There it is, illustrated by Kevin Singles who also executed the brilliant interior art. Entertainment Weekly made the big worldwide reveal of the HEAD GAMES graphic novel in the early morning hours of Dec. 8. The book will be available on Oct. 24, 2017, from First Second Books (Macmillan). I wrote the script from my 2007 debut novel that went on to be an Edgar and Anthony awards finalist, among other honors, including some in Europe. If you liked the novel, I really think you're going to love this take on the tale. More to come, soon. Until then, here's what the top dog at First Second told EW about the HG graphic novel: “From Craig McDonald, who’s an award-winning thriller author, this is a hardboiled kind of [story]. It has a bit of a Chandler vibe, but it’s in the Southwest, and you find yourself on the set of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, and you meet Orson Welles and Marlene Dietrich and Ernest Hemingway, and there’s like this Skull and Bones society, and an early Bush dynasty character, and there’s a missing head. It is kind of a caper but with this Philip Marlowe vibe to it. … And Kevin Singles does remarkable work on the artwork as well. … It’s in two colors, black and yellow, and it’s just really, really striking.” Learn some more about First Second (a recently minted 10-year-old) right here.
Every time I sit down to write a book, I find myself constructing a kind of "soundtrack" for that particular work.
As I've said before, in most cases, it's just a playlist I put together and play over and over in a bid to stay in place and in form while composing a first draft.
For THREE CHORDS & THE TRUTH (now available via Betimes Books), and set against the 1958 (G)Nashville music scene, many of the songs I was listening to in order to keep in period and in mood went straight into the final text.
Last time, I offered up a playlist of those songs that actually are named or spotlighted in the final novel.
This time, an offering of some songs that informed the book, but more in the manner of other "soundtracks" I've put together for previous works. These tunes helped keep me on track in painting a picture of Nashville and the singer/songwriter scene, but weren't of the novel's era and so didn't find their way into the final text.
Call these songs, THREE CHORDS & THE TRUTH, "The Invisible (or Inaudible) Soundtrack":
First up, a favorite tune about the songwriter as scuffling up-and-comer. Kris Kristofferson pens the ultimate songwriter's anthem, set against the Nashville scene of the late 1960s to up around 1972 0r '73, when Nashville was a bit like Paris in the early 1920s—a nexus for inspired, new and daring voices...a southern U.S. "Left Bank" that came and went far too fast.
Another Kristofferson tune about putting it all on the line to chase a dream and vision, but this one darker, much more haunted with self-doubt and even a bit of self-contempt.
It resonates still more when you know Kris' mother sent him a blistering letter more or less disowning him for trashing a promising military/educator's career to be a recording studio janitor in Nashville in an attempt to make critical songwriting career connections.
This one by Willie Nelson is from an obscure film I love called SONGWRITER. (An essay on same I penned way back for a site shared by Megan Abbott and Sara Gran can be found here.)
If you actually know the film, you might recognize this character played by Willie Nelson, "Doc Jenkins", hiding between the covers of THREE CHORDS.
This tune is also sung by Willie Nelson and crops up in SONGWRITER. In this version, Waylon Jennings duets.
(Listen closely for a certain line similar to one often used to describe Mr. Lassiter by many of his critics and readers.)
Lacy J. Dalton had a hit with this song about aspiring songwriters many moons ago:
This is, hands down, my favorite song of old Nashville and one written and performed by the late great Mickey Newbury.
This next one was listened to countless times while writing THREE CHORDS & THE TRUTH and is a virtual walking tour of old Music Row and the landmarks to be found in the new novel.
We also get oddly resonant references to vintage Chervolets (the ONLY car a man should consider owning and then only Bel Airs or Impalas) and a fella named Bud.
"Do you remember the old town here yesterday? The walk from the Ryman...?"
THREE CHORDS' title was originally, "Gnashville, Mon Amour" and that G in front of Nashville was owed to Mr. Newbury who ruefully coined that spelling way back in the bitter day.
The album from which this one comes bears the same name as this tune, and has some other great pieces about Music City U.S.A. and the songwriter's life, making for a kind of singer-songwriter's "naked lunch at the end of the fork" musical memoir.
Lastly, every book requires an anthem as I pull it together. This one had this rather bitter but winningly defiant song penned by the great Tom Russell:
Prolific pulp novel legends Lester Dent (Doc Savage) & Walter B. Gibson (The Shadow) both had the actual experience of witnessing their characters come to life, a chilling historical claim that sets the stage for this new series of neo-noir pulp adventures!
WRITE FROM WRONG
Hector Lassiter, Black Mask Magazine legend, crime novelist and screenwriter rubs shoulders with a who's who of 20th Century legends including Ernest Hemingway, Doc Savage creator Lester Dent, Walter B. Gibson of Shadow fame and Orson Wells.
HEAD GAMES, THE GRAPHIC NOVEL
A pulp-noir adaptation of the Edgar Award-nominated novel introducing Black Mask author, crime novelist and screenwriter Hector Lassiter.
Edgar®/Anthony/Macavity/Gumshoe/Crimespree nominated novelist of HEAD GAMES: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, ONCE A WORLD, WRITE FROM WRONG, ONE TRUE SENTENCE, FOREVER'S JUST PRETEND, TOROS & TORSOS, THE GREAT PRETENDER, ROLL THE CREDITS, THE RUNNING KIND, HEAD GAMES, PRINT THE LEGEND, DEATH IN THE FACE, THREE CHORDS & THE TRUTH, EL GAVILAN, PARTS UNKNOWN, CARNIVAL NOIR, CABAL and ANGELS OF DARKNESS. Nonfiction titles include ART IN THE BLOOD and ROGUE MALES: CONVERSATIONS & CONFRONTATIONS ABOUT THE WRITING LIFE.
ONCE A WORLD — The acclaimed prequel to the Hector Lassiter series
Hector Lassiter's story begins, from his journey into Mexico to catch Pancho Villa, to the bloody trenches of World War I.
ONE TRUE SENTENCE (Hector Lassiter Series #1)
Hector Lassiter Series: #1 Bestseller, Amazon.com.au; One Of BookPeople's Top 10 Of 2011 & Poisoned Pen Staff Favorite. "Vivid, remarkable characters... Absolutely gripping!"—Diana Gabaldon
FOREVER'S JUST PRETEND (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #2)
Hector Lassiter Series: #3 Bestseller, Amazon.com.au! "Entertaining...a must read for series fans &...for new readers."—Publishers Weekly
TOROS & TORSOS (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #3)
Hector Lassiter Series: #4 Bestseller, Amazon.com.au! Named to numerous Year's Best Lists! "A bold, ambitious, genre-bending novel."—George Pelecanos
THE GREAT PRETENDER (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #4)
Hector Lassiter Series: #2 Bestseller, Amazon.com.au! "McDonald cagily splits up the action, with Welles in full enfant terrible mode in the first half of the book—much of the story unfolds on the night of the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938—while the second takes place in the late 1940s as the filmmaker's star is already burning out."—Vince Keenan, author of DOWN THE HATCH
ROLL THE CREDITS (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #5)
Hector Lassiter Series: #5 Bestseller, Amazon.com.au! "A writer of truly unique voice, approach, and ambition, Craig McDonald delivers again with ROLL THE CREDITS. Not to be missed." —Michael Koryta
THE RUNNING KIND (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #6)
"Just the right amount of history, suspense, action and familiar faces to make his alternative history fascinating."—Terry Bowman, author of FIONA'S RULES
HEAD GAMES (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #7)
Hector Lassiter series: Edgar & Anthony Awards Finalist! #5 Bestseller, Amazon.com.au! Coming autumn 2017 as a graphic novel from First Second! "Smart, it's funny, and it moves like a roach when the lights go on."—James Sallis
PRINT THE LEGEND (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #8)
Named To More Than A Dozen Year's Best Lists; the most translated of the internationally best-selling series of novels! "An epic masterpiece.”—Michael Connelly.
DEATH IN THE FACE (HECTOR LASSITER SERIES #9)
The penultimate Hector Lassiter novel with 007-creator Ian Fleming; selected by The Rap Sheet as a 2015 novel of the year; praised by Publishers Weekly and Booklist!
THREE CHORDS & THE TRUTH (Hector Lassiter series #10)
The climax of the Hector Lassiter series, from Betimes Books. "With THREE CHORDS & THE TRUTH, Craig McDonald has crafted a remarkable coda to the series."—Steven Powell, author of JAMES ELLROY: DEMON DOG OF CRIME FICTION; "Grabs the reader by the throat." —Publishers Weekly. Get your copy here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N0D4UFX
Now Available from Betimes Books
Starred Review From Publishers Weekly! PW Pick of the Week. "As sobering and as urgent as tomorrow's headlines."—Publishers Weekly
PARTS UNKNOWN (CHRIS LYON SERIES #1)
#1 in Chris Lyon series of eBook exclusive thrillers, now available
CARNIVAL NOIR (CHRIS LYON SERIES #2)
#2 in Chris Lyon series of eBook exclusive thrillers, now available.
CABAL (CHRIS LYON SERIES #3)
#3 in Chris Lyon series of eBook exclusive thrillers, now available.
ANGELS OF DARKNESS (CHRIS LYON SERIES #4)
#4 in Chris Lyon series of eBook exclusive thrillers, now available and featuring Hector Lassiter!