Patti Abbott, doyenne of all things that need that kind of thing, has been asking strange men (and women) to post about books that you might have overlooked in your rush to snap up the latest James Patterson. *cough*
The idea is to unearth shining jewels from the dungheap of life, that all our souls may be enriched with shiny goodness. Just make sure you wash them first, otherwise there may be a lingering aroma that will spoil your reading pleasure.
Anyway, as I traditionally don't pay too much attention to the rules I'm going to indulge myself a little* and post about not one book, but two.
The first is SHOOTING DR. JACK by Norman Green. I discovered it in a crappy bookshop in San Francisco back in 2004 - the kind of place where it looks as if they've just rented out a big empty room for the week, stuffed it full of cheap tables and then heaped those tables with random titles in no particular genre or alphabetical order. The sort of place where they're probably going to be selling knocked-off electrical items next Wednesday. And the person operating the till has a face full of spots and a mouth full of gum. And they look at you as if to say, "You're buying a BOOK? Jesus, what a looooooser." That kind of bookshop.
But SHOOTING DR. JACK was well worth the hour and a half we spent rummaging through the self-help nonsense and two-curlingly awful fantasy novels. It tells the tale of what happens when things go seriously wrong for Stoney - an alcoholic junkyard owner in Brooklyn. Aided and abetted by his business partner Tommy 'Bagadonuts' Roselli and the strangely talented, but staggeringly naïve Tuco; Stoney gets caught up in the worst kind of drug-related shenanigans**. It's fast paced, brilliantly observed and very, very readable.
The second book I'm going to recommend is Adrian Hyland' brilliant debut, DIAMOND DOVE. It's one of those rare books that really takes you somewhere new - in this case the Australian outback as seen through the eyes of Emily Tempest, a young aboriginal woman, as she tries to return to her mob's traditional home of Moonlight Downs. DIAMOND DOVE has it all: Murder, intrigue and some truly stunning dialogue.
It won the 2007 Ned Kelly Award for best first novel and Christ knows why it isn't better known over here. Excellent book.
I liked it so much I actually wrote my first ever review (for Shotts Mag) and even got Adrian to submit to one of the most unprofessional interviews you're ever likely to come across. But at the UK publisher's request, my paltry efforts won't be going up on the website until the paperback comes out September.
Right, and now I'm going to crawl back under my rock, before I start ranting about Gordon Brown and the Kingdom of the Unfeasibly High Petrol Prices. Cock-weasel.
* Not like that, you filth merchants.
** Oh, come on - how often do you get to use the word 'Shenanigans' when talking about a crime novel?