Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Declan Burke's Plan...

Take a look at what Declan Burke (none but the loosest of relations to Declan Hughes) is doing in terms of putting out his next book. I'm almost positive that the numbers are somehow wrong. I just can't tell how. No difference. I'm not making an accusation of any kind except perhaps mathematical difficulties. And those difficulties might well be mine. Still.
The idea seems intriguing.

I'm down for buying two copies of his latest. When I get them, one will be given away. Just need another 350 people or so to chime in...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

They Like Me! They Really, Really Like Me!

Until very recently, Publisher's Weekly has had little use for me as a writer*. This though the now defunct Kirkus Reviews gave me starred reviews back in the days when they hated everyone and took pleasure in making authors sad. But I'm pretty sure PW actually called one of my books useless (or pointless, something like that - not much to do with spinning that I'm afraid). But then they called my short story in Uncage Me! "moving" and now they've called my latest effort - BLACKOUT IN PRECINCT PUERTO RICO (coming in April to a bookstore near you... assuming that bookstore has a desire to carry books that have little chance of shifting off the shelves) - "searing." Searing... imagine. From "pointless" to "Searing."

Now, of course, they might have meant it in a bad way. After all, searing is good for steaks, but, for instance, not for human flesh. But I'm almost positive that they meant it in a good way. The context follows: "A heinous crime that rocks the small Puerto Rican town of Angustias scars far more than victim and perpetrator in Torres's searing fifth Precinct Puerto Rico novel..." That makes "searing" sound good, right?

Then there's the last line which I think is the reviewer's way of taking a little of that praise back*:

"Fans of downbeat slice-of-life mysteries will be most rewarded."

Now I have no desire to argue with the assessment. I think it's probably true. The story is almost a Greek tragedy. Tragedy certainly, but Puerto Rican.

Still, it does read a little like a backhanded compliment, no? After all, "fans of downbeat slice-of-life mysteries" can't include that many people, can it? Sounds like the book is being put into the slimmest of pigeonholes. Ah well. This is a step up anyway. True, it's up from being pointless, but a step never-the-less.

There. Now I've seen the dark cloud behind the silver lining...

* Not to suggest they had a use for me in any other capacity.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Russel McLean Show...

I've praised Russel McLean's novel The Good Son, a nice bit of noir, but since it was originally published in the UK, I haven't expected to see any reviews of it here in the States. Now, of course, St. Martin's Press - my publisher - has picked up Russel's book and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine has seen fit to review it. The review glows. Here's a nice line for Russel to tuck away: "McLean's prose is marvelous..." Or try this one: "McLean has created an intensely complex, credible central character and surrounds him with a skillfully drawn supporting cast. Readers will look forward to a reprise of J. McNee."

All this in the March 2010 AHMM. To learn even more about the book, and to enter some contest where you get a chance at earning a copy of your own, go to his blog.