September 25, 2014

The Strange Girl

Just a note to say that The Strange Girl will be published tomorrow, 26th September, on more formats than you can care to count.

I'll put just a few here ...


Barnes & Noble (to follow)

And in paperback here in the US

                              here in the UK

September 17, 2014

Ace aces it - The Ranger hits a sweet spot.

I try to keep a handle on new American writers because I'm always on the lookout for people to learn from.

Ace Atkins surprises me - not because he's good, which he is - but because he's written half a dozen or more books and I hadn't stumbled across him or his work until a few weeks ago.

The Ranger is the first book in the 'Quinn Colson' series. Colson is a Ranger - a high-class Special Forces soldier - who returns at the beginning of the book from seeing action in Afghanistan. You get a sense of the man in the opening paragraph:
Quinn headed home, south on the Mississippi highway, in a truck he’d bought in Phenix City, Alabama, for fifteen hundred, a U.S. Army rucksack beside him stuffed with enough clothes for the week and a sweet Colt .44 Anaconda he’d won in a poker game. He carried good rock ’n’ roll and classic country, and photos from his last deployment in Afghanistan, pics of him with his Ranger platoon, the camp monkey “Streak” on his shoulder, Black Hawks at sundown over the mountains. 

Look at the detail in that - Mississippi highway, second-hand truck, 1500 dollars, US Army rucksack, Colt .44 Anaconda, poker game ... concluding with his last deployment in Afghanistan and the Black Hawks in the background. That opening paragraph does so much work in just three sentences, giving us some backstory, some of his personality and even some of his skills ('his Ranger platoon'). We don't get five paragraphs of detailed explanation of who he is, where he's come from and what he can do. We get three packed sentences.

September 07, 2014

Hold the press ...

Just a couple of items of news before my next critique post, which will be on Ace Atkins' book The Ranger. He's a new writer to me but he's written quite a lot and has encomia on his book covers from people like Elmore Leonard and John Sandford, so they obviously recognise his worth. He's also written a couple of books taking on Robert B. Parker's Spenser franchise, which I'll also have to catch up on.

First, a note to say that the next book in the Sam Dyke Investigations series will be published on 26th September. It's going through its final edit now and will be available for pre-order from 16th September. Here's the final version of the cover:

Secondly, the translation of Actress into Chinese is coming on apace. I'm receiving queries now about Chapter 17, and as there are 26 Chapters in the book, that means the translation is about two thirds finished. The promised completion date was by Christmas, so they're well on target. There's been a slight delay with the translation into Spanish because the translator has moved house. Hopefully it won't be deferred too long.

Finally, I'm looking forward to seeing the new movie version of Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder film, A Walk Amongst the Tombstones, starring Liam Neeson. It'll be interesting to see how they translate Block's easy style into a wham-bang Hollywood movie, and Matt Scudder's reasonably passive modus operandi into an all-action hero. I hope it's not a disappointment!