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Yes, all, there's a review by Declan Burke on prime-time radio of the Gerard Brennan/Mike Stone anthology Requiems for the Dead that you can listen to here -- in fact, I'm sure it'd be possible, were one technoliterate, to download the mp3 file so one could play it on multiple occasions, perhaps -- who knows? -- to one's party guests. To anyone with a loose wallet, anyway.

I'm far too modest to mention that, well on through, there's a "hat's off" to my own humble offering, "The Life Business", which is apparently a "terrific story" -- a point of critical evaluation that I've been repeating to Pam on occasion, sometimes even while asleep.

Talking of reviews that have made me more insufferable than usual, it's no accident that the review I cited the other day by John L. Murphy is a cut above the average: I've discovered from Mike Stone that it's a cross-posting from Murphy's excellent site Blogtrotter, which I strongly suggest you visit: lots of good stuff there.

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The customer reviews on are frequently less Times Literary Supplement, more . . . well, lavatory wall, to be honest, but every now and then someone posts a review there that seems pretty professional. A reader called John L Murphy (who I see by clicking the relevant link has reviewed extensively on the Amazon site) has just given
the full treatment to Requiems for the Departed (edited by Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone and published by Morrigan, as if you needed telling).

Naturally everyone's agape to find out what he said about my contribution to the anthology, "The Life Business", so here we go:

Grant draws upon his [. . .] teenage stint as a British cadet to integrate disturbing and emotional reveries into his shape-shifting characters. "The Life Business" haunted me more than most previous ones, try as they might to shock or rattle. Grant, as a fantasy master, successfully conjures otherworldly senses into his narrative eerily.

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Requiems for the Departed, the anthology of crime stories inspired by Irish myths/legends, among which editors Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone foolishly included a tale of mine, has been reviewed on the Critical Mick blog.

Naturally I skipped past all of Critical Mick's opinions of other people's stories to the end of the review, my story having been placed last in the book perhaps in the hope that no one will get that far. Here's what he had to say:

"The Life Business" by John Grant

Memoir meets memory, the childhood crimes whose hammer blows and sharp chisels shape our adult lives. Grant's account of a summer camp on the banks of the Foyle, pre-Troubles, shines a beam far brighter than any Rupert Bear flashlight could cast. R4tD closes with a fantastic twist.

Critical Mick says:
Requiems for the Departed: Irish Crime, Irish Myths showcases magnificent stories of Ireland immemorial and unforgettable. May a perpetual light shine upon this legendary collection.

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Requiems for the Departed, the Gerard Brennan- and Mike Stone-edited anthology of Irish crime stories for which my tale "The Life Business" was lucky enough to be accepted, is to be published on June 1.

However, Morrigan are accepting pre-orders already, so hurry hurry hurry while stocks last!

Even more exciting is that there's going to be a limited (to 100 copies) hardback edition in addition to the originally planned trade paperback. This hardback is priced at an astonishingly modest £12.99 (plus shipping). As well as the authors listed on the cover there are Garry Kilworth, Una McCormack and Dave Hutchinson with stories here (seems really odd Garry isn't on the cover, come to think of it!), among lots of others, so you know you need to buy at least half a dozen copies for family and friends.

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I mentioned a while back that editors Gerard Brennan ([ profile] gerardbrennan) and Mike Stone ([ profile] mylefteye) had accepted my "The Life Business" for their anthology of crime stories rooted in Irish mythology, The Red Hand of Crime, to be published by Morrigan next year. Well, I heard this morning from Mike that the list of contributors has now been released into the public sphere, and here it is:

Adrian McKinty
Arlene Hunt
Brian McGilloway
Dave Hutchinson
Garbhan Downey
Garry Kilworth
John Grant
John McAllister
Ken Bruen
Maxim Jakubowski
Neville Thompson
Sam Millar
Stuart Neville
T.A. Moore
Tony Bailie
Tony Black
Una McCormack

Needless to say, I'm chuffed as all get-out to find myself in such distinguished company. The only disadvantage of such a situation is, of course, that all the reviews will say, "This otherwise brilliant book is marred by one true stinker of a story . . ."

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I was mighty pleased to hear this morning from Mike Stone ([ profile] mylefteye) that he and co-editor Gerard Brennan ([ profile] gerardbrennan) would like to include my 7700-word short story "The Life Business" in their forthcoming anthology The Red Hand of Crime.

The idea for the anthology is a fascinating one, which was what drew me to write something for submission in the first place: these are modern-day Irish crime stories (not just crime stories set in Ireland that could as well be set anywhere else) that have a thematic or other reference to Irish mythology or legend . . . which is, of course, not to say they're just modern re-enactments of ancient stories.

The myth I chose was St Patrick's ridding the island of serpents; other myths/legends/icons used apparently include Tir na nOg, the Bull of Cooley, Dairmuid and Grainne, the Salmon of Knowledge, the Red Hand of Ulster, King Lir, the Druids and Ogham script, the Banshee, and Queen Macha.

Contributors so far include people like Brian McGilloway, Garry Kilworth, Ken Bruen, Dave Hutchinson ([ profile] hutch0) and Adrian McKinty; you can understand why I'm so inordinately chuffed to be among their number! And also why I can't wait to get my hot little hands on a copy of the book . . .

So, that's: The Red Hand of Crime, edited by Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone, coming from Morrigan Books in late summer 2010.

March 2013

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