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I've just heard that Requiems for the Departed, the Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone-edited anthology of crime stories of which I'm proud and honoured that my "The Life Business" is a part, has won the 2011 Spinetingler Award in (of course) the Best Anthology category.

In so doing, it beat out some pretty star-studded opposition -- among other nominees were Best American Noir of the Century edited by Otto Penzler and James Ellroy and First Thrills edited by Lee Child. My obvious suspicion is that the secret to its success lay in its having my own story last in the running order, so that readers had already decided to vote for the anthology by the time they got there.

Editors Gerard (
gerardbrennan) and Mike (mylefteye) are both thrilled to bits with the award, as well they should be -- huge congratulations to them.

realthog: (Default)

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.

realthog: (Default)

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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You almost certainly won't recall that a while ago I was crowing insufferably about my story "The Life Business" being accepted by Gerard Brennan and Mike Stone for their anthology of Irish crime stories, which was at the time called The Red Hand of Crime.

It has gone through a name chance since then, and is now called Requiems for the Departed, under which title it has just been blurbed by the estimable Reed Farrel Coleman:

Requiems for the Departed is as Irish as a broken heart, yet universal in appeal. Stuart Neville’s “Queen of the Hill” alone is worth the price of admission, but it’s only the cream at the top of the pint. With stories from the likes of Bruen, McKinty, Moore, and Grant, you’ll want to squeeze every last drop out of this glass.

Natch, the editors are cock-a-hoop -- as who wouldn't be?

March 2013

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