Friday, May 27, 2005

Thank You Again, Booklist!

The American Library Association Publication Booklist has been quite kind to "The Devils' Right Hand". Now it seems they've listed it among the best debuts of 2005. What can I say after I say "Whoo-hoo!" and "Thanks!"

Always Wondered What It's Like to Live with a Writer?

Site of the Day (And thanks to Neil Gaiman's Journal for pointing me to it).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Oh, Joy

The Package arrived today via Fed Ex...the manuscript of Good Day in Hell with the copyeditor's "queries and suggestions". It's a necessary part of the process and it's exciting to know that the new book is one step closer to publication. And by and large the CE's at St. Martin's have been good to work with,even if the last feller had hisself a lil' problem with mah Suthrun di'lect.

Still. This is not my idea of a grand old time. So much for the weekend....

Who! Said! That!

Latest Newspaper Column

Damn It

The title of the entry says it all. We ought to know better than this.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Ken Bruen-The Magdalen Martyrs & Her Last Call to Louis MacNeice

Martial arts film star Bruce Lee used to demonstrate what he called the "Three Inch Punch." He'd hold his fist a mere three inches away from his target, yet when he struck from that absurdly short range, he put so much power behind the strike that he could propel a man across the room and shatter his ribs in the process.

Ken Bruen's books are like that: short, yet powerful and brutally effective. The Magdalen Martyrs is the third in Bruen's series of novels about Irish Private Eye Jack Taylor. In The Guards, the series' first book, Taylor stumbled into the PI biz after being dismissed from the Garda, Ireland's police force, for drunkeness. As you may imagine, this took some doing. In the second Taylor adventure, The Killing of the Tinkers, Taylor's bad luck and his own flaws nearly did him in. Now, down on his luck after the fiasco of his last case, he's given an assignment by Bill Cassell, a truly terrifying Galway gangster: find the woman who saved Cassell's mother from Ireland's notorious Magdalen Asylums. It's an offer Taylor literally can't refuse. And of course, this being classic noir, nothing is as it seems.

A lot of fictional PI's hit the bottle, and hit it hard. The difference is that Bruen is unsparing in his description of exactly what that would mean in real life. Taylor's (usually losing) battles with alcohol and drug addiction as he tries to solve the mystery dropped in his lap are rendered in a voice that paradoxically manages to be both merciless in its descriptive power and compassionate in its characterization. And it's all told in Bruen's distinctive prose: taut and spare, but woven with darkly humorous Irish poetry.

Her Last Call to Louis MacNeice
is an even shorter work, but there's a lot of story packed into those 120-odd pages. Cooper, an English ex-con, successful repo man, and sometime bank robber, hooks up with Cassie, an American shoplifter who is obsessed with the poetry of Irish writer Louis MacNeice. Cassie is beautiful, captivating, and barking mad. She's a big ball of chaos rolling through the landscape of urban London, and she keeps popping up in Cooper's carefully ordered criminal life at random intervals...or are they so random after all?

The Magdalen Martyrs
and Her Last Call to Louis MacNeice are dark and gritty, classic examples of the best of crime fiction from across the Atlantic. One warning, though: as Brad Pitt told Harrison Ford in the movie The Devil's Own: "It's not an American story. It's an Irish one. Don't look for a happy ending."

I Never Meant to Have a Blog...

I mean, God knows, I waste enough time on the Internets. But when trying to post a comment to someone else's blog, I thought I had to sign up for an account. And before long people who read my comments were asking why my blog URL led "nowhere." Whaaa? I said with my usual rapier-like wit. I clicked on my name, and whoa...I have a blog....

I don't know how often or if I'm even going to keep posting here, but...welcome. Go over to the bar, fix yourself a drink and bring me one while you're up.