Sunday 29 June 2014

Flash Fiction from Dana King


Eldrick’s had a nice crowd for Tuesday night. About half full of the usual clientele, people with more money than was good for them, looking for peers to indulge what would be called perversion if practiced by a lower socioeconomic caste.
The sound system calibrated so you could hear everything your target said and still be able to plead ignorance if necessary. She came in halfway through The Eurhythmics’ “Sweet Dreams.” A redhead now, wearing an electric blue sheath. I almost didn’t recognize her, just the sensation of seeing a person who reminded me of someone else until I glimpsed her aquamarine eyes. No one who saw those eyes ever forgot them.
She sat at a table big enough for two drinks and a small bowl of nuts, had Eldrick’s been that kind of place. I waited until her drink arrived and sat down without being invited.
Hello, Lily.”
She looked at me without recognition for a couple of beats, then blushed to the roots of what used to be blond hair. “Nick Forte? Oh my God! What are you doing here?”
Working,” I said. “I hope you aren’t.”
Her eyes flickered to the table, then back. “I don’t do that anymore. Not since…my mother…you know.”
I’m glad. Really. Look, I won’t stay. Don’t want to limit your availability. I’m sorry. That didn’t come out right. You know what I mean. Like I said, I’m working. A cheating husband job. Lots of pre-nup money at stake. It really is good to see you. You look great.”
Can you stay a minute?” It popped out like she’d been holding it back.
Sure, if you want. I can watch for this guy just as well from here. I’ll get my drink.”
I’m in trouble.”
I left the drink. I didn’t owe Lily O’Donoghue a thing; I’d always owe her mother. “What kind of trouble?”
That money you gave me—”
Your mother gave you. I just delivered it.”
Okay, my mother gave me. I didn’t waste it. I got a Masters at DePaul and used the rest to buy into a psychology practice. We’re doing very well.”
I knew you would.”
She went on like I hadn’t spoken. “Someone recognized me. From before. Said he’d ruin me if I didn’t pay him.”
Does that kind of leverage work on a shrink?”
Not usually. A lot of psychologists have pasts they’d rather not talk about. It’s why we get into the field. The videos he has are the kinds of things you can’t live down. I’d have to leave the practice, leave Chicago. I worked hard for this, Nick. I don’t want to give it up. But I know it won’t stop with just once. He’ll be back for more and more and more. The money I have is tied up in the practice. He can ruin me.”
What was the plan before I showed up?”
She blushed. “Work out a deal for less money…”
I raised a hand. “I’ll do what I can. Point him out to me when he comes. Give him what you have, tell him you need more time, and make sure he leaves without you. Wait ten minutes, then go straight home. Now act like you’re shooting me down, in case he’s watching.”
He must have been, moved in before my seat had a chance to cool. Almost handsome, early forties, in good shape, nice suit. They talked for five minutes. She laid an envelope on the table. He opened it and counted the money—amateur, counting it in public—then took her wrist in his hand so I knew it had to hurt even though I couldn’t hear. I stayed put. He wouldn’t do anything dangerous in public, and she’d only scare so much, knowing I was around.
He stood and I left before he had a chance to notice me, waited outside by the valet station. He led me to an unlighted house in Elmhurst, pulled into an attached garage while I killed the headlights and drifted to a stop in front. A light came on inside. I took what I needed from my car and rang the bell.
He answered the door with a look between confused and irritated. I opened the switchblade from my car’s console and sliced his tie off right below the knot. His mouth fell open and I stuffed the tie in it.
I want the money you picked up in Eldrick’s and all the videos.”
He made a sound. Could have been, “What videos?” Hard to tell with the tie in his mouth.
I stuck a leg behind his knee and took him down hard. Pried his jaws apart and started feeding the tie down his throat. “I want everything,” I said. “Slap the floor when you’re ready. Don’t wait too long. You pass out and I’ll leave you for the coroner.” He gave the sign before I could start again.
I pulled out the tie. “The money first.”
On the island. In the kitchen.” I nodded that way and he led me to it.
Now the movies,” I said.
We went into a den near the front door. He handed me a jewel box with a disc in it. “That’s the only copy.”
I nodded toward his computer. “There’s a file in there, though. Isn’t there?” He didn’t say, but he might as well have.
Neither of us spoke while the laptop booted. When it finished he moved for the chair.
I got it,” I said. Brought up a command prompt, typed “format c:” and hit Enter.
Jesus Christ, that’s my business computer. You’ll ruin me. Who are you?”
I’m the guy who’s coming back here if she ever even sees you crossing the street again. We good on that?”
I mailed the money to Lily. Broke the disc before curiosity got the better of me.

