Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “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.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

One Of These Kids Is Doing His Own Thing …

There’s no good reason for republishing this pic from Bristol Crime Fest (l-r: Maxine, Rhian, Karen, El Cheesalero – with Ms Witch lurking with intent, no doubt, just out of picture) except to say that three of the four crime fiction bloggers are superb exponents of what they do, which is to let the world at large know about quality crime fiction writing for no reward but the joy of doing so, while the fourth is only in it for the money. If you’re in the market for insightful, illuminating conversations about contemporary crime writing, click on Petrona, It’s A Crime! and Euro Crime. Oh, and while you’re about it, click on Crime Scraps, whose host – the inimitable Norm – was behind the camera for this epoch-defining snap. He reckons he’s shy, but your secret is safe with us, Salman. Now, the Big Question: can we persuade Peter Rozovsky and Gerard Brennan to make it to Crime Fest 2009? Only time, that notorious tittle-tattler, will tell …

Friday, June 20, 2008

“Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?” # 2,019: Ed Lynskey

Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects . . .

What crime novel would you most like to have written?

HELL HATH NO FURY by Charles Williams, a 1953 noir classic about a smouldering small town and the desperate characters living there and double-crossing each other.
What fictional character would you most like to have been?
Nick Carroway had it pretty cool with Gatsby and the New York social elite.
Who do you read for guilty pleasures?
Pulp Westerns.
Most satisfying writing moment?
When the check in the mail finally arrives in my mailbox.
The best Irish crime novel is . . .?
I don’t know if it’s necessarily Irish, but I enjoyed reading Ken Bruen’s AMERICAN SKIN a lot.
What Irish crime novel would make a great movie?
Any title by Ken Bruen, if it hasn’t already been filmed.
Worst/best thing about being a writer?
Worst thing is writing the first sentence. Best thing is writing the last sentence.
The pitch for your next book is . . . ?
Can a Mafia loan shark survive working in Washington D.C.?
Who are you reading right now?
James Lee Burke’s post-Katrina New Orleans sage, THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN.
God appears and says you can only write OR read. Which would it be?
Read. Writing is too hard for me.
The three best words to describe your own writing are …?
Smooth. Fast. Vivid.

Ed Lynskey’s PELHAM FELL HERE will be published by the Mundania Press in July

A GONZO NOIR: An Internet Novel # 8

The story so far: Failed author Declan Burke (right), embittered but still passably handsome, wakes up one morning to find a stranger in his back garden. The stranger introduces himself as Karlsson, a hospital porter who assists old people who want to die and the hero of a first draft of a novel Burke wrote some five years previously. Now calling himself Billy, he suggests a redraft of the story that includes blowing up the hospital where he works. Intrigued, Burke agrees to a collaboration, but things do not go swimmingly …
  For the reasons we’re publishing a novel to the interweb, go here.
  If you want to skip all that malarkey, the novel starts here.
  If you’re one of the 34,008 readers who have been following the story, the latest update can be found here.
  Now read on …

Publish And Be Damned # 24: Will Hoyle / BELLA MORTE

As if there weren’t enough outlets on the interweb already publishing unpublished fiction, Crime Always Pays belly-flops right into the deep end. In the second of what will very probably be an extremely short series, Will Hoyle (right) treats us to Chapter One of his work-in-progress, BELLA MORTE. You know where to put your bouquets and brickbats, people …



