“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.

Monday, July 28, 2008

“The Only Salvation That’s Mine For The Asking …”

Following on from the flummery of song lyrics as potential crime novels, as originally suggested by KT McCaffrey some weeks back, we herewith present St. John the Gambler by Townes van Zandt (right, holding his guitar – and there’s no other way of putting this – like a tommy-gun). Would it make for a great crime novel? Erm, no, given that no actual laws appear to be broken, although those “dead men laying deep ’round the door” might warrant some investigation. Still, crime fic or otherwise, it’d make a terrific read. We’re thinking CITIES OF THE PLAIN meets WUTHERING HEIGHTS by way of David Goodis and Gil Brewer. Any takers for a collaboration?
St. John the Gambler by Townes van Zandt

When she had twenty years she turned to her mother
Saying Mother, I know that you’ll grieve
But I’ve given my soul to St John the gambler
Tomorrow comes time leave
For the hills cannot hold back my sorrow forever
And dead men lay deep ’round the door
The only salvation that’s mine for the asking
So mother, think on me no more

Winter held high round the mountain’s breast
And the cold of a thousand snows
Lay heaped upon the forest’s leaf
But she dressed in calico
For a gambler likes his women fancy
Fancy she would be
And the fire of her longing would keep away the cold
And her dress was a sight to see

But the road was long beneath her feet
As she followed her frozen breath
In search of a certain St John the gambler
Stumbling to her death
She heard his laughter right down from the mountains
And danced with her mother’s tears
To a funeral drawn a calico
’neath the cross of twenty years

To a funeral drawn a calico
’neath the cross of twenty years.