Enjoy it? Check out Dana's novels, then!

Thursday 26 June 2014

Soldier, Soldier - A Dana King Guest Post

Detective Nick Forte, the hero of ASmall Sacrifice, has military experience in his background. Not a lot is made of it, but there are elements that help to shape his character between the lines, especially in later books. It stems from my at least partial adherence to the hoary adage, to “write what you know.”

I don’t say much about my time in the United States Army, mainly because I was in a band stationed at Fort McPherson, Georgia. Basically, Atlanta. We performed post ceremonies, did gigs in and around Atlanta, and traveled a few times a year for up to three weeks. Our most hazardous “mission” was to fly in the cargo hold of a C-130 to the Virgin Islands for a Veterans Day concert.

I was a “soldier” in only the broadest definition of the term. Real soldiers have jobs that place them at risk as a matter of course. I did get to spend some time around real soldiers—my drill sergeants were all Vietnam veterans, most of them from the same Air Cavalry outfit depicted in Apocalypse Now, which came out right before I left for basic—and I had the presence of mind to appreciate a chance like this would not pass my way again. I paid attention, asked questions when opportunity presented.

When I first came up with the idea of Nick Forte, I wanted to leverage as much of my experience as I could. We’re both “recovering” musicians with minor military backgrounds. His takeaway from the service—as was mine—is not of the flag-waving, “making the world safe for the American Way of Life ™, American Exceptionalism means we can do what we want” attitude so often portrayed in books, movies, and politics today, but the attitudes of the common soldier. He fights for the men on either side of him, trusting them to fight for him. He keeps his weapon clean and his mind clear under incredible stress, for his mates as much as himself. He may not have a lot of friends, but those he has he trusts with his life, and will exchange his for theirs if called upon. He also will place the task at hand—his mission—above his personal safety. He doesn’t advertise this—beware the man who wears any conviction too much on his sleeve—shows it through his actions. It’s far more deeply embedded in Forte’s psyche than in mine, if only because I routinely place him into at least one life-or-death situation per book.

My small experience with actual boots-in-the-mud soldiers piqued my interest and led me to books and movies that looked at things more from that perspective. Band of Brothers, Generation Kill (both the books and the TV series), Saving Private Ryan, and many non-fiction choices. A downside is, I can’t watch The Longest Day anymore without cringing; soldiers don’t make speeches like that.

The upside is, I hope this has given me an appreciation, if not an understanding, for the mind-set of a combat soldier. (Though I hate the idea of “You have no idea what’s it like unless you’ve done it” in general, I feel safe in saying no one who has not been in combat can truly “understand” what it’s like.) I know it’s helped to make Nick Forte a richer character in my imagination; only readers can decide if I have been able to transfer that to the page.

Short additional note from Gerard - A Small Sacrifice and 3 other Dana King books can be nabbed for free for the next few days. Be quick. Get yours now!

Wednesday 25 June 2014

Hail to the King, Baby

So, it looks as if THE POINT has come to the end of its run as a perma-free book on Kindle. Does that make it semi-perma-free? Who knows?

If you're into answering rhetorical questions, feel free to leave a comment.

Anyway, right now, THE POINT is selling for the princely sum of 29p on Kindle in the UK. In the US it's 49 cents. I know. Them Blasted Heath lads must be having a laugh. Who's going to throw that kind of cash away?

But the good news is (and it's especially good if you only read free books on your Kindle), Dana King's books are now free on Kindle, even the latest, Grind Joint, which I really enjoyed.

"GRIND JOINT by Dana King. The spirit of THE WIRE reincarnated with JUSTIFIED charm. Gangster-rich US crime fiction at its best." I said that on Twitter, like.

So, you know what to do. Save your 29p and get all those lovely free books. Just promise me one thing. Pass the word on, maybe review one of the books, and add Dana to your 'recommend to friends' list, if you enjoy his work. Okay, so that's three things, but it's hard out there for a pimp. I reckon it's even harder for a writer.



Tuesday 17 June 2014

New Novel - Coming Soon*

*Don't ask me how soon, exactly... I'm not sure yet. But check out the cover!

