Wednesday, November 26, 2008

TOWER teaser

Coming fall 2009, Tower marks the first collaboration between crime writers Ken Bruen (The Guards, Once Were Cops) and Reed Farrel Coleman (The James Deans, The Fourth Victim), and the first original novel published by Busted Flush Press. With four Shamus Awards and four Edgar Award nominations (and plenty of other trophies!) between them, Bruen and Coleman combine forces with a novel that is steeped in metaphysics, baseball, and brutality... Over the next few months leading up to publication, we'll reveal here bits and pieces about the book, with interviews, excerpts, contests and more. Today, we have a sampling of the cover copy. Enjoy, and please spread the word! [If you need any Ken Bruen or Reed Farrel Coleman bibliography checklist bookmarks, just shoot us an e-mail.]

"Born into a rough Brooklyn neighborhood, outsiders in their own families, Nick and Todd forge a lifelong bond that persists in the face of crushing loss, blood, and betrayal. Low-level wiseguys with little ambition and even less of a future, the friends become major players in the potential destruction of an international crime syndicate that stretches from the cargo area at Kennedy Airport to the streets of New York, Belfast, and Boston to the alleyways of Mexican border towns. Their paths are littered with the bodies of undercover cops, snitches, lovers, and stone-cold killers.

"In the tradition of The Long Goodbye, Mystic River, and The Departed, Tower is a powerful meditation on friendship, fate, and fatality. A twice-told tale done in the unique format of parallel narratives that intersect at deadly crossroads, Tower is like a beautifully crafted knife to the heart.

"Imagine a Brooklyn rabbi/poet—Reed Farrel Coleman—collaborating with a mad Celt from the West of Ireland—Ken Bruen—to produce a novel unlike anything you’ve ever encountered. A ferocious blast of gut-wrenching passion that blends the fierce granite of Galway and the streetwise rap of Brooklyn. Fasten your seat belts, this is an experience that is as incendiary as it is heart shriven."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Best first line since THE LAST GOOD KISS

Beyond the cover, which initially attracts the eye of a passing reader, a book's first line is very important to winning over potential book buyers. One of my personal favorites in crime fiction is this, from John D. MacDonald's DARKER THAN AMBER (the 7th Travis McGee):

We were about to give up and call it a night when somebody dropped the girl off the bridge.

Probably the most famous in the genre is the late James Crumley's THE LAST GOOD KISS:

When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonora, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon.

Who wouldn't want to keep going after that?

Well, I mention this because a reviewer for Booklist (in a starred review) recently had a few nice things to say about Reed Farrel Coleman's new Joe Serpe novel, THE FOURTH VICTIM (writing as Tony Spinosa; Bleak House):

"Spinosa, aka Reed Farrel Coleman, has ginned up a really hard-edged novel set in a wonderfully gritty milieu and filled with fully fleshed characters. The plot lays out a labyrinthine but believable trail of violence, murder, corruption, politics, deep-dyed racism, and big money. Serpe and Healy are a terrific odd couple, but a dozen lesser characters are also compelling, often for their sheer coarseness or loathsomeness. Even Spinosa's depiction of the fiercely competitive, hardscrabble business of home heating-oil delivery rings with authenticity (the author actually has a commercial license to convey hazmat materials). If thats not enough, the first line of this fine novel... is one of the two best first lines this reviewer has come across in 25 years of hard-boiled reading (the opening to James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss is still the best)."

The first line of THE FOURTH VICTIM:

At his best, Rusty Monaco was a miserable, self-absorbed prick, and tonight he was paying even less attention than usual to the world outside his head.

Now, I open the floor to you (if anyone's listening)... What is your favorite opening line from a mystery or thriller?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Favorite books of the year!

Okay, I started this damn blog, and I've been lax about posting. My apologies! Starting today, I'll be posting with greater frequency (though more than once a month would be an improvement, right?). Anyway, I'm writing today as a bookseller, not a publisher. Here are my top three favorite books of the year... all in the thriller vein...

1. CHILD 44, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central)
What can I say about CHILD 44 other that, holy crap, what a page-turner! There's a serial killer on the loose in 1953 Russia, and state officer Leo Demidov investigates. Scenes -- such as several aboard a Gulag-bound train -- had me nail-biting to the knuckles. (The second Demidov novel, THE SECRET SPEECH, is due from Grand Central in May '09.)

2. THE DAWN PATROL, by Don Winslow (Knopf)
The perfect follow-up to Winslow's crime fiction odes to Southern California, California Fire and Life and The Death and Life of Bobby Z. San Diego private eye Boone Daniels surfs, eats, sleeps, and surfs some more... and takes on the occasional case, such as here, when a young woman needs to be found. Problem is, the most bitchin' set of waves of his generation is scheduled to hit the coast in about 48 hours. An interesting variation on a "ticking clock" thriller, though at its heart, it's more a novel about friendship. I ended the book, sad to leave these characters -- which include Hang Twelve, Boone's extra-toed surfer compadre; and Sunny, Boone's on-again, off-again girlfriend, and the lone female member of the self-proclaimed "Dawn Patrol." But never fear... the sequel, THE GENTLEMEN'S HOUR (I believe that's the title), is due in late '09.

3. HELL'S BAY, by James W. Hall (St. Martin's Minotaur)
Hall has hit the best-seller lists before, but he still hasn't achieved quite the level of success as fellow Floridian Randy Wayne White. And what a shame because Hall is one of the best thriller writers out there... and this may go down as my favorite of his (so far). Reclusive hero / fishing expert Thorn helps a friend who's launching a new business venture: She's found a way to maneuver a boat around the tangly mangrove roots that have made it impossible to access inaccessible lakes... until now. Out in the middle of nowhere -- no GPS, no cell phones, no radio -- and targeted by a killer, Thorn has mere hours to stay alive and find out who's behind it all. (And this would make a great companion read with Jonathon King's ACTS OF NATURE, which is set during and in the aftermath of a hurricane.)

And if you're looking for an outstanding independent bookstore that stocks these titles, just take a look at the handy list to the right. :-)

Happy post-election, and I'll speak again soon!