Friday, August 22, 2008

Trey R. Barker

Last week I started rereading 2000 Miles To Open Road by Trey R. Barker. We published it at Five Star and it got nothing but raves from virtually very quarter. Trey is a young police officer who I predict will be a major name in crime fiction once his new books begin appearing. We had in common at the time we published his first novel the fact that we were both going through the early stages of battling cancer. We didn't know this until after the book was published. Trey's experience was brutal. But the cancer diary he kept is one of the most eloquent and articulate pieces of real life I've ever read. Happily he's doing well now. We've exchanged a few letters in the past several days and I'll quote from two of them here as a way of enticing you on to his blog. It offers and exceptionally perceptive take on life, writing and the life of a police officer. Here's the link:


"And you're right about neo noir street crime. Most of it, it seems to me, is so over the top anymore...2000 MILES TO OPEN ROAD is - vaguely - my version of that kind of highly stylized violence and street crime. What's funny to me is that, when faced with real street crime and real violence, most people I've dealt with find themselves feeling sort of let down, as though it were somehow anticlimactic, because they've been taught that it'ss got dramatic music and it's in slow motion with tilt/pan camera angles and everyone involved says really profound things as it's happening.

"Ain't like that at all and if writers would read more non-fiction, they'd know that."

" I loved the letter from your son. I was going to respond but hadn't set up an account and didn't have time then blah blah blah. We haven't had any farm accidents around here this summer but, as I was going to say in the response, most of the farmers seem to have a constant, low-level anxiety about it, as though when it happens they'll be shocked but not surprised. Actually, it's sort of like big city cops, who seem to always have that will a cop die today question in the back of their heads."


Fred Blosser said...

Ed, there's a wonderful Iowa-based organization called Farm Safety 4 Just Kids that helps farm families and farm communities prevent death and injury to teens and youngsters. The president and founder is Marilyn Adams, a fine lady who was moved to help others after her own 11-year-old son died while helping with chores on the family farm. If Joe's friends need an empathetic ear and are able at some point to channel grief into action to help other families prevent tragedy, Marilyn is a warm and wise person.


I guess over the top neo-noir was stimulated by the success of Leonard and Tarantino, and the passing of the previous generation of crime writers (Ross and John MacD). A great (and I hope not forgotten) writer from the waning days of the old school was Gerald Petievich.

Hugh said...

Maybe I shouldn't comment since I edited 2,000 Miles (more fun than work), but what the hell, I concur. Trey is a major talent. He also did some great dispatches as an older police academy recruit and I wish somebody would put them together as a book or do a tv series or something. Is anybody out there listening?
PS Bring back Miss Apple Valley. (Read the book; you'll find out.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link, Ed. I'll check it out. I recently read a MM paperback by Gerald Petievich about a Secret Service agent. I don't offhand remember the title, but it was enjoyable.

Ed Lynskey

Dave Zeltserman said...

Trey, as well as being the guest editor for Hardluck Noir Blues issue, contributed some excellent short crime fiction to Hardluck. All of them well-worth reading but the one that blew me away and would provide a good introduction to anyone unfamilar with Trey's work would be Lost in the Water at:

Anyway, as publisher of Hardluck, whenever I received a submission from Trey I always knew it was going to be something special.

--Dave Zeltserman

Trey R. Barker said...

Thanks, guys, for your great comments, I appreciate. Ed, I can tell you your comment about 2,000 Miles has generated lots of emails asking to buy the book! Alas! It's out of print. Damn the luck. And Hugh, I'm still trying to figure out how to do an Apple Valley prequel. When I get it figured out, you'll be the first to know. And Dave, thanks so much for your kind words about my fiction. Of the handful of new things I wrote specifically for Hardluck, Lost In The Water is far and away my favorite. Sadly, we are now staring at Gustav possibly hitting the same area almost exactly three years later - as the Republicans hold their convention - and I shudder to wonder if the levee system is going to hold.