. If you haven't started on the Inspector Devlin series yet, this is your opportunity to do it on the cheap. After Declan Burke's recent article on pre-loved books, I expect quite an attendance from the Belfast writing community. In fact, if I can steal some time away from the toils of the dayjob (God bless flexi-time) I'll grab a copy myself and force it on a friend or family member. They'll thank me in the long run.

The other writers in attendance will be Sarah Webb and Monica McInerney, so they've covered more than one genre preference. The idea is to encourage both commuting and reading. Not a bad idea at all, if you ask me.

In other news, I've had kind shout-outs at both Crime Always Pays and Colin Bateman's blog regarding my recent review of Mystery Man by Bateman. Cheers, guys.

UPDATE!!! 28/01/09

Having attended the event, I now have a better understanding of The Translink Book Club:

Pan MacMillan donated 300 books to Translink to start off this innovative book club idea. It's kind of like a library, in that the Translink customer is free to pick up a book and take it on their travels. The onus is then on the customer to drop it off at another participating station for the next customer to pick up and enjoy. It's quite a nice concept, isn't it?

Translink also plan to dedicate a page on their website to the books in the club. Each has a wee tracker number and you'll be able to go online to see where the books have travelled to. I think it's great that they've picked Brian's debut, as it'll raise the profile of the whole Devlin series. Which is why I abandoned the book heist plan I began to formulate as I waited for the readings to begin.

Sadly, I'm too nice to be a criminal.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Tales from the Sweety Bottle - The Rabbit


Click the above image to read. This is the fith of a six-part series of stories based on Brennan family anecdotes. The Sweety Bottle was a Lower Falls shebeen ran by my grandfather in the seventies. The Rabbit first appeared in the Andersonstown News on Saturday 24th January 2009.

Copyright ⓒ Gerard Brennan 2009

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Tales from the Sweety Bottle - The Mexican


Click the above image to read. This is the fourth of a six-part series of stories based on Brennan family anecdotes. The Sweety Bottle was a Lower Falls shebeen ran by my grandfather in the seventies. The Mexican first appeared in the Andersonstown News on Monday 19th January 2009.

Copyright ⓒ Gerard Brennan 2009

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

A Wee Review - The Max by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr - Tag Team Style


Mike Stone. Thanks for passing along the copy of The Max Ken Bruen signed for me. He’s a real gent, isn’t he?

Gerard Brennan. Yeah, Mister Bruen’s a legend.

MS. I, um, noticed a crease or two on the spine. Like it had been read before it reached me…

GB. Um... ach, I can’t lie. It was me. Sorry, I couldn’t help it. The cover art seduced me.

MS. That’s understandable. I love the covers to the Hard Case Crime books too; they’re just so evocative of a bygone era. Pulp became unfashionable for a while, a word synonymous with below-par quality, so kudos to Hard Case for turning that on its head and producing these gorgeous quality paperbacks. But the words, man, what did you think of the words?

GB. Aye, right. The words are the important thing, aren’t they? Well, I’ll tell you this. A couple of weeks before I started up CSNI, I read Priest by Ken Bruen. I was knocked out, man. Such poetry in prose. I lost hours of sleep trying to cram more of it into my skull. Now, The Max is a little different in form, and I reckon that’s down to Jason Starr’s influence. But it’s not a bad influence at all. There’s a lot of recognisably Bruen stuff in there, so a fan won’t be disappointed, but whatever Starr brings to the mix really contributes rather that retracts. Seems to me like it’s a match made in crime fiction heaven. And now I’ve added Starr’s Cold Caller to the reading pile. You?

MS. Well, on the strength of The Max I’m putting the first two books by Bruen and Starr, Bust and Slide, on my shopping list. Nuff said.

GB. Yeah, they’re Brennan must-haves now as well. One of the greatest strengths of the book was the barmy cast. I mean, from Max to Angela to Sebastian, such a troop of ne’er-do-wells have rarely been crammed into such a slim tome. It’d be hard to choose, but did any emerge as a favourite for you?