Blurb to follow soon enough. Just know that it's the first of a new series that will be published by Blasted Heath. I'm excited about this project and not at all daunted by all those words that have to be written to back up the claim that Cormac Kelly is my new series character.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Conference on the Territorialisation of Crime fiction, Queen’s University, Belfast

International Conference on the Territorialisation of Crime fiction
Queen’s University, Belfast, 13-14th June 2014

The global and the local in contemporary world crime fiction
Circulation and exchanges

Friday 13th June 2014
9:00-9:30 Old Staff Common Room, Lanyon Building, Welcome address from Professor Margaret Topping, School of Modern Languages, Introduction

9:30-11:00 Maps and Regions in Crime fiction
Eva Erdmann (Munich) “Topographical fiction in relation.
International Crime Scenes in Literature and their cartographic Representation”
Christoph Baumann (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg) Geographies of crime – Regionalization in German crime series “

11:00-11: 30 COFFEE

11: 30-13:00 The Politics of Place
Benoît Tadié (Rennes University) “All Roads Lead to Hollywood... And the Pause That Refreshes:
-routing and Territorializing Hardboiled/Noir fiction in Los Angeles (1930-1950)”
Andrew Pepper ( QUB) Sovereign Power in an era of Neoliberalism:
State Coercion and Parapolitics in David Peace and Eoin McNamee

13:00-14:00 LUNCH, QFT Foyer, 20 University Square

14:00-15:30 Old Staff Common Room Patrimonialisation and Globalisation of the local
Kerstin Bergmann, (University of Lund) Europeanization and Regionalism in 21st Century Swedish Crime Fiction?
Gabrielle Saumon (University of Limoges) “From crime fiction to the making of a touristic place.
Ystad, Stockholm: two investigations
15:30-15:45 COFFEE

15:45-17:30 Ireland of Crime
Samantha Weyer-Brown (University Paris 3) Landscape, territories and 'ghost estates' in Tana French, Broken Harbour”.
Fiona McCann (University Lille 3) “Authority, Permeability and the State of the State in
Eoin McNamee’s
Blue trilogy and The Ultras”
Garrett Carr (QUB) “The Map of Connections, illustrated talk”
19:00 No Alibis Bookstore, Botanic Avenue, Reading and questions with invited authors Eoin McNamee and Brian McGilloway
21:00 CONFERENCE DINNER Mourne Seafood, 34- 36 Bank Street, Belfast, BT1 1HL

Saturday 14th June 2014
9:30-11:15 Seminar Room, 21 University Square From Close Reading to Data Visualisation: varying Focalisation in Approaches to Crime Regionalization
Dominique Jeannerod (QUB) “Northern Scenery and Mise-en scène of the Genre in French Crime Fiction”
Jean-Philippe Gury (Université de Bretagne Occidentale) Blue Guide of Crime: Welcome to Brittany!
Natacha Levet (University of Limoges) “Building a database for Mapping Regional Crime Fiction in France”

11:15-11:30 COFFEE

11:30-13:00 Negotiating the American Model domestically and globally
Barbara Pezzotti (Wellington) Giorgio Scerbanenco's Milan and the Domestication of the American Hard-Boiled Novel
Andrea Hynynen, (University of Turku) “A Feminism too foreign for France? – necessary change of Territory
in the case of Maud Tabachnik’s Feminist Crime Fiction”

13:00-14:00 LUNCH, QFT Foyer, 20 University Square

14:00-15:45 Seminar Room, 21 University Square Localisation and Globalisation
Kate Quinn (University of Galway) “Beyond Chilenidad.
Transatlantic crossings and local inflection in Chilean Crime Fiction”
David Schmid (University of Bufffalo) City, State, and Globe in the Crime Novels of Paco Ignacio Taibo II
David Platten (Leeds) Crossing Bridges: Crime Stories as International Currency”

Wednesday 4 June 2014

No Alibis Event - Paul Charles

An Evening With Paul Charles-The Lonesome Heart Is Angry
Friday 6th June at 6:30PM

No Alibis Bookstore is pleased to invite you to celebrate the launch of Paul Charles' latest novel, THE LONESOME HEART IS ANGRY, on Friday 6th June at 6:30PM. This is a free event.
What seems like a routine job for the matchmaker, Michael Gilmour, in a 1960s small Northern Irish town becomes something very much more when events take an unexpected turn. The brothers Kane have an idea for their matches that will set tongues wagging, light the fires of jealousy in more than one heart, and open the door to tragedy.
The Lonesome Heart is Angry explores life in a small town and the darker side of the human condition. It doesn't shy away from the gossip, the fear, the violence and desperation that can build up inside people and behind closed doors.
Set in Castlemartin, home of the Playboys who featured in Paul Charles' The Last Dance, The Lonesome Heart is Angry is a gripping novel that will keep you reading until the last page.
Paul Charles is a noted author of crime and music books. He works as a music agent and is based in London. New Island published his previous Castlemartin novel, The Last Dance, in 2012.
Book your spot now by emailing David, or calling the shop on 9031 9607.