The K.C. Constantine Novels
K.C. Constantine, like Georges Simenon, writes in a
normally uninteresting subgenre called police procedurals. As with M.
Simenon, though, Mr. Constantines real subjects are not cops and robbers
but rather the constant subjects of a serious novelist: husbands and wives,
parents and children, class, religion, race, politics, death, sickness, hope
and disappointment, love and its absence.
His attitudes are acceptably bad: in Bottom Line Blues he
spent an entire chapter attacking public libraries and in another of his books,
Upon Some Midnights Clear, the villain is Christmas. This book, long out of
print, is made available in its entirety further down on this page.
If you havent read Mr. Constantines books, you should do something
about your problem immediately. Here are a few reasons why:
NEW YORK TIMES:
K.C. Constantine is a marvelous writer. May Mario
Balzic thrive. . . The most poignant studies of post-Industrial Age depression
in modern crime literature. His fictional setting has the idiosyncratic
distinctiveness of your own thumb.
For a quarter century in fifteen mostly brilliant novels, Constantine has
been illuminating a Rust Belt citys economic collapse and the parabolic
curve of the career and life of its chief of police, Mario Balzic. . . One of
the best mystery series ever published.
LOS ANGELES TIMES:
A superb writer and social chronicler. . . No one since
John OHara has dissected class distinctions with such sensitivity and
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT:
K.C. Constantine writes like an angel: sharply and funnily, with an ear for
dialogue that matches George V. Higgins.
Balzic is one of the great characters in contemporary fiction. . . We read the
Balzic novels for K.C. Constantines ear, for the way people
give themselves away when they talk, for his insiders knowledge of the way
small towns work, for his understanding of people, his joy in the human
comedy, and his compassion.
Under the guise of mysteries, Constantine writes some of the best American
regional fiction appearing today.
Mr. Constantine--a pseudonym--lives in the small Rust Belt city called Rocksburg
in his books. He does not make himself available for interviews or photographs.
However he once wrote a brief self-interview for Amazon.com, and last year did
the same sort of thing for the British magazine, Crime Time. These provide a few
biographical facts; of more interest, they offer a look at his cast of
mind and his personality. You know how to read these interviews, dont you?
You just pucker up your lips and click.
The recent Constantine novels are available through any book
store, as well as on the internet from Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and so on. The
earlier ones are harder to find, and very valuable to collectors. One of these is
set in the
Rocksburg police station on a very unmerry Christmas Eve. The first chapter of Upon Some Midnights Clear may be
read on screen here or printed out free.
The complete book is $5 shareware, sent as a Portable Document Format (PDF)
file which will probably take three or four minutes to download. It prints in
horizontal format on standard paper, giving the effect of an open
book with facing pages. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to order.
Please include your name, mailing address and phone number. The full
book will then be emailed to you, along with payment instructions.