1000 and twelve

1000th POST Extravaganza

This is gonna be a long one; sorry, but I got to savor the moment,

And use semi-colons. I think I've earned the right.

So settle in and stay awhile. We got shrimps on the barbie and cold beers in the cooler cuz I've done ONE THOUSAND OF THESE THINGS and this is just a pitstop on this little roadtrip to Hell we call
Sex Scenes at Starbucks
You never know around here. Somebody might just get naked.

I'm already getting lots of congratulations from people like:


and this devastatingly smokin' hottie who I adore:
Even though he flirts with other women.

And now for the main event

by Stuart Neville

I can't in good conscience call this a review. First of all, I won't have anything bad to say because I already told the author everything I thought was wrong with it a couple of years ago. As far as I can see, everything's been fixed. To me, THE TWELVE by Stuart Neville isn't just about the story, though THE TWELVE is a staggeringly great one. To me, this book will always be more about friendship and support among writers.
I met Stuart via Crapometer, and picked up a story of his for Electric Spec in the process. Along about then we started trading some work and chatting occasionally. When he later posted another story - what would become the first couple of chapters to THE TWELVE - we were all sort of stuttering over the critiques.

Stuart's one of those obnoxious writers who seems to
compose fourth draft quality material, so the worst any of us could come up with is "This is not a short story. This is a first chapter." It held us rapt.

We were already reading each other's work, so I read parts of THE TWELVE back when it was THE GHOSTS OF BELFAST (as it will be here in the States). It had another title before that, but damned if I can remember. I read something like six chapters and wrote him back and say "Send more!" and he said "That's all I've got yet." And I bugged him for more (as I'm doing currently for his 2nd book).

He finally sent me the whole manuscript, which I read in one sitting. And when it was over, I leaned back in my chair and let out a slow breath. I had just read what I was certain would become a brilliant best seller.

Then, of course, I set about ripping it up.

In return, he read my stuff, and was brutally honest. And I read another draft and was brutally honest back. And in this fashion, coming at each other with barbs or "
Now you've got it!" we became the sort of friends who don't really know how to be anything less than authentic with each other. Stuart's one of those people in my life who just is as if he always has been. And that's the friendship bit, which is really just one long disclaimer.

But you want to know about the

Gerry Fegan, a paramilitary assassin in The Troubles, is compelled by the ghosts of his victims to seek revenge against those who ordered their deaths. His string of revenge killings leaves gaping wounds in the peace process, and it's up to the people left, corrupt government officials and bitter old soldiers who would rebuild war at any cost, to suture those wounds or twist the knife deeper. Mainly, it's the latter until everyone pays, Fegan most of all.

Lots of phrases are bandied about: "Doesn't pull any punches," "Gripping," "Disturbing and Real," and my personal favorite, "This is some guy to watch out for in a dark alley," from James Ellroy. That's rich, knowing Stuart.

I come at this from a different angle. From the first doc file I ever got, I developed a feeling, a theory about this story.

THE TWELVE is the conscience of Northern Ireland.

No one can live through war and the despicable acts human beings manage to perpetrate upon each other without changing irrevocably. But collective memories slide away with time. In THE TWELVE, old warriors hide behind designer glasses and polished shoes. New lives are forged on the blood of others. During the first killing, nightclubs pulse in the background, filled with people who don't remember the war that ripped their city apart. Again and again, Stuart reminds us it's damned easy to shine nasty memories into something glorious and romantic. But he also reveals the barbs underneath the veneer: men with claw hammers and boys with bricks and dead women holding babies in their ghostly arms. War is ugly and the people who make war uglier. When peace comes, most people only tumble deeper because war corrupts the soul.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Gerry Fegan proves that. If he, of all people, can finally do the right thing, it means everyone else can too. I believe THE TWELVE, at its heart, means humankind shouldn't stand for anything less.

The Twelve will be released in England in July and in the States in October.

Oh, and it doesn't hurt that he's like totally hot and available:

Whew! This is fun.
Are we having fun?
Good, cuz I'm having fun!!

But it doesn't have to end yet, no it doesn't!
Cuz we got ourselves a big ole

Question and photo courtesy of my 7 year old, and I quote:


Bonus points: AND WHY?

Most cleverest answer gets a 10 card Tarot reading either via email or Instant Message. Hint: IM would so much more fun.

Rules? We don't need no stinkin' rules. So you gotta ask yourself one thing, punk. Do I feel lucky?

(: Operators are standing by. :)

No comments: