Sunday, November 16, 2008


A convoluted title to this blog entry, but it makes sense, believe me!

Well, it seems like an age since I have had a moment to sit down and write a proper blog entry. I have many excuses, but excuses are merely that and nothing more.

So what’s been happening?

Well, as you can see from the two photo galleries (‘Bouchercon 2008’ and ‘Sights and Scenes of Baltimore’) I came back from Baltimore with numerous pictures. I wanted to get them on the site before I wrote another blog, just so I could stop saying ‘I have nearly got around to the pictures…promise!’ Well, my wife took on the job of updating the galleries, and she sat and uploaded and titled every one. The bulk of the pictures feature my very good friend Ali Karim, editor of Shots Magazine, and you should check out his own blog for some of the anecdotes from our trip.

That was Baltimore. Now we come to Washington. I am off to Washington in the early part of next year for Barrack Obama’s inauguration. I will be there for a couple of days, no more than that, because we are filming a short piece for a BBC program called ‘Inside Out’. Considering the fact that ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ is set in Washington, we felt it was apropos to do a feature piece on the book in the city of its setting. Tying that in with the inauguration of the most important President-elects in the better part of a century, I think it will be an interesting feature. It will be aired on BBC Midlands ‘Inside Out’ program sometime towards the end of March, and then it should be syndicated to the other regional networks. It will also be accessible online, of course, on the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ program web link. As soon as I have a transmission date I’ll let you know.

And so to ‘The Anniversary Man’, the book slated for publication in June 2009. I am sorry to have to inform you that the release has been moved to October 2009. I don’t know what to tell you about this apart from the fact that it was a purely strategic decision on the part of my publisher. The book is done, is ready to go, the title is agreed, the cover is designed, the job is finished, but due to the fact that the paperback version of ‘A Simple Act Of Violence’ is coming out in April 2009 they felt that releasing a new hardback two months later would be too soon. All I can do is apologize. There is nothing I can do to change this, and though I would have liked to have released the book in June, delaying it does make sense from a business-orientated perspective, and it is a business after all!

Next is ‘The Darkest River’. Well, I have received so many, many e-mails from people asking when there will be another book like ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’ – the sort of smalltown drama-type thing, that I have written one. Completed about two weeks ago, its working title is, as mentioned, ‘The Darkest River’. Set in the small town of Monticello in northern Florida, the book begins a week before the assassination of Jack Kennedy, and ends approximately a week afterwards. It is the story of Lewis Hunter, a young man accused of murdering a black girl, and the investigation that ensues. Drawn into this drama is his father, the writer Paul Fredericks, a man who – until November 1963 – was utterly unaware of the fact that he had a son. Due to go to Dallas to interview President Kennedy and the First Lady on November 22nd, Fredericks is diverted to northern Florida by the young man’s mother, and as a result of his own sense of emotional responsibility, also his curiosity about whether or not his ‘new-found son’ was actually the guilty killer, he stays for the duration of the Police investigation and the subsequent aftermath. Cutting through these events is the assassination of JFK and the events of November 22nd in Dallas. Similar in length to ‘A Quiet Belief In Angels’, and perhaps a little less ‘prose-driven’, it is nevertheless a story in a similar sort of vein, certainly from the emotional angle, and – if all goes according to the new schedule – it should see the light of day somewhere around the tail-end of 2010.

Lastly, we come to ‘The Saints of New York’, my working title for the 2011 book which I have recently begun. A contemporary setting – New York. A troubled and harassed homicide detective, Frank Parrish, not only having to contend with daily consultations with the Precinct Counsellor for his wayward and subversive behaviour, is also investigating the deaths of a number of teenage girls. Through his daily discussions with the counsellor, we learn of Frank’s father, John Parrish, a much-decorated member of the Organized Crime Control Bureau and the Brooklyn Organized Crime Strike Force. Despite his many commends and citations, despite the endless record of successful arrests and convictions, John Parrish was not who the world believed he was. A member of the ‘Saints of New York’, a handful of corrupt and self-serving NYPD officers who collaborated with organized crime networks, John Parrish was involved in some of the most important heists that took place in the 70s and 80s, including the infamous Lufthansa heist, which was – at the time – the largest robbery ever to take place on the United States mainland. Netting the better part of six million dollars, only one hundred thousand dollars was ever recovered. I shall not say anymore, ‘cause I ain’t written anymore!

So that’s where I have been and what I have been up to. ‘A Simple Act of Violence’ is selling, and has been received well. A review from The Guardian said ‘This is an awesome achievement – a thriller of such power, scope and accomplishment that fanfares should herald its arrival’. Well, I couldn’t have asked for a better response.

So I leave you my thanks for all your continued support and encouragement. I have received a wealth of e-mails, and I have answered them all, and will continue to do so. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

We will speak before Christmas, I am sure, but – being a huge fan of Christmas myself – I want to take this opportunity to wish you all the most wonderful time before anyone else has a chance!

I am looking forward to 2009, not only from the viewpoint that another book will find its way out into the world, but also that I will have the chance to speak to so many more of you in person at the numerous events we are planning.

