Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox

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My new novel, Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox, is available now to buy for $3.99 here at Amazon.com and here at Amazon.co.uk for £2.47 and here for $3.99 at the Barnes & Noble Nook store. Very soon, it will also be available at the Apple store as well as in Kobo.

Transatlantic, The Ballad of Thomas Fox, tells the story of Mayo man Thomas Fox and his adventures – or should that be misadventures – working in NYC in 1984 as an illegal Irish migrant worker.

The inspiration for the story was my own experience working in NYC in the mid-1990s and the time I spent mixing with the Irish community there – the only difference is my stay in the Big Apple was minus the Irish gangsters and pretty girls!

If you do decide to purchase the book, please don’t forget to leave an honest review on whichever platform you bought the book.

New Book Release!

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The second volume of my crime fiction/black comedy from a planned six Napoleon Clancy books, Cuyahoga Blues, is now available for $2.99 here or for £1.85 here and at all other Amazon stores worldwide, as well as soon in the B&N Nook store here also for $2.99 To celebrate the new release, I am giving the first volume, Spaghetti Junction, away for FREE in Apple here and Kobo here though in all Amazon and B&N Nook stores the price will remain at 99c/77p until they price match it. However, the FREE ‘price’ may still take a few days to show up in the Kobo store, unfortunately.

All reviews, however good or bad, will be greatly appreciated.

Happy reading!

The Inspirational Bill Hicks

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I first saw the late, great Bill Hicks – once dubbed “the most dangerous comedian in the world” – on The Tube, a late night British programme on Channel 4, in 1992, and I was immediately hooked. His humour was altogether something else: It was clever, made you think, and above all was funnier than anything I’d ever seen in my life. Before Hicks, my favourite comedian had been Dubliner Dave Allen, whom my father and both grandfathers loved; but though Allen was funny, his humour was a bit old-fashioned for me and lacked any of the funky, youthful rebel-rousing nature content that Bill Hicks was famous for. The Arkansas native followed in the footsteps of Lenny Bruce and George Carlin: both these comedians spoke of taboos that very few other comedians would talk about, yet Hicks did. Like Bruce and Carlin before him, Hicks was a comedian’s comedian, a man bent on comedic self-destruction for the sake of his art. The supreme iconoclast of American culture in his day, he died too young at the age of 32 in 1994.

One of the funniest sketches I ever saw him perform was about UFOs. This was off the back of a reported UFO sighting in Fyffe, Alabama in 1989. You can watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1MuT_KSOo4. The piece was off his Relentless album and basically makes fun of Southerners and Alabama. I used this as one of the plot themes in the second volume of my Napoleon Clancy PI books, called Cuyahoga Blues. In the book, Napoleon ‘Nappy’ Clancy and his sidekick Barry Fanning make their way down to Alabama in an attempt to rescue Clancy’s kids from some rough and mean bikers.

On the way to Alabama, Clancy and Fanning have a conversation about comedians:

“What are you laughing at?” I say to Barry as he’s cracking up at something on the internet.

“Jaysus, kiddo, I’m just readin’ on Wiko about this Bill Hicks… Never heard of the fella before.”

“You’ve never heard of Bill Hicks?” I say with amazement.

“No, honestly.”

“He was some comedian.”

“It’s very subjective, though, comedy, yer know wha’ I’m sayin’?”

“How do you mean?”

“It’s just very subjective… Take Monty Python, for example… D’yer like Monty Python, Nappy?”

“They’re all right, yeah.”

“Well I have to say I don’t understand it at all… Now I’m not tryin’ to tell yer I’m a thick shite an’ the jokes just fly passed me, because they don’t – I understand them, it’s just I don’t appreciate them.”

“Why’s that then?”

“I don’t know. It’s unexplainable.”

“So who do you like?”

“Dave Allen. Tommy Tiernan. Jarlath Regan. Dermot Morgan was gas too before the fella went an’ died on us, God rest the poor man’s soul.”

“But they’re all Irish, Baz.”

What of it?

“Well, I don’t know – what about the Americans and the British comedians?

“Like who?”

“Adam Sandler. Chubby Brown-”

“Chubby fuckin’ Brown’s the biggest perverted shitehawk tha’ ever walked the earth,” Barry gasps, “an’ as for Adam Sandler, no comment.”

“What about Denis Leary – Irish-American, can’t be bad?”

“Too crass.”

“Okay, but if you were going to rate your top five, who would they be?”

“Allen, Tiernan, Regan, Morgan an’ err, Podge an’ Rodge.”

“But you’re missing my point, Baz… Of all time… And anyway, you chose six.”

“I chose five.”

“Podge and Rodge make it six.”

“Ah, they’re only muppets anny way, so they shouldn’t at all count.”

“Nah, but serious – who’s in the top five. You’ve got to count stand-up, film comedians and all that.”

“Hard question tha’.”

“Well just have a go.”

“I wouldn’t know where to start – an’ yerself?”

“Charlie Chaplin’s got to be on the list somewhere.”

“I don’t think Charlie’d count, kiddo.”

“Why not?”

“He wasn’t a comedian.”

“Yeah he was.”

“He was a silent film actor.”

“Still a funny bloke.”

“I’ll tell yer wha’ I’ll do, I’ll put it in Wiko to see wha’ comes up… Grea-test… com-ed-ians… of… all… time,” Barry says as he’s hitting the keyboard. “Ah, here we are. We’ve got: One-hundred greatest stand-ups of all time… The ten best comedians of all time… Ah, I’ll go with tha’ one… Jaysus, I don’t believe it,” Barry then says.

“What is it?”

“Bill Hicks number one. Louis C.K number two. Richard Pryor number three. George Carlin number four. Bill Burr number five… an’ a black fella’s number six called Patrice O’Neill, a Paddy no doubt.”

“But is that for stand-up?”

“No. For sit down.”

“You’re boring, Baz.”

“Well, none of these fellas would be on me list… Well, maybe George Carlin an’ yer man Ricardo Pryor.”

“Pryor was a really funny bloke.”

“Yea’, especially in that film Bulger’s Millions.

Brewster’s Million, Baz.”

“Well, whatever the title, gas film all the same.”

“Carlin was a bit hard to understand.”

“Clever fella – made yer think at the same time yer were crackin’ up.”

“Check to see if you can find anything on Bill Hicks and UFOs in Fyffe?”

“All righ’, kiddo… Ah, here’s somethin’ on YouTube… Here… Bill Hicks UFO’s… Listen to this:”

And then I have the funniest three and a half minutes I’ve had in all my time since I’ve been here, listening to Bill Hicks take the piss out of poor Fyffe, Alabama… And I know, I know, I shouldn’t be cracking up and laughing and having a good time at the expense of Fyffe, Alabama, because my kids are in the hands of some loony who wants to sell them off to some paedophiles.

“Fuck me, Baz, that was funny,” I say with tears in my eyes.

“Jaysus, wasn’t it – maybe I’ll have to put Mr Hicks in front of Mr Allen on me list?”

“Yeah, I think you’ll have to, mate…”

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Now, if you want to know what happens, you’ll be able to read Cuyahoga Blues very soon, as it will be available at Amazon, Kobo, Nook, and the Apple iStore, though I’d recommend you first grab a copy of Spaghetti Junction here at Amazon.com, here at Amazon.uk, here at the Apple iStore, here at the Barnes & Noble Nook store, and here at Kobo for 99c/77p before you do that, the first volume in a six book series on the pair of private detectives.