Folks,

Heated question for y'all, from Canada of all places, frozen as it is.

So, you get a doorstopper galley of something called The Finger's Twist, from a local (Winnipeg, Manitoba) publisher (Turnstone) dumped on your desk, with a note from the books editor to maybe take a look. So, of course, you ignore it. You're a senior editor at the only major independent broadsheet west of Toronto, review mystery/crime/suspense as a labour of love, certainly not for the money -- there isn't any. You get a couple dozen books a week dumped on you. You get to review 4 in a monthly column -- but it's one of the few remaining full-zoom Books sections in the country.
So why lug this bloody thing home? You read a couple pages while you're waiting for some slug freelancer to file. You got 4 sections a week to put out and three websites to run -- not much time to play. What's this? Some bozo and a dame in a wheelchair? Who the F cares? Toss it aside. Sits for another week. Then, what the hell - nothing to read. Column's done, another batch of heavyweights knocking off dicta-novels, even some favourite guys like Crais and Kellerman and Connelly. So, lug the F-ing thing out to the car, dump it in the back seat, where it sits for another week.
Now, absolutely nothing to read but this year's 9th James Patterson autopilot thing with no-name collaborators -- a fate worse than death. Pick Twist up. Next stop -- 6 am.
So, wangle a stand-alone review. First time. Name it Canadian mystery of the year. But the eastern critics don't bite. Starts selling out locally, but so what? That and a loonie'll buy you a cuppa coffee. And it starts selling out in Toronto and Calgary 'cause there are only 1,100 copies, and maybe the publisher hasn't a clue what to do if all of them sell out.
Then you get blabbing online with this Lamothe guy, who turns out to be "one of us", an ex-Toronto Sun crime-desk guy who's written some well-regarded true-crime Mafia books, but just two novels, including the one you've just read. And he sends you maybe the last remaining copy in THE KNOWN UNIVERSE of his FIRST novel, The Last Thief, and it's MAYBE BETTER.
What the F do you do to help get this guy out there?
And yes, I'm sure there are a bazillion writers in exactly the same situation, wondering exactly the same thing.
So, I'm asking the question, and tellin' ya this: If you can get this guy from amazon.ca, do it.
John Sullivan
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Oh, and in case anyone gives a rat's ass what I think (and why the hell should you?), here's the review link:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/entertainment/books/breakout-myste...

And my backup from Calgary -- but then, they're buried in snow: http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/booksandthearts/story.htm...
Hey John, got an excerpt online anywhere?
Folks for those interested Turnstone Press has an excerpt of The Finger's Twist up on their site. Lee Lamothe
Unfortunately, not. Or, at least, not that I know of. js
Hey John,

Good to see you at Crimespace. I know you don't like my books very much (they're not for everyone, I know) but we both like Lee Lamothe. I haven't read this new one yet, but his non-fiction is terrific. I highly recommend The Sixth Family, it's not just for Canadians.

And have you read Mike Knowles' books set in Hamilton, Darwin's Nightmare and Grinder? Both very good.
Not true, John.

Here's what I said about Everybody:

Crime-fiction patrons addicted to the ubiquitous climes of L.A., New York and other big-city American venues, or somewhat less predacious British locales, should seriously consider the gritty methadone treatment of John McFetridge's Toronto.

What, you say? Crime, corruption and base perfidy in Toronto the Good? Who knew?

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (ECW Press, 300 pages, $29) is as gritty a tale of drug wars, biker gangs, pervs, hookers, bent cops and multicultural friction as you'll find anywhere south of the border, set in the nouveau, glitz-and-greed metropolis you only thought you knew -- and that 1969-era Neil Young wouldn't recognize.

From the moment a plummeting body from the roof of a seedy Parkdale apartment block splats a biz-boy's Beemer SUV, interrupting negotiations on a drive-thru BJ, McFetridge navigates a breathless plot punctuated by slick, staccato dialogue.

Impressively, this belies some serious character-plumbing skills, applied not just to a single protagonist but to a brittle cast of memorably diverse characters on both sides of the thin blue line.

A breakout effort for McFetridge (this is his second novel) and a rude awakening for the rest of us. Toto, we're not in your momma's Toronto anymore.



It's true that I didn't like Swap. Hated it in fact. But I think part of my reaction was that I'd liked Everybody so much.

