I’ve just been given the okay by my publisher, Jon Bassoff of New Pulp Press that my novella, THE RAPIST, is up and available early on Amazon!
I’ve awaited the publication of this book more than any other I’ve ever had published. The writers out there will know the feelings that are coursing through me right now. There’s a lot riding on this book for me. A lot of folks are telling me they think it’ll be a breakout book and I certainly hope they’re right.
The paperback edition is gorgeous! Usually, I’d suggest buying the ebook version because it’s cheaper of course, but this book is so physically awesome I’d really recommend the paperback version… and I earn a lower royalty on the print version. I’m just really, really proud of it. And, it’s very reasonably-priced for paperback at just ten bucks and change.
If you don’t mind, please help me out by hitting the “Like” button and if anyone will post a review (hopefully a good one!), I’ll be hugely in your debt.
You might want to take a peek look at the foreword Cort McMeel provided in the Free Peek function on Amazon.
You might want to take a peek look at the foreword Cort McMeel provided in the Free Peek function on Amazon.
As of this writing, the ebook version wasn't yet posted on the Amazon UK site yet, but it should appear at any time.
Here are some of the prepub blurbs I was fortunate to garner for THE RAPIST. Thanks to everyone for your kind and gracious words.
BLURBS FOR THE RAPIST
1. Les Edgerton presents an utterly convincing anti-hero. The abnormal psychology is pitch-perfect. The Rapist ranks right up there with Camus' The Stranger and Simenon's Dirty Snow. An instant modern classic.
Allan Guthrie, author of Slammer and others. Publisher, Blasted Heath Books
2. So, I’m reading Les Edgerton’s The Rapist. The title has already made me uneasy.
Five pages in and I can hardly breathe.
Ten and I’m nauseous.
For the next 50, I’m a mixture of all of the above, but most of all, angry.
I feel like ringing my feminist friends and confessing: Sisters, I’m reading something you will kill me for reading.
I feel like ringing my ex colleagues - parole officers and psychologists who work with sex offenders in Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow - and asking them if they think it’s helpful to publish an honest and explicit transcript which shows the cognitive distortions of a callous, grandiose, articulate sex offender; one which illustrates his inability to have a relationship with a woman and his complete lack of empathy?
I’m thinking I don’t know what I should be thinking.
Will it turn sex offenders on?
Should we listen to this guy?
Is it possible to separate the person from the offence, and to empathise with him as he waits to die?
I don’t ring anyone.
I read on.
And the breathlessness, nausea, anger and confusion increase all the way to the end, at which point all I know is that the book is genius.
Helen FitzGerald, author, Dead Lovely, Bloody Women, The Devil’s Staircase, The Donor and others.
3. Take a Nabokovian narrator trying to convince the reader of his innocence and filter it through An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge and you've got The Rapist, a raw and frightening journey through the inner psyche of a damaged man.
Brian Lindenmuth, Publisher, Spinetingler Magazine and Snubnose Press
4. One never knows what to expect when reading a novel entitled “The Rapist,” yet, similar to “The Bitch” which precedes this, with Les Edgerton you know you're in for an interesting ride. Tackling a tough subject with great aplomb, Les Edgerton proves once again why he is one of the most exciting writers of this generation. The structure of this just astounded me. I've never read anything like it before. I've never been so engrossed in a novel as I was with this one. I had no idea Edgerton had this literary part of his writing. I don't know of any other writers that can go from crime fiction to literary so seamlessly. Edgerton should be very proud of this novel...
One of the bravest pieces of fiction you are likely to read this year, and also one of the best. This is a novel you'll want to read again and again, an outstanding read!
Luca Veste, author of the story collections Liverpool 5, and More Liverpool Five. He is also the editor of the story collection, Off the Record
5. The Rapist blends Camus and Jim Thompson in an existential crime novel that is as dark and intoxicating as strong Irish coffee. Les Edgerton pulls us into the corkscrew mind of Truman Ferris Pinter, a twisted man with skewed perception of the world, as his life spirals toward oblivion, like dirty dishwater down a plughole. It reminded me of Jim Thompson's Savage Night in its delirium.
Paul D Brazill, Author, 13 Shots Of Noir and others.
6. Les Edgerton’s book The Rapist is Albert Camus’ The Stranger retold as if by the lovechild of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Bukowski. Yes, it’s disturbing, yet layered and provocative, with its combination of mysticism and perversion. I particularly like the cat and mouse relationship between the protagonist Truman and the prison warden—it’s reminiscent of The Shawshank Redemption. This tale, with its many twists and turns, is definitely not for the faint of heart—but then, the title should have made that clear.
Scott Evans, Editor, Blue Moon Literary and Art Review, Author, First Folio
7. William Faulkner on steroids or Hannibal Lecter on meth; neither as literate or frightening as Les Edgerton in his ground-breaking novel, The Rapist. This intellectual tour-de-force rips open the mind of a delusional psychopath taking the reader on a raw journey that challenges Dante’s Inferno. And the last line of the book is the penultimate example of a sociopath’s naked ego.
Bob Stewart, author of Alias Thomas A Katt, Hidden Evil, No Remorse, Revenge Redeemed and others.
8. A deathdream swan dive from the existential stratosphere plummeting into the personal hell of a tormented, broken psyche, The Rapist introduces us to a gentle and philosophical misanthrope named Truman Pinter, at once reminiscent of Albert Camus and Patricia Highsmith, even John Gardner’s Grendel and the journal of Carl Panzram. Les Edgerton melds introspection and visceral, human brutality in this death row narrative from a masterful storyteller, whose dissection of a psychopath will haunt you long after the final page.
Thomas Pluck, Well-known commentator on the noir scene, many short stories published in magazines such as the Utne Reader, editor of the anthology, Lost Children Protectors
9. The Rapist is a disturbing look into the twisted mind of a narcissistic psychopath on death row. A vulgar odyssey reminiscent of Nabokov’s Lolita, although far more depraved, Les Edgerton has crafted a dark and brilliant story that leaves you as equally unsettled as it does in complete awe.
Julia Madeleine, author of No One To Hear You Scream and The Truth About Scarlet Rose
10. When Les Edgerton asked me to read an ARC of “The Rapist” he warned me with that title it may not be my thing and he was okay with whatever I decided. I knew of his writing books like Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go and Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing but never had looked at any of his fiction. I was prepared for something graphic but he refused to talk about the plot or storyline. No hints.
I was ready to be offended. I’m a strong advocate for women’s equality and won’t tolerate or put my name near anything that belittles woman. With a title of “The Rapist” it had two and a half strikes before I read the first line because rape is all about a man having power over a woman.
From the first pages the words and voice made me think of American literature masters like Mark Twain and Edgar Allan Poe I was forced to read in high school. The difference was in school I still muttered about reading dead masters and times, but grew to love the descriptions, plots and characters that transported me to another moment in history. In “The Rapist” I read greedily to see where the book was going, totally engrossed in the story. The honesty and freshness of the words from the main character kept me glued to the page to see what happened to the man caught in the worst circumstances and an act of degradation to woman. That is about all I want to say about the plot. I understand Les’s reasons for not explaining the details. You need fresh eyes to appreciate it but that isn’t to say I won’t go back and reread it like other writing masters savoring it. It is one of those books that each time you read it, you find another kernel of truth, a pearl of wisdom. It has that many facets wrapped in rich layers of dialogue, characterization and setting that pounded with each of the rapist’s heartbeat. I was hooked from the first page.
Wendy Gager, author of A Case of Infatuation, A Case of Accidental Intersection, and A Case of Hometown Blues.
11. Les Edgerton’s masterly The Rapist is a deeply disturbing journey into the murky recesses of the mind of psychopathic death row inmate Truman Ferris Pinter. An intellectual, erudite, philosophical misanthrope, Truman draws the reader inexorably into his fractured web. There are times when one nods one’s head in agreement with his well-reasoned arguments, only to shrink back in horror at the realisation. Sympathy for The Devil, indeed, in this dark vision of a black heart that is both astoundingly honest and ultimately terrifying.
Lesley Ann Sharrock former publisher/editor Moondance Media (UK), author of 7th Magpie.
12. Les Edgerton is the king of hard-edged, bad-ass crime fiction, and The Rapist is his most harrowing book yet.
Scott Phillips, author of The Ice Harvest, The Walkaway, Cottonwood.
13. Like Denis Johnson’s classic novel-in-stories, Jesus’ Son, Les Edgerton’s The Rapist is a dark, risky, disturbing story that grabs the reader in a haunting fashion and holds on tightly. The writing is taut and unsettling. Edgerton is a mighty talent.
Tony Ardizzone, The Whale Chaser and others
14. ‘I live in a small, dark realm which I fill out’. Jean Genet’s words in “Miracle Of the Rose”. And like Genet, Edgerton writes with lyricism and a sense of history of things that disturb, balancing through his superb style themes that may otherwise unsettle the narrative. Edgerton’s brilliant archaeological dig into the motivations of a rapist is an unflinching look at the darker recesses of the human psyche. There is nothing gratuitous here and it takes a command to achieve a narrative pull in such territory. It reminded me of John Burnside’s “The Locust Room” but it’s better written. Edgerton voices the demonic forces at work within his narrator’s head. He embeds the story with the protagonist’s need for redemption set against the backdrop of his life. "The Rapist" is confessional, poetic, unrelenting, and as real as the newspaper lying before you. It challenges the assumption that fictions need to censor the things people read every day in what is deemed factual. It is told in a style that situates it among the classics of transgressive fictions.
Richard Godwin, Apostle Rising, Mr Glamour
15. Les Edgerton's THE RAPIST is for those brave enough to acknowledge the ugly reality produced by our illusions. It's unapologetic, tough, taut, and well-written. It's also stark and metaphysical. It poses hard questions and makes you look hard for answers. This is great, challenging literature.
Lee Thompson, author of When We Join Jesus in Hell
16. Les Edgerton has written, in The Rapist, something that . . . that . . . well, defies explanation. Don't get me wrong; the writing is extremely powerful. The imagery is wonderful and startlingly clear. The emotions are vivid and visceral. Emotions that grab you physically and rattle your teeth violently the further you dip into his tale. But the question is . . . how do you define it?
Nihilistic existentialism comes to mind as a basis for understanding. The realization that nothing . . . nothing . . . is real or meaningful. But somehow the definition falls flat. There is, ultimately, a purpose for what happens to the character. Better yet; there is a deep, almost Freudian, mystery that grabs you and makes your imagination soar with the possibilities in understanding what is happening.
I wouldn't say that, after you finishing reading The Rapist, you're going to have a feeling of satisfaction. In fact I strongly suggest you're going to feel as if you've just walked out of a House of Mirrors. You certainly will be confused, shocked, and puzzled.
But you will realize that you've just read something amazingly original. Truly, magnificently, original.
B.R. Stateham, author of A Taste of Old Revenge, Tough Guys: The Homicide Cases of Turner Hahn and Frank Morales, and others
17. Meet Truman Ferris Pinter, condemned prisoner #49028, a snarling, wicked, silver-tongued misanthrope – a black hole of a man who sucks you in with the human gravity of his self-deception, then distorts your beliefs with the super-logic of his epiphanies. Oh, it’s all there – gut-grabbing lust, sex, hate and violence, deeply disturbing comments about our insane world – but The Rapist by Les Edgerton is much more than a new classic of Modern Noir. Against all odds, master wordsmith Edgerton has created the most mesmerizing and disturbing narrator since Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley, an intense, strange, well-spoken villain whose story and sexual perceptions will frighten many more men than women. The Rapist is not who -- or what -- you think.
