“CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is excellent, even better than THE BIG O. It has a great plot, cool characters, and there isn’t a single word wasted. This is really fine writing, masterful to the point where if I’d received the MS anonymously, I’d have assumed it came from one of the big bestsellers like Connelly, Crais, Rankin, or Child.”For the rest, clickety-click here ...
CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, for those of you who aren’t this blog’s three regular readers, is the sequel to THE BIG O, in which most of the characters from THE BIG O take off on a variety of trans-Europe road-trips, fetching up in the Greek islands for fun, frolics and the occasional Bellini. Join Karen, Ray, Madge, Doyle, Rossi, Sleeps, Frank, Melody and Sleeps for another screwball noir romp in which the money is just a McGuffin with extra cheese! Or, don’t!! You – yes, YOU! – decide.
Rafe was also kind enough to descend into a mild form of existential angst over the fact that CRIME ALWAYS PAYS – as all three regular readers will be aware – was dropped by its intended publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I should say at this point that the decision wasn’t as simple as the book not being good enough to publish – it was all a bit complicated, actually – although my brand of existential angst, when I first heard the news, was fairly raw.
But at this point, I’m pretty much okay with it. That’s partly because I’ve spent the last few days formatting the story for Kindle, which is also a good opportunity to give the story one last proof-edit, and I’m as happy as I’m likely to get that the story stands up. It’s not perfect by any means, and at this stage – which is probably the 14th or 15th time I’ve read it through – I’m wondering why anyone else would want to read it.
On the basis that some people might want to read it, however, I’ve been every bit as diligent on the Kindle proof-edit as if it was for a conventional publishing. No reason I shouldn’t be, of course: when it comes down it, for yours truly, the story is sacred and everything else is just detail. Apart from the fact that most people don’t have access to Kindle – a rather relevant factor, it has to be said – the format is virtually irrelevant. It matters not a whit whether the book is published electronically, on paper between cardboard, uploaded to the web, or scratched onto papyrus. As with the sob story about the book being dropped by its publisher initially, nothing bar what people think of the story itself will have any lasting value.
I’m hopeful that the Kindle publishing will lead to a more conventional publishing, not because, as Rafe suggests, there’s more money to be made that way – the writer’s royalties aren’t that different when you publish to Kindle – but because more people are likely read it, in 2009, as an ordinary book. But if that doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen, and I’ll be as proud of CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, as a story, as if it had appeared as a conventional book.
Meanwhile, and speaking of proper books, here’s a review by Garbhan Downey of Adrian McKinty’s FIFTY GRAND that’s worth checking out; and Ali Karim casts an eye over John Connolly’s THE LOVERS.