“These eight stories cut and scar.” Knocked out by Ellis Purdie’s review of Death Don’t Have No Mercy in The Clarion-Ledger. It ran a while ago, but I’m just now seeing it.
Man. Shit. I haven’t updated this site in a long time. Have a bunch of stuff I’ve been wanting to post here since March; I hope I remember it all. A couple of other things first: I’m reading at TurnRow Books in Greenwood, MS before a presentation of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross on 8/13 at 6:45 p.m. I’ll also be on the Short Stories Panel at the Mississippi Book Festival in Jackson, MS on 8/22.
1. Back in March, my second book, a short story collection called Death Don’t Have No Mercy, came out. Megan Abbott, hero and pal, had these kind things to say about it:
2. I did the Book Talk podcast with Stephen Usery in Memphis. Listen here.
3. David Bowles said some swell things about Death Don’t Have No Mercy and Broken River Books over at The Monitor. He thought the stories were “evocative of James Cain,” which means a hell of a lot to me.
4. Rob Hart, who just put out a terrific debut novel called New Yorked, made a list of Five Great Books About New York City and included Gravesend. It lifted my heart to see my book up there on The Daily Beast with books by some of my heroes.
5. For a minute there, back at the end of April, I somehow had the top-selling book in Mississippi according to The Clarion-Ledger. I’m not sure how it’s even possible, but it’s the only time I’ll ever see my name at the top of a list like this, so I’ll take it.
6. Here’s Death Don’t Have No Mercy on Jack Pendarvis’s recommendation shelf at Square Books.
7. Noir at the Bar Oxford 2 was a big success. Seems like a long damn time ago already. I have some photos from the event, more than last time anyway. I won’t post them here, but they’re on my Instagram if you want to check them out. Great night.
8. Some kind words about Gravesend from Philip David Alexander, author of Peacefield, over at Goodreads: “This is a dark gem of a book that will more than satisfy fans of David Goodis, George V. Higgins, Richard Price and Daniel Woodrell.” Full review here.
9. I was home in Brooklyn for a couple of weeks and took a lot of pictures. Most are up on my Instagram page. Here are a couple I didn’t post there. This train platform is the D station at 25th Avenue in my neighborhood, where the last scene in Gravesend takes place.
10. Here’s a picture of me, Tom Franklin, and Ace Atkins celebrating the publication of Ace’s great new Quinn Colson novel, The Redeemers, on the balcony at City Grocery last week. Pick up a signed copy here. Photo credit: Milly Moorhead West.
Noir at the Bar Oxford 2 is going down at Proud Larry’s on Wednesday, 5/6 at 9 pm. Such a killer lineup. Gonna be fun. If you live within ten hours of Oxford, you have no goddamn excuse not to be here for it.
My new book, Death Don’t Have No Mercy, is out today. Eight stories about broken men making bad decisions. Stories about doom and despair and death. A lot of dark comedy but not your thing if you like “characters you can root for” or “good people who help each other out.” You can buy it on Amazon now. When you’re buying that jug of wolf urine you need or some tampon flasks for the big game, throw it in your cart. The 2-3 week shipping thing is likely bullshit; it’s available. Should be coming to Kindle soon. Should be available through other channels in the next few days.
Also, my pal Bobby interviewed me for Nerve.com about the book and booze and what music I’m listening to. Thanks, Bobby.
Last thing for now: the book is up on Goodreads, and I’m doing a giveaway that ends May 4th.
My new book, a story collection called Death Don’t Have No Mercy, comes out in March from Broken River Books. There’s a Kickstarter (already fully funded and into stretch goal territory now) that serves as a way of pre-ordering it and the other great books being released by Broken River, King Shot, and Ladybox. Dead End Follies gives you ten reasons to back the Kickstarter here–My book is one of them, and I’m really grateful for that.
Here’s a picture of the printed PDF galley:
And here’s Matthew Revert’s brilliant cover art:
An incredible oral history of Jason Molina’s masterpiece, The Magnolia Electric Co. My favorite record ever. If you haven’t heard it, please go buy it right now. Here’s my Rumpus essay on the album from right after Molina passed away.
Other big Molina news: Didn’t It Rain is being reissued later this year. I was twenty-three, living in Austin, when I found it at 33 Degrees. It was my first Molina, and it changed things for me. I’d never heard an album that sounded so much like the way I felt. Can’t wait for this.
If you’re into e-books and against Amazon, you can now get Gravesend and other Broken River titles here.
My So-Called Life first aired twenty years ago this week. I was fifteen, a week away from being sixteen. I watched that first episode and never missed one the whole run. Taped them on VHS without commercials. I had Claire Danes’s picture up in my locker all junior year. One time my friend told me he was taking me to a party in the city and that she’d be there. I was heartbroken when it turned out to be bullshit. I still cry when I hear that goddamn Buffalo Tom song. I still have Sonnet 130 memorized. This is a good essay revisiting the show.
