Books and Booze: Randy Attwood, Blow Up the Roses


Most Sat­ur­day after­noons, you can find Kansas City author Randy Attwood drink­ing Sap­phire and ton­ics at his favorite water­ing hole, Chez Char­lie. Don’t let the name fool you; accord­ing to Attwood there’s not much “Chez” about it.  For the unini­ti­at­ed, the dive bar is hard to find — there is no sign out front — but, for those that stum­ble upon it there is plen­ty of shab­by charm. The juke­box plays old jazz 45s. The men’s room is wall­pa­pered with Play­boy cen­ter­folds. A wall of pho­tos serves as a lega­cy to dead reg­u­lars who passed on.  For the real­ly adven­tur­ous, free chili, soup, and hot­dogs is served on Fri­day.

I invit­ed Attwood to share his per­fect liba­tion for his lat­est book Blow Up the Ros­esIn his own words: 

A Man­hat­tan pairs well with the very dark, suspense/thriller Blow Up the Ros­es. My Man­hat­tans are made with rye instead of bour­bon. The red ver­mouth pro­vides enough sweet­ness. One part ver­mouth to four or five parts rye (Jim Beam works fine). Dash of bit­ters. I like to use a cock­tail shak­er and pre­fer those big old cubes from the plas­tic trays in the freez­er. Small ice cubes make for a watery drink. I stir the drink first and then give it a few shakes. Looks love­ly served up. No gar­nish. There are no gar­nish­es in Blow Up the Ros­es, either. Man­hat­tans are for sip­ping. The read­er will need a rest after tak­ing gulps from Blow Up the Ros­es. A lot of awful things start hap­pen­ing on the cul d’sac where this nov­el takes place. What is Mr. Brown doing in his base­ment? Why did Mr. Keene dis­ap­pear? Who killed the Rik­er girls? Why does Mr. Cal­i­fano have a recur­ring night­mare that finds him a rose gar­den blow­ing up all around him. The lan­guage of flow­ers can be ter­ri­ble blunt. They can also save your life. Take a sip and find out. Don’t for­get the bit­ters.”

Randy Attwood grew up on the grounds of a Kansas insane asy­lum where his father was a den­tist and the State pro­vid­ed hous­ing on the grounds. He attend­ed The Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas dur­ing the trou­bled 1960s, get­ting a degree in art his­to­ry. After stints writ­ing and teach­ing in Italy and Japan, he had a 16-year career in news­pa­pers as reporter, edi­tor, and col­umn writer, win­ning major awards in all cat­e­gories. He turned to health care pub­lic rela­tions and served as direc­tor of Uni­ver­si­ty Rela­tions at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Kansas Med­ical Cen­ter. Attwood fin­ished his career as media rela­tions offi­cer of The Nel­son-Atkins Muse­um of Art in Kansas City. Now retired, he lives in Kansas City and pur­sues pub­lish­ing his works of fic­tion and cre­at­ing new ones.

If you can’t make it to KC and Chez Char­lie any­time soon, drop by Attwood’s blog.  Check out his pho­to­graph series of pair­ings for his oth­er books. His nov­els, includ­ing Blow Up the Ros­es, are avail­able at Ama­zon and oth­er online retail­ers.

¶ Despatched on Monday, March 4th, 2013 at 8:30 pm and sorted in Blog. ¶ { ReTweet }

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