Confined to this crummy apartment, this eyesore in Brooklyn for yet another day. Ramshackle, rundown, rat-infested and mold-ridden and a Middle Eastern super who doesn’t give a wee shite about the lot of it. I set up by the open window because there’s no fire escape. And even if there were a bloody fire escape, it wouldn’t be the smartest place for me to put arse to chair anyway because I’m wanted by the NYPD and probably the feds by now too. The summer heat bleeds through the apartment and makes this dive as smoldering hot as the pit of Hades. I feel like a prisoner to it, a fugitive, trapped in this waiting room, this all too claustrophobic think-tank. But here I stay until the morning comes and I jump on a plane and become one hundred percent Calabrian.
  Haven’t reached out and phoned my family in Calabria, so they don’t even know I’m coming. Not many people know about my connection to them, so Italy’s a much safer bet than trying to make it back to Ma and Da in Ulster. One thing’s for sure … I’ll get to Southern Italy, bury myself in some farm or some church on a wee hill and retire from the business and learn to speak better Calabrese and see the whole country one day but straight away I’m going to do my best to blend in and make up a batch of lemonade out of a truck load of bloody lemons.
  Plan A. Reggio Calabria. San Luca. Mia famigghia.
  I sit tight, hold up in Mirko’s pad, having dressed myself up in his cargo pants and his Levski FC football jersey. Both smell like mildew and stewed cabbage but they’ll have to do until I can pry myself up on my bad leg and change into the new ones that Mirko’s just brought me. Been in these duds all afternoon now. Couldn’t change back into the clothes I wore this morning because they’re still scattered with my blood and Tong blood and all those in between. Been having to hide out, couldn’t use the washer and dryer down the hall on this floor because they’re down the bloody hall, and seen by anyone excluding my St. Petersburg comrade is not something I need to be right now.
  Much to my utter fooking shock, Mirko wasn’t all too happy to see me when I barreled my way into his apartment all bloodied and shot to kingdom shite. Called me all sorts of pleasantries before he reluctantly assembled all his tools and patched me up proper. Did it all pretty sharpish too, or maybe it just seemed that way due to the entire bottle of Zarskaya Vodka I put down to curb the pain of his poking and prying, the gouging and gushing. Had to undress down to my knickers when I let the ol’ bugger dig in and extract the Uzi 9mm rounds and buckshots from my thigh. Then he sewed up the needle dart wound in my shoulder, the knife wound in my foot.
  And every one of his “I told you sos” and “you shouldn’t have done thats” flew in one ear and directly out the other.
  I’m paranoid, shaky, apprehensive of all things excluding the Beretta in my hand. And I’ve already made my legitimate complaints about this but Mirko wrote them off as nagging and decided to blast his unholy Barynya music to drown me out. It made every pooch within earshot of the apartment howl like they’d never see the sun again. The music, if you can even call it that, sucked the big one but apparently, it was all he had.
Now he sits over there with his eyes glued to the tele, a squirrelly smirk on his crooked lips, another one of his god awful Sobranie Black cigarettes blazing between his grimy fingers.
  After perching myself in this spot by the window hours ago, I stand, stretch my legs, and it’s an ill-advise piece of thinking because it sends shockwaves of pain throughout me body. Aye, Mirko patched me up right as rain, suspiciously free of charge until he went to pull the bullets out of my leg and tried to work his other hand up my bare inner thigh. Thought maybe it was an accident until he went to stitch my shoulder and his other hand inconspicuously slid far too close to my left booby. It earned him a swift thumping to his Brillo pad noggin alright. He retained that it was an accident until I shot that down and called it utter bollocks. Then he decided to go with he hasn’t seen me in forever, that he’s missed me, and that he’s a lonely man. I gave him a choice. Patch me up, get me a new passport and driver’s license free of charge or I pull the trigger and make his head into a canoe.
  What choice did the bloke have?
  As I limp over towards him, I glare down at him because I’m still a bit cheesed about it. To try and make amends for his misdeeds, Mirko went out and brought me some fresh clothes, a good pair of scissors, a box of hair dye, and some colored contact lenses. They all sit there next to him on the table just between his ashtray and bottle of vodka. If there was ever a stereotypical, single Russian immigrant living at a dive in Brooklyn, it’d be Mirko. Sunken eyes, salt and pepper hair cut in a buzz, poorly-grown sandpaper beard that spreads like a mangy leprosy across his face and down his neck. Big, flaring nostrils and two front teeth that look right at home with the rats that run rampant inside his walls.
Despite the vast knowledge of medicine he learned in his time lent to the Russian Ground Forces, Mirko’s a scurvy wee wank who pays the bills by making fake passports, fake IDs, and by providing immediate medical attention to the criminal element in the greater New York City area. He also works part-time at Teddy’s Bar over on Berry Street.
  His eyes are glued to the news because he’s apparently fascinated with it. The local stations are running non-stop footage of the crime scenes over the tele. Uniformed peelers and plain-clothed peelers swarming the area, securing the parameter, shooting the bollocks while pretending to give a shite about the untimely demise of the most powerful attorney/philanthropist/criminal mastermind in the city.
  I don’t think they’ve linked this morning’s bloodbath to all the crimes I’ve committed in Charlotte, Virginia Beach, and Maryland in the past few days. Don’t think they’ve matched them to the shootings last year in Providence, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and New Orleans. Been a lot of places, done a lot of killing. No, they haven’t connected all the dots just yet but they will. With all the blood samples I’ve left behind over the last few days, they’ll soon know the name Cocoa McGrady and that’s why I have to change it and become a new person and flee the bloody country sharpish. I can’t help but feel like my time here in the US of A has run its course, that my days here are numbered. - © Will Hoyle 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

