Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Awful Truth About the Herbert Quarry Affair by Marco Ocram - Book Tour

The Awful Truth About The Herbert Quarry Affair

With a jangle of keys, a door opened. Herbert clanked in, his arms locked to his sides, his ankles shackled, his face a Hannibal Lecter mask. He was overjoyed to see me.

“Marco, I’m jailed day and night with murderous thugs who can’t tell Schiller from Shakespeare. I’m desperate for intellectual stimulus—but you’ll do for now.” 

TV personality Marco Ocram is the world’s only self-penned character, writing his life in real time as you read it. Marco’s celebrity mentor, Herbert Quarry, grooms him to be the Jackson Pollock of literature, teaching him to splatter words on a page without thought or revision.

Quarry’s plan backfires when imbecilic Marco begins to type his first thought-free book: it’s a murder mystery—and Herbert’s caught red-handed near the butchered body of his lover.

Now Marco must write himself into a crusade to clear his friend’s name. Typing the first words that come into his head, Marco unleashes a phantasmagorical catalogue of twists in his pursuit of justice, writing the world’s fastest-selling book to reveal the awful truth about the Herbert Quarry affair.


Purchase Links

US - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08SJ6K62S

UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08SJ6K62S

Denis Shaughnessy is the author of the Awful Truth series of surreal comedies which introduce a new way of writing fiction. The supposed author, Marco Ocram, seems to be inventing the stories in real time as he appears as a self-invented character, sharing with the reader many of his immediate thoughts about his writing. Since he’s typing the story as he goes, he has no chance to edit anything or to think ahead, so he makes all sorts of mistakes. In The Awful Truth about the Herbert Quarry Affair, Marco begins the story with news that his mentor, Herbert, has been caught red-handed in what seems to be a brutal murder. This extract, in which Marco meets the sister of a suspect, contains some typical Ocramisms…

 I parked my black Range Rover by Kelly's diner and edged my way through the crowd of revelers within. Within the diner, I mean, not the Range Rover. The atmosphere was tense and aggressive. Fights broke out sporadically between drunk men wielding pool cues, and drunker women chalking their tips. I found a dark and cozy nook where Jacqueline was waiting. She was dressed to kill. I asked her why.

“I have just finished a shift in the family abattoir. I came over without having time to change. I hope my attire does not make you uneasy.”

“No, no,” I reassured her, “not in the least.”

But my reassurances satisfied her more than me—a woman who cut up carcasses was ideally qualified to dismember Lola Kellogg. Instantly I was on the alert. All of a clich├ęd sudden, the fighting crowd had withdrawn to the periphery of my mind—my absolute focus was now on the blood-spattered waitress.

“Tell me what you know about the affair between Herbert and your sister,” I typed, preparing the reader for several huge dollops of unrelieved expositional dialogue.

“Herbert, as you know, was a bestselling novelist, so he commanded an instant overwhelming sexual attraction over all women. My sister was no stronger than the rest of us, and instantly succumbed to his charms. He took her to a province of northern India, where, he said, he wished to revisit a guru who was a master of the Preveesh yoga Herbert had practiced in his youth. According to Herbert, the guru had a needle passing all the way through his skull. He had achieved the extraordinary insertion through minutely small increments over tens of years, so the cells of his brain were able to accommodate it naturally.”

“Unbelievable,” I said, in what was probably the first accurate utterance in the book. “Did the guru not suffer any complications?”

“Only at the barbershop. When Marcia and Herbert arrived at the province, Herbert booked them into a luxurious hotel at the foot of the mountains; there they feasted on the exquisite cuisine, on the culture, and on each other's bodies. She told me she had never experienced such intense and profound sexual satisfaction before.”

I nodded—Herbert was a bestselling author, after all.

“But even while they were there together, Herbert became infatuated with one of the village girls whose mother served at the hotel. Herbert made a pretext of wishing to be shown an ancient temple deep in the woods, to which, he claimed, the girl was one of few who knew the route. He was gone for three days, and upon his return all his libido was spent. It was clear to my sister that Herbert had seduced the young female. From then on Herbert found every excuse to be away from my sister, and eventually left the hotel altogether, leaving only a ticket for my sister's flight home and a hundred dollars for her incidental expenses.”