MS. Ne’er-do-wells… Now there’s an understatement! Was there anybody who wasn’t completely amoral, delusional or just plain psychotic in this book? My favourite character, Max Fisher, the self-styled The M.A.X., epitomised all three. I laughed my head off several times at his antics. Such as when he is locked up in Attica with a huge black guy named Rufus who promises to have his white ass by nightfall. Max spends the first chapters imagining the horrors awaiting him but getting off on the attention. He’s so delusional, he’s priceless. Watching him rise through the prison hierarchy by a series of misunderstandings was a joy. And his treatment of the female author charged with writing his life story was pure gold.

GB. I know what you mean about The M.A.X. His ex-wife Angela, though. Man, she was one knockout ├╝ber-femme fatale. Those Greek islands just didn’t know what hit them. And that electricity/poison between her and shady Lee Child lookalike, Sebastian, tickled and then saddened me. I had a place in my heart for that crazy lady. She’d have scared the bejesus out of me, but if I’d met somebody like Angela before hooking up with my lovely wife, who knows what I’d be up to now? Probably rotting in a Mexican jail, actually. You know, I heard it on the grapevine that The Max is being studied in NYU as an example of post-modern angst. Why couldn’t we have studied books like this at school?

MS. They’re warping young minds with Hard Case Crime? Heh, what the hell is post-modern angst when its at home, anyway? Well, I hope the teachers don’t take it too seriously, because it’s a book the word ‘rollicking’ was invented for. Crude, bonkers, lusty, and black as treacle. I loved it. It gets five stars from me.

GB. And in the spirit of Irish hyperbole, I’ll give it a galaxy.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Michael Connelly at No Alibis!


No Alibis are very pleased (not to mention excited) to inform you that one of the world's leading crime fiction novelists will be visiting us later this year. Michael Connelly will be joining us to discuss his latest novel, THE SCARECROW, on the evening of Friday 15th May.

As you can imagine, we expect demand for tickets for this event to be immense, and that we're likely to require a venue much larger than the usual cosy atmosphere of No Alibis.

In order to gauge demand for this event, we would like to ask you to register your interest (don't worry, we know circumstances change, and May is a long way off, but we're just trying to get an idea of the numbers). Simply go to http://www.noalibis.com/ and enter your details using the form below the Michael Connelly entry, if you think you'd like to attend.

We will send out emails to interested parties, and update the website as we have further information, and when we decide on a venue closer to the date.

Roll on May 15th!

Michael Connelly was a journalist and crime reporter for several newspapers before writing his first novel in 1992. He is the author of more than 10 books, including those in the best-selling Harry Bosch series. His other books include The Lincoln Lawyer (Little, Brown, 2005), his first legal thriller, and the recently published Crime Beat: A Decade of Covering Cops and Killers (Little, Brown 2006). An original Harry Bosch novella began being serialized in The New York Times Magazine’s “Funny Pages” in August 2006, and the installments of the story continue through this November. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Edgar, the Anthony and the Macavity. Mr. Connelly lives in Florida.

About THE SCARECROW: Jack McEvoy is at the end of the line as a crime reporter. Forced to take a buy-out from the LA Times, he's got 30 days left on the job. His last assignment? Training his replacement, a low-cost reporter just out of J-school. But Jack has other plans for his exit. He is going to go out with a bang - a final story that will win the newspaper journalism's highest honor - a Pulitzer prize. Jack focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer from the projects who has confessed to police that he brutally raped and strangled one of his crack clients. Jack convinces Alonzo's mother to co-operate with his investigation into the possibility of her son's innocence. But Jack's real intention is to use his access to report and write a story that explains how societal dysfunction and neglect created a 16-year-old killer. But as Jack delves into the story he soon realises that Alonzo's so-called confession is bogus, and Jack is soon off and running on the biggest story he's had since The Poet crossed his path twelve years before. This time Jack is onto a killer who has worked completely below police and FBI radar. His investigation leads him into the digital world of data collocation services where server farms are watched over by techs who liken themselves to scarecrows - keeping the birds of prey off their clients' data. But Jack inadvertently set off a digital tripwire and the killer - the Scarecrow - now knows he's coming...


