Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"Mean Business on North Ganson Street"

S. Craig Zahler's s debut western novel, A Congregation of Jackals was nominated for both the Peacemaker and the Spur awards, and his western screenplay, The Brigands of Rattleborge, garnered him a three-picture deal at Warner Brothers, topped the prestigious Black List and is now moving forward with Park Chan Wook (Old Boy) attached to direct, while Michael Mann (Heat & Collateral) develops his nasty crime script, The Big Stone Grid at Sony Pictures. In 2011, a horror movie that he wrote in college called Asylum Blackout (aka The Incident) was made and picked up by IFC Films after a couple of people fainted at its Toronto premiere. In 2013, his brutal western novel, Wraiths of the Broken Land was published by Raw Dog Screaming Press. Currently, Zahler navigates preproduction on his directorial debut, Bone Tomahawk.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Mean Business on North Ganson Street, and reported the following:
Page 69 is a good sample for somebody to read if that somebody wants to get a sense of the lighter side of the book. This page features a discussion of criminal acts, a prowling car, and some inert pigeons. All three of these elements help build the collapsed and frostbitten world of Victory, Missouri, which is where the major part of this book takes place. The prose in this excerpt is a bit more playful than it is in the far darker latter half of the book.
Bettinger circumvented an open manhole and returned to the sidewalk, stepping over a dead pigeon that was wedged against the curb. Rigid talons extruded from its feathers like the legs of a cancan dancer.
Ruminations on this page are also not necessarily related to the plot. Digressions are more common in this part of the narrative (before the plot starts to churn the central elements), as seen in this except regarding the mysterious proliferation of dead pigeons in Victory, Missouri:
“Birds can go anyplace they want, right?” Dominic gestured at the sky. “Flap their wings, and these niggas is in Hawaii, enjoyin’ the sun, or maybe over in Paris, shittin’ on ridiculous hats. So it figures that the ones who stay in Victory are damaged.”


“I’m thinkin’ somethin’ with their radar or whatever. Either way, it’s been like this for years. Niggas just droppin’.”
Read out of context, this lone page will give the reader a rough sketch of the bleak environment and a sense of the kind of characters that people the world.
Visit S. Craig Zahler's website.

Writers Read: S. Craig Zahler.

--Marshal Zeringue