“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ghosts In The Machine

So there we were, all ready to give Colin Bateman’s (right) – oops, sorry, Bateman’s – latest the big-up hup-ya, when news arrived via a distinctly dishevelled carrier pigeon that the opus will not, after all, be called GHOST TOWN. Boo. Quoth Master Bateman:
“Those many, many hundreds of thousands of you feverishly waiting for the next novel, GHOST TOWN, may tear up your cheques and cancel your Amazon orders. Fear not though – it’s only a change of title. All the way through writing it I called it ORPHEUS RISING and it was only on delivery that my publishers thought that was a bit unwieldy and we came up with GHOST TOWN instead. So ever since that’s what it has been – I actually have the cover for the book in the house (will that be worth something on Ebay? £5? Maybe £10) – but now for reasons which are a bit complicated, and at a very late stage, at least in publishing terms, we’re back to ORPHEUS RISING. Actually – and this has nothing to do with the title change, because it would actually have been quite helpful – the new film from Ricky Gervais, his first leading role, is also called GHOST TOWN, also set in America, and has quite a similar plot. I was looking forward to the confusion this would have caused, because he is an international superstar and comedy genius, and I still play five-a-side.”
And modest too, eh? ORPHEUS RISING (GHOST TOWN cover slightly modified by the elves after a hard night on the Elf-Wonking Juice™, right) enters the stratosphere on March 6, with the hard-pressed elves blurbing thusly:
Michael met Claire when she was dragging Paul de Luca, detective novel writer and owner of a porn shop, out of the sea after he’d lost his feet in a shark attack. Claire was living with local hard man Tommy, a Gulf War vet, at the time and Tommy was not impressed with Michael’s interest in his girl. When Tommy leaves town to be a roadie for a band playing a six-week stint on a cruise ship, Michael falls in love with Claire, they marry and he writes his novel. But then Claire is killed in the bank raid. Ten years later Michael returns to the scene of the crime to exorcise the ghosts of the past and try to write his second novel. But he discovers the grim truth behind his wife’s murder and encounters the strangest of small-town behaviour ...
The subtitle? ‘Love, Rockets and a Bloody Great Fish’. All together now: “We’re gonna need a bigger bookshelf …”

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