Thanks to Britain’s leading literary magazine, The Literary Review, for their full-page write-up on Outlaws Inc. this month, by veteran BBC man John Sweeney. You can read the review by clicking on the scan above to enlarge – but suffice to say, I’m framing it and the cover. Coming on the heels of the Washington Post‘s “Fascinating… great writing” and the Seattle Times piece, this has been a great month for the book. My heartfelt thanks to all concerned.
Meanwhile, Outlaws Inc. launched under its German title Tödliche Fracht (‘Deadly Cargo’) in Germany, with a party at Ullstein Verlag’s HQ on Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse. Radio interviews in German with ARD and RTL as well as press interviews with newspapers from Kiel to Cologne and Potsdam to Münster saw it off. I’ll be posting some of the features and interviews, in German, in the very near future.
Good morning America! Just a quick update on the eve of my US publication date to thank the American media for the great response so far, and especially the quality papers for reviews like this one from the Baltimore Sun calling Outlaws Inc. “a nonfiction tale more suspenseful and compelling than any espionage novel” and picking it out as it one of its “international thrillers of the autumn”, and the Waco Herald Tribune nailing it as “exciting and disturbing” – and hope that you all enjoy the book. I’ll be over in the third week of September to meet, interview and film, so if you’d like to talk while I’m there (or at any other time), just get in touch with me. Details on the ‘Contact’ page. Meanwhile, you can read a free extract of Outlaws Inc. in this month’s edition of top-selling proper men’s mag Men’s Journal.
Maxim magazine has made Outlaws Inc. its adventure of the month for August, with a three-page feature interview on some of the key locations featured in the book. From mafia-run Belgrade to the bootleggers’ paradise of Kabul and war-torn Africa, the feature takes a long, hard look at just how the guns, drugs and gold gets in and out. Thanks, guys!
This morning I was a guest on Australia’s no.1 breakfast show on ABC. During the link-up interview with host Mike Rowland (a still from the show, above), we talked about how the cut-throat economics of the global marketplace in everything from aid delivery to the food in our supermarkets feeds a shadow industry of mercenary pilots, smuggling narcotics, weapons and diamonds.
Viewer verdicts, via the channel, to Mike direct and over social networks, ranged from acclaim (“Sensational interview!”) to outrage (“… can’t believe our Western governments don’t care!”) and requests for more info. By lunchtime, the channel had released a clip in response to calls to share it. Mike Rowland himself finished the show’s slot with the words, “Well, all I can say is: we await the inevitable Hollywood movie of this one.” You can view the interview here: Matt Potter on ABC Breakfast show, 2nd August 2011
Meanwhile, the media schedule in Australia is manic, with the newly launched Maxim Australia running a four-page feature on Matt’s adventures with what they call “Air Don’t-Give-A-Fuck”, great banter with John Safran and Father Bob Maguire on ABC TripleJ’s legendary Sunday Night Safran cultural chat show, trading repartee on Evenings With Robbie Buck and co, and more radio and print stuff.
Meanwhile, Melbourne & Victoria daily the Herald Sun has announced it will be serialising Outlaws Inc in August, with extracts also pushed to subscribers to its iPad app, and content available online.
Outlaws Inc will be released on 30th September in Germany. The book’s German title is Tödliche Fracht – das heimliche Geschäft mit Waffen und Drogen (“Deadly Cargo – the secret trade in weapons and drugs”). German publisher Ullstein/Econ is supporting the launch with advertising, a social media campaign and campaigns in Spiegel Online. as well as traditional press activity, serialisation and review opportunities, and a German-language press tour by Matt in October. The title is Econ’s priority launch for the season, and takes up the first five pages (including the cover) of the season’s catalogue, viewable as a PDF here: Econ_2_2011_Vorschau, or downloadable as a page-turner here.
Translated into German by Christoph Bausum, and with photos by Matt himself, Canadian reporter Doug McKinlay and others, the book appears with a special metallic, embossed cover to resemble the grey, riveted metal sides of the smugglers’ Soviet-era Ilyushin planes.
The champagne launch party for Outlaws Inc. went with a bang this week at London’s Goldsboro Books, with nearly 200 attendees and word of mouth putting the book at No.2 on Amazon‘s true-crime bestseller list by the following morning. Attendees included many of the detectives, diplomats and monitors in the book itself, plus a couple of surprise ‘undercover’ guests.
Novelist Tim Turner, Matt Potter, Henna Silvennoinen of Conville & Walsh
At the outset, all toasted the success of the non-fiction work – a journey into the largest gun-running network the world has ever seen, from Eastern Europe to Africa and beyond – with crystal glasses of iced, triple-distilled Russian Standard vodka (to give things a truly Russian flavour) and champagne. There were talks from Ingrid Connell, editorial director at publishers Pan Macmillan, and author Matt Potter, followed by signings as the party spilled out onto the flagstoned courtyard of London’s Cecil Court. The highlight? Apart from the book, of course, the edible Hammer & Sickle cupcakes, Soviet star petit-fours with Lenin’s head on them, and muffins decked with edible dollars and ‘lines’ of icing sugar – all courtesy of cake artist Jules O’Neill – held guests rapt.
Signing copies of the book
Thanks to David at Goldsboro Books for playing the role of host to the hilt, to Jules O’Neill for the edible artistry, and to all at event sponsors Russian Standard vodka for providing the thirsty media types, UN inspectors, diplomats and publishers in attendance with a taste of Slavic sophistication they won’t forget!
Listen to the first discussion of Outlaws Inc. on Wednesday 1 June’s edition of Up All Night, BBC Radio 5Live’s night-time show – also available on BBC iPlayer. Matt talked to Giles Dilnot about the adventures, investigative work and accidents that informed the book. Once it’s vanished from iPlayer, I’ll try to post a recording of the show here, too.
The first virgin cases of Matt’s non-fiction thriller/true crime book Outlaws Inc. will be broken open at a launch reception at London’s Goldsboro Books. For a place on the guest list, more information, or interview opportunities and press material, email matt [at] mattpotterbooks [dot] com or h.guthrie [at] macmillan [dot] co [dot] uk.
The first preview of Outlaws Inc. hit the stands this week courtesy of Libraries Journal. And here it is!
Outlaws Inc.: Under the Radar and on the Black Market with the World’s Most Dangerous Smugglers. Bloomsbury, dist. by Macmillan. Aug. 2011. 288p. ISBN 9781608195305. $25.
When communism collapses, some Russian military men get together and buy a decommissioned Soviet plane for mere kopeks, then launch a shipping business. Soon they’re crisscrossing borders with everything from illegal weapons to emergency aid, trading behind the scenes with the Taliban, the U.S. government, and various global corporations. It’s scary, but it pays, until the world settles into a new groove and their smuggling expertise isn’t in as much demand. Then they move their operations to a particularly troubled part of Africa. Okay, sounds like a thriller, but it’s all true. Widely published British journalist Potter traveled with these risk takers for a time so that he could tell their story. This should be great narrative nonfiction reading.”