“And Now The End Is Near / And We Face The Final Curtain / But Lo! / Do We Really?” Yep, It’s Tana French And Her Ambiguous Endings

It must be, oh, almost an entire week since we’ve mentioned Tana French (right) on Crime Always Pays, for which craven dereliction of duty we deserve nothing less than to be stood against a wall and shot with bullets of our own shite. Happily, Cream and Written By A Woman (!) rescues us from a fate worse than death with an early review of Tana’s second offering, THE LIKENESS, the gist of which runneth thusly:
“The book actually manages to surpass IN THE WOODS (her stunningly accomplished début) which is no small feat. Set in Dublin again (with the fictitious Murder Squad), this time it is Cassie who takes the lead in a plot which requires a little suspension of disbelief but pays off in spades. I caught nods to both THE SECRET HISTORY and THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL (and anyone who has read Shirley Jackson gets automatic kudos from me), but they are mere nods since the central plot has nothing much to do with either …
  “French’s writing is taut, clever and, in places, truly chilling. She deserved all the praise heaped on her previous effort, and this should garner her even more. It’s a big book, but not daunting, and you’ll fly through it getting lost in the world of Whitethorn House and its inhabitants.
  “One caveat though (and not on my part; I love that French refuses to tie up her resolutions in a big shiny bow at the end): those who were disappointed with the ending of IN THE WOODS may find more to grumble about here. To me, resolutions that are not neat are more realistic, and infinitely more interesting than the bog standard crime novel resolutions, but if you like your endings completely wrapped up, you may not be happy with this ending either. However, that should be a minor quibble since a book as accomplished as this one holds many other treasures, not least the fluidity of the prose and the constant tension that seeps through it. One to savour, and I know I’ll be re-reading it in the future.”
Ah, ye olde ambiguouse endinge – what say you, Karen Harrington, ma’am?
“I understand ambiguous endings in novels and films. I’m a fan of them. I write them. And I’ve taken some heat for the ambiguous ending in JANEOLOGY. So I can understand the reasons an author employs this technique in her art. However, there comes a point when a writer must balance the ending on a scale of satisfaction by asking the question: Are my reasons for creating that ending in balance with a satisfying ending?
  “Assigning this question to Tana French’s formidable novel IN THE WOODS is tough …
  “Despite the issue with the ending, this book is still cleverly penned and engaging. French’s descriptions are first-class. Her scene-setting abilities are refined well beyond the skills of your typical debut author and this is no doubt one of the reasons this tale earned her an Edgar award. In sum, I liked this book. And in some ways, owing to the spooky atmosphere, I think this might make a better movie than it reads on the page.
  “So, what do you think? Are unresolved endings a good thing? And if so, what books including an ambiguous ending have you loved? Hated?”
  It has to be The Book of Revelations for us. That whole apocalypse deal – y’know, the ‘Will it-Won’t it?’ dynamic … sterling stuff from St John, we think you’ll agree.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Downey On The Up(ey)

A Minister for Propaganda Elf writes: “Journalist, author and general bon viveur about town Garbhan Downey’s latest offering, YOURS CONFIDENTIALLY, continues to go from strength to strength. Or so the mysterious masked man who dropped off the non-web reviews quoted below late last Friday night announced, before using his rapier to carve a ‘GD’ into our collective left buttock. Serves us right for answering a knockity-knock-knock at the dungeon door in nowt but an apron and oven gloves, eh? You don’t make that mistake twice.
  Anyhoo, those reviews runneth gistly:
“This is one humdinger of a novel, superbly constructed and brought to a majestic conclusion by an author who has proved himself the master of the ingenious and the architect of the amazing ending.” – Lawrence Moore at the County Times

“At times the startlingly fast-moving plot is pretty dark but it’s wickedly funny … Garbhan Downey at his very best with cruel one-liners packed onto every page.” – The Derry Journal
  “So there you have it. The secret to a happy life is (a) buy and read YOURS CONFIDENTIALLY, and (b) never be without a can of rapier-slice buttock salve. Did we mention we’re giving away these ideas for free?”

