The Tucumcari Press is based in Tucson, Arizona, and they have kindly sent me a couple of books by Kirk Alex. So who is he? He can tell us:
“I was born in Sarajevo in 1951. My family moved to Brussels when he was eight. I loved Brussels and wanted to stay on. Had the French language down in no time and wished to remain in Europe, at the least. But no, my parents felt like moving again, and there we were, two years later, U.S.-bound. Chicago, to be exact.
After finishing out my two-year military bit returned to Chicago in pretty sorry shape, dealing with bad dreams and a general state of numbness; I was dead inside. Got myself a slave-wage job not far from the Loop, picked up a typewriter for thirty bucks (on layaway; they had layaway back then) and started writing short stories. Got nowhere. After six months of that, tossed what few possessions I had (some paperbacks and clothes) into the used convertible I owned at the time, and headed west. Thought that’s what I had to do, go along with the Pull of the Mythical West, to pursue a dream or two.
I was young and naive, didn’t realize I could just as easily have remained in the Windy City like the great Nelson Algren and written my ass off right there. Live and learn. Instead, ended up in a vicious pit called L.A. for too many years to count.
In L.A., unless you have the flashy car, luxury apartment, good paying job, you can forget about having a woman in your life to be with, any of that; so yeah, we hung in there alone. What doesn’t break you makes you stronger, so they say.
Was a furniture mover, delivered phone books door-to-door, drove a taxi, was a movie extra, did factory work, painted apartments, did TV repos even, sold rebuilt mattresses to Sunset Strip prostitutes and out-of-work Hollywood actor types. Kept writing and reading. Amassed my share of rejection slips.
Bottom line: My olivetti/LETTERA provided the only light at the end of the tunnel. Granted it may have been a weak light, still, it was the only lifeline available. Without books/writing, I might easily have ended up in a straightjacket in a rubber room somewhere, or dead.
Found myself in the jungles of ‘Nam at nineteen, ducking sniper fire and mortar shrapnel, when I wasn’t busy burning leeches off my testicles and side-stepping snakes and boobytraps.”
Kirk Alex’s novel Lustmord: Anatomy of a Serial Butcher was a finalist in the Kindle Book Review’s Best Book Awards of 2014. He is also the author of Zook, Fifty Shades of Tinsel, the story collection: Ziggy Popper at Large, and the Love, Lust & Murder series:
So what about the Edgar ‘Doc’ Holiday books? You might meed to be a fan of Westerns to get the nickname. The LA private eye’s near namesake (there’s an extra ‘L’) wasn’t a doctor at all, but an infamous gambler and gunfighter, who happened to be a dentist. He was a chum of Wyatt Earp, and took part in the legendary shoot-out at the OK Corral in Tombstone. One thing is for sure, the Edgar ‘Doc’ Holiday books are long – the two I have run to 573 and 631 pages respectively. Alex is also an admirer (as am I) of one of the all-time geniuses of crime fiction, and he includes a couple of quotes from the great man in the frontispiece to the books.
To give you an idea of Alex’s prose style, there’s a vivid scene (probably not for pet lovers) in Hard Noir Holiday where the detective ends up at an Arizona dogfight as part of his investigation.
“The MC waved his arms and the killers were released. NightDemon’s lunge was so fierce and carried so much force that the black pit bull not only knocked the other down, but was already plowing his jaw back into the other’s snout. He was tearing away at the left side of Max Pain’s mouth. The tan pit bull attempted to pull away and only managed to lose a chunk of his snout in the process.”
With characters called Biffle, McCrud, Jack Spot and Ilsa Goth, there is no mistaking that we are deep in Noir territory, and this novel is clearly not for the faint of heart, or those who like their fictional crime committed in sleepy English villages. I intend to make a start on these books as soon as I can fit them in around blog tour commitments, but for now, they are available on Amazon.