“What happened when Marcia returned to Clarkesville?”

“When Marcia returned to Clarkesville, she was in a highly scorned state. I remember the night she got back. She drank a huge amount of whiskey and told me she would see Herbert Quarry rot in hell.”

“What happened the next morning?”

“The next morning, people saw ‘Herbert Quarry is a pedophile’ daubed in huge letters on the side of City Hall. It attracted the interest of the media locally and nationally, and Herbert was obliged to make various statements denying the accusation. After a supposed tipoff, which I imagine came from Herbert himself, the police arrested Marcia. They soon found she had no alibi; the paint daubed on City Hall matched a half-empty pot in her garage; discarded bristles in the dry paint matched those of a recently used brush in her garage; and her fingernails bore traces of the exact same paint. She was charged with defacing a public building; and it wasn’t long before Herbert added a civil charge of libel. But before those charges came to trial, Herbert’s lawyers made a motion to have my sister committed to an institution for nine years on grounds of insanity. Although the family fought it, we were outgunned by Herbert’s expensive attorneys.”

“What happened on the night they took her away?”

“I can never forget the night they took her away. Her anguished and full-throated screams echoed down the street. Again and again I heard her scream she would kill Herbert Quarry, until the threats were drowned by the sirens of the ambulance into which she had been constrained and taken away.”

“When was this?”

“Exactly ten years before the day Herbert was found with the dismembered corpse.”

Another coincidence—my investigation was becoming plagued with them. I glanced over our discussion thus far—almost two pages of pure dialogue. To avoid accusations of Talking Heads Syndrome, I made Jaqueline sigh, nudge her hair, sip a drink, wipe a tear from her eye at the recollection of her sister’s suffering, wince at a Village People song being played for the third time running on the jukebox, smooth a napkin on her knee, and stick pins into a Herbert Quarry voodoo doll, before I asked my next question.

“Did your sister receive any psychiatric treatment when she was incarcerated in the lunatic asylum?”

“Yes. She developed a strange habit which attracted the interest of a researcher into the psychotic traits of the insane. He became virtually a daily visitor, such was his interest in the case.”

“Interesting. Can you tell me his name?”

“Yes, if you are sure you want me to.”

“Why shouldn't I?”

“Well, if I didn't remember his name, you would have an excuse for a couple of pages of padding in which you discover it through other means.”

“Don't worry, there will be plenty of time for padding later. Tell me his name.”

“It was Professor Sushing.”


Author Bio –

Little is known of Marco Ocram’s earliest years. He was adopted at age nine, having been found abandoned in a Detroit shopping mall—a note taped to his anorak said the boy was threatening the sanity of his parents. Re-abandoned in the same mall a year later, with a similar note from his foster parents, he was homed with his current Bronx mom—a woman with no sanity left to threaten.

Ocram first gained public attention through his bold theories about a new fundamental particle—the Tao Muon—which he popularized in a best-selling book—The Tao Muon. He was introduced to the controversial literary theorist, Herbert Quarry, who coached Ocram in a radical new approach to fiction, in which the author must write without thinking—a technique to which Ocram was naturally suited. His crime memoir, The Awful Truth about the Herbert Quarry Affair, became the fastest selling book of all time, and made him a household name. It was translated into every known language—and at least three unknown ones—and made into an Oscar-winning film, a Pulitzer-winning play, a Tony-winning musical, and a Golden Joystick-winning computer game.

Ocram excelled at countless sports until a middle-ear problem permanently impaired his balance. He has yet to win a Nobel Prize, but his agent, Barney, has been placing strategic back-handers—announcements from Stockholm are expected soon. Unmarried, in spite of his Bronx mom’s tireless efforts, he still lives near his foster parents in New York.


Social Media Links –  @denishaughnessy on twitter. www.theawfulauthor.com


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