Very Mercenary by Rayo Casablanca
Rayo Casablanca is the author of 6 Sick Hipsters and Very Mercenary (both Kensington Books) as well as the young adult novel Future Imperfect (St. Martin's) writing as K. Ryer Breese. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
Leigh Tiller has just been kidnapped. The beautiful, ineffably cool New York socialite is being held by a group of mentally ill terrorists who've demanded millions in ransom from Leigh's wealthy father. There's just one problem: Kip Tiller doesn't want Leigh back. He wants her dead. And he's hired The Serologist - a psychotic, patchwork-scarred hit man - to make sure it happens. Leigh's unlikely saviour is Laser Mechanic, the coolly brilliant leader of the guerrilla art collective, Strategic Art Defence. Now, Laser, his team of highly trained artists, and Leigh are on their way to Las Vegas, running from The Serologist and the cops...and into a head-on collision with several contract killers - the Gashes, vicious girl bikers, the Black Sultans, adolescent gang-bangers, and the Bisons, a pair of sadistic, meth-addled brothers - looking to make a fast fortune. The outcome will be bloody, brutal, bizarre - and utterly unexpected.
How important is a good title?
For me, it's essential. As a reader, I often browse bookstores and find myself drawn to catchy titles regardless of the book's cover. I keep a running list of great titles and most often pull them from album and song titles. My book Very Mercenary is partially inspired by Herbaliser's album "Very Mercenary." 6 Sick Hipsters was borne, oddly enough, from the marketing on the side of a pack of women's panties. Convoluted story that.
What's the best piece of craft advice you've been given?
The best piece of advice I've gotten is a quote, originally about poetry, that's frequently bastardized: "Projects are never finished, only abandoned." We are never done writing and revising and more often than not, our babies go out into the world only as formed as we can make them. It's the giving up that's hardest.
As a reader, how would you describe your taste in crime fiction?
Dark. Pulpy. I like offbeat characters and storylines and I'm a sucker for anything vengeance related. If we broaden it outside of print crime fiction, I swear by Korean revenge thrillers like I SAW THE DEVIL, SAVE THE GREEN PLANET and OLD BOY as well as Asian gangsterism along the lines of To's VENGEANCE and the Kim Ji-woon's A BITTERSWEET LIFE.
Who's your favourite living writer?
Russell Hoban. The man is brilliant. His work gives me chills.
What's the best collection of short stories you've read?
Depends on genre but probably Mark Richard's "Charity." Everyone talks about his amazing first collection, "The Ice at the Bottom of the World," but "Charity" is darker, more feral. The man writes stories that are like bear traps crafted from the most exquisite filigree. Beautiful and debilitating at the same time.
Ever tried your hand at screenwriting?
That's mostly what I do now. In fact, I'm adapting "Very Mercenary" as we speak.
Ever tried your hand at poetry?
Yes. I got my start -- well, it was a college start -- writing concrete poetry under various surreal names for orphic small press magazines like "Lost and Found Times." It was fun stuff. There's this wild, thriving experimental poetry scene lurking just under the literary surface and it's filled with oddballs, weirdoes, and freaks. My kind of people.
What was your favourite book as a child?
Probably "Grendel." I read it as a kid, didn't understand much of it, but loved that fact that this legendary monster was not only the hero but, for lack of a better phrase, a regular dude. The shade of Grendel lives on in every monstrous anti-hero we celebrate today.
Very Mercenary by Rayo Casablanca