Thursday, January 27, 2005

I [heart] IAN RANKIN!

And if you don't, already, yourself, it's almost assuredly because you simply haven't read him yet. And to demonstrate why you, too, might love Ian Rankin, we need look no further than the epigraph to his new Inspector Rebus novel (set, as they all are, in and around Edinburgh, Scotland), FLESHMARKET ALLEY.

"The climate of Edinburgh is such that the weak succumb young...
and the strong envy them."

--Dr. Johnson to Boswell

Run, don't walk...

12 comments:

Ami said...

Finally...something I'll shout about.
I 'heart' Ian Rankin, too!!!!
(Look at me, using exclamation points like I'm Tom Wolfe or something.)

I'm NOT Charlotte Simmons.

Bill Peschel said...

I'd love to, but "Fleshmarket Alley" (note the name change) won't be available for another month, and Little & Brown refuses to share the review-copy love.

Mad Max Perkins said...

Dear Bill--

Actually, I bought a copy at a bookstore on Wednesday... So it's out there.

Anonymous said...

Recently caught Ian Rankin, along with Michael Connelly and Peter Robinson, speaking at the Harbourfront Reading Series in Toronto (International Men of Mystery), where he shared that same epigraph, and many other clever witticisms, as a part of his half-hour chat and reading. He is truly, ridiculously, pee-your-pants funny.

Rankin told a tale that evening that goes something like this (and remember, you have to think thick Scottish brogue, wry delivery): He had recently moved to a home on the same (grand) little road as fellow Edinburghians Alexander McCall Smith and JK Rowling… which they affectionately refer to as “Writer’s Block.”

One afternoon he gets a phone call – a SUN tabloid reporter (I won’t share his rich commentary on journalists of that ilk) – wants to know if he has comment on the murder that has just occurred down the road (remember… this man is a HUGE bestseller in the UK…probably a household name in Edinburgh). He graciously declines, but when he is out for a walk that afternoon he wanders past the home in question, sees the fuss and crime scene tape, and stops for a wee peek. Next morning, over breakfast, he is horrified to see his own mug on the cover of said tabloid, with the following caption (remember that brogue, now): “Ghoulish crime writer (what they call mystery writers in the UK) visits murder crime scene.” Next minute, AMS is at his door, chastising him good-naturedly for bringing disrepute to the neighbourhood! Hoot.

I can tell you, this man has such charisma… in the queue at the signing *everyone* had a Rankin book in their hands. Yet I bet many came that evening as fans, first and foremost, of Michael Connelly and Peter Robinson: Connelly in particular a perennial Canadian bestseller. While this was only one of many stops on a high-profile tour that included conventions, readings, BookTV etc. in Eastern Canada, it was immediately apparent that Rankin could sell books on public appearances alone. The very next week, Fleshmarket Close (the Cdn/UK title) was on the Globe & Mail bestseller list (may even have been his first appearance?), where it had a good double-digit run.

Eventually, you Yanks will clue in to Rankin.

TLG said...

Oh, that has me all excited and giggly. I am definately going to have to bump that up on the "to read" list.

Anonymous said...

nice move, max. you side-stepped the riot. only your pie-proof rankin hardcover has roots in the other story. seven books in, low sales, a handful of readers in public libraries, and rankin's editor decided to drop him off the side in a cost-effective re-shuffle. a timely golden dagger award...and guess who took the credit?

delightful D

Sarah said...

Rankin is indeed wonderful, but the *real* title of the book is FLESHMARKET CLOSE...

Actually that's a side point: what's up with title changes for different countries, and what's the impetus for doing so? I mean, I know why, but I'd be interested to hear it from the editor's mouth...

Bill Peschel said...

Is it out now? Oh, I am soooo there. And I'm getting a refund from Uncle Sugar this year to pay for it!

I've met Ian at two Bouchercons, including the infamous D.C. con when he showed up after his hair was "flowbeed" by his children. His poor head looked like it had been attacked by a weed-wacker.

Anonymous said...

I am perfectly willing to try hearting Ian Rankin after such ringing endorsements. Off to my local bookstore...

And PS, I MAY be Charlotte Simmons, but I am decidedly not whats-his-buckets girlfriend...

Jai said...

It's about time you over the pond caught onto Rankin!

Have you sussed Michael Dibdin yet? (different type of crime writing but still a great read)

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A VOCATION OF UNHAPPINESS [Courtesy Georges Simenon (1903-1985)]

"Writing is considered a profession, and I don't think it is a profession. I think that everyone who does not need to be a writer, who thinks he can do something else, ought to do something else. Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness. I don't think an artist can ever be happy."


PRACTICAL MARKETING [Courtesy Zornhau, 2005]

"They should put the 1st couple of pages up in subway adverts. Having read them several times, you'd feel compelled to try the book - if it was any good."


PLATE OF SHRIMP [Courtesy Alex Cox’s REPO MAN, circa 1984]

"A lot of people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch of unconnected incidences and things. They don't realize that there's this like lattice of coincidence that lays on top of everything. I'll give you an example, show you what I mean. Suppose you're thinking about a plate of shrimp. Suddenly somebody will say like "plate" or "shrimp" or "plate of shrimp" out of the blue, no explanation. No point in looking for one either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness."