For a guy who mugs people for their laptops, Tommy Marlo isn’t such a bad guy. He can’t help trying to make the people he meets — even those he mugs — feel better about their situation. Unfortunately for Tommy, he rips off the daughter of a psychotic, high-ranking member of a notorious motorcycle gang. Even worse, the laptop that he pilfered contains proof of a few gruesome murders and the location of a huge stash of money. Flat broke and marked for death, his only shot at surviving is to rob the motorcycle gang, use the cash to get out of town, and hide out on the small island where his mother now lives.
What follows is a revisionist crime thriller, a page-turning hybrid of literary and genre fiction for fans of Elmore Leonard or Patrick deWitt. But Battershill writes with a voice all his own. Deftly combining crackling dialogue with biting wit, MARRY, BANG, KILL hums with the thrill of chaos as Tommy runs to a quiet island to escape a swelling cast of characters who are trying to arrest, rob, kill, or save him. The island won’t be quiet for long.
PILLOW: a novel
Longlisted for the 2016 Giller Prize!
In stores now from Coach House Books
Most of the things Pillow really liked to do were obviously morally wrong. He wasn't an idiot; clearly it was wrong to punch people in the face for money. But there had been an art to it, and it had been thrilling and thoughtful for him. The zoo was also evil, a jail for animals who'd committed no crimes, but he just loved it. The way Pillow figured it, love wasn't about goodness, it wasn't about being right, loving the very best person, having the most ethical fun. Love was about being alone and making some decisions.
Pillow loves animals. Especially the exotic ones. Which is why he chooses the zoo for the drug runs he does as a low-level enforcer for a crime syndicate run by André Breton. He doesn't love his life of crime, but he isn't cut out for much else, what with all the punches to the head he took as a professional boxer. And now that he's accidentally but sort of happily knocked up his neighbor, he wants to get out and go straight. But first there's the matter of some stolen coins, possibly in the possession of George Bataille, which leads Pillow on a bizarre caper that involves kidnapping a morphine-addled Antonin Artaud, some corrupt cops, a heavy dose of Surrealism, and a quest to see some giraffes.
"Wildly effervescent. The dialogue, the pacing, the plot: it sizzles, it sparkles. Pillow is an hilarious, humane, fearsomely original novel by a young novelist—this Andrew Battershill; this wet-behind-the-ears rookie!—who writes with such skill and daring that you'd think this was his tenth book rather than his debut."
-Craig Davidson, Author of Rust and Bone and Cataract City