Take care my friends.
(p.s. An update - considering the hugely prohibitive cost of accomodation in Washington during the week of the inauguration, we have decided to go a week later, and stay for longer. We are planning interviews with homicide detectives, a trip to Arlington Cemetery, the Washington Monument, the White House and Capitol Hill. I am not certain of the broadcast date, but it should be some time in March.)


one-eyed Jack said...

Disappointed to hear that TAM has been put back 4 months - personally I would hate to be so easily manipulated by a publisher, I'm still not convinced that self-publishing is a no-no. As for THE DARKEST RIVER, I winced a little when you said that it will be "a little less ‘prose-driven’", I must admit what I loved so much about AQBIA was just that: the prose. And as for the ‘Saints of Gotham City’, does a part of that story share a theme with GOODFELLAS?

Anyway I know it's been an amazing year for you Roger, here's hoping 2009 is even better.

R J Ellory said...

Well, I don't know about being 'manipulated' by a publisher. I have a contractual agreement with my publisher (and they have been extraordinarily good to me; very supportive when we weren't selling, perhaps even more so than when we were!), and when it comes down to it you have to take into account the fact that a publisher, regardless of how much belief they might have in an author, does have to survive as a commercial endeavour. You understand this as well as anyone. And as far as 'The Darkest River' being a little less prose-driven, I should perhaps amend that slightly. AQBIA was written in a style that suited the subject matter, and each book is the same from that angle. 'City of Lies' was far more hard-boiled, you know? Anyway, the southern drama aspects are still there, and it is a very emotive book, but whereas AQBIA dealt an awful lot with Joseph's own internal world and his thoughts and considerations, 'The Darkest River' is not that internal, at least not in the same way. And yes, you see through things once again my friend...even this morning I was writing the section of 'The Saints' book that deals with the internal Police corruption that surrounded the Lufthansa heist, so brilliantly portrayed in 'Goodfellas'.
Speak soon.

martin said...

I was sad to hear I've got to wait almost a year for the next book, but I can understand it from the publishers point of view. I reckon when the paperback comes out, it will fly off the shelves. I like the sound of all the new books you have in the pipeline, can't wait to read them. To be honest, I don't know when you find the time to write, with everything you have on.
By the way wanted to ask you what you thought of cormac mccarthy. I've heard a lot about him recently, in particular a film of his book no room for old men and the road which he won the pullizer prize for.
All the best mate

R J Ellory said...

Hey Martin,
Good to hear from you. McCarthy is a great author, but - I think - an acquired taste. 'No Country for Old Men' is the book that most people know him for, but that's because of the film. Also 'The Road', which is really quite bleak but brilliant. 'Suttree', one of his earlier books, I found hard work. He is someone I find it very easy to admire, but a little less easy to read. Again, it's so subjective and personal. Try 'No Country...' and let me know what you think.
Speak soon,

martin said...

It certainly will be something to remember when you go to USA to see Obama's inauguration. I hope too that he can do some good for the richest country in the world, especially considering the challenges he faces.
Saw your recent video for Orion and found it very interesting. You certainly have had a very tragic life when you were young. Do you think it helped mould you into the writer you are today?
I read Cormac McCarthy book No Country for old Men, and found it excellent. A little difficult to get used to his style, ie no speech marks and so on and it was very violent, but also thought provoking. I'm also going to try The Road. I've also been reading about Faulkner who Mccarthy has been compared to, and also Capote who I noticed you mentioned in your latest book. Whilst I can admire Capote as a writer, he was not without his problems, and didn't come across as a very likable character. However it is very interesting to learn about other authors and great to read so many different styles, because as you know apart from reading your great novels, writing myself is very close to my heart.

Queen Vic said...

I am not a huge believer in the significance of 'trauma' in defining a person's character. Perhaps it's better to say that the individual can hang on to that stuff, or he/she can let it go. What's past is past, and though it may inform who you are, I don't think it should influence how you feel and act for the rest of your life. As far as my own early life experiences are concerned, I never really granted them a great deal of importance. What was going on now, and the future, always seemed so much more significant.
And as far as your authors are concerned, Faulkner is hard work sometimes, but great. And Capote? Well 'In Cold Blood' - a masterpiece as far as I'm concerned, and one of my favourite books ever. I'd be really interested to know what you make of it.

R J Ellory said...

And I have absolutely no idea why I have suddenly appeared as 'Queen Vic'. I think that must be my wife's blogging address...? Bizarre!

Debbie said...

Hi Roger
Seriously disappointed in your publishers decision to put back The Anniversary Man - No sitting out in the garden on a summers evening with a glass of wine reading it then!
Don't suppose you really have a lot of choice and it is business after all.

Looking forward to it anyway

Queen Vic said...

I am obviously disappointed too, considering the fact that the thing was finished a year ago! Never mind, it will arrive eventually.
Good to hear from you. All okay?

R J Ellory said...

And once again the 'Queen Vic' tag appears! This is some kind of ghost that is following me...