Here’s an essay I published in Trop back in February about Yusuf Hawkins, who was killed 25 years ago this past Saturday. All this time and the same shit keeps happening over and over in one form or another.
Gravesend is available on Amazon. It’s also available on Barnes & Noble (without cover art or a product description yet, sorry). I’m hoping to be able to point people in the direction of some indie bookstores that are carrying it soon. (It’ll most certainly be at Square Books here in Oxford, MS in the next couple of weeks.)
I’m also running a giveaway on Goodreads. Enter below for a chance to win a copy.
And Fiction Writers Review, where Gravesend is the Book of the Week pick, is giving away three copies. Simply follow them on Twitter (@fictionwriters) for a chance to win one.
I’m really honored that some of my favorite writers took the time to read Gravesend and that they had some nice things to say about it:
“Gravesend is a taut exploration of the ways we hurt and save (or try to save) one another. With unforgettable characters, a fist for a plot and a deeply evocative setting, Boyle navigates alleys and streets with the best of them, Lehane, Price, and Pelecanos.”
—Tom Franklin, author of Poachers, Hell at the Breech, Smonk, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, and The Tilted World
“Gravesend is a book that hits you in the guts the same way David Goodis or Charles Willeford’s books do. Boyle’s mining that dark edge of America where no one is safe, not even from themselves. A dark ride but a seriously great ride.”
—Willy Vlautin, author of The Motel Life, Northline, Lean on Pete, and The Free
“Gravesend kicks ass! An irresistible combo of an insider’s tour of Brooklyn and true and authentic 21st Century Noir. Boyle is one to watch.”
—Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Broken Places and Robert B. Parker’s Wonderland.
“William Boyle has written a terrific novel for the new millennium of Noir. A beautiful actress returns to her Brooklyn neighborhood where she finds the dark world she left has gotten worse. Peopled by ex-cons and ex-cops, teenage gangsters and Russian mobsters, Gravesend creates a claustrophobic intimacy as it moves swiftly to its shocking end. I finished the book grateful for release from its relentless grip, and admiring the guts it took to write such a brutal story.”
—Chris Offutt, author of Kentucky Straight, Out of the Woods, and The Good Brother
“William Boyle’s Gravesend is a bruiser and a heartbreaker of a debut. With echoes of Lehane and Pelecanos but with a rhythm and poignancy all its own, it’s a gripping tale of family, revenge, the strains of the past and the losses that never leave us.”
—Megan Abbott, author of Dare Me, The End of Everything, Queenpin, The Song is You, and Die A Little
“There’s a natural, forthright style here that seems born of this writer’s sense of duty to his characters, these denizens of non-hipster Brooklyn living out the dooms they were born to, nurturing their vices, the hours of their lives plaited masterfully together, their lusts and regrets interlaced. The novel unspools without hurry but also without an extra line, giving neither the desire nor opportunity to look up from it. There’s an exhilaration that accompanies seeing a place and its folks this clearly and fairly, feeling at once that the writer is nowhere to be found and also working tirelessly to show you the right things. Boyle arrives in thorough possession of his seedy yet venerable world, this low-roofed urban hinterland. I can’t remember being more convinced by the people in a novel. Boyle’s characters, each in his or her own way, are accepting the likely future—with violence, with sex, with resignation, with rebellion, by being upbeat. You’ll be grateful, and it won’t take long, to be in this writer’s hands.”
—John Brandon, author of Arkansas, Citrus County, and A Million Heavens
“Boyle understands blood in all its meanings. He’s a dark poet who knows how to draw you close so he can slip the knife into your heart. Gravesend is deeply felt, brutal, tragic, personal and beautiful. You won’t forget it.”
—Jack Pendarvis, author of The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure, Your Body is Changing, and Awesome
“Gravesend plops you down in the midst of a tragedy waiting to happen, and as the story rumbles toward its shattering conclusion, you’ll find yourself digging in your heels against the terrible inevitability of it all. William Boyle lays bare a seedy corner of Brooklyn and the tortured souls who inhabit it in his debut, and in so doing stakes out his own turf among up-and-coming two-fisted writers.”
—Richard Lange, author of Dead Boys, This Wicked World, and Angel Baby
My first novel, Gravesend, is coming out later this year from J. David Osborne’s Broken River Books. Here’s information on the Broken River Books Kickstarter (not the annoying kind), which will help get the press off the ground. An excerpt of the book is up at Vol. 1 Brooklyn. And here’s the amazing cover art by Matthew Revert: