Back Catalogue 4 - Barney I
27 June 2017
Today in Back Catalogue, the series about my old books that critics are already calling “like Netflix for people”, we’re going to look at the Barney Thomson novels.
Side note: A small miracle has happened. After only two requests to Amazon, the robot masters of the Internet sales behemoth actually did what I requested of them. All the old reviews have transferred to the books’ new Kindle editions, one star stinkers ‘n’ all. Excellent news. Only one step now to crime fiction domination.
Many people have tried to come up with covers for The Long Midnight of Barney Thomson. The best, and most straightforward, was probably when Freight Books changed the title, and put the film poster on the cover. The others tend to be an attempt to pay reference to the fact that it’s not straightforward crime fiction. It’s a black comedy that happens to be crime. Tricky cover concept. As we can see here, little has really worked in the past.
The gang here at LMP spent months, and over $8million of laundered Swiss money, trying to come up with a black comedy concept, and in the end we settled for the original plan that Shackleton suggested back in February. Play it straight.
It goes back to a discussion panel I was involved in at last year’s Crimefest. Telling people crime novels are going to be funny doesn’t really work. Much better to let it sneak up on them and surprise them.
So we have gone for a classic crime novel cover concept; b&w, moody landscape photo, titles in bold colour, author’s name in good-sized font to satisfy my dysfunctional, narcissistic, Trump complex.
There have been no new full-length Barney novels in nearly eight years, but as Elrond said:
"Barney cannot be destroyed, Gimli, son of Glóin, by any craft that we here possess. Barney was made in the fires of Mount Doom. Only there can he be unmade. He must be taken deep into Mordor and cast back into the fiery chasm from whence he came."
So the old fella will be around for a while yet.