Jack Getze, Fiction Editor, Spinetingler Magazine
18. Logic and reason mean everything to Truman Ferris Pinter. They trump all. Convicted of rape and more, Pinter faces a sentence he isn't the least bit concerned about, because he has planned the perfect escape.
In THE RAPIST, author Les Edgerton has penned potentially a career-defining work, challenging societal notions of right and wrong, crime and punishment, religion and philosophy, and wrapping the whole thing up in a taut, breathtaking, utterly absorbing account of narcissism, self-absorption and unchecked ego.
Edgerton is one of those rare writers who tackles the most difficult subjects unflinchingly, and does so in a way that leaves the reader spellbound. Whatever you think THE RAPIST is about, you're wrong. Read it and see. You'll find yourself thinking about it long after you've finished.
Allan Leverone, author of The Lonely Mile and others.
19. A unique, riveting look into the mind of a very disturbed character. Tough to read, but tougher to put down. Only a writer with Les Edgerton's skill could pull this off.
Terrence P. McCauley, Author of PROHIBITION and FIGHT CARD: AGAINST THE ROPES
20. When I was given the opportunity to read Les Edgerton’s forthcoming novella, I already had in mind something of what I might experience. Having read JUST LIKE THAT and THE BITCH, I knew THE RAPIST would be uncompromising, and brilliantly written. And it is. Truth be told, however, the central character in THE RAPIST – Truman Pinter – is as far away from any protagonist Les Edgerton has ever written. Indeed, apart from being uncompromising and brilliantly written, you’d be hard pressed to guess this is a Les Edgerton book at all.
For instance, here is the opening:
Let me tell you who occupies this prison cell. Perfidious, his name is Perfidity. His name is: Liar, Blasphemer, Defiler of Truth, Black-Tongued. He lies down with all members of the congregation equally, tells them each in turn they are his beloved, while he is already attending to the next assignation, in his relentless rendezvous with the consumption of souls.
THE RAPIST is a book in three acts, beginning with Truman sitting in a prison cell, accused of rape, awaiting execution. Truman speaks with such precision and clarity, such perfect prose, the reader is immediately faced with the conflict of how this weaver of words could commit such a brutal act. The seductive nature of the words is incredible. But that is only half the story. The seduction is purely intellectual. It speaks purely to the mind. Truman seems a character almost totally bereft of any sort of empathy or compassion. Never before have I read such coldness. Hannibal Lector doesn’t even come close. Truman Pinter is truly terrifying.
Truman tells us of his crime, his justification for the act, his plan to thwart the authorities at the final moment. He is very difficult to like.
But then comes the second act. We learn of Truman’s childhood. We learn of how his pathology manifested. We learn of the boy he once was. What is so brilliant about this is that as Truman tells us of his mother and his father, and of his childhood, he is barely aware how vulnerable he is becoming. It is so very, very touching.
The third act spins everything on its head, and concludes with a twist that is sublime beyond words.
A writer who writes a book THE RAPIST is a writer that holds no fear. That is clear from the outset. It alerts the reader to the fact this will be a challenging read–and it is. A challenge for the reader to trust the writer. Unreservedly. Trust the writer will keep them safe.
In Les Edgerton, you are in the safest of hands.
THE RAPIST is bleak and touching, challenging and inspirational.
An astounding read.
Ian Ayris, author of Abide With Me and One Day in the Life of Jason Dean.
21. I just finished The Rapist and . . . um . . . wow. . . just . . . I mean, holy . . . what a voice. What a . . .I mean, it's so . . . wow. Damn. Seriously.
