June 24, 2012

Come back to the raft ag'in, Sue Ellen ...

The American critic Leslie Fiedler wrote an essay called 'Come back to the raft ag'in, Huck Honey!', in which he suggested that much classic American literature contained a submerged theme of homoeroticism. He used Huckleberry Finn as an example of this kind of book, and Joe R. Lansdale's Edge of Dark Water seems to merge both of these texts, so that a trip by raft down river in a southern state of America fuses emerging sexuality, racial issues and death ... all wrapped around the story of a crime of passion.

June 19, 2012

Another freebie...

Just a quick self-publicising post ... I've now put The Private Lie on a free promotion for Kindle. So if you read Altered Life and liked it, you can have the second in the Sam Dyke series for free. You can get it here if you're in the UK:


And here if you're in the US:


To all of you who've bought either of these already, thank you very much. It's made the books something of a success and is very encouraging!

A post will follow soon on Joe R. Lansdale's Edge of Dark Water.

June 15, 2012

Inexplicable but fun

Sales of my first book, Altered Life, have blossomed since I gave it away for free ...

In the last few days it has risen to no. 2 in the 'hard-boiled' section of Amazon Kindle crime fiction, and no. 105 in the overall best-seller list. Just a few more would push it into the top 100, which would be great! It's a whole new ball game then ...

In other news, I'm close to finishing Joe Lansdale's Edge of Dark Water which, as other critics have said, is a modern take on Huckleberry Finn, one of the Great American Novels.

June 11, 2012

Altered Life makes number 1

Just a quick post to say that my exercise in offering Altered Life as a free download has brought some success. It's currently number 1 in the UK 'hard-boiled' mystery list on Amazon. I know it was free, but then so were all the others! This link will doubtless change as the numbers change ...

Free Kindle 'hard-boiled' mystery best sellers

EDIT: Now the promotion period has ended the book doesn't show on the best-seller lists. But it's still available for purchase at a very low price. Follow the links on the right of this page to buy.

June 07, 2012


Time to get on the marketing wagon ... Gotta join that million-selling Kindle club.

So, from tomorrow my first book, Altered Life, will be available free on the Kindle for 5 days. It's said this boosts sales, somehow, later.

Secondly, I've made a 'Preview' in Amazon Createspace for my second book, The Private Lie, which you can see and comment on here.

Let's see if those sales spike now!

June 04, 2012

What it Was - How it Is

Like Conrad's Heart of Darkness, the inspiration for Apocalypse Now, George Pelecanos' short novel What it Was is a tale told by a narrator who is partial though he appears objective. Conrad's narrator, Marlowe, tells the story of Kurtz, who ventures into the African jungle and meets himself, and his fate. The hero of What it Was, Derek Strange, tells the story of his own journey into manhood and responsibility.

Readers of Pelecanos will know Strange from previous books, first a trilogy where we met him as an older private detective working in Washington DC; then in Hard Revolution, a book set during the Washington Riots of 1968, when Strange was a street cop. Strange is perhaps well-named for, like Kurtz, he is an anomaly in his environment - a black cop in a largely white police force. Throughout the sequence of books he sees himself as an outsider, which allows Pelecanos to throw an objective light on the environment in which he works. In other words, we side with Strange and see the situations he encounters 'from the outside'. This is emphasized in What it Was by the fact that Strange narrates the book as a long story to his friend Nick Stefanos ... ironically another character in a separate series of books by Pelecanos.