NO ALIBIS BOOKSTORE
83 BOTANIC AVENUE
BELFAST BT7 1JL
david@noalibis.com
ph. 02890-319601
fax. 02890319607

Tales from the Sweety Bottle - The Missus

Click the above image to read. This is the third of a six-part series of stories based on Brennan family anecdotes. The Sweety Bottle was a Lower Falls shebeen ran by my grandfather in the seventies. The Missus first appeared in the Andersonstown News on Saturday 17th January 2009.

Copyright ⓒ Gerard Brennan 2009

Monday, 19 January 2009

Millar Crime


Sam Millar has recently launched a new website running under the delightfully tongue-in-cheek title, It’s Millar Crime. Have a wee shuftie and read a little about his crime books, including his most recent Bloodstorm, and his memoir, On The Brinks.

And you’ll also find an article by Sam’s in issue 21 of Verbal Magazine. Check out pages 20 and 21 for his musings on the Brian Moore Award and some advice on trying to make it as a writer, including his ‘seven commandments of writing’:


1) Never ever show your manuscript to family and friends (they’ll always tell you what you want to hear).

2) Type each and every day – even when your fingers have fallen off (use toes).

3) All excuses are inexcusable.

4) Never handwrite a manuscript. It isn’t right.

5) Never tolerate writer’s block. It’s for blockheads.

6) Avoid vanity printing. You might love it, but no one else will.

7) Avoid self-publishing. The writing fraternity will despise you for taking the coward’s way out. Fight the good fight of self-belief and eventually you will win. We all had to do it, and have the bruises to show for it.

You can read the rest if you download the issue 21 PDF on the Verbal Magazine website. Just click the link on the left of the page et voila.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Piranhas Publicity

Ingenious marketing campaign or pure coincidence? You decide.



And in while your thoughts are on the subject, I'll mention once again that the first chapter of my novel PIRANHAS can be read over at Allan Guthrie's Noir Originals. It's quite good, and lacking an agent/publisher at this moment in time. So, you know, form an orderly queue and I'll hear each offer out in turn.

By the way, the schnapps tasted pretty decent. A bit sweet for my taste, but drinkable with a bucket of ice.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Tales from the Sweety Bottle - The Mouse


Click the above image to read. This is the second of a six-part series of stories based on Brennan family anecdotes. The Sweety Bottle was a Lower Falls shebeen ran by my grandfather in the seventies. The Mouse first appeared in the Andersonstown News on Monday 12th January 2009.

Copyright ⓒ Gerard Brennan 2009

200


This is the 200th CSNI post! And we’ve just hit 26,000 visits, according to statcounter. I feel like I should say something profound, but I’m not really up to it. I started my weekend a little early when a friend I haven’t seen in a long time requested my presence at the local. I’ve a sore head, but it was good to have an excuse to misbehave on a school night.

Anyway, I’ll just say thanks to all the cool cats who read this stuff, extra thanks to those who take the time to comment and extra-extra thanks to the excellent crime fiction writers who give me a reason to post the news, reviews and interviews. It’s been a lot of fun. Here’s to more!

I think I’m welling up a little.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Tales from the Sweety Bottle - The Badge


Click the above image to read. This is the first of a six-part series of stories based on Brennan family anecdotes. The Sweety Bottle was a Lower Falls shebeen ran by my grandfather in the seventies. The Badge first appeared in the Andersonstown News on Saturday 10th January 2009.

Copyright ⓒ Gerard Brennan 2009

Monday, 12 January 2009

An Interview - Paul Nagle


Paul Nagle was born in Dublin to a large close-knit family of nine boys and two girls. After dabbling in a number of entrepreneurial businesses in the eighties and early nineties, he settled in Johannesburg in 1995 and began a career in computer software. At the time South Africa was taking a giant leap towards democracy, leaving behind its apartheid past, and the initial idea for Ironic was born. Paul now divides his time between his homes in London and the Algarve.

Q1. What are you writing at the minute?

I am writing a screenplay adaptation of my novel Ironic.

Q2. Can you give us an idea of Paul Nagle’s typical up-to-the-armpits-in-ideas-and-time writing day?

I only write when I'm in the 'zone', which is usually when I get a bit of free time away from the bedlam of the kids bustling around the house.

I find my most productive time is between 9pm and 1am, so I'm a bit of a 'night owl'

Q3. What do you do when you’re not writing?

My day job is in property development in the Algarve, in Portugal.