Eric Beetner, author of The Devil Doesn't Want Me
22. One page into Les Edgerton’s The Rapist and I whispered, “Damn.” Not just the kind of “damn” you utter in respect for the audacity of what you’ve uncovered, but also that “damn” that means, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?” You didn’t think of that because you haven’t lived it. The ring of ironbound authenticity is consistent throughout Edgerton’s career, and The Rapist is no exception. Not just the blunt realities of incarceration, of course, but the mileage on his narrators. But this is a different voice than we’re used to, a different kind of hunger. What’s new here is the abandon. This is the kind of work you get from a writer with nothing left to lose, not one with nothing left to prove, and that’s the biggest surprise of all.
-David James Keaton, author of Fish Bites Cop!
-David James Keaton, author of Fish Bites Cop!
23. Ezra. Finally.
Years ago, the poet Ezra Pound, issued his one and only commandment to all the writers and poets who would follow in his footsteps: "Make it new."
Since then many have tried. Most have failed. But Les Edgerton in, The Rapist, obeys that commandment to the letter.
Truman Pinter, the protagonist of, The Rapist, by his very name (an apt combination of Truman Capote and Harold Pinter; two giants of modern mysticism and hard reality) informs the reader that he or she is in for a strange and illuminating journey.
The Rapist was very like being immersed suddenly in a boiling tsunami of religion, physics, philosophy, psychology, pathology; God, Freud, Kant, Jung, Skinner, Einstein, Hawking, John Milton, John Donne, Micky Spillane, Percy Bysshe Shelly and a choir of thousands all speaking at once in a cosmic argument; a grand parade of immortal thoughts, transcendent science and hard, hard reality. A wild surf that spins the reader head over heels, both lost and grounded at the same time.
If all that sounds confusing or frightening, don't be alarmed. Edgerton's steady hand at the tiller makes sure the reader is never lost in this raging river of words, poetry and ideas. Les guides you home to port astounded, much wiser than you were -- and in complete awe of the ambition and success of this sudden classic.
Ezra Pound would be proud. And grateful that somebody had the vision -- and balls -- to finally follow his long ago command.
A.J. Hayes, His stories and poems been published in venues like Yellow Mama, Eaten Alive, A Twist Of Noir, Shotgun Honey, Black Heart Magazine’s Noir Issue. The Hard-Nosed Sleuth, Apollo’s Lyre, Flashshot, Skin Diver Magazine, Chris Rhatigan and Nigel Bird’s Anthology: Pulp Ink. He’s also in Off The Record and Off The Record 2, and is a well-known commentator on the noir literary scene.
24. If the narrator of Camus’ The Outsider had written an especially disturbing thriller it would be The Rapist - rock hard, darkest Noir, very fine writing, first-class storytelling.
An intelligent, proud psychopath on death row tries to win your approval, in the last few hours before the big sleep. You don’t like him but it’s impossible to stop reading.
While some of us tourists can sometimes concoct realistic stories from knowing criminals and having dabbled occasionally, Mr Edgerton has served time, giving him knowledge citizens prefer not to have.
Writers Helen Fitzgerald and Wendy Gager also had initial misgivings being associated with this title and a persuasive narrator. My name, for the few who know it, is already associated with unapologetic hard drug use, chronic alcoholism, a lightweight’s criminal record, sex work, (that’s where drugs can take you) and twenty years campaigning for consensual fetish sex. “This is supposed to be about him!” sorry, but if degenerates like me are squicked out by our unrepentant host, a cold man who looks down on those who empathise with other humans, you might feel uneasy about this book. Decent people should despise scumbag predators but that’s not a reason to avoid this gripping book.
I’m thrilled to have a new author over whom to obsess. It’s been a while since I discovered Ted ‘Get Carter’ Lewis, Elmore Leonard and Thomas Harris. Decades since I saw my first Tarantino. Les Edgerton belongs in that company.
Mark Ramsden, jazz musician and author of Radical Desire (Mandrake) The Dark Magus and the Sacred Whore, The Dungeonmaster’s Apprentice, The Sacred Blood (Serpent’s Tail) War School (Troubador)
25. A brilliantly narrated tapestry of violence, sex, and death in American heartland, The Rapist is a must read for all noir aficionados and serious readers of hard-boiled lit. Once again Les Edgerton proves that he is not only a master of the modern noir novel, but a literary stylist capable of delivering a contemporary classic.
