Like your beer with a unique Scottish twist? Honestly, that’s a question you’ve probably never thought about, but once you’ve had an ale from Olde Burnside Brewing Company, you might feel like donning a kilt the next time you go drinking. The Scots are known for being a rough-and-tumble crowd, and Olde Burnside would make even the meanest, toughest Scot proud. This East Hartford, Connecticut microbrewery proudly claims that it uses only the highest quality hops and ingredients during the brewing process and does not use filter, pasteurize, or include any additives, stabilizers, or preservatives in its beers. They’re all about providing the freshest and most full-flavored beers around, and they have become a local favorite since they opened in 2000.Olde Burnside beers can be found in 7 states across the Northeast, so next time you’re feeling a wee bit Scottish, pick up their flagship Ten Penny Ale or their Penny Weiz Ale and enjoy a rich taste of Scotland. Leave the bagpipes at home, though. Or hell. Bring them with you and make some noise.
Posts Tagged michael hogan
March 1, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
February 28, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
If you love a comfortable murder-detection-solution book, then look away now…Sistine is edgy, lyrical, dark and sometimes downright peculiar…but after a while it becomes clear what Hogan is doing with his complex and innovative story structure. I judge this to be a brilliant book by a fine writer…
February 27, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
BY AGATHO of Mysterious Matters
I love a good tagline. And The Rogue Reader‘s tagline, “Fiction from the bleeding edge,” is as good as it gets. I love a book that beats me up and leaves me bleeding. Sadly, there aren’t many of them. Too many novels (especially those with a darker edge) miss the balance, a phenomenon I call “working too hard to to be hard-boiled.”
Michael Hogan’s Burial of the Dead is one of those rare books that gets almost everything right. I discovered it a few years ago, and it has become one of my most-recommended books. I should mention that I am an editor at an independent publishing house, but I was not the editor who originally found and published Burial of the Dead. But I wish I had been.
I often think about, and sometimes blog about, the constraints of genre fiction. On the one hand, we (publishers, that is) like books that fit into a formula that is easily marketable. On the other hand, editors (like me) seek books that push the limits of the genre, that seek to do something new, different, bold, brave, exciting. It’s a tough balance to pull off, and it requires a special writer.
Burial of the Dead is such a book. Fans of the genre can be assured that it falls clearly into the “mystery” category. Every single page, chapter, and part of this book is suffused with mystery. For every question that is answered, doubts are raised and new questions arise. We almost never know who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and who’s allied with whom. When those questions are answered, the only result is more mystery as the reader must adjust everything s/he thought s/he knew.
The plot is, on the surface, quite simple. A wealthy older woman, owner of a successful funeral home and rich in her own right, has died. Was it suicide, or was she killed? Throughout the pages of Burial of the Dead, we see a parade of characters, all of whom stand to benefit in some way by the woman’s death. There’s her long-lost great niece; her late husband’s business partner; various employees; and various policemen and politicos, all of whom have a stake in finding out what really happened, or in trying to hide the truth. Each chapter mystifies as much as it enlightens, and the result is a book that grabs you and won’t let you go, as layers upon layers are peeled back and revealed.
The setting is Connecticut, which is deconstructed in a rather alarming and brilliant way throughout. We’re treated to a slice of life in which every character is somehow linked to other characters in sometimes subtle and always mysterious ways. Many books, I think, can be lifted from their setting and plopped down somewhere else with little damage to the story, but I don’t think that’s the case here, which is testimony to the author’s abilities as a writer and social observer.
I do not exaggerate when I say that Burial of the Dead is one of the most provocative, intense, mysterious books I have read in the last decade. In its pages the author has perfected the art of deceit: staying three or four steps ahead of the reader at every turn. I can’t remember the last time I so thoroughly enjoyed being so thoroughly deceived.
February 25, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
In this provocative essay, Michael Hogan introduces the vision for his Rust in Peace trilogy. His three intricate novels, Man Out of Time, Burial of the Dead, and Sistine combine in a powerful triptych of mystery, conspiracy, and moral uncertainty. Get swept away by his prose and his plotting by diving into the novels here.
“Rust in peace, fellas. You done good.”
