Dark Brink of Love


I guest edited the noir volume of Nicolas Winding Refn’s The title of the volume is DARK BRINK OF LOVE.

The first of three chapters is now live. Usually you need to create an account to see content on the site (it’s free and easy), but they’ve made this volume available to everyone, no log-in required.

Here are the contents:

First off, there’s the film: STARK FEAR from 1962. Made by two University of Oklahoma professors, Ned Hockman and Dwight V. Swain, it’s a psychological horror noir set and filmed in and around Oklahoma City and Norman. It stars Beverly Garland and Skip Homeier. The first time I saw it was on a very rough public domain copy–it’s been beautifully restored by Peter Conheim. It’s a weird, unsettling, dangerous-feeling picture. Watch it here.

In “Derrick Noir: Okies Go Hollywood,” Philippe Garnier introduces STARK FEAR, showing how the pieces came together on this singularly twisted curiosity. Read his intro to the film here.

In “The Planet Murderer,” Chris Offutt considers how his father Andrew Offutt, a prolific writer of porn novels, crossed paths with STARK FEAR scribe Dwight V. Swain, in the process meditating on literary heritage and the blood that runs from fathers to sons. Chris has allowed us to use some incredible photos of his dad, and there are also many book covers from John Cleve (Andrew Offutt’s alias). Read it here.

“‘Why’d You Go, Daddy? Was I Bad?'” is a stunning story from the author of BUCKSKIN COCAINE, Erika T. Wurth​. Wurth imagines what it might have been like for Cortez Ewing, the Native American actor who plays “The Chief” in STARK FEAR. Accompanying the piece are James Mooney’s Ghost Dance Recordings and a selection of noir-infused public domain photos. Read it here.

J David Osborne​, author of BLACK GUM, A MINOR STORM, and BLOOD AND WATER, gives us “Oklahoma: Heartland, U.S.A.,” inspired by the title of a tourism ad by Swain and Hockman. It’s head trip noir story about his Oklahoma fifty years after STARK FEAR, populated by a new variety of desperate people on the ropes: juggalos, small-time crooks, and searchers. Also accompanied by some weird, noir public domain photos. Read it here.

Gabino Iglesias​, author of ZERO SAINTS and COYOTE SONGS, in a story and photo series, delivers a motel noir infused with paranoia and destruction and inspired by the shadowy locations of STARK FEAR. Read/view “Stark Raving Mad” here.

There’s a bunch of stuff from me and Tyler Keith​:
1. I wrote a speculative memoir from the point of view of former child star Skip Homeier, “The Bad Husband.” Read it here.
2. I wrote a long story, “Cruising the El Nora,” inspired by the El Nora Motel, a key location in STARK FEAR. It includes original photos from Tyler Keith. Read/view here.
3. I read “Cruising the El Nora” with an original score from Tyler Keith. Listen here.
4. I interview Tyler Keith about writing noir songs, growing up in the Christ-haunted south, and touring in punk bands, and he plays a handful of songs live in the studio. Listen here.
5. I read a sci-fi story by Dwight V. Swain. It features a nudist camp, x-ray glasses, Nazi secret agents, and goatees that “jerk with contempt.” Listen here.

Also, a couple of byNWR mainstays:
Charlie Beesley helps us discover his Discarded America.
Peter Conheim brings us more tales from the Restoration benches.

If you missed my volume intro, here it is.

And I made a playlist on Spotify for the volume.

That’s a lot. Sorry. This is a project I’ve been working on for about a year, and I’m glad it’s finally out there. Thanks to the amazing contributors. Thanks to James Banks, Jules Holland, and everyone at Bureau in the UK. Thanks especially to the minds behind byNWR: Jimmy McDonough and Nicolas Winding Refn. If you want to get a peek behind the curtains of byNWR, check out this piece in The Quietus.

One more quick note:
-Chapter 2 of DARK BRINK OF LOVE will go live on April 1st. It features contributions from Ace Atkins, Laura Lee Bahr, Violet LeVoit, and Theresa Starkey.
-Chapter 3 will go live on May 1st. It features contributions from Sarah Weinman, Scott Adlerberg​, Marya E. Gates, and Jack Pendarvis.

Thanks for reading.
You are now entering the Dark Brink of Love…


On Gravesend

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