“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “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. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Future Is Orange-Ish


It’s about six or seven years ago now that my brother Gavin and I went to the Greek islands. The idea was to travel around the Cyclades, as most people tend to do, but we spent most of the month, May into June, on Ios.
  That might seem a bit of a waste, especially as all the guide books tell you that there’s little to be seen on Ios by way of history or culture. But I had a laptop with me, and I was working on a novel set in the Greek islands, and we got into a nice little rhythm of getting up early, working for a few hours, spending a few more hours exploring parts of the island (there’s plenty to see, the highlights being (one of) Homer’s tombs, and a beautiful Venetian castle at Paleokastro), sleeping into the early evening, and then heading for the Orange Bar.
  It’s a very nice place, the Orange Bar. Low-key, friendly, terrific music … there was very little not to like. The place was run by Wendy, a bonny Scottish lass, and Panos, a music nut Greek (right, and righter), and lovely they were too, and very probably still are. Gavin and I hoisted ourselves onto a pair of stools every evening and drank beer and shots (every third shot came free, courtesy of Wendy, who was testing out some recipes) and talked writing and books and movies and music and women and life, the universe and everything. And every night we requested ‘The Boys of Summer’, and every night Panos played it. A damn fine time, all told. Wendy, incidentally, and if she wasn’t lovely enough already, was named for the heroine of PETER PAN.
  The novel I was writing while on Ios finally got written, although it grew into a sprawling monster of 150,000 words or so, and will remain locked in a deep, dank drawer until it learns to behave itself. Meanwhile, I wrote THE BIG O, and its sequel, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS, in which most of the characters from THE BIG O wind up on Ios. A fictionalised version of the Orange Bar, called ‘The Blue Orange’, serves as a nerve centre for various nefarious deeds; indeed, I wrote the story under the working title of THE BLUE ORANGE. Naturally, no one even remotely akin to Wendy, Panos or any of their clientele makes an appearance in the novel.
  I’d like to have a copy or two to send to Wendy and Panos, but – as all three regular readers will be aware – CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is only available in e-format. Still, the good news there is that the Kindle version is now available for those of you with various iYokes: the app comes free, and can be downloaded here. When I mentioned this last week, CRIME ALWAYS PAYS jumped about 20,000 places on the Kindle charts, from 40,000+ to 20,000+, and even sneaked in to 13,573 at one stage. Since then it’s hovered around the mid-20,000 mark, which may well be rubbish by any accepted standard of book-selling, but I don’t know, I’m getting a buzz from it.
  Glenn Harper of International Noir was kind enough to post a review of CRIME ALWAYS PAYS this week, with the thrust of his piece running thusly:
“CRIME ALWAYS PAYS is part road movie and part farce, reminding me sometimes of Elmore Leonard, sometimes of Allan Guthrie (particularly SAVAGE NIGHT), sometimes of Donald Westlake (particularly the Dortmunder books), and sometimes of the Coen brothers (particularly Blood Simple) – sometimes all at once.”
  Thank you kindly, Mr Harper.
  So: if enough people buy CRIME ALWAYS PAYS on Kindle, someone somewhere might even publish it as an actual book, and I’ll be able to send Wendy and Panos a copy. Hell, I might even be able to return to Ios and hand it to them in person, and get one last blast of ‘The Boys of Summer’. Roll it there, Collette …

8 comments:

John McFetridge said...

"I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac...."

Good luck, it's a terrific book an should be published.

Declan Burke said...

I thank you kindly, sir.

I don't know why, but that 'Boys of Summer' is weirdly evocative for me. I'm not even a Don Henley fan, if there be such a thing.

Cheers, Dec

bookwitch said...

Buzz on. You deserve it.

seana said...

As you mentioned, but I haven't heard a whole lot about elsewhere, you can download the Kindle to your home computer for free, and get Crime Always Pays at an extremely reasonable, not to say ridiculous price. I have just done so, despite the fact that it's basically crossing over into enemy territory for me, and look forward to reading Crime Always Pays on my brand new computer. I just checked page one to see that it's all downloaded properly, and felt happy to run across Rossi right away. Not sure what kind of sick individual that makes me, though.

Still rather read it in book form, but a fan's gotta do what a fan's gotta do.

Declan Burke said...

I do believe Ms Witch read CRIME ALWAYS PAYS back when it was still good ol' THE BLUE ORANGE ...

Much obliged, Seana. Not sure how I'd feel about reading a novel on computer, though ... Do let me know how it treats you.

Cheers, Dec

Deadly Letters GTA said...

You have piqued my interest. Sounds like the kind of series and tone that I'd enjoy. Good luck.

seana said...

Due to one thing and another, I've now read four or five books on the computer, though never on a Kindle, though it doesn't seem that different. Shouldn't pose a problem, but I'll warn you in advance that it will take longer, as I don't carry my computer around with me like I would a book.

bookwitch said...

The blue fruit was read from print out done on someone's office printer (ie free), and the reason I'm taking an age over The Big Empty is precisely what Seana is saying; it's not as relaxing to sit down cuddling the laptop, however much I love it. And your writing.