Q4. Any advice for a greenhorn trying to break into the crime fiction scene?

Don't take no for an answer from publishers. Keep trying and believe in your work.

Q5. Which crime writers have impressed you this year?

Kate Summerscale

Q6. What are you reading right now?

I am reading two books at the moment.

The Trillion Dollar Meltdown by Charles Morris, to understand how we got into this 'credit crunch' mess and The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, for some good quality whodunnit entertainment.

Q7. Plans for the future?

I plan to do a sequel to Ironic at some stage in the next 18 months.

Q8. With regards to your writing career to date, would you do anything differently?

I would have started writing seriously much earlier. My priorities were in business and you can never take back time!

Q9. Do you fancy sharing your worst writing experience?

Yip, my first draft of Chapter One of Ironic was terrible.

I had to leave it alone for about six months and start the whole story over again.

Q10. Anything you want to say that I haven’t asked you about?

I would urge your readers to support their local bookshops as much as possible. In these difficult times they will suffer more than most.

Thank you, Paul Nagle!

Thursday, 8 January 2009

16 Facts Meme

J. Kingston Pierce from The Rap Sheet tagged me, and although I should be writing my Fifty Grand review, I figured I'd do this instead.

Basically, I'm going to list 16 random facts about little ol' me. Technically, I should tag another 16 people, but instead I'll throw it open to whoever wants to have a go. Either post 16 facts, or whatever amount you have time for, in the comments section, or do it on your own blog and come back here to post a link. Ach, come on. It'll be a a bit of craic.

1. I've never met an alcoholic drink I couldn't get along with.

2. I quit smoking (with my wife) the night we decided to have kids.

3. I got married in Cyprus in 2002. And I'm still married.

4. You can have my karaoke microphone when you pry it from my rubbery, drunken grip.

5. In the past ten years, I've spent £570 on tattoos.

6. When I was 12 I had 4 pet terrapins named Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo and Michael Angelo. My dad once put one in his mouth for a bet.

7. I almost got my wife to agree to naming our son Jack Daniel Brennan. When she caught on to my plan, I had to settle for Jack Gerard.

8. I can't dance. Not even a little.

9. I ran a Wing Tsun kung fu club for a year and a half.

10. Although me and my wife rarely allow our kids to eat food containing artificial colourings, preservatives or sweeteners, I'm addicted to Diet Coke.

11. I seriously considered robbing a bank when I was 20. Had an inside man lined up and everything. I chickened out when I sobered up.

12. I plan to kill the first boy that asks out my daughter, Mya. It'll send the right message out to all the other boys. And I reckon her uncles will help me find a spot to bury the wee fecker.

13. My parents own a tanning salon, and I'm paler than Casper the Friendly Ghost.

14. I played bass in a couple of heavy metal bands in my teens. We were quite good.

15. I want to learn how to play the bodhran.

16. When I was a baby, my mum had to bath me in the kitchen sink. There was no bathroom in our house. We made do with an outhouse. And my dad used to hang pheasant he'd shot there.

So, that's some stuff about me. What about you lot?

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Ken Bruen on Adrian McKinty's Fifty Grand

I thought I was well read in the Northern Irish crime fiction scene. Well, there's one guy who seems to have gotten to all the books on my immediate NI reading list first. He's blurbed Bleed A River Deep, The Twelve and now this; Adrian McKinty has released his latest Fifty Grand blurb at his blog. It's from none other than Ken Bruen, and it's quite good. Here's a wee bit of it.

“Adrian McKinty has been blowing us out of the mystery water for quite some time now. The Bloomsday Dead—superb, Dead I Well May Be, phew-oh, but he has totally taken over the whole field with Fifty Grand... [B]ut what I found most compulsive was the wondrous compassion of the book. It moved me in ways I never anticipated. This is going to be the BIG BOOK of 2009.”—Ken Bruen, author of The Guards

Did I say quite good? It's probably closer to glowing. To read the blurb in all its glory, pop on over to Adrian McKinty's blog. I'll have to read Mystery Man before Mister Bruen does or else hand the CSNI reins over.

Also, have a peek at the monstrous comment count that began as a short review of Fifty Grand at Detectives Beyond Borders.

If this ain't crime fiction...

