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Update

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:

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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.

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6. Here’s Death Don’t Have No Mercy on Jack Pendarvis’s recommendation shelf at Square Books.

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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.

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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.

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Goddamn Good Days

1. Thanks to Will Byrnes for this kind & thoughtful review of GRAVESEND. Made my day.

Especially appreciated this part:
“While the bulk of the story is dark, there are some rays of light. Good can be found, although more in thought than deed. Hope digs its way back up to the surface, allowing for some second chances. Alessandra’s affection for a particular painting at the Met can be seen both as an artistic inspiration and an omen. Her participation in various forms of Manhattan life lifts her spirits. After all, she did manage to make it out to the west coast. But hope had better move quickly before another body lands on it.”

(And thanks so much to everyone who has taken time to write a review.)

2. My favorite writer in the world, Willy Vlautin, read here in Oxford on Thursday night. Got to meet him finally – I’ve been a huge fan since I found The Motel Life and Northline at a bookstore in the Bronx in 2008, and we’ve e-mailed back and forth over the last few years, ever since I interviewed him for the Yalobusha Review. Goddamn, he’s the greatest guy I ever met, and I was trying not to geek out on him too much. He read on Thacker Mountain Radio, which was great, but I selfishly wish he’d done a solo reading, so he could’ve read longer and played a few songs and done a Q&A. But he read one of my favorite scenes from The Free, Jo opening up to Pauline in the hospital, and he played “The Kid from Belmont Street,” (the first song he plays here), which is about Jo. (Also check out “43”and “A Letter to the Patron Saint of Nurses” from We Used to Think the Freeway Sounded Like a River, songs that reveal where ideas for The Free originated.) We hung out after the reading at City Grocery with Willy – pals Tom & Beth Ann, Jimmy, Andy, Brendan, Cody were there too – and then a few of us went to dinner at Bouré. Man, what a great night. We talked about Jim Thompson and David Goodis and Charles Willeford and Ann Patchett and Pink Floyd and Tom Petty and The Motel Life movie and so mu ch great stuff it’s hard to call it all back up.  Jimmy, Andy, Brendan and I walked Willy back to his hotel around midnight, and one of my favorite things was Jimmy asking Willy if Jo was alright. “No, man,” Willy said. “I don’t think she is.  I’m sorry.”

Here’s a picture that Jimmy snapped at Bouré of Willy, Brendan, and me:

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3. I read at the public library here in Oxford on Thursday. Thanks to Laura Beth, Sarah, Andy, and everyone who came out – I had such a great time. I was nervous as hell about doing my first Q&A, but I think it went pretty well. Here are some pictures the library posted (my son, Eamon, was the real attraction as usual.)

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4. I made a soundtrack for Gravesend on Spotify a while ago. You can find it here.

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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

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