Say “rust belt” and people know what you’re talking about. Say “rust belt” and you got your run-down main street, store fronts boarded up, bricks and black factories, abandoned, useless, old, remnants of the industrial revolution that swept through town and left all of a sudden without so much as a wave good-bye.
After the second world war these towns had done pretty well for themselves. With the invention of synthetics the New England textile mills might have felt the first pinch of change, but most of the cities and towns from Lowell to Detroit and beyond enjoyed the wealth consequent to an industrial base that offered full employment and affirmed the proposition that America ran the world. What was good for General Motors was good for the country. So, step aside Britain and Europe, and don’t even try it Chairman Joe with your iron curtain and atheistic ways, because the USA has the game sussed, sown up and won.
I grew up in a town of thirty-thousand people, most of whom were employed in one of the four factories that turned out ball bearings, needles, copper tubing and gaskets. The fifties were ostensibly safe and easy and even meaningful if you could get with the program, conformed to the rule, joined the club, rooted for the right team, kept your head down, married the corporate logo, surrendered your mind and will to the superior wisdom of group-think, the wisdom of the clan, the wisdom of the tribe as personified in management, the clergy and government officials.
But then things began to change. By 1960 boomers who’d become teens to the soundtrack of one white boy with a voice from the hot and libidinous south, listened and took it to heart when Kennedy said: “Ask not…” Elvis might have unleashed America’s long repressed id, but JFK sought to channel all that untapped energy into the service of efforts more noble than “I, ME, MINE.”
All of this made Management a little squirrely. It ran a little pink. The powers that be, the ones in charge of the industries that were good for America, monitored their seismographs to measure the little upheavals across the contiguous forty-eight. Unions wanted more. Workers threatened to strike, and the Coloreds, the Negroes, were getting a little uppity, thinking they could ride in the front seat, thinking they could eat any damn place they pleased, thinking they were equal.
And all of this was backdrop to another drama taking place at such a pace so as to be almost imperceptible.
Just as civilization had moved in a westward arc for twenty-five hundred years from Greece to Rome to Europe to Great Britain and then to the Americas, the industrial revolution, the most recent manifestation of western man’s will to progress was on the move again.
Corporate executives in skyscrapers of iron, glass and steel, far removed from the day to day blue collar punch the clock world of their workers, figured they could relocate to other cities, other countries, where the demands on Management were less, where people worked for less, where medical costs were less, where benefits cost less, where pensions were subject to promises that could be foregone under color of law.
So what happens when iron and steel are left behind, untended, unused, not maintained, monitored or cared for, especially in the damp climate of northern cities?
Iron and steel rusts. Iron and steel take on that flaky coating, rendered black, brown, red and pale. Rust. And rust becomes more than a word to describe the chemical process of oxidation. Rust becomes the word that implies abandonment, disuse, something too old to value, something useless, to be set aside and looked upon with disdain or benign neglect. Rust comes with its ochre and burnt sienna flakes and speaks of rain, of chill, of melancholy, of perpetual autumn, of setting suns, of fourth quarters, of final curtains, of places no longer deemed important, of people who proved themselves to be inter-changeable, dispensable, disposable and easily replaced.
Rust. It carries cruel connotations and something else besides – the value of survival, of endurance, of loyalty, of playing the hand one’s dealt, of going on no matter what. As Beckett said: I can’t go on; I’ll go on.
I love rust belt towns and the people who live in them. I love those “meat and potato” cities where people are not unacquainted with self-deprecating humor and a humility that can only be gained through troubles experienced, shared and endured.
I grew up in a family that had defined itself as a family some years before my birth. They were members of the first half of the 20th Century and as such they were devoted to institutions, and more than that – to their idea of institutions, the big names, the church, the state, the all-powerful and particularly American fetish for the job, the ideal employer, the mentor and guide, nurturing and generous like Scrooge on the day after, like the God of our best hopes.
February 20, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
Those thousands of readers who discovered Michael Hogan last November when we released his gritty noir Dog Hills and his ambitious literary novel Sistine know what a talent he is. For those who haven’t yet experienced a Hogan novel–and believe us, reading Hogan is an experience; you’re sucked into the psychological mazes of his characters’ minds and misdeeds and it’s hard to get back to reality afterward–we are happy to offer you an exclusive invitation.
