Monday 27 August 2018

The Bad Neighbor by David Tallerman @davidtallerman #BlogTour @flametreepress #RandomThingsTours

When part-time teacher Ollie Clay panic-buys a rundown house in the outskirts of Leeds, he soon recognises his mistake. His new neighbour, Chas Walker, is an antisocial thug, and Ollie's suspicions raise links to a local hate group. With Ollie's life unravelling rapidly, he feels his choices dwindling: his situation is intolerable and only standing up to Chas can change it. But Ollie has his own history of violence, and increasingly, his own secrets to hide; and Chas may be more than the mindless yob he appears to be. As their conflict spills over into the wider world, Ollie will come to learn that there are worse problems in life than one bad neighbour.

The Bad Neighbor by David Tallerman is published in paperback on 6 September 2018 by Flame Tree Press.
As part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today. He's talking about the books that are special to him in My Life In Books

My Life in Books - David Tallerman

Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household
For my money the single greatest thriller ever written, and certainly the one that's had most influence on me personally as a writer, Rogue Male has a premise so simple that you can sum it up in a handful of words and yet milks every last drop of tension from it, in a narrative that constricts like a winding spring. Household may not have invented the "man on the run" subgenre, but he perfected it, and though he'd go on to craft other fine thrillers on similar principles, he never equalled his first attempt.
Hate by Matthew Collins
I did quite a bit of research for The Bad Neighbour, most of it True Crime, and some of what I read proved useful, some of it was entertaining, but only one book was both of those and also genuinely well written. Hate is Collins' account of his time as a far-right thug, written after he discovered the error of his ways and switched sides, and it's a window into a subculture that gets talked about a great deal without much actual understanding. What comes over most is the pettiness, the seediness, and a sense of real desperation, from people who've found that they'd rather be part of something hateful and miserable than of nothing at all. That insight was a major ingredient when it came time to write about my own right-wing thugs, and in particular the titular bad neighbour Chas.
Caught Stealing by Charlie Huston
Of modern writers, Charlie Huston is perhaps the one who's influenced me most, not only stylistically but in the risks he's taken by hopping between genres and media. Certainly, Huston - and this book especially, a "wrong man" thriller easily worthy of Hitchcock - was a massive influence when it came to writing The Bad Neighbour. Huston is a master at what I was constantly trying to nail, that balance between convincing realistic detail and larger-than-life action, and the seamless transitioning between the two. And he has an extraordinary ability to keep you on side with protagonists who frequently end up doing terrible things, which is something else I always seem to find myself attempting.

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
Pratchett was my favourite author throughout my teenage years, and no end of his books are completely wonderful, so picking Wyrd Sisters is rather an arbitrary choice. Still, it's a terrific read, and for me the first of Pratchett's truly great works. There were so many things that made him special as a writer, but what seperated him for me was that he told consistently funny stories that were always far more than just hooks to hang jokes off. Pratchett taught me that you can add humour without letting it derail your storytelling, and I suspect he's the reason it's been an element of so much of what I've written.
On the Road to Kandahar by Jason Burke
Outside of research, I don't generally get to read much non-fiction, so this gift from a friend sat on my shelf for ages, until I finally found an excuse to read it: the planning for a short story that would end up being Great Black Wave, published a few years back in Nightmare magazine and following a bomb-disposal team in a near-future Afghanistan. On the Road to Kandahar, journalist Burke's memoirs of and ruminations on his years of travel and reportage in the Muslim world, turned out to
be a huge eye opener. It's a clear, honest, generous, often heart-breaking perspective on countries that, the way Burke tells it, are vastly more notable for their diversity then their uniformity - including some that we tend to see only as rubble-strewn images on the news.
Bear V Shark by Chris Bachelder
I love a really vicious bit of satire, and Catch-22 or Slaughterhouse 5 could easily have cropped up here, but I thought I'd go with something a bit more obscure. Bear V Shark tells the tale of a world much like our own - indeed, frighteningly, shockingly, embarrassingly similar to our own - but with one crucial difference: America's biggest entertainment spectacle and most fundamental philosophical question is "Who would win if a bear got in a fight with a shark?" Around that premise, Bachelder weaves a book that takes potshots at just about every aspect of our society and culture, including itself, while also being desperately weird and funny.

The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
My favourite science-fiction novel bar none, from my favourite science-fiction author of all time, I'm still always surprised when I go back to The War of the Worlds and discover how fresh and thrilling and shocking it is, well over a century after it was written. I don't often reread books, because there are so many to get through and so little time, but this one I've been back to three or four times, and I can't imagine ever growing bored of it. It's a staggering imaginative achievement, its journalistic intensity so convincing that it feels more like a document torn from some alternate history than a work of fiction.
Regeneration by Pat Barker
Probably my favourite novel of all time, the way Barker interweaves real events - essentially war poet Siegfried Sassoon's treatment by army psychologist W. H. R. Rivers - with imagined scenes and characters is absolutely faultless. It certainly helps that both Sassoon and Rivers were fascinating individuals in their own rights; Rivers' textbook Psychology and Dreams and Sassoon's memoirs could both easily have made this list. But the invented characters are every bit as interesting, and every scene crackles with its own energy. I never really wish I'd written other people's books, because that would rob me of the joy of reading them, but Regeneration is the sort of book that I come away from hoping that I'll one day write something even half as good.

David Tallerman - August 2018 

David Tallerman is the author of the Digital Fiction Publishing fantasy adventure series The Black River Chronicles, so far comprised of Level One and The Ursvaal Exchange, as well as the novel Giant Thief (described by Fantasy Faction as "one of the finest d├ębuts of 2012") and its sequels Crown Thief and Prince Thief, all published through Angry Robot.  His crime debut The Bad Neighbour is forthcoming fromFlame Tree Publishing in late 2018.

David has also written the Markosia graphic novelEndangered Weapon B: Mechanimal Science and novella Patchwerk, as well as around a hundred short stories, which have appeared in markets such asClarkesworldLightspeedBeneath Ceaseless Skies and his debut collection The Sign in the Moonlight and Other Stories.  The first issue of comic book mini-series C21st Gods is out now from Rosarium.

In his spare time, David watches inordinate numbers of movies, hikes, plays board games, and helps in the ethical submission, capture, and resettlement of troveless dragons.

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