“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.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It’s Not Quite Dead Yet

I don’t know about you, but I like good books. I’m not too demanding: a gripping story, fascinating characters and an inventive use of language are generally enough to make me happy. Like, say, Adrian McKinty’s debut, DEAD I WELL MAY BE, which at the time I read it seemed not entirely unlike a Bourne novel rewritten by Cormac McCarthy.
  The folks at National Public Radio seem to like it too, given that the novel has been chosen as one of its ‘Killer Thrillers’ - “the 100 most pulse-quickening, suspenseful novels ever written”, according to the NPR.
  Marvellous news for McKinty, and for Tana French and Ken Bruen, both of whom are also flying the Irish flag. Or so you’d think. Quoth McKinty over at his interweb lair:
“Somehow DEAD I MAY WELL BE has been long listed as one of National Public Radio’s ‘Killer Thrillers’. I say somehow because unlike every other book on the list DEAD I WELL MAY BE isn’t even in print anymore.”
  Now, between you and me, the fact that DEAD I WELL MAY BE went out of print isn’t just a disgrace, it’s something of a metaphor for how rotten is the state of Denmark, if we can in turn accept ‘Denmark’ as a metaphor for ‘the publishing industry’. In fact, so disgraceful is it that I can’t muster the requisite anger and indignation - it’s kind of bone-crushingly depressing, to be honest. I can rant and rave about the fact that I can’t get published, and people are perfectly entitled to say, ‘Listen, mate, you’re actually not very good - get over yourself.’ They can’t say that to McKinty, because the man is a brilliant writer, and has the critical kudos and awards to back him up.
  What to do? Well, you can vote for DIWMB over at the NPR site here - the poll closes on August 2nd. And once you’ve done that, you can hoppity-skip-jump over here, because it appears the good folk who decide such things are reprinting DEAD I WELL MAY BE. And not a moment too soon, even if it is (or appears to be) a POD edition.
  God bless your cotton socks, NPR.

3 comments:

Photographe à Dublin said...

This is totally off-topic, but visitors to your blog may be interested in the

Boards.ie Photo-Shoot

that is planned for today (Friday, 23rd July) and tomorrow (Saturday, 24th).

Irish photographers are increasingly popular on the world circuit, notably for moody landscapes and wildlife images.
Also, many make fine work for book cover art.
This could be an opportunity to make and see some cutting edge images that express the culture of the day.

John McFetridge said...

It may be out of print, but today I was able to buy DEAD I WELL MAY BE from Kobo (the e-book division of the Indigo book chain in Canada).

seana said...

My understanding is that it's just out of print in the U.S. I've got a perfectly nice British copy that has come out since from Serpent's Tail. The problem is that though you can get some Serpent's Tail crime novels here, it looks like Scribner owns the U.S. rights, which puts it in a log jam. Yes, individually, you could order it from abroad, but that's quite a different proposition from being able to just go down and order it at your local bookstore.

Scribner is currently saying that they will have it available on the 26th through Ingram. However, that's a $19.99 cover price on a paperback and it's not clear what sort of paperback it will be. It's also offered at a short discount, which won't be very attractive to most stores. I'll be very curious to see whether this book actually becomes available on the 26th or not. In any case, it sounds like it will be in print pretty much in name only. It's not what you'd expect to see on a book that has been chosen for a national long list of best thrillers, though of course it does happen.