Apologies for the poor image quality folks. Tried to convert the flier from PDF on photoshop. First time I've used it. No idea what I'm doing. The things you do when you should be writing. If you click on it, it's easier to read.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

A Wee Review - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere by John McFetridge


John McFetridge, a Canadian with a little Northern Irish blood in his family, has published two crime fiction novels set in Toronto, his home city, to date. He’s been favourably compared to Elmore Leonard, and freely admits that he’s delighted by that. You can find a number of his short stories on his website and if you give them a read, you’ll get a glimpse of his style. However, I don’t think they give you the full appreciation of his talent. For that, you’d need to splash out on one of his books. Why not start with Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere? It’s the second of his Toronto Series, and although there are some references to his debut, Dirty Sweet, McFetridge reckons they can be read in any order.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is a long title snaffled from a Neil Young song. But that’s not stealing. You can’t copyright a title. And in a brief dialogue exchange, McFetridge acknowledges the title’s source, so there couldn’t be any hard feelings, right? So we’ve acknowledged that the author isn’t a criminal, as far as we know. Not unlike the online Meta-Fiction he’s working on, the crime is fiction and the fiction ain’t a crime. He’s certainly got a criminal mind though.

In the fresh landscape of Toronto, McFetridge shows us a world of good cops, bad cops, organised criminal bikers, Vietnamese drug traffickers, illegal immigration and prostitution. Oh, and there’s the Mounties! Although the big cast and forever skipping POV makes it hard to identify a protagonist, the main thrust of the story centres on Sharon, a housebound, pot-dealing, single mother. Yeah, I think it’s fair to say it’s her story. Ray, the mystery man is drawn to her, the good cops, Bergeron and Armstrong know she’s the key to a case they’re working on. An ambitious and highly-ranked criminal biker, Richard, thinks he’s using her to increase his own grip on the drug trade. Yeah, man, there’s a lot going on. And that’s before we look at the smaller plot strands. All the while, McFetridge keeps in mind something very important; he intrigues and entertains, but he doesn’t confuse the reader.

And like I mentioned earlier, his style, though comparable to Leonard’s, is unique. Things like his dialogue idiosyncrasies and sparse prose are evident in his short work and give it all a McFetridge feel. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to download his free eBook and see what you think. It’s only the tip of the iceberg, though. As you read Flash, remember; McFetridge cranks his style up to eleven in the novel.

I got the impression that he knows Toronto’s streets like the back of his hand, even though he’s never guilty of info-dumping. And I’m guessing his background in film has a lot to do with the short scenes and interesting references to the industry.

So, if you’re an Elmore Leonard fan or enjoyed Declan Burke’s The Big O, you should try Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. You’ll get to know about a million characters, each one fully formed and memorable and you’ll find little scenes and ideas that’ll stick with you for good. I seriously doubt McFetridge will disappoint you. In fact, you’ll thank me for the recommendation. It’d be rude not to.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Back to Porridge


I'm officially off the gravy train. The dayjob called me back today, and I dove into those spreadsheets and financial reports with hyper-enthusiasm.

Sort of.

Actually, I spent most of the day wishing I was home with Michelle and the kids, but I guess that's just the sign of a terrific break. I think my batteries are suitably recharged and I hope to get up to some serious writing this month. And the blogging should return to normal pace as well. To warm you lot up, here's a number of snippets.

The competition Mike Stone (pictured above) conceived was drawn today. Since it was first announced over at Book Smugglers, they got the scoop. Mike and the lucky winner also had a little to say. For my part, thanks to all who entered via CSNI and my live journal account. You were all in, but you didn't win. Maybe next time, eh?

I figure it's my civic duty to alert you that Colin Bateman has updated his blog! Yup, a mere five months since he posted the opening chapters of Mystery Man, he's got some information on what he's up to this year. Well, I say some, but it's more like a boatload. Plenty to look forward to there.

And finally, a John McFetridge interview has been featured on Allan Guthrie's Noir Originals. Wasn't so long ago I interviewed Adrian McKinty for that very venue. Oh, and have you read the opening chapter of Piranhas yet? Why not?

In relation to McF and McK, I read Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Fifty Grand in the last couple of weeks. Hell, yeah! More on that to follow.