Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just in Time for Christmas (Barely)!

My new publisher E-Reads is in the process of releasing most of my back list. They have just published two of my books that, until now, have been available only as expensive limited editions.

Murder Was My Alibi is a noirish crime novel about private investigator Myron Foote and what happens when he takes on a job for a gorgeous redhead named Cynthia Thacketer, who wants him to pose as her uncle Percy. It sounds simple, but it’s not, of course – nothing is simple when it involves more than a hundred thousand dollars, which soon turns into more than a million dollars. The book includes a cast of characters ranging from shady to quirky, some of whom pose big problems for Foote.

I set this book in the northern California town of Redding, where I was born and raised. I’ve fictionalized a bit, though. There is no “red light district” in Redding, so I had to invent one. But for the most part, the depiction is accurate.

Murder Was My Alibi was originally published in what has come to be known as “the Darknell Double.” That book also included the novel Loveless (coming soon from E-Reads), and both were written under the name Arthur Darknell, a pseudonym under which I’d planned to write crime fiction. I have since abandoned that idea and am releasing the books under my name.

The Girl in the Basement is the story of 15-year-old Ryan Ketterling, a boy who has been bounced from one foster home to the next and endured a great deal of abuse in the process. Now in the home of the Preston family, he meets and falls for fellow foster child Lyssa and thinks perhaps his luck has changed. But something strange is going on in the Preston house. Maddy is a slow girl who is kept in the basement who sometimes speaks in a gravelly, adult voice. Sometimes she knows things about other people she could not possibly know and makes predictions that come true. And there are mysterious people from the government who come to visit Maddy down in the basement. As Ryan delves deeper into the mystery, he begins to see that his luck has not changed after all.

While they are not as common as vampires, werewolves, and other horror themes, the story of possession is a tradition in the genre and has been covered pretty well. But this one doesn't include the usual elements -- Catholic priests, exorcism rituals, that sort of thing. Here's an excerpt from a review by award-winning writer Gary A. Braunbeck:

“(The Girl in the Basement) is definitely not the story you are expecting. ...Think you know what's going to happen and how it's going to happen? Forget it. ...What makes this ... one of the most accomplished pieces of Garton's career is not just the remarkable restraint he exercises when dealing with the more overtly horrific elements ...but the depth of emotional realism he displays when dealing with the characters. ... This is hands-down the single most compassionate piece he's ever written; every character is fully fleshed out, both their strengths and weaknesses, their pettiness and kindness, their courage and cowardice, are on display here, and as horrific as this 'possession' of the little girl is, it pales in comparison to the portraits Garton paints of how this horror affects the characters. There is a scene near the end of the story where Ryan has a meal of cookies and juice with his drug-addict mother that is one of the most heartbreaking things you're likely to read this year, simmering as it is with a palpable sense of desperation, loneliness, terror, and tragic inevitability. ... (T)hose readers like myself who look to Garton to always challenge himself as a storyteller and us as readers are going to come away feeling like we've just left a feast."

Originally published in 2004 by Subterranean Press, this is the first time The Girl in the Basement has been available in a mass market edition. Like Murder Was My Alibi, it is available as a paperback and an ebook.

To read an excerpt from Murder Was My Alibi or The Girl in the Basement, please follow the links.

You can order Murder Was My Alibi and The Girl in the Basement at these links. E-Reads also has several other titles of mine available to order as paperbacks and ebooks. To find out more, go to my E-Reads page.

E-Reads will be releasing more of my books in the coming months, including The New Neighbor, Biofire, 'Nids, Crawlers, Ravenous, Bestial, Shackled, Dark Channel and two brand new never-before-published suspense novels, Meds and Trailer Park Noir, among others.

Remember ... every time you give the gift of a book, an angel gets its library card. Merry Christmas and have a wonderful 2011!