Murph is HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS with giveaway

DENVER, Colo. – Back in the driver’s seat again, the cabbie who made readers laugh out loud in the first three installments of the posthumously published “Asphalt Warrior” series has returned for two more books written by best-selling author Gary Reilly.

Winner of the 1979 Pushcart Prize, Reilly passed away in 2011 after a two-year battle with colon cancer, trusting a pair of friends to publish an 11-book series after his death. Since then, the “Asphalt Warrior” series has been in the hands of Mike Keefe, a retired political cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize winner, and Mark Stevens, a former journalist and acclaimed author in Colorado. Following the successful release of the first three books – “The Asphalt Warrior,” “Ticket to Hollywood,” and “The Heart of Darkness Club,”
which hit No. 1 on the Denver area bestsellers list – the two friends will publish two more books Nov. 21, 2013 in honor of Reilly through Running Meter Press.

 

 

Denver taxi driver Brendan Murphy, aka Murph, returns in Reilly’s fourth book, “Home for the Holidays.” It’s Christmastime, and Murph leaves his cab behind to visit his family in Wichita where he finds himself reluctantly reconnecting with his siblings.

Meanwhile, Murph takes it upon himself to save an old friend from making the biggest mistake of his life – accepting a job where suits and ties are everyday attire.   It will take all of his persuasive powers to rescue Jimmy Callahan from The Suits. That, and maybe a Christmas miracle.
 

 

 

My Take on HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

4.5 stars

Murph has been called home toWichitaby Maw to celebrate the Christmas season with his sisters, their families, and his evil brother, Gavin.  This is Murph’s first trip back home in twenty years.  It’s a true treat to see where and who Murph comes from.

 

It didn’t take long to snuggle back into a world that moves at the speed of Murph.  Our insightful protagonist is a true minimalist.  Not in some avant-garde artsy form but as an honest-to-goodness way of life.  Murph has perfected getting by and having just what he needs, never too little or too much but just right.  Murph on ambition:

I coughed and cleared my throat.  “You’re missing the big picture,” I said.  “Step one is to divest yourself of all ambition.  After you have succeeded in doing that, then-and only then-can you take step two, which is to figure out a way to get money.”

    “It seems like you should get the money first,” Jimmy said.  “Then you could go ahead and stop having ambition.”

    I took a deep breath and sighed.  I hated talking to amateurs.  They did everything exactly backwards.  

When Murph reluctantly travels back toWichitaat Maw’s behest he takes us on a many storied trip down his youthful memory lane.  The young Brandon Murphy isn’t really all that removed from the Murph of today.  While opening presents Christmas morning:

“Don’t tear the …!” Sally shrieked as I ripped the paper away from the box. “Oh Brendan,” she said mournfully.  I had spent my entire childhood listening to people say, “Oh Brendan.”

    The wrapping paper was ruined.  A bit of tape might have put it in good enough shape to reuse next year, but I squelched that possibility by wadding it up and tossing it over my shoulder.  All the kids laughed.  I was setting a bad example.  That’s what uncles are for.  

Murph references classic TV shows, movies, and literature.  He ties them into whatever story he’s telling making it feel personal because so many of us watched or read what he’s referring to and many of us had comparable youthful experiences.  What a delight it was to juxtapose the boy, Brendan, against the man, Murph.

Reading a Murph book is one of the top stress relievers on the market today.  I should warn you, though: they’re highly addictive.

Thanks to Sami  Manic Readers has a print copy of HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS to give away (sorry due to shipping costs, U.S. only).  How do you feel about family get togethers over the holidays or in general?  Giveaway ends 1-3-2014 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good Luck!

Author Website
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Reilly was born in Arkansas City, Kan., and moved with his family of seven brothers and sisters to Denver.  He served two years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam as a military policeman, and later majored in English at Colorado State University with continued studies at the Denver campus of the University of Colorado. After publishing his short story “The Biography Man” and writing as an AOL comic advice columnist in the ‘90s, Reilly turned to novels. His dedication to writing did not include self-promotion.   Instead of seeking agents and publishers, he focused on his craft, writing and rewriting, polishing to perfection. Proceeds from his book sales benefit Reilly’s longtime partner, Sherry.

 

Murph is back in DOCTOR LOVEBEADS

DENVER, Colo. – Back in the driver’s seat again, the cabbie who made readers laugh out loud in the first three installments of the posthumously published “Asphalt Warrior” series has returned for two more books written by best-selling author Gary Reilly.
Winner of the 1979 Pushcart Prize, Reilly passed away in 2011 after a two-year battle with colon cancer, trusting a pair of friends to publish an 11-book series after his death. Since then, the “Asphalt Warrior” series has been in the hands of Mike Keefe, a retired political cartoonist and Pulitzer Prize winner, and Mark Stevens, a former journalist and acclaimed author in Colorado. Following the successful release of the first three books – “The Asphalt Warrior,” “Ticket to Hollywood,” and “The Heart of Darkness Club,”
which hit No. 1 on the Denver area bestsellers list – the two friends will publish two more books Nov. 21, 2013 in honor of Reilly through Running Meter Press.

In Doctor Lovebeads, the fifth in novelist Gary Reilly’s Asphalt Warrior series, Murph ignores the little voice in the back of his head that says to stay out of the lives of his passengers. Instead, Murph must go undercover to accomplish his mission. He lets his hair go untamed, dresses in muslin and sandals and arrives on the scene in a beat-up VW van called the Cosmic Wonderbus and Mobile Mercantile.– to rescue two girls he believes have been brainwashed by a cult leader.  Murph tries to pass himself off as an old love child in his confrontation with Brother Chakra. As the good Brother might say, It’s a mind-blowing trip.
“Reilly is a master wordsmith,” Denver Post reviewer Mike McClanahan raved about “The Asphalt Warrior.”