Mi Casa, Su Casa: KT McCaffrey

The continuing stooooooory of how the Grand Vizier puts his feet up and lets other people talk some sense for a change. This week: KT McCaffrey (right) on soundtracks and writing.

“I’ve tended to incorporate music and song in all of my books to date. I love the idea of having a soundtrack in the background to add that extra degree of atmosphere and encapsulate a special moment in time. I do believe my crime fiction writing has been influenced by certain tunes, lyrics that I’d been exposed to before reaching my teens. I’ve had this almost irrational fascination with song lyrics for as long as I can remember. Back when I attended national school in Clara, Co. Offaly, there was a great colourful Wurlitzer jute box in town that stocked many American Imports and had that great booming bass sound you only get with jute boxes. This was at a time just before the Beatles came along, a time when pop music was in the doldrums.
  “Each day during lunch break I’d sneak into the Bon Bon shop and drop my coins into the slot, press the required numbers and watch the discs being picked up from a rack and flipped on to the turntable. One of the song from that period to take hold of my senses, and create film-like imagery in my head, was ‘El Paso’, by Marty Robbins. What I found so extraordinary about it was its ability to portray such vivid pictures in so few words.
  “These first few verses illustrate what I mean:
Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl.
Night-time would find me in Rosa’s cantina;
Music would play and Felina would whirl.

Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina
Wicked and evil while casting a spell
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden;
I was in love but in vain, I could tell

One night a wild young cowboy came in
Wild as the west Texas wind
Dashing and daring,
A drink he was sharing
With wicked Felina,
The girl that I loved.
So in anger I
Challenged the right for the love of this maiden
Down went his hand for the gun that he wore
My challenge was answered in less than a heart-beat
The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor ...
  “See what I mean? For me, as a ten-year old, the imagery in the lyrics had the kind of impact a Coen Brothers movie might have on me today. Another song that I played to death on that old Wurlitzer, and that made a similar impression on me, was Lefty Frizzell’s ‘Long Black Veil’. Here again, in just a few lines, and in less than three minutes, the whole gamut of love, the eternal triangle, and murder, is delivered in spades:
Ten years ago on a cold dark night
There was someone killed ‘neath the town hall light
There were a few at the scene, but they all agreed
That the slayer who ran looked a lot like me.
The judge said son what is your alibi
If you were somewhere else then you wont have to die
I spoke not a word though it meant my life
For I had been in the arms of my best friends wife.
The scaffold is high and eternity near
She stands in the crowd and sheds not a tear
But sometimes at night when the cold wind blows
In a long black veil she cries o’er my bones.
She walks these hills
In a long black veil
She visits my grave
When the night winds wail
Nobody knows, nobody sees
Nobody knows but me.
  “Artists like Johnny Cash and Mick Jagger have since recorded versions of Long Black Veil, so obviously I’m not alone in being moved by this simple but evocative song. And talking of Johnny Cash, he, more than most, had the ability to cut a story down to a mere handful of words, while still creating a powerful impact, eg: Folsom Prison Blues:
When I was just a baby
My Mama told me “Son,
Always be a good boy,
Don’t ever play with guns,”
But I shot a man in Reno,
Just to watch him die,
When I hear that whistle blowin’
I hang my head and cry.
  “Yes folks, these are but a few of the songs that set my toes tapping and the cine-camera inside my head whirring. My taste in music has moved along and I love some of today’s output, but my heart remains captivated by those early memories from the late ’50s and early ’60s. There’s a whole bunch of similar story songs of crime and passion that would take up too much space to reproduce on CAP blog but if any of you are interested, you could do a lot worse than google songs like Open Pit Mine by George Jones, Saginaw Michigan by Lefty Frizzell, or Dolly Parton’s The Carroll County Accident.
  “There might even be an idea there for a good crime fiction novel there …” - KT McCaffrey

KT McCaffrey’s THE CAT TRAP is published by Robert Hale

The Embiggened O # 2,049: ’Tis Better To Have Loved And Lost Than A Scoreless Draw

