Angry Johnny


August 20, 2013 by Laird


Book of Cthulhu II

In the summer of 2011 I stayed at my brother’s house in the mountains of Montana, a few miles as the crow flies southwest from the town of Lincoln. I spent those months in sequestration. That’s where I wrote “More Dark” and the majority of The Croning. It’s also where I put together a novella about a 1920s mob enforcer named John Cope. Hand of Glory was a kind of therapy. I’d never tried anything quite like it, but had wanted to for a long time. I needed to write a tale about the Roaring 20s, flappers, gansters, Tommy guns, sons versus fathers, and sons versus the ghosts of their fathers, and the occult fucking it all up. It emerged in a white hot blaze over the course of three weeks. As is often the case in matters of serendipity, I embarked upon the journey when I damned well should’ve been doing something else.

I didn’t sleep much that summer; my various deadlines were a real weight upon my shoulders, and during the creation of Cope’s universe, three or four hours a night was a luxury. Ross Lockhart did a hell of a job making the novella presentable, and he wound up soliciting it for The Book of Cthulhu II. A few days ago, it was nominated for one of the major awards in our genre, and considering Johnny Cope’s provenance, it’s an unlikely and amazing outcome.

Here’s a little something I put together at the time in celebration of completing Hand of Glory.

Meet Johnny Cope, enforcer for the Arden family of c. 1920s Olympia, WA.

This is Johnny at work:


This is Johnny’s Chicago Typewriter:

When Johnny runs low on ammo he reaches for this little honey:

Johnny took piano lessons as a boy:

This is Johnny’s girl:

This is what Johnny drinks:

This is what Johnny smokes:

This is what Johnny Drives:

This is where Johnny lives:

Johnny is going to pay his respects to the boss of Ransom Hollow. Good luck, Johnny.


4 thoughts on “Angry Johnny

  1. Durand Welsh says:

    I’m reading Hand of Glory now. (Got my copy of The Beautiful Thing over the weekend.) Yeah, I love the references to the Broadsword Hotel from Occultation and that latent sense of violence throughout the story.

  2. Laird says:

    Thanks, Durand.

  3. Steven Patrick Forrester says:

    Bring back Johnny Cope. Hand of Glory is a bad-ass story that needs a sequel or two or three(Im a Johnny Cope fan)

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