“A sardonic, well-read, authority-bucking character who cites Fellini and Dobie Gillis in the same passage, Murph…has a clear, winning voice,” Denver Post reviewer Tucker Shaw said in a story about “Ticket to Hollywood” being named as a finalist for the 2013 Colorado Book Award.

Reilly was born in Arkansas City, Kan., and moved with his family of seven brothers and sisters to Denver.   He served two years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam as a military policeman, and later majored in English at Colorado State University with continued studies at the Denver campus of the University of  Colorado. After publishing his short story “The Biography Man” and writing as an AOL comic advice columnist in the ‘90s, Reilly turned to novels. His dedication to writing did not include self-promotion.   Instead of seeking agents and publishers, he focused on his craft, writing and rewriting, polishing to perfection. Proceeds from his book sales benefit Reilly’s longtime partner, Sherry.

Author Website
Twitter (@Asphalt_Warrior)
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THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB Asphalt Warrior Srs. Pt.2 with giveaway

Welcome to Part 2 of our Asphalt Warrior Srs. feature.  Manic Readers is fortunate to have a print copy available to give away to one lucky commenter today.  

Here’s a taste of what you have to look forward to with Murph.

When Gilligan’s Island first appeared on TV, I was a kid living in Wichita, Kansas, where I was born. I thought Bob Denver was the lead singer of The Wellingtons, the group that recorded the song. I guess this was what my Maw was talking about when she talked about the superiority of radio over television, and how radio forces the listener to use his imagination. There seemed to be something Bob Denverish about the lead singer’s voice. I later discovered to my dismay that he was not a part of the group. But since Bob Denver had once played the role of Maynard G. Krebbs on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, I imagined him looking like a beatnik and playing an acoustic guitar and singing the song while Sherwood Schwartz sat at the controls in the recording booth. That tells you everything you need to know about my imagination, and my Maw.

I flipped the burger once and accidentally flattened it on the frying pan with the spatula, but I kept thinking about that fiver in my Finnegans. I finally set the spatula down and went back into the living room and pulled the book off the shelf. I opened it and took the bill out and reread the sentence. Then I set the book back on the shelf and reached for my copy of The Stranger by Albert Camus. I placed the fiver inside, and put it back on the shelf.

I decided I wanted to hold onto the bill for awhile. I didn’t want to spend it until I came to grips with both the message and the audience. Had Trowbridge written it to himself, or to me? The possibility of ever learning the truth was nil, which was why I felt it belonged in my Camus. One thing I had learned in college was that if you ever had a question about truth, reality, or the meaning of existence, read a novel by Albert Camus. Pretty soon you’ll be so baffled you’ll forget the question.

(For those of you who never served in the army and subsequently faked your way through seven years of college, “Camus” rhymes with “Shamu” [the killer whale]).

But merely opening The Stranger had helped me. Five minutes later I was seated in front of my TV with a beer and a burger, waiting for the tantalizing vision of Mary Ann to come sashaying down the beach in her tight denim short-shorts. I don’t know who invented the word “sashay,” but Mary Ann brought it to life and gave it meaning. She always makes me forget Albert Camus.

 

THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB is the third and latest in Gary Reilly’s posthumously published Asphalt Warrior series. Brendan Murphy aka Murph is back driving his taxi in Denver.  Once again he gets involved with a fare,Mr. Trowbridge.  Of course there are consequences.  What are those consequences?  To answer that you’re gonna have to read THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB.

I had never heard of Gary Reilly or The Asphalt Warrior.  I’ve only gone by Denver on the interstate several years ago on the way to Las Vegas. I was a blank slate about this whole shebang.  The blurb sounded interesting and even though THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB is the third in the series I decided to give it a go.  I’m really glad I did.  The only problem is that now I have to get the first two and read them; like my TBR mountain isn’t out of control enough already.

Murph, our Denver cab driving protagonist, is a hoot.  A quiet hoot but a hoot none the less.  Murph has his routines and modest obtainable goals.  He meets a wide range of society via his cab and is an astute observer and judge of human nature.  Murph, against his better judgment, usually winds up involved in some way with a fare.  In THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB there are two mysteries, both involving Mr. Trowbridge. The solutions were unique.  My interest was certainly piqued by the $5 bill quotes and the “why the devil?” behind them. Despite the involvement of two detectives, Duncan and Argyle, I never felt stressed or worried about Murph the way I may have with a typical mystery.  The lack of that tension doesn’t detract from the story or the mysteries at all; in fact it’s totally in keeping with the way THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB read for me.  Imagine being cozy in your snuggly clothes-sweats, flannel jammies or whatever-curled up in your comfy chair with a bowl or plate of your favorite comfort food.  For this slice of time all is right with you and your lil’ corner of the world.  That is how Murph makes me feel when I read.  He’s funny in a quiet easy way, never crude, and made me think without being in my face about it.  Ponder is actually more appropriate than think and yes, there is a difference.  Murph chats and I listen (read), laugh, and ponder.

THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB was a funny, entertaining, deceptively simple and oddly soothing read, so much more and better than I expected.

4.5 stars

Seriously, what’s not to love?  Murph has his routine what about y’all?  Creatures of habit?  Favorite shows you have to watch daily, a comfort read?  Do tell and you’re in the running for the print copy of THE HEART OF DARKNESS CLUB. Sorry, due to shipping costs it’s U.S. only.  Giveaway  ends at 12 am est on June 14. 2013 with the winner announced shortly thereafter.  Good luck!

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