Re Lamothe: I've read about 150 novels this year, and the absolute worst thing about this gig is picking the four per month that I can review. (I've tried to talk the Books Editor into a twice-monthly column, but so far to no avail.) I always feel that I've taken the books under false pretences, that the authors and publishers aren't getting anything from me for their free copies. But there's some temporary relief from that angst when you trip over (literally -- it was a telephone book-sized galley) something like the Finger's Twist. Out of those 150 or so, I'd put it at maybe the third- or fourth-best, up there with Fred Vargas, Jo Nesbo, Adrian McKinty, John Connolly, etc.

Yes, I read Grinder, and reviewed it. Maybe 'cause I'm from Dundas (born in Hamilton). For what it's worth, here's what I said:

Wilson, a guy with no first name, is The Grinder (ECW Press, $25, 220 pages), a ghostly underworld fixer who goes off the grid as a P.E.I. tuna fisherman to escape mob infighting in author Mike Knowles' native southern Ontario.

Unearthed by his über-nasty former boss and blackmailed with threats against his only friends, Wilson plows through a gaggle of underlings to find out who's grabbed the boss's gangster-wannabe nephews.

There's more mayhem than mystery in this thin sequel to Knowles' 2008 debut, Darwin's Nightmare, and Wilson flunks the sympathetic anti-hero test with his unrelieved brutality.

Still, Grinder displays some nascent storytelling chops and a viable future for the Hamilton schoolteacher.

Ha, well you know how it is, we only remember the bad ones ;) Oh well, have to keep taking risks, can't play it safe.

Yes, these days with so many newspapers lsing review sections altogether even once a month is good to have.

Nice to see the Adrian McKinty on your list, too. I really liked Fifty Grand and now I'm reading the Bloomsday trilogy, great stuff.
I'm not sure what you can do besides telling everyone you know. I guess use whatever contacts you have among reviewers and crime authors to spread the word like you're doing here. I bet I'm not the only one here who would take a look at the first 30 or 40 pages and spread the word (and maybe buy it) if I like it. See #1 below about putting excerpts on his web site. In my case, if I like it, I'd mention it in my podcast, where I sometimes do reviews. (I should note that my podcast has been kind of dormant for several months but I am in the process of ramping back up).

Most of what needs to be done, he has to do:

1.Get a web site. Doesn't have to be anything special, but it should have some excerpts and "buy the book(s)" links.

2.He and his publisher need to have a plan for sales/marketing. Based on what you've said, maybe another print run is in order. Maybe they already do have a plan. Is he offering ebooks/kindle?

3.it wouldn't hurt to do some social media, particularly facebook. But if that's not his style, he can certainly do fine without it.

4.It's no secret that short of an expensive marketing blitz, you sell books by getting people to tell people. There are a million ways to do that, none of them certain to work, but I guess that's what he needs to do.
I agree with Edward. He should put up a website with some Buy Book buttons. Also set up a blog here and also another blog. Also blog commenting with links to the webpage in his sig line, etc...

Facebook I think is a must at this point and get in touch with online reviewers.

just my two cents.
Thanks to all for the suggestions and the pleasant comments. Likely I'll put up a website in the New Year once I find some pointy head to hire to do it. I'm the most non-techie guy on the planet and likely the least modern man: I actually tell time by looking at a device called a "watch" that I attach daily to my wrist, not having a cellphone; I lace my shoes in the morning, velcro being to me a suspicious matter of unknown origin, possibly communist. And I'm therefore not even certain that this message will actually leave my computer.

I'm still getting a handle on this website thing; to the folks who sent me nice emails about becoming friends, I apologize for not having responded.

I'm a fairly verbal person and will I'm sure have something to say that hopefully will add to the site.

So, thanks for the welcome.

Lee
Welcome, Lee. Yes, a website by all means! With an e-mail address so you can keep your fan mail separate from your regular e-mail.
And much good luck!
You seem to be the victim of boredom, Lee. Or maybe boredom is your friend. I almost never come to this site anymore, but out of sheer 'nothing better to do on a long holiday' I dropped in. Googling you yields almost nothing of substance. If it wasn't for a review in a Canadian press I'd have passed you by even though the barely readable stream of conciouness intro to this thread was sorta interesting. Instead I persued you through Google, Amazon and to a newspaper.

Why make me work so hard?

You gotta get a web page and put an exerpt on it so someone like me can read it and decide if the critics are full of shit or what. You gotta show up better in a google search. What? You think the internet is a passing fad? I don't Facebook or Twitter but I do Google. Sheesh, if you don't show us what/how you write how are we gonna know?

I'm taking a leap of faith and ordering the last of your books on Amazon. As opposed to the others here who welcome you I've given you my money. So I've paid for the priviledge to tell you what I want , what I really really want.

Sounds like you have two very unusual characters. It'll be interesting to see what they're like.

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