Vincent Zandri, bestselling author of The Remains and Murder by Moonlight
26. Les Edgerton is the real deal, his work consistently unflinching and raw. And his new novel is no exception. Reminiscent of Hubert Selby Jr.’s The Room, Edgerton’s The Rapist takes us deep into the mind of a disturbed man. And while some would label the character a monster, Edgerton is much more interested in finding whatever shred of humanity he can within the darkness. Ambitious and provocative, as every novel should be.
Johnny Shaw, author of Dove Season and Big Maria.
27. With THE RAPIST, Les Edgerton has written the most bone-chilling, evocative, depraved and insightful novel of the year. Forget "hardboiled", forget "noir", forget everything you think you know about what a genre story is supposed to be. THE RAPIST brushes all of that aside with a disdainful sneer and instead presents something that aspires to far more than any single genre can provide. More than anything else, this novel occupies that same uneasy space that Dostoevsky's "Notes from Underground" rests in-- a controlled testament of misanthropy and delusion. But whereas the great Russian's protagonist was fueled by rage, Edgerton's narrator is fueled by a sharp, ugly narcissism, and a beastly inhuman nature that peeks like a stalker through his eloquent language and high-minded ideas. Not so much a plot-driven novel as a narrative, Edgerton guides us into the mind of his narrator and leaves us there alone to fend for ourselves and make our own way back from the darkness. How much of what Truman says can we dismiss as the ravings of a damaged mind? And how much must we stop and listen to, hunting for a glimmer of truth?
THE RAPIST is a challenging novel, not for the squeamish, and definitely not for anyone who dislikes being pulled out of their comfort zone. It quite simply blew me away. Destined to be a classic.
Heath Lowrance, The Bastard Hand, Dig Ten Graves, City of Heretics and others.
28. If you were familiar with Les Edgerton's work - you aren't anymore. The Rapist marks a whole new direction for the noir stalwart. He strips Kafka of genteel niceties and leads us on a searing voyage into the black beating heart of an implacable sociopath. The Rapist will leave you jittery for days and wondering what damaged human depths there remain for Edgerton to plumb.
Court Merrigan, author of Moondog Over the Delta.
29. Les Edgerton’s ‘The Rapist’ is an extraordinary book.
In essence, it describes the events leading up to the protagonist’s incarceration and the time he passes as he waits his final dawn to arrive.
It’s written in a style of yester-year and there are sketches that suggest a contemporary setting; what I feel the author achieves by this juxtaposition is to direct his thoughts to the human condition as it’s always been rather than it might be at any given point.
The main character is an intellectual. A pedant. A philosopher. He is in the middle of a war of attrition against the people he meets, himself and even more importantly with the reader.
It’s like being hit repeatedly by a blunt object as he cajoles and insists and backs up his arguments. There are even times when the guy seems convincing and these are the most disturbing sections of all.
There aren’t many modern books like this, I’m pretty sure. Though it may not always be a fun ride, there’s an element of satisfaction for the reader who takes this on in undertaking such a perilous journey.
I left ‘The Rapist’ battered, bruised and exhausted - what more can one say about a book than that?
Nigel Bird, author of Smoke, Mr Suit, In Loco Parentis
30. Les Edgerton's The Rapist reads like congress with the Devil himself - elegantly unsettling and with a hell of an after-taste.
Jedidiah Ayres, author of Fierce Bitches
31. The Rapist's narrator has the same overweening self-importance as Nabokov's Humbert Humbert and the Lolita comparisons don't end there. At times you don't want to look, you want to wash your mind out but this compelling work, told in bleakly sonorous prose, pulls you back. Les Edgerton has produced that rare thing: a book of seriousness.
Tony Black, author of Murder Mile
Tony Black, author of Murder Mile
Thank you so much, everyone!
Hope you enjoy the read!