Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spend a few hours with The Last Four Days of Paddy Buckley.

Pity Poor Paddy. His pregnant wife died 2 years ago and he hasn't been the same since. He just walking through life like a zombie. But this half-life, such as it is, just got very precious to him. He's just killed a man.

Sure, it was an accident. A pedestrian jaywalking on a dark rainy night, a brief distraction from the radio, the sound of a thump, and his life is changed. Things go from bad to worse when Paddy realizes who he's killed...Donal Cullen, brother of the most powerful gangster in Ireland. His initial thought was to seek help. But after the shock of his discovery this idea is tossed to the street to be washed into the sewer like the rain. His instinct is to flee, and he follows it. There are no witnesses...he assumes.

He barely has time to gather his wits around him when he is called into the office the next day and given a new assignment, which takes him face to face with Vincent Cullen...the dead man's brother.

Paddy, you see, works for a funeral home. He's been given the job of burying the very man he killed.

Mother said there'd be days like this. If only we had listened.

Not all is bleak for Paddy, however. He's also fallen in love with the daughter of one of his clients. The whirlwind romance feels solid, perhaps a second chance at redemption. But he's pursued by the fear of exposure that haunts his every move. At any moment, someone may point an accusing finger and reveal him a hypocrite and murderer. What's worse, his crime exposes not only him to danger, but the woman he loves, and if Vincent Cullen learns his secret, even the innocent will suffer.

Jeremy Massey has written an amazing debut novel. The Last Four Days Of Paddy Buckley is a thriller and a romance wrapped into a story that I couldn't put down...and neither will you. The writing is like poetry, the characters like the friends you haven't seen for years but can't forget.  After you're done, you'll savor it and want to read it again. Then you'll wonder...when will his next novel come out? And can you wait that long?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Writers Born Today - H.P. Lovecraft

It's the birthday of H.P. Lovecraft, born August 20th 1890 in Providence, Rhode Island. When he died, he was virtually unknown. Only a few of his stories had been published. Yet today he is recognized as one of the most influential writers of modern times. He knew and befriended many great authors of early science fiction and horror, including August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch and Robert E. Howard. They became known as The Lovecraft Circle, due to Lovecraft's influence on their writing. He corresponded with dozens of writers and edited countless stories without taking credit. Stephen King said he was "the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale," and credited Lovecraft with King's interest in horror and the macabre.

As a writer of horror Lovecraft was a genius, and coined the phrase known by even non-Lovecraft fans, “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”

His health was frail for most of his life. As a result he did not graduate from high school. But he studied on his own and was well read in science and astronomy. He was generous with his editorial assistance to fellow writers, but his own contributions to magazines such as Weird Tales brought him little money. By the time he died of cancer in 1937 he was broke.

After his death, August Derleth worked to maintain Lovecraft's reputation and increase interest among readers. Derleth even started a publishing company named Arkham House (named after a setting in Lovecraft's stories) with the express purpose of publishing Lovecraft's work. His fans bought him a tombstone in his home town of Providence. And in 2005, the Library of America honored him by publishing an edition of his stories, H.P. Lovecraft: Tales.