Good Will Hunting

From Ken

The Irish version of Goodwill consists of

Age concern
Cancer Help
St Vincent de Paul
Rehabilitation care

Though Oxfam have fallen a little out of favour since they began chaining their coats and jackets

Nothing shows the difference in Irish society like this, we used to be the ones queuing…..sorry, standing in line………..for hand’s out….and now we are the donators

To the extent that they leave the bags at your door, save you all the fuss and like, bother of having to actually deliver the stuff yer own self

God forbid

Cos, we’re busy, watching Desperate Housewives and O.C. and Hell, we cant miss American Idol

Lately though, the bags we left outside the door, have been disappearing and the charity bins, distributed in all parts of the city have been robbed


Eastern European gangs have been nabbing the goods, re-selling them in other countries

I had this scenario in my series a few years back and my editor wouldn’t buy it, same deal as when I had the swans attacked.

2 cops from Chicago came to visit me last week, they’d read the Galway books, met me at Love Is Murder and came over. To their horror, alI I’d written was even more true than they’d imagined and they said
“Goddamn tourist board must hate you”

They do
Tis true

I didn’t even have to point out the signs warning…………DON’T DRINK THE WATER
In Ireland?

I brought them to a traditional Irish music pub and we left after five songs by
Snow Patrol
Justin Timberlake……..currently on sell out tour here
And the final straw……………Madonna
One of the cops going………..I thought she’d become a Brit
Why we love her

We finally found an old pub, with no bouncers on the door but the signs for Coors light dampened their spirits and I assured them, hang on, the barman, was actually Irish, a true rarity nowadays and I had a word with him and not only did he take five minutes to draw their pints but when they got to the bottom of the glass, their names were spelled out in cream at the bottom

On a totally different note, let me say……….congratulations to Naomi, winning the Edgar is truly the biz, I’m delighted for her

Here is a sneaky thing I do, seeing as I’m outlining Galway life in all its goodwill, I go into the bookshops and presto, I see Robert Gregory’s book on the crime shelf, I move it to No 2 on the bestseller list…………….does that matter…………you betcha, five minutes later, it was sold

Tis sad tis true, people buy from the bestseller list and hey, you know, they got a hell of a book into the bargain

When the booksellers at the end of the day check their shelves and see Sandra Ruttan, Jason Starr, Dave Zeltserman, Cornelia Read, Megan Abbott lining the top ten, breathing down the rich necks of the Kellerman’s etc, they sigh. Go
“Bruen was in.”

It’s a small gesture and in terms of global sales, will it matter one wail of the banshee, probably not but for one glorious moment, I see these people be where they should be

And before you get upset, Duane, Al, Charlie, Donna, You were the top ten last week, time passes and I’m a team of one
David Corbett and Laura Lippman fought it out for No 1 for 2 Galway weeks

Is this morally right
Hello, I care?
I do care about friends and writers………
And Chicago cops

End note
Last night, I put out my bag for charity and stuck in some of me favourite writers and yup, the bag was gone in jig time this morning so if you suddenly find you are big in Eastern Europe, I’m not looking for charity or thanks, put it down to
Good will……………………………hunting

14 thoughts on “Good Will Hunting

  1. Donna

    LOL! Great stuff Ken – it’s fun to imagine you doing that in the bookshops of Galway! as for the nicking the charity bags – I had my washing stolen off my washing line once. We call it snowdropping (yes, it’s such a frequent occurence they’ve given it a name :o)Donna

  2. billie

    Wow. I just love this post!

    “one wail of a banshee” is going to be in my head all day long.

    If I’m lucky, The Guards will be in my mailbox when I go out after lunch. 🙂

  3. Brian

    I do the same thing in book stores. I make sure the books of authors that I like are facing out, I drop copies on the tabletops and place them on endcaps.

    I take the subway to work everyday.

    Last year I was reading From the Teeth of Angels by Jonathan Carroll and I finished the book as I was approaching the transfer station.

    There was a woman at the top of the stairs asking for spare change.

    I gave her the book instead.

  4. JT Ellison

    Now I understand Louise’s comment yesterday. Ken, I want to come to Ireland and be lawless with you! I’d probably need Book Placement Alteration therapy, but hey, it would be worth it.

  5. Naomi


    Thanks for the shout-out. I’m honored.

    In college it was my dream to work for Oxfam. I was an international relations major and spent three months in West Africa when I was 18. (Got malaria, hepatitis and shingles along the way.) The Ghanaians took one look at me and asked me why I was there. “To help,” I said. “Naomi, if you want to help, change America.”

  6. pari

    The stout is what I want, Ken.

    The charity bags being stolen? New Mexico must be closer to Ireland than most people think. This happens all the time here. Though I doubt that the loot ends up in Eastern Europe — most likely flea markets at the local fairgrounds or in Mexico.

    What the hell . . . I didn’t need the stuff anyway.

    And, I love what you do with the books. This post does dovetail with mine yesterday. I think if you’re a one-man mission and the bookstores know you, it’s a good thing. But, as Kat and Fran (seconded) yesterday, for most of us here, it might not be seen as such a charming boon.

  7. Rob Gregory Browne

    Ken, thanks so much for the kind words and the creative book shuffling. I’ll confess that my wife and I tend to do a bit of shuffling ourselves when we hit the bookstores, making sure that all of our friends are well positioned.

    Your books are certainly on the list…

  8. Mike MacLean

    Ken Bruen putting your book in the bestseller sleeve? That’s a ringing endorsement if I’ve ever heard one.

    And what a great post, less of an essay than poetry. Thanks.

  9. Cornelia Read

    I’ve been out and about all day, but what a fine post to return home to… Thank you for your fine shuffling, Mr. Bruen, and it is a tremendous honor to be thought of by you as someone worth placement on the top shelf, as you always are on the shelves of my own local stores.

  10. Tom, T.O.

    Excellent, Lad! I shall emulate your book shuffling on a regular basis. Thanks for the idea.

  11. Maria

    I liked this story; it’s fun, heartwarming and cute.

    yeah, I’m pretty sure you weren’t going for cute, but there ya go.


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