Sunday, April 1, 2012

Christchurch earthquakes-inspired publisher releases adult Kiwi crime novel

Although I read a lot of crime fiction, it's not all I read. Last year, I reviewed a children's picture book for WildTomato magazine, CURLY FROM SHIRLEY: THE CHRISTCHURCH DOG. A delightful tale penned as a fundraiser for earthquake recovery, it was released exactly one month after the deadly February 22, 2011 earthquake that devastated the Christchurch CBD and suburbs.

That book was the first from Pear Jam Books, a publisher that also 'rose from the ashes' of the Christchurch 'quakes. In the year since , Pear Jam Books, an innovative publisher that looks to provide a variety of reading experiences (Play; Ebook; Audio; Read) has published another 13 titles, largely in the children's and young adult sphere - but also a debut adult crime thriller by Jack Eden, FURT BENT FROM ALDAHEIT. Here's the blurb:
His name isn’t Furt Bent, and he isn’t from Aldaheit. He’s the persona that Osgood Sneddon invented for himself to rise above the mundane, and extricate himself from trouble when a moment’s misunderstanding lands him on the wrong side of the law.

Specifically, he falls on the wrong side of Hubbard - and that’s the wrong place to be. Detective Inspector Hubbard is poisonous, profane and effective, and he doesn't let the truth get in the way of a result.

Furt Bent, shaped by the folly of youth and the front yards of Australasia's nastiest prisons, becomes his nemesis.

They stalk each other across the pages of this dark, artfully written novel in a story resonant with authenticity. Savour the bitter piquancy, where Underbelly meets Shawshank
In a blog post, Eden says the book was inspired somewhat by his experiences as a young cadet journalist in 1970s New Zealand, when he wrote about the infamous Crewe murders, and then-imprisoned Arthur Allan Thomas (including interviewing Thomas's wife), who was later pardoned. Says Eden:
"A few days after I ran the story, two policemen involved in the investigation visited me. They made it clear they weren't happy with the story. Stuff happened, as it does. Soon after I left the township and my little newspaper, and headed north to other adventures...

Meeting the McGuires, interviewing Vivien Thomas and the subsequent events stayed with me. Furt Bent from Aldaheit is a work of fiction, but it is fair to say it was inspired by those events."
You can read more about the book here.

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