David Osborne and BROKEN RIVER BOOKS

brb coversTell us about yourself:
My name is J David Osborne. I’m a crime writer from Norman, Oklahoma. I’ve written two novels: BY THE TIME WE LEAVE HERE, WE’LL BE FRIENDS and LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY. I’ve been a noir and crime fiction fan ever since I found Ellroy’s COLD SIX THOUSAND in the library when I was in high school. I moved from that to Jim Thompson, him being from Oklahoma, and from there my interest exploded. I’ve existed on a pretty strict crime fiction diet ever since. I can’t get enough of the clipped prose, the lack of bullshit, and the empathetic exploration of decidedly non-sympathetic characters. It’s the realest form of literature to me, in that its focus is on what makes us good or evil, and what drives us to be either way.
You mentioned Ellroy and Thompson. Who else? Tell us more about this “crime fiction diet.”
Oh, lord. Deep breath. Leonard, McCarthy, Woodrell, Franklin, Chandler, Sallis, Welsh, Bolaño, Abbott, Parker, Lansdale, Starr, Brubaker, Hammett, Azzarello, Pelecanos, Bruen, Westlake/Stark, oh my god there are literally so many and I’m getting obsessive trying not to leave something out, which I will, which I will kick myself for.
What made you decide to start Broken River Books?
I was originally going to take the reigns over at Jeremy Robert Johnson’s awesome Swallowdown Press. He suggested that, instead of attempting to turn SDP into a crime press, that I just start fresh. I thought that was a pretty good idea. My major inspiration for starting Broken River is that dark fiction such as the novels I’m publishing are my passion. I read them constantly, I talk about them constantly. I devour all of that shit. Can’t get enough. And I’m one who believes in turning passions into life pursuits. I don’t want this to be a thing that flares up and disappears. I want to bring the best books I can into the world before I quit this life. I think humans are builders. We are meant to create things and have something tangible at the end of our creation. I would like to leave behind a body of work, from both myself and others, that people will be able to enjoy for as long as people read.
Why the Kickstarter?
I’m a working class guy from Oklahoma. I have trimmed trees, moved furniture, changed tires over at Hibdon, and on and on. I work odd jobs. Between the bills and food and taking care of my wife and dog (okay, my wife can take care of herself) I don’t have a whole lot of capital left over at the end of the day. On that note, however, I don’t believe in getting something for nothing. I was raised to understand that work is its own reward, and I’ll put all my effort into whatever I do until I’m dead. So, I’m not asking anyone to just trust me, that eventually I’ll get some good stuff and put it out there. I went and assembled a launch catalogue of five great books. I got them edited and paid a phenomenal cover artist to get the jackets drawn up. Essentially this Kickstarter serves two purposes: one, it helps me to cover the initial set-up costs (which are not that high, but still out of reach for a guy like me) and it helps to create a sort of pre-order system for these fantastic books. Everybody should be reading them, and I’m tickled to know that as of right now, fifty or so folks will have them in their hands soon enough. I want to create a community around these books, and I want to get people interested. Dammit, these are books that should be read.
Okay, why’s that?
Because these are books that get crime fiction right. These books are firing on all cylinders, all the right notes are hit: the drugs, the sex, the violence. But when I sent out my call for submissions, I had a very simple request: “Character first, crime second.” And these guys all delivered. Stephen Graham Jones wrote a first-person nightmare of a book with THE LEAST OF MY SCARS, about a serial killer kidnapped by the mob and confined to an apartment where he’s to kill anyone they send his way. This guy’s a psycho, and yeah there’s a lot of gore, but most of the book consists of quiet moments, of the guy talking to himself, trying to work out what’s going on in the outside world. Going crazier. Jed Ayre’s PECKERWOOD will actually make you care about a penny-ante douchebag who takes advantage of anything he can in order to make a quick buck. STREET RAISED by Pearce Hansen, most of you may have read, and you know it’s great, I mean hell, it’s been vetted by Joe Lansdale and Ken Bruen. The “hero” isn’t much of a hero, he’s a violent thug. But again: he’s been hurt by this woman and he cares for his friends and he’s a person in spite of all that ugly. GRAVESEND by William Boyle is almost completely a character piece. It’s easily the most meditative of all of the books, and is nothing but stronger for it. It’s a revenge story on the surface, but absolutely nothing goes according to formula and you find yourself completely absorbed in these people’s lives, them stuck in the neighborhood that birthed them. And even XXX SHAMUS, which was written by a badass author who decided to use a pseudonym, but the reader will feel this man’s pain. It starts with a funny concept: he’s a PI that is irresistible to women, and takes it to its most absurd conclusion. The depths of depravity and despair this guy reaches by the end of the book absolutely made my guts hurt. All of this is to say that each and every one of these books is a crime fiction fan’s dream come true. There’s something for everybody, but I think it’s all for everybody, too.
What’s next for you and the press?
I’m gonna keep hollering about this until I get these guys the attention they deserve. These men (and in the future, women [I need to take a moment to note that while submissions are currently closed, I need, need more crime books by women. The world needs them.]) are my family now, and I take care of my family. I get things in my head and I have to see them through. Check out the books, y’all. You’ll like them, I promise.
Kickstarter link: HERE

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