By Tom Osborne
Dead Man in the Orchestra Pit is a singularly Canadian novel featuring crime, culture, and sports. Written in the vein of John Kennedy Toole (Confederacy of Dunces) and JP Donleavy, Dead Man in the Orchestra Pit is set in Vancouver during an early 80s Grey Cup weekend. Tourists and sports aficionados have descended on the city in record droves. There are, however, a few folks who have other interests and plans. Three small-time career crooks are planning a heist on one of the citys exclusive