For a very limited time, we’re offering the three books in Michael Hogan’s Rust in Peace trilogy, all bundled together at one low price. His debut Man Out of Time, previously published by Random House; his much-heralded literary mystery Burial of the Dead, previously published by Thomas Dunne; and his penetrating, unforgettable mystery saga Sistine, which we introduced last fall. These three novels compose Hogan’s Rust in Peace trilogy, and together they offer thrilling reads and the kind of circumspect social awareness that the best novels always create. We don’t call them masterpieces lightly.
They’ll be available for purchase everywhere soon, but right now they are all yours for $5.99. Buy the DRM-free files of each book, readable on any device, by clicking here. If you’ve loved Hogan’s work in the past, these novels will not disappoint. If you’ve never read him, get ready: you’re about to find books you’ll be talking about for years.
January 25, 2013 by Jason Ashlock
Remember what it felt like to browse in bookstores? Shelf after shelf of books, calling to you by their art or author, often surprising you with a new story or writer. The element of serendipity and unintended discovery isn’t as easy to come by in the chaos of social media and the immensity of virtual shopping. That’s why we’ve partnered with new tech start-up Bublish to try to recreate that bookstore experience.
Bublish welcomes authors to build discrete book pages that include an excerpt from one’s book surrounded by author commentary about that excerpt, placing it in its creative context and giving it real-world connection. The results are surprisingly moving. As much as we love Twitter and Facebook, what gets left out too often is context. Bublish builds a place for authors to share the story around the story.
In a few of our Bublish pages: Ro Cuzon talks about his friend’s bar that served as a gathering place after Katrina and inspired the bar in Under the Dixie Moon; Ro relates his memories of the gritty St Bart’s that inspired Under the Carib Sun, a place very different from the common vision of a pristine island for the wealthy; Michael Hogan talks about the legendary art that organizes his literary mystery Sistine, and the gritty rust-belt town that sits at the center of his noir Dog Hills; and Edward Weinman talks about the real Iceland at the heart of his crime novel The Ring Road, a land of isolation that drives people to despair, or, if they’re lucky, hope. You can click on the images below to preview our work with Bublish, or follow the links above to see Bublish in action.
Pop over to Bublish and browse around. If you stumble upon an author or story you like, perhaps it will remind you of the feeling you once had of pulling a random book off a bookstore shelf and, improbably, finding it was the perfect fit.
“Once a man of letters, thought and commentary, now Joe Buckett acts. Life has hurt him into action.”
December 21, 2012 by Jason Ashlock
Michael Hogan on his newest creation, the unforgettable Joe Buckett, a down-and-out middle-aged Manhattanite who’s about to find his purpose in enacting the rough justice of a vigilante. Get to know him in “Buckett Full O’ Coal,” one of the suspenseful short stories in our holiday-themed collection Dreaming of a Noir Christmas.
Mid-life and the trajectory of Joe Buckett’s shot at fame, money, power, status and position flattens with a cough, a sag, a lag, unemployment, one enlarged prostate and a touch of sciatica. His marriage? Over. His career? Put a fork in it. His faith in systems, bureaucracies, government, the courts, those august creatures of state and church, instituted by a society, concerned for its citizens, to provide help and assistance when help and assistance are needed? Yeah, right. Even his minimal expectations for his fellow man? Forget about it. Welcome to the dark night of the soul where one man confronts one universe and fashions his response to the void. Most go under. Most surrender to a life of sedentary solitude. They become voyeurs, spectators, plugged into some screen, obsessively following sports, soaps, soft porn or the latest from Hollywood, the fluctuations of a market in which they play no part. But Buckett is a rare exception to the rule. Buckett acts. Once a man of letters, thought and commentary, now Buckett acts. Life has hurt him into action.
