|Many years ago I wrote a rather sardonic espionage thriller, The Hungarian Game which sold about 520,000 copies in a number of languages worldwide. It was on Time's best-seller list for five weeks, and reviewers in the US and UK had kind words about me an my novel.
A few years ago I returned to my trusty Underwood, adding a few more wry comments by way of a rousing adventure yarn, The Last Days of Last Days of Las Vegas.
The Last Days of Las Vegas isn't the kind of novel that can be transformed into a bang-bang shoot-'em-up action adventure movie. It's a challenging, epic story of political intrigue and espionage ... cynical and sardonic ... and the plot unfolds like a series of trip-hammers, each event snapping open yet other events. (A brief synopsis here.)
Yes, there are episodes of gunfights. Suicide bombings. A hotel being blasted down with an explosives-loaded bi-plane. An anti-tank mine pulverizing a street in London's fashionable Knightsbridge district.
But the real conflict is more subtle than that.
The two principals in the story, a burned-out former intell operative and a self-exiled Iraqi general, engage in conflict not with physical violence but through manipulation and psychological pressure. Both are masters at bending others to their will, the former spy preferring to call it "manipulative empathy" as opposed to "mind f***ing."
"Politics, of course, enlightens by encouraging conviction ... whereas literature enlightens by pursuing doubt."
Although there's a recognizable audience for complex, challenging thrillers of this sort, novels like this are not the easily-digested stuff that get agents and editors salivating.
Epic? Complex? Sophisticated? Challenging? Judge for yourself.
The first 19 chapters of The Last Days of Las Vegas are free for you to read. They're in PDF format, which you can download to your computer, eReader, or eTablet.
Click here to access and download.
Now that I've finished Last Days, I'm writing a tale about bigotry and greed, Big Gap, set in a remote corner of a western state.You can read Chapter One here, but the other chapters are still in the writing stage. (Hemingway famously said, "First drafts are shit." He was right.)
© Roy Hayes