The Master and the Knave

Writer’s Blog – Stardate – 22.01.2013

Eight days since my last blog. That’s OK. I’ve been having a lazy time of it since publishing the third R&M. I deserved it. Actually, since uploading the book I’ve spent the week since feeling the same as I did after finishing my four year degree course. Free. Unchained.

I had intended to get the last book in my series out there and then start investigating self-promotion in a serious way (as everyone says one must pppfffttt). I need to do something. I just read on some guy’s blog (he knows his stuff by the way) that self-publishing a book is a futile exercise if you’re not going to follow it up with self-promotion and all that that entails. Sigh. My download figures would lend weight to that argument.

But alas, I’m not in the mood. What I am in the mood for is writing.

Another guy who I was reading about said that authors have to read, read, read. He’s right. Experiencing the writing of others can have a big effect and influence. It does for me anyhow. Take this week for example.

I had a few books lined up for reading when I was free of my own. The two and a half that I’ve read so far have impacted on me as follows.

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler. Any praise that I heaped on this book and this writer would be a drop in the literary ocean for the praise that he has received from his peers and the critics. More than a few times, I found myself reading a passage or some dialogue and having to put the book down because it was so good I just wanted to hang on to it for a few seconds longer; just savour the sublime brilliance of a craftsman. Philip Marlowe is such a cool dude. Descriptions and similes are utterly original and wholly appropriate. Chandler must have worked so hard at his craft. Absolutely brilliant.

Killing Floor by Lee Child. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book (the first in a long running series) for a good while, ever since I borrowed it from a friend. I had a fancy that I could learn something from someone who has proved a huge success in the thriller genre before I go on to get stuck into my Patrick Sansom re-writes. I see them as similar in genre. Having finished Killing Floor I don’t see them similar anymore. Killing Floor is utter shit. One of the worst books I have ever forced myself to finish. And I am amazed.

Child has tried to imitate Chandler (I read that somewhere and it is weakly and painfully obvious) and failed so utterly miserably. Child’s prose and dialogue, plotting and form is so, so, so… childlike. Absolutely appalling. What reading this man has done is made me think that my Sansoms aren’t that bad after all.

I’m including a link here for myself for future quick reference. When I was part way through reading Killing Floor and thinking how awful it was I had the idea to check out the feedback page on Amazon for the book to see if it was just me. Really, that seems like a yard-stick these days. Out of 405 reviews there are 24 one star reviews and 22 two star reviews. That says a lot. And I agree with all of the 1 stars. Total rubbish. Wait till I see my friend.

The Long Good-bye by Raymond Chandler. Please see above comments for TBS. Just too brilliant for words. I hate finishing every page because it means I’m one page nearer the end and I haven’t got any more of his books.

So what am I up to now? I’ve started a new book in a new series (another one?). And Mr Chandler has had his influence. I’m trying a bit of hard-boiled detective. Writing and enjoying it. I just like writing crime, I suppose. As a tribute to Mr Chandler I’m stealing a phrase from The Long Good-Bye for the title – A Rich Full Sadness.

2 thoughts on “The Master and the Knave

    • Thank you, Francis. I’ll be interested to see how you find it as an addition to the series, when you get around to reading it. Please, be sure to let me know when your book is available for download. Have a good day.

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