There are vigilantes hailed as heroes and vigilantes hailed as monsters, the assessment dependent on the mark’s evil. It’s a thin line between Charles Bronson and a serial killer. Buckett walks the line, but he never kills a man just to watch him die. There’s wit in it. Reason. Humor. Context. Street-righteousness. A Modest Proposal: What’s so funny about peace love and understanding when everybody and everything has decided to fuck you? Well, nothing’s funny when the world is a joke. The only thing about Buckett that makes him different than the rest is that he takes the next step. He becomes the hero in his own production. Daydreams of revenge, served hot or cold, become real in time and space. The guilty suffer mightily. Rough justice manifests. And Buckett sleeps better than he used to. – MH
December 12, 2012 by Jason Ashlock
Happy Holidays from The Rogue Reader!
Ten weeks ago, we launched at Bouchercon World Mystery Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. Since then, our audience has grown to a community of thousands of readers who have helped make Ro Cuzon’s Under the Dixie Moon a Nook bestseller (and a Library Journal Staff Pick for 2012), and have pushed Michael Hogan’s Dog Hills to #3 in Suspense Fiction in the Kindle store.
Dreaming of a Noir Christmas is our chance to say thanks to the readers who have supported us in these early days, and to say welcome to all those who will join us. The four suspenseful short stories are from our original Rogues, Ro Cuzon and Michael Hogan, our January debut author Edward Weinman, and future Rogue Don Rearden. Each has a talent for gut-punch prose, for fearless storytelling, and for immersing readers in places and settings that capture the even the most jaded imaginations.
“Nearly a Christmas Miracle” by Edward Weinman. A struggling young waitress working the only bar in a tiny fishing village in Iceland’s East Fjords endures another Christmas alone. The holiday means even less to a weary, damaged detective forced to return to his desolate hometown to solve the murder of a foreigner found beneath the moldering pier. Stranded at 66 degrees North, where everyone has secrets and holiday folklore is filled with tales of blood and violence, these two lonely characters are drawn together in search of the only thing both of them want for Christmas: revenge.
“Christmas Candyflip, 1992″ by Ro Cuzon. Young Dylan thinks Christmas ain’t Christmas without his three best friends, good weed, and some Ecstasy. When the foursome takes to Disneyland for some narcotic-enhanced amusement and fireworks, they find themselves in the cross-hairs of an ex-cop security guard with a chip on his shoulder. When the guard’s psychotic brand of law-enforcement threatens more than their good times, Dylan has to create some fireworks of his own.
“Buckett Full O’ Coal” by Michael Hogan. Joe Buckett is taking more shit than usual during the holidays. His career is dead, he’s losing his apartment, and his ex-wife’s new husband has him jumping through hoops if he wants see his daughter for Christmas. As trees are lit and carols sung, Buckett stumbles into a degenerate sidewalk Santa and a mystery involving a young girl in need of rescue. Suddenly, Joe Buckett’s got a purpose in life and the mobsters in Brighton Beach are going to find out what happens when you mess with a man who’s got nothing to lose.
“Aurora’s Dance” by Don Rearden. An Alaskan trapper, alone for the holidays in the desolate, snow-covered tundra, stumbles on a sled and dog team abandoned in the darkness. As the temperature plummets and snow conditions become dangerous, the trapper frantically searches for the missing owner. Finding him could mean company for Christmas or prove a fatal trap, but by the time he discovers the truth hidden in the Arctic darkness, it may be too late to turn back.
Any and all proceeds from the anthology will go to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts of the American Red Cross. Whether you purchased this ebook from your favorite retailer or read it free here on TheRogueReader.com, we hope you’ll give whatever you can to The Red Cross or other charities that are working to relieve the suffering from the storm, and bring help to those that need it most.
November 28, 2012 by Jason Ashlock
This month, Barnes & Noble chose Michael Hogan’s literary mystery Sistine for its Nook First program. It’s as immersive and imaginative a novel as you’re likely to find, and it boasts a clever organization, using Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel as a leitmotif. But at its heart, it’s a wrestling match with the deception and abuses of the Catholic church. In the short piece below, the author discusses wrestling with his own demons while developing the dark mysteries that compose Sistine, and ponders what religion is ultimately for.
Sistine is a work of fiction, which is to say the characters are “made up,” creatures of imagination, if based on anyone or anything, then based on the undifferentiated and murky memories resident in the subconscious. That having been said, I imagine that imagination is also a process, an interplay of several elements in which conscious memory must play a part – otherwise one would have to embark upon the task Molly (Sistine) would set for herself – writing about something so entirely new that its made up of things that haven’t been invented yet. So, that having been said, the question presents itself: How much did the fourteen months I spent in a Jesuit Novitiate in the early ’80s inform Sistine’s plot and characters? Well, they informed it. Which is to say I didn’t work to forget with the same energy I worked to remember.
