Graham Parke lives in the Netherlands with his wife and his son. He is responsible for a number of technical publications and has recently patented a self-folding map. He has been described as both a humanitarian and a pathological liar. Convincing evidence to support either allegation has yet to be produced.
No Hope for Gomez! is Graham’s fiction debut. You can visit his website at www.grahamparke.com.
"The Mysterious Case of the Badman and the Crocodile" by Graham Parke
You don't always get published on your first try. In my case, not necessarily on your second or third either (or, for that matter, your hundred and seventeenth.) So it's a special occasion when you first hold your printed book in your hands. It's the culmination of years of wishful thinking and banging your head against the wall. And the special-ness of the occasion is intensified considerably when you've had a hand in the cover design.
So it's easy to forget that not everyone immediately shares your enthusiasm. Or will even bother to pretend to. Case in point; Damian, my three-year-old son. What was his reaction when his proud daddy waved this oddly picture-less book in his face? This colorless waste of ground-up trees that was so utterly devoid of speaking animals, fairies, and animal-saving teenagers? His reaction was this; he pointed at my book and said, quite seriously, 'Bad man!'
Now, some explanation may be needed here. Firstly, the fact that he spoke up in English at all was interesting. The little guy basically has a choice of four languages. There's Dutch, which he speaks at day care. There's Serbian, which he uses to communicate with his mother. There's English, which he uses to communicate with his father. And then there's that fourth language, the one he is actually fluent in. (Sadly, he is also the only person to speak this unnamed language in our known universe, which is probably why he uses it mostly in conversations with himself, and when he wants to end phone conversations with his grandparents.)
Secondly, I had made the mistake of choosing a prime piece of real-estate, time wise, to connect with my son. Dora the Explorer had just started. And TV is a powerful force, especially when Dora is on. This, by the way, was the Dutch version, where Dora the Explorer teaches the viewers Dutch and English (not the English version, where she teaches English and Spanish – what a wasted torrent that was, luckily we found out in time before the culmination of languages actually damaged Damian's brain).
And, lastly, the reader should know that many things can, in fact, be Badman. From the little old lady with the apple in Snow White, to the invisible foe who tries to steal Damian's pacifier when he's drinking his milk.
(Edit: Badman has since managed to make all pacifiers disappear from the house. Both Damian and I believe that he may have been aided by a crocodile. If you have any information, please contact your local writer’s association!)
However, the bad man referred to in this instance, I discovered with relief, was not daddy for writing a book without pictures and then bothering people about it during Dora the Explorer. It was also not the book itself. It was in fact the image of the Worrier on the front cover, created by C. Rodriguez Vega. This Worrior is somewhat of a homage to Rodin's thinker, only with an even less sunny disposition. He sits on a rock and holds his head, worrying. And, if you look close enough, you can see that he is indeed a bit of a Badman!
INFO: I’ll be giving away signed copies of a limited edition novella set in the Gomez universe. It’s not available for purchase, but I’ll be sending copies to readers periodically from my forum. You can get there thru; www.grahamparke.com
Reviews for No Hope for Gomez!
"Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature."-- California Chronicle
“A quick and unputdownable read that flies in the face of reason, and smashes against the wall of detective novels. It's a Coens Brothers' film formatted in book form.”-- Book Review
"The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius."-- Readers Favorite
“A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs. Buy a copy and find out for yourself!"-- Reader Views