A Minister for Propaganda writes: “We have no idea who the delightful chap Chapbook quoted below is, but he cheered up the Grand Vizier immensely yesterday with his achingly poignant insights into our humble offering, THE BIG O, which did very little to puncture the Grand Viz’s planet-dwarfing ego*. To wit:
A hard-boiled crime (not detective) “caper” with taut dialogue, post-modern syntax, and a break-neck pace, elements to make Chandler and Hammett proud. Highly recommended for fans of the crime genre … Lots of characters in this one who all become very nicely entangled – nice for our sake, I should say, if not for theirs. This book was very good, but the last page left me a little confused. But nothing so major that it spoiled the rest of it for me. I walked away still pleased. Rating: 3/4 Specs (good/very good)
  “Thank you kindly, Mr Chapbook sir. By the way, we do like a man who walks away from a book when it’s over. Because a book is a lot like a relationship. And you can’t put a woman on a shelf when you’re done and still expect her to be as good as you remember when you take her down again and dust her off for another whirl. No, it’s best to just walk away. No regrets. Better to have loved and lost than a scoreless draw. Peace, out.”

 * Neptune

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Is It Just Us? # 201: OUT STEALING HORSES by Per Petterson

It’s won top prizes and very probably outsold the Mac by now, but seriously folks – why all the fuss over OUT STEALING HORSES? Recommended to your humble hosts by a good friend whose opinion we very much value, the silence-exile-cunning schtick seemed like our kind of thing. And yes, there’s a gamin appeal to the contemporary Grizzly Adams-style retreat to the wilderness, but we made it halfway through the book with only an accidental death and the possibility of illicit affair to sustain the narrative. There’s plenty of walking the dog to be had, and any amount of reverie about how beautiful the Norwegian landscape is, and stout, yeomanly prose frustratingly reminiscent of a callow Cormac McCarthy. But reasons to keep reading in the hope of a unique experience that might justify all the hype? Nary a one. We’re not trying to be obtuse, believe it or not – we just don’t get it. Can anyone help?

A GONZO NOIR: An Internet Novel # 7

The story so far: Failed author Declan Burke (right), embittered but still passably handsome, wakes up one morning to find a stranger in his back garden. The stranger introduces himself as Karlsson, a hospital porter who assists old people who want to die and the hero of a first draft of a novel Burke wrote some five years previously. Now calling himself Billy, and desperate to escape the limbo of non-publication, he suggests a redraft of the story that includes blowing up the hospital where he works. Intrigued, Burke agrees to a collaboration, but things do not go swimmingly …
The novel starts here. If you’re one of the three readers who have been following the story, the latest update, section 7, can be found here. Now read on …

The Best Things In Life Are Free … Books

The generous folk at Serpent’s Tail have been kind enough to offer us three copies of Adrian McKinty's THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD to give away, with the blurb elves wittering thusly:
Michael Forsythe might be, as one of his assailants puts it, ‘un-fucking-killable’, but that doesn’t seem to deter people from trying. He’s living in Lima, reasonably well-hidden by the FBI’s Witness Protection Program, but Bridget Callaghan, whose fiancé he murdered twelve years ago, has an enduring wish to see him dead. So when her two goon assassins pass him the phone to speak to her before they kill him, Michael thinks she just wants to relish the moment. In fact, out of desperation, she is giving him a chance to redeem himself. All he has to do is return to Ireland and find her missing daughter. Before midnight. Tenacious and brutal, with the hunted man’s instinct for trouble, Forsythe leaves a trail of mayhem as he tries to end the bloody feud once and for all. THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD pulsates with break-neck action and wry literary references; McKinty’s distinctly Irish voice packs a ferocious punch.
Those dulcet tones? Shurely shome mishtake. Anyhoo, to be in with a chance of winning a copy, just answer the following question.
Is the structure of THE BLOOMSDAY DEAD loosely modelled on:
(d) Sorry, I came over all unnecessary from the heady waft of testosterone. What was the question again?
Answers via the comment box, leaving an email contact address (please use (at) rather than @ to confuse the spam-munchkins), before noon on Thursday, June 19. Et bon chance, mes amis

