Brian Keene is not the spookiest guy I know, but he does rank right up there in the general categories of creepy and, not parenthetically, talented. A two-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award, he is an up-and-comer in the field of horror fiction.
A novelist of some repute, he has published about a dozen titles, many short stories, and now he’s writing comics, too, for the likes of DC and Marvel. Several of his novels have been made into movies.
I am proud to say that Brian also frequents (haunts?) our shop. He will, on occasion, attend one of our events. Sometimes he has a troupe of other writers and friends with him. But more than once I’ve looked up to see him just poking around the stacks.
(And I keep trying to sell him on this idea of a story set in a used book shop with the kindly old—and wise—book seller being the hero who saves the day and possibly the world. He just gives me a smile and moves on. But I digress…)
Since Brian is a local guy, we have been lucky enough to host him for readings and signings. He was the Guest of Honor for our first HORRIBLE SATURDAY in 2008. That was a coup because he’s rather busy these days, squeezing in appearances at various and far-flung conventions when he can be pried away from his writer’s studio.
He was, in fact, the inspiration for our annual, day-long HORRIBLE SATURDAY event. It was during one of his visits that we were chatting and the idea popped up. He’s been a supporter ever since.
So when his latest book, A Gathering of Crows, was published last month, I decided that I had to have it so it would be ready and at-hand for an autograph the next time he stopped in. After closing up last night I stopped on the way home to pick up a copy from one of the chain stores (yes, a “real” retail book store and, yes, I paid the full retail price; but no, I didn’t join their frequent buyer’s club).
Later in the evening sitting at the kitchen table I opened the book and started the process. I began by reading the Acknowledgments, and thought it was pretty neat. Though my connection with Brian, I know a lot of the people he mentions there. In fact, we’ve hosted a number of them in the shop for readings, during HORRIBLE SATURDAYs and otherwise. Pretty neat, I thought.
And then I got down to the end of the list and there, right in front of the publishers and everyone, he lists “Jim Lewin of The York Emporium.”
That goes somewhat beyond the label of “neat.” So I herewith take back that crack about him being creepy.
I was surprised. I am truly flattered. I may have to go buy another copy so I can send it to my Mom.
If you should bump into Mr. Keene before I do, please tell him how I feel. (And, if you wouldn’t mind, would you put in a plug for the story line about the kindly old book seller (did I mention wise?) who uses his great mental agility and physical prowess to save the world and stuff. I can see a continuing saga here.)
In the meantime: buy the book.