Thursday, October 10, 2013

Did He Go Too Far Calling Carr Noir?

In the name of fun, publicity, and making new friends, The Famous Author (TFA) stretched the boundaries of common sense late last summer by reading from my second adventure at Noir @ Bar in New York.

In noir stories, somebody famous once said, the protagonist starts out screwed then gets screwed worse. Think DOUBLE INDEMNITY, where the hero -- in both printed and movie versions -- begins by planning a murder but ends up dead himself. In that sense, my stories are far from noir. Like Bugs Bunny, I always win -- me and mine finish every story in better shape than we started. Perhaps even more telling, my stories are written for laughs. Noir is not laughs, is it?

But the cover blurb from T.J. MacGregor says "Darkly comic," and indeed any Austin Carr story contains violent odd death, covert sex, and illegal financial transactions by every single character, including bellhops, cabbies, cops, and the protagonist, me. Less than enthusiastic reviewers have called Austin a disgraced con man, a phony, a jerk, and a heartless, macho-creep, bastard. Now THERE is some noir, people, although I don't think the guys and gals at Noir @ Bar would necessarily appreciate similar comments about their characters.

I don't know if this is enough controversy to make book-club ladies argue happily over the evil or good inside Austin Carr, but there is one question making TFA shake his head, drink, and talk to himself in total confusion. It's not the old noir vs. non-noir query either, but rather what kind of cover should DOWN AND OUT BOOKS put on the reissue of my second adventure, BIG MONEY?

Should the cover be dark and dangerous -- noirish -- like the blue cover for BIG NUMBERS? Green and eerie as in artist and film director Roman White's proposed background shown here? Or maybe bright, sunny, and funny like the yellow one TFA commissioned last week?

What say you, blog readers? At the top right there's a poll to pick which one you like best. TFA and I would love some comments, too. Free books could be involved, maybe a ride in Ron Howard's big limo to the movie premier...or maybe Roman White's.


Reita Faria said...

Visiting London Sages inform us13 that “All the events that transpired with the Patriarchs serve as a sign to their progeny.” This means that not only were these events the forerunners of similar ones involving the Jewish nation, but also that the trailblazing of the Patriarchs brought about those ensuing events.

Keith Thomson said...

Checking out cover one and two, I'm thinking, "Ransom notes worth of fonts/graphic obscurred/unremarkable/too busy/shame--" then came to three, which is compelling and original and otherwise looks great. Puts the book in a higher league.


Yikes -- the votes are slurring in yellow's favour but man oh man, oh debonair Jack -- I've got to pull off my chameleon identities and get the multiple vote out.

HOLY MACKEREL ANDY, I mean JACK -- the CLASSY and DISTINCTIVE professional typog and photo cover, giving kinship to its prior brother book YELPS "Buy me 'cause I'm so cool of a book". (short of scratch 'n sniff to get dirty alleys and backstreets, a yelping book will always garner shelf-affection.)

The yellow is a whole 'nother canary down the docks of connotation. It breeds a 'hey, I'm a badass noir coolass club member and the pulpy chums I write with will back this up. See how I can go back-in-savvt-time to show you so?'

Comes down to what YOU want in return for the character who gives you comic noir as he settles his own scores -- a pie wedge of noir'toriety or a broad bridge into the land of seeking more readers to follow, to follow, to follow.

Hey - That's my three cents and I'll take a copy of the book (green) with a scotch (neat) and do you up one helluva rarin' review.

~ Humbly said by

~ Absolutely*Kate, fellow noir author and lifetime promoter of manifesting destinies by 'reading your reader'


typo: that's actually the word 'savvy' up there in the last book quote

remembered: To give high praise to whomsoever is the cover-creator for Down & Out. Superb range and presentation in sync with storylines represented

serious: About an ARC and a scotch

~ A*K, fan & fanfare inclusive

Austin Carr said...

Comment section earns gold medal for weirdness today, although Absolutely Kate will get her arc absolutely.

Rob Brunet said...

Yellow does it for me, Jack. And I totally get what you say about stretching the boundaries of noir. "Darkly comic" or "black satire" (which Hiaasen pulls off with few comparables) is not noir, but it's not cozy either, is it?

What I love about the yellow cover (beyond how top shelf it is) is it says edgy, perhaps dirty, but not ragged.

The kinda book I'd pick up for the cover alone.

Austin Carr said...

I do wish Kate would learn to spell color.


Dear caring Carr ~

I've a slew of Brit wit chums or mates or what have you that keep me right gobsmacked -- sometimes even chuffed.

The u in colour stretches my heritage 'cross the mere pond all the way to Czechoslovakian roots. I also order butterscotch on top my ice cream when asked, 'What flavour?' Then I savour. You?

Grace o' my thanks for the spark of your ARC, Austin baby.

~ Absolutely*Kate,
(who thinks it would be a real kick to watch Rob Brunet stretch top shelf to select his books by their covers)

Erin @ Paperback Stash said...

Green for me!

Austin Carr said...

Erin, I'm shocked you liked the green. TFA is just about ready to scrap all images pf blood, thinking it's too off-putting for women.

Kate, you are absolutely shameless for admitting what we all knew -- you'd watch Brunet mow the lawn.

And Rob, how come you and I like the 'girls' yellow version?


Whoa up there, Bub.
I'm with Erin on the GREEN.

Blood backgrounds out when you take in overall effect. Us dames know class when we stumble into it. And what does Rob wear when he mows the grass?

~ Absolutely*Kate, grinnin' that chief publisher honcho Eric Campbell is taking your covers back to some quantum-blending to suit up your avid market. Should be some ace when it hits the streets flyin'

Tracy Woelffer said...

I voted for yellow.
It's not because blood spatters gross this girl out. The blue and green covers don't really communicate this book is frickin FUNNY!
Generally speaking, the other two covers would not really attract your primary target audiences.
I could be wrong...but that's my 2 cents.

Austin Carr said...

That's what I thought, Tracy -- the cover should say funny -- but the voting seems pretty well divided. Thanks for chiming in. Erin, Kate, Rob, and Keith, too.