The Well Spent Death of Eightball Barnett

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Three years before retired ‘herb’ smuggler Jack Lee leaves Brazil for India, ‘Eightball’ Barnett who lives near to Jack’s ridgetop cabin in extreme West Georgia, decides on one final ‘play’. ‘Eightball’ is a former operative in a quasi-governmental dirty tricks outfit that worked in South America to further the interests of U.S. corporations, by any filthy and sordid means necessary. He has been living with a bad case of the remorse since leaving ‘The Unit’ ten years before, and when diagnosed with a terminal medical condition determines to redeem himself in his own eyes. By the time he is finished, some very bad actors have been brought to book, although that book is one heretofore unknown. Meanwhile, a beautiful Indian professor of parapsychology has arrived on Eightball’s doorstep by ‘accident’. When ‘Eightball’s play’ is completed, and some very toxic secrets have been published, they leave for India , where ‘Eightball’ experiences an altogether different ‘play’, in the form of a leela, or cosmic play Indian-style, and ‘Eightball’ and Jack Lee meet.


Henry Joseph wrote six picaresque novels (—adj: relating to the adventures of rogues) between 1992 and 1999. The first, Bloodwork: The New Rugged Cross, was published in hard cover in the U.S.A. and was broadly acclaimed by critics and fellow writers alike. “. . . the most powerful first novel I’ve read in years. It’s wonderful,” said James Crumley, author of The Mexican Tree Duck and Border Snakes, to whom Henry has been favorably compared. “. . . sheer storytelling brio,” declared Frank Wilson in The New York Times Book Review. “… riveting …compelling… foreshadows a long, successful career,” said Bruce Southworth in The Drood Review of Mystery. In France, Cedric Fabre, in 'L’Humanite' said of Dinosaur Heaven, the second book in the series, “startling and magnificent, beyond jubilation: we enter a part of ourselves we were unaware of: Joseph is a terrific smuggler of tears.” Yet, through the weirdness of modern publishing, Bloodwork was the only book of Henry Joseph’s to be published in English. His next five novels were all published (like the first) in France, with excellent critical review. This strange aberration is now to be corrected, with publication by Astor + Blue Editions of all of the Dinosaur Heaven Quintet series in English. In 2001, Henry Joseph decided to retire from worldly affairs, including writing, focusing instead on a spiritual life of yoga and Buddhism. But now, at least, his acid, moving, and witty storytelling can be enjoyed more widely than before. They are true page turners – a world of outlaws, by which is meant anyone who toys with the idea that they are an outlaw. There may not be as many around as there should be, but maybe reading Henry’s novels will change all that . . . [Taken, with apologies, from the Introduction to each work written by Peter Rubie, CEO, FinePrint Literary Management.]