Thursday, July 26, 2012

Our New Friend Comic Thriller Writer Lou Berney Stops by to Sign Stock.

Just because we don't have any events for a few days doesn't mean we aren't meeting interesting authors. Today Lou Berney was in to sign stock of Whiplash River before having a scheduled talk/signing at Mystery One on Prospect.

It's my thought that it's worthwhile for publishers to send authors in for stock signings, but sometimes publishers have too large a requirement to make the stop worthwhile. I now have publicists who ask for ten books minimum before they will schedule a stop. I'm sort of surprised because isn't it in the author's best interest to meet booksellers? Shouldn't we be the ones asking for something, as we are filling down time in the author's schedule, as well as the obvious event snub, as the author is clearly appearing elsewhere?

But we do bring in some copies for the author to sign if we think it's a good fit, and in Berney's case, we could immediately imagine booksellers who'd want to read his books, and customers we could sell them to. His two novels have gotten some great reviews, and his vibe is Elmore Leonardy, crime, but not quite traditional mysteries. And bad guys yes, but there are good bad guys and bad bad guys.

In the new novel (the two are related but the second is clearly not a sequel to Gutshot Straight, per the author), Shake Bouchon, formerly getaway driver for the Armenian mob in L.A., is now running a restaurant in Belize. He's not escaped entirely, being still the target of several hit men, as well as an FBI officer who wants him to rat out his former cohorts.

You get the picture. Marcus Sakey writes ""Slick, sleek, and wildly entertaining, Whiplash River is pure pleasure. I'm a snob for prose, and these words sing, managing to be at once lean and evocative, confident and wry. Lou Berney is that kind of annoyingly skilled stylist who makes everything look easy."

So Berney came by and I introduced him to some booksellers and made him give the elevator pitch. And I'm paraphrasing here, but he replied, "I've done Hollywood and I know I need to be ready for this, but..." Oh, we dragged it out of him. Hey, we make our visiting authors work! 

As someone who's both an avid reader and traveling to a lot of stores, Berney was up for a little chat about our favorite bookstores. We both oohed and ahhed about Elliot Bay and Powell's of course, and then tried to exchange tips on some lesser knowns. Berney wondered why I haven't been to Magers and Quinn yet. I confess that I don't think I've been to MSP since Baxter's closed, and that is really dating me. No, that's not true, but it has been a long time.

I asked what's going on in Oklahoma City, Berney's current home. I've been to Oklahoma once, but only Tulsa. The indie of note there is Full Circle Bookstore, at Penn Place. It's got a nice ambience, a cafe, events, and storytimes with Miss Julie. I learned that you abbreviate Oklahoma City "OKC." I like that!

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