In the Aftermath of the Release of a New Tom Bishop Rampage

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with the release of OUT OF EXILE. I’ve been here, there and everywhere talking about Bishop’s latest rampage, writing guest posts all around the internets and generally having a good time doing it all.

Here’s quick overview of some of my favs!

GUEST POSTS

On the Momentum blog you’ll find some advice on HOW NOT TO GET SCREWED WHEN A PRODUCER WANTS TO OPTION YOUR NOVEL as well as HOW NOT TO READ OTHER PEOPLE’S NOVELS: A CAUTIONARY TALE.

Over at OmniMysteryNews I’m talking about “An Ex-Con, a Bag of Weed, and Rick Springfield on the Radio – Researching Out of Exile“.

Over at MURDER IS EVERYWHERE I’m talking about how to ESCAPE FROM MELBOURNE. A hint of advice on what to do when you find yourself in the city of Melbourne in the heart of a Saturday night, surrounded by drunks and violence.

INTERVIEWS

Over at READING KILLS the word ‘FUCK LITERARY FICTION’ comes out of my lips as well as other challenges.

At The Australian Literary Review I chat to Steve about writing, music and getting the words on the page no matter the cost.

I’m over with Josh at ‘Just a guy who likes to read’ chatting about noir, criminal characters and who would play Tom Bishop in the most ambitious feature film ever made.

OUT OF EXILE REVIEWS

And here’s a couple of the most recent reviews:

READING KILLS

One minute, ex-cop Tom Bishop is spending another sleepless night in his gaol cell; the next, a surprise prison transfer turns into an unwilling escape into a hot and bloody summer evening. From there, things for Bishop get worse: break and enter, murder, kidnapping—and that’s just the start of a brutal, tense and terrifyingly local (if you’re me—the author unexpectedly namedropped both my train line and workplace) thriller that is flat-out fast-paced feverishly-excited enjoyment throughout.

From the moment the book opens Bishop gets no respite, thrown from one situation into another, doing his best to help those in need while not exactly being a kind and gentle cuddly-bear-type protagonist. After all, he’s suffered badly in the past, and those who crossed him still need to pay. While Preston busts out a few corkers, like: “Despite the advertisements, there wasn’t much room in the boot of a Ford, and Bishop’s legs were starting to cramp”, Bishop just isn’t the kind of guy who has time for wisecracks; he’s far too busy trying to get shit done in an environment full of file-pushers. And all respect to him for it; he’s got a lot to deal with, what with all the jumping out of windows, dodging gunfire and running hell-bent around Melbourne’s streets. (If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like for New Yorkers to constantly see their city destroyed in movies, you’ll love this.) Dealing with Melbourne’s CBD being in gridlock at the same time as criminals are seemingly using the streets as a playground ain’t easy; no one can get anywhere, and the good guys they don’t know where to go. It takes Bishop and those who he can trust—or trust enough, anyway—to find out what the kidnappers want, and who it is that’s pulling all the strings.

This is genuine, nail-shredding excitement. I had to take a couple of breaks just to get a glass of water and calm down so I didn’t internally gasp out all of my oxygen. With all of Bishop’s talents and physicality, it can get faintly ridiculous at times, but make no mistake—like the best kind of action movie, you don’t care in the least. You just want him to get the bad guys, and if a few things need to blow up then all the better. Let’s put it this way: at chapter eighty I went off and made myself a bowl of popcorn to take me through to the end with the proper gravitas. Get that butter melting, people, and strap yourself to your e-reader. It’s gonna be a blast.

*throws keyboard out of window, walks off into the distance to badass soundtrack*

Fair Dinkum Crime

OUT OF EXILE follows Tom Bishop a damaged and dangerous ex-cop with the result simply noir – blurred justice, violence, and a case for vengeance tripping over the borders of criminality. Dig deeper, and the deluge of damned souls and corrupt cops seeps deep into the cracked Melbourne pavement. The reality not distilled by the outrageous but supported by the outlandish – this level of rife corruption and blatant disregard for civilian safety could easily happen, a factious tag-line from the Herlard or Australian. And that’s what makes OUT OF EXILE so good.

Broken out of prison, Bishop finds himself embroiled in a multi-layered crime of smoke and mirrors where the true purpose of the corrupt elite isn’t clear until the bloody ending. Raw from the loss of his daughter, Bishop’s justice radar still learns towards the blue line – this despite being involved in a kidnapping, break-in of his former foe’s house and torture of a prominent cops’ wife. While things look bad for Bishop’s predicament, his relentless pursuit of justice enforced by street law provides a constant glimmer of hope where none should filter.

OUT OF EXILE builds upon the Aussie conceptual noir, DARK CITY BLUE, the first book to feature Tom Bishop. The key players return (those not six feet under) with more character depth and the reader, more situational awareness of the fictitious Victorian police landscape. Familiarity with the characters is paramount to the reader reactions to their decisions and actions. While I think anyone could read OUT OF EXILE as a standalone, it works much better having read DARK CITY BLUE.

Author Luke Preston does a great job at keeping the reader guessing while planting landmines of explosive twists throughout the course of events. Like its predecessor, OUT OF EXILE is action an action pack non-stop noir where no one is safe from the tantalising grip of corruption and promised wealth.

Australian Crime Fiction

OUT OF EXILE is the second Tom Bishop book from local author Luke Preston.

Let’s focus on that. The second book.

It follows on from DARK CITY BLUE, taking the dangerous, damaged and deeply conflicted ex-cop Tom Bishop back, ever so slightly, onto the side of the angels.

In two books Preston has ripped Tom Bishop’s life, family and sanity apart, taken him down as low as an ex-cop in jail could possibly go. And then set him up in a no win situation blurring law and order and justice to the point where picking the good from the bad and the winners from the losers is no easy task. Even with Bishop’s fundamental desire to do the right thing.

Dark and about as noir as the streets of Australia could ever be envisioned, OUT OF EXILE delivers a strong message in an utterly uncompromising style. Broken out of prison for the express purpose of outing corrupt police, Bishop must side with the wrong in order to achieve the right. It’s a difficult position for anybody to be placed in. Make that person a man with little left to lose and a lot to regret, it is impossible not to entertain the possibility that Bishop will ignore the desire.

But back to the second book thing. Both books are action packed, violent and beautifully written. Economical with words, the reader is never in doubt about motivations and constantly wondering about outcomes. There is plenty of follow through from the first book in this one, with many of the characters still breathing returning and events carrying forward in the minds and actions of the main players. Whilst it might be possible to read OUT OF EXILE on its own, I’m not sure I’d recommend it. Whilst there’s enough detail in the second book to give you an idea of what’s gone before, DARK CITY BLUE fleshes it all out, and besides, why deny yourself the chance.

Why the constant references to two books? OUT OF EXILE very nearly became a single sitting read. And when I was really struggling to put it down, I realised that part of the reason was the way it was moving forward so rapidly. The other reason was I really cared what happened to Tom Bishop. In two noir style action books, creating a reader / character connection like that’s quite an achievement.

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