Sunday, February 17, 2013

Roadkill Review: Post Office by Charles Bukowski

I used to work in a warehouse unloading shipping containers. When you cut off the seal and open them up you are faced with a 7’ x 7’ wall of cartons that stretches back 40 feet. It was freezing cold in winter, hot as a whore’s crotch in summer and back breaking all year round.

Anyone who has made minimum wage in a similar fashion will immediately identify with the dead end grind of Bukowski’s semi-autobiographical protagonist, Henry Chinaski.

Chinaski is a low life loser working a menial day job to support his hobbies of beer, broads and racetracks. He hates his job, his co-workers and at times himself.  
Post Office is a story about life or maybe existence would be a better word.  Chuck Palahniuk summed it up: “We all work jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need.”
I really can’t make up my mind about Bukowski; for me he falls somewhere between working class anti-hero and self centered arrogant. I guess that’s part of his charm, or lack of it depending on your point of view. He certainly does the down beat humor and fuck-you narrative better than most; he should, arguably he was the one who invented it.  
Post Office was Bukowski’s first novel and as such it is a little loose and it lacks the depth of his more engaging later works like Ham on Rye. But if you like your characters down and dirty and your prose spare and raw then this is a novel worthy of your time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Saddle Up

Evening Ma’am *tips hat*

Well, today sees my debut in the wonderful world of western fiction. I grew up on a full fat diet old western movies, they were my mom’s favorites and both Clint and The Duke loomed large in my childhood. So when Shotgun Honey guru and all round good guy Ron Earl Phillips mentioned he was setting up The Big Adios, my first thought was hell yes I want some of that. My next thought was can I actually write a western? I had never tried before so there was only one way to find out.

The end result is a story called ‘Seeds’ it’s a mean tale of blood and revenge (aren’t they always).  I was stoked when Ron accepted it for publication and I was over the moon when I found out that Zelmer crew mate, Chuck Regan was doing the artwork to go along with my story. I can tell you that Chuck’s art is seriously awesome; but I leave it up to you to decide about my words.  

The Big Adios is a new site and it needs your support, so get along there and read, comment and if you feel like slinging a few words yourself, submit.
Seeds – The Big Adios    

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Roadkill Review: Brown’s Requiem by James Ellroy.

Everybody knows James Ellroy right? His L.A. Quartet provides the hard-boiled benchmark that defines a genre for many. Even if you haven’t read him, you will at least be aware of the movie L.A. Confidential, based on his novel of the same name.

This work pre-dates that movie by some sixteen years and is in fact Ellroy’s first novel.  Set in contemporary Los Angeles it follows the trials and tribulations of a hard bitten PI, Fritz Brown in his attempt to unravel a complicated case of arson and blackmail.  These old school noir staples are put to good use by an emerging Ellroy and the same wonderful spare prose and clipped dialogue that mark his later works are here in spades.

Brown’s Requiem was written by a man still honing his craft. If you look carefully you will see it in the plot, which at times seems jumbled and is prone to wander. There is a lot of the author’s own life mixed in here too; his love of golf and classical music are to the fore throughout and it can feel a little like you are being force fed with Ellroy’s self indulgence. That said this is still James Ellroy and Brown’s Requiem is a novel worthy of his name.

If you only plan on reading one Ellroy book then it’s hard to look past the big four. Choose The Black Delilah of my personal favorite The Big Nowhere. But if you want an enjoyable and interesting look at how he came to write them, start here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

On The Grift

I have finally broken my on-line duck for 2013 with a different kind of bird.
My story ‘Pigeon’ is up at Grift Magazine today. This is  the first flash piece I have had up in a while and it was a lot of fun to write.  
A few years back I spent some time in Northern Nevada. The casinos in places like Winnemucca and Elko are a world away from the glamour of the Vegas strip. But the gambling is just as intense, maybe even more so. ‘Pigeon’ is a story about winners and losers and those that get caught on the wrong side of that line.
Many thanks to John Kenyon for giving it a home, or should that be a loft.
Check it out and drop a comment to let me know what you think.
Grift: Pigeon by Chris Leek


Friday, February 1, 2013

ADR Hits The Streets

ALL DUE RESPECT is the sort of anthology you dole out to yourself piecemeal. You read “Even Sven” and then shake your head, looking off into the distance, trying to make sure you start breathing again. You read Matt Funk and Patti Abbott the way you eat a good meal in that restaurant you go to for your anniversary. You savor the characters, the plot undertones. When a Joe Clifford character says that something “tastes like a cat’s ass,” you nod that, yeah, that character probably has that experience. Full of great stories from David Cranmer, Thomas Brown, Fiona Johnson, Ryan Sayles and more, ALL DUE RESPECT is a book you’ll read a story at a time, maybe one a night, like that after-dinner drink you can’t put down.
- Steve Weddle, editor, NEEDLE Magazine
Highlighting lowlifes in hardboiled homilies – these stories stick it in and break it off. Tender as a brick, subtle as a Molotov Cocktail.
Jedidiah Ayres author of Fierce Bitches

You can kick off your weekend with this bad boy for only 99c/ 77p
Hammer down at Amazon or Amazon UK