Sunday, 31 May 2009

Signing session at The Shetland Times Bookshop, and the odd availability of used copies prior to publication

Mentions in this week's Shetland Times and Shetland News, and big thanks to Edna at the Shetland Times Bookshop for organising a signing on Saturday 20th June, 2-4pm. If you're in the vicinity of Coalfishreek, Queen of the Zetlandic Fleshpots, please come! It's midsummer, after all...

One odd thing. If you go to the listing for Serpentine on Amazon today, six days before the book's official publication, you will find three 'used' copies (identified as 'news/used')for sale from Amazon associates. I can only surmise that these are review copies passed on to second hand bookshops by journalists anxious, in these straitened times, to make a fast, if meagre, buck. Also, one online retailer is selling the book, brand new, for just £4.79. But plus £2.75 postage...

Monday, 25 May 2009

Serpentine in today's Herald diary

Wee piece at the end of today's Herald diary concerning the pitfalls of book signings...

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Serpentine in The Scottish Review of Books

It's funny when you see someone else's take on your book, and - while enthusiastic, thank goodness - it varies from your own perceptions. I've never seen Murricane as the hero of the book - for me it's a two-hander with Flaws, who is in many ways Murricane's deeply damaged and fumbling alter ego...anyway. See what you think yourself!

Broadcaster, writer and musician Tom Morton has created Shetland's answer to James Bond in his new novel Serpentine. Former SAS agent Mark Murricane leads the search for the elusive Serpentine, a roving terrorist involved in the 'Troubles' of Northern Ireland and now causing chaos on an international scale. Like Bond, Murricane has a facility for escaping from tight spots armed with a gun, some explosives and a quip or two. Our hero changes locations at breakneck speed. We first meet him in Gaza, where he frees a British hostage, and then follow him to the Scottish Highlands and Ireland, as he confronts ex-lovers, former RUC officers and other tough types.

Written in remarkably smooth diction, this novel walks the line between crime and literary fiction. Fast paced, lucidly narrated and featuring articulate characters, Serpentine is an addictive read. Murricane is an odd but likable protagonist, a man of great foresight which makes up for his slight, wiry build.

The novel is laced with dark humour and bound together by the real-life mystery of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974, for which no-one has ever been charged.

The Scottish Review of Books, Vol 5, Number 2, 2009

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Another review (don't know what it says) but Poet Buys Book In Consequence (for partner)!

According the excellent Rachel Fox, whose poem-postcards adorn various Morton walls (I'm not just saying that):
I never know what to get my beloved for his birthday and having read a review of this today (in Scottish Review of Books) I think this might be a suitable candidate this year.
Good luck with it.

You can buy The Scottish Review of Books online (free postage) here. But don't just buy it for the review of Serpentine. That would be ridiculous. Though, admittedly and sadly, I just have.

But hey, to quote many an author: I never read reviews...

...and now, a word from my boss...

...Jeff Zycinski, who told me the other day he'd pre-ordered a copy of Serpentine and was expecting me to sign it.

Sign it? Given this very generous accolade, penned by Jeff for the cover but, alas, usurped (Mainstream's decision, Jeff, not mine)by Ian Bell, John Macleod and Margaret Chrystall (Herald, Herald and Highland News, respectively, he could have had one for...well, at a discount.

This is more than just a gripping page-turner. Morton combines his skill as a story-teller with the literary flair that readers will recognise from his other books
- Jeff Zycinski, head of BBC Radio Scotland

Cheers Jeff!

Monday, 18 May 2009

Overhearing my first review!

I was quite shocked to find myself listening to the first public comment on Serpentine, from James Lavery on BBC Radio Scotland's Book Cafe today.
"I have to say it's fantastic..." did he really say that? Well, for seven days after broadcast, you can check on the website.

I was quite overwhelmed to hear this because, although family members whose opinions I trust implicitly have been enthusiastic about the book (and indeed, I'd never have sent it off to a publisher if my eldest son hadn't approved the first draft), its arrival as a finished, bound publication in Friday quite freaked me out. I could hardly bear to open it, and the idea of reading it again filled me with despair.

Serpentine is published by Mainstream on 4 June. You can order it in advance from Amazon or Random House.

Now, well, one comment on the radio doesn't mean its going to fly off the shelves, but it's a start!

James's full comments are as follows:

"I've been reading Serpentine, and I have to say it's fantastic - I really, really like it. Now, there's one or two bones I have to pick with Tom Morton - there are some names in here are wholly inappropraite for his characters from Northern Ireland. But other than that - that's really trivial - as a thriller, this goes really well. It's epistolary - you get two or three different viewpoints. It's really, really good. I really like it."

Cheers James! And funnily enough, my wife picked up on the names thing as well. Mind you, she thinks it's a comedy...