Monday, June 16, 2008

ReJoyce: ’Tis Bloomsday In All Its Feckin’ Nuttiness

It being June 16, aka Bloomsday, the anniversary of some ULYSSES-related malarkey involving the scoffing of much fried kidneys whilst wearing wardrobe cast-offs from Oliver Twist, we’d like to mark the occasion with yet another Crime Always Pays outing for our favourite short film of all time, Pitch ‘n’ Putt with Joyce ‘n’ Beckett, which was written and directed by genius-in-waiting Donald Clarke. Roll it there, Collette …

Nobody Move, This Is A Review: WHAT WAS LOST by Catherine O’Flynn

Catherine O’Flynn’s debut novel was first published way back in January 2007, but it recently won the Costa First Novel Award, a coup for its independent Birmingham-based publishers, Tindal Street Press. However, a year and a half later, the subject matter is still relevant and captures the zeitgeist, as it explores the impact that a missing child has on a community and various individuals 20 years after the event.
  O’Flynn divides her narrative into four separate parts, which skip from the voice of Kate Meaney, the 10-year-old amateur detective who vanishes without a trace from Green Oaks shopping centre in 1984, to those of Lisa, a disenchanted deputy manager at a chain music store, and Kurt a security guard who keeps seeing a little girl on the CCTV footage in the dead of night. Both live in 2004, and Kate’s disappearance has affected each in different ways.
  Disparate other voices are also interspersed into the main body of the story; all are anonymous, reflecting the centre’s unification but ultimate isolation of very different people.
  O’Flynn splices a variety of genres in WHAT WAS LOST: she successfully mixes crime tropes with those of literary and women’s fiction and the result is a touching, often funny, tale of love and loss within the sterile confines of a homogenous shopping centre and its fractured, post-consumerist community. – Claire Coughlan

Sunday, June 15, 2008

A GONZO NOIR: An Internet Novel

Failed writer Declan Burke (right), embittered but still passably handsome, writes: Many thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a comment when I asked if it made sense that the interweb novel A GONZO NOIR were to get its own blog, so that its instalments will read in an linear fashion rather than in the clumsy way I was posting them to Crime Always Pays. The answer, surprisingly enough, was a resounding ‘Yay’, and so the new blog opened for business yesterday with post on the Crime Space forum announcing the news.
  It was a somewhat less-than-auspicious beginning, as the ever-radiant Angie got in touch some hours later to say that I was in breach of the Crime Space protocols on self-promotion, and that the forum article would have to be removed. ‘Lummee,’ says we, ‘we can’t even give our stuff away for free these days.’
  Bloodied but unbowed, we herewith announce the arrival of the A GONZO NOIR blog, to which the entire novel will be posted in the coming months. The plan is to upload a new instalment at least once a week; when we do, we’ll provide a heads up on CAP and a link direct to the new section. The story starts here; for all three of you who have been following the tale already, the latest update comes here.
  Finally, yesterday’s post on Crime Space, which explains the reasons behind posting a novel to the interweb, to wit:
The first question people tend to ask about A GONZO NOIR is, ‘Why waste a perfectly good novel publishing it to the internet?’
  This presupposes that it is good, let alone perfectly good.
  Actually, it doesn’t. What people really mean is, ‘Why publish a novel-length story for free when someone might pay you to publish it as a conventional novel?’
  Well, there’s a lot of reasons.
  The first is that I’ve always wanted to publish a novel to the web, because it’s there and because I can.
  The second reason is that I’m pretty sure the story isn’t a commercially viable one. I believe it’s up to the standard of my previously published novels, EIGHTBALL BOOGIE and THE BIG O, but the story itself – which concerns itself with a hospital porter who decides to blow up the hospital where he works – isn’t the kind of thing to get publishers’ hearts racing.
  The third reason, and this is a rather more vague one, is that I feel that its protagonist, Billy / Karlsson, belongs on the web as opposed to between covers. This is just an instinct, of course, and not something I can really explain.
  The fourth reason is that giving away something for free runs contrary to the prevailing spirit of our times, and I’ve always been a bit out of kilter what tends to be popular and profitable.
  Fifthly, and lastly, and pragmatically, my novel THE BIG O is being published by Harcourt in September, and publishing a free novel to the internet might well be an unusual way of generating some attention for it.
  If you do take the time to read some or all of A GONZO NOIR, let me take this opportunity to thank you in advance. And if you feel moved to make a comment on any aspect of the story, I will be most grateful.
  Declan Burke