Like Dennis I’m an amalgam of gifts, wounds, genes, biases, prejudices, defects, strengths, capacities and limitations, that have yet to find their tempered balance in an excitable disposition. Nonetheless, also like Dennis, I’m a believer and particular fan of Francis of Assisi, more in love with substance, essence, the heart of things and people rather than their appearance. From my years as a lawyer I learned that there are those who interview well and those who can do the job. Not surprisingly, they’re often not one and the same, because appearances can be deceiving. (This has everything to do with beauty – a topic for another essay.)
The Catholic Church, the Roman Church, the Church Triumphant of my childhood, the church that seduced me with its smells and bells and art and pomp and ritual at a time when I was overly impressed with such things, is, today, first and foremost the outward manifestation of some great and all-powerful OZ. It has dressed itself in such grandeur and gigantism, great and awe-full, overwhelming stuff, like a Versailles or Byzantium, an empire’s Rome, an imagined Germania, that the poor, Jewish, unemployed, homeless and itinerant talker and felon, who supposedly is the raison d’etre for the whole thing, has been lost in the velveteen folds of too many regal robes. The Church has confused its station, its appearance and the presumed goodness (goodness as foregone conclusion, goodness as essential and present component) that it believes its appearance affords, with the inconvenient fact that goodness and kindness and tolerance and generosity and patience are not “stations” rendered in other “stations” like paintings and architecture and robes. Rather, goodness, kindness, patience, and all the other things that supposedly comprise the ineffable act of love, are the names that language gives to verbs, functions, and acts done in time and space, human to human, human to world, human to universe, human to Whatever.
Of course there’s a place for art and of course the world is a better place for the works of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, Caravaggio and others. And of course one need not embrace the bonfires of Savanarola or Goebbels to purify anyone of anything. But in the same breath, just because a building of stone and marble is laden with the efforts of old masters, it does not guarantee that the parish priest who inhabits same will be as kind, as moral, as good as any reasonable person has every good reason to expect.
– Michael Hogan
The sparsity of Hogan’s prose, it’s sheer economy, its simplicity and bull’s eye precision are awesome to behold.
November 23, 2012 by Jason Ashlock
It will be hard to write a review about this novel without sounding like a foolish acolyte.
If this novel were a human being, it would be a quiet, welterweight MMA fighter with less than 1% body fat.
The sparsity of Hogan’s prose, it’s sheer economy, its simplicity and bull’s eye precision are awesome to behold. Yet, Hogan mixes this brutal efficiency with the cadence of sentences peppered with “ands” that draw you short of breath until you delight in the pause to reread, just for the thrill of the second pass. For the first time since owning a kindle (2 years), I utilized the notes feature to save examples. A couple of them:
Describing the face of a hired killer:
It was more than just the absence of life, it was the presence of another life, the vacuum of the hatred he’d built up in himself over the years, living with his swollen head tottering like a party mask on his pencil neck.
From the perspective of a punk kid in the grasp of a hired killer:
And somewhere in the telling of it the kid realized that he was going to die, and like a wash of clarity wiping away all of the drug induced, alcohol induced semi-oblivion of lost youth, the kid knew it was over and tried to pull away.
This is noir in a way that Cormac McCarthy would write it. McCarthy or Hemingway, with a way Flannery O’Connor might have used her dark, sick humor to describe the depravity of man.
As another reviewer observed, Bollo Walsh is a beautiful man, a loser you can root for, because despite the hopelessness of his predicament, you know he is a man with a conscience and moral ethic who, when the moment occurs, will not hesitate to make use of his opportunity.
Mike Hogan is one of two of the debut authors of The Rogue Reader (the other Ro Cuzon), a product of the current publishing environment, where seasoned veterans of the traditional industry saw an opportunity to create their own brand and bring strong, fresh voices to the digital marketplace. I am a huge fan of Mike Hogan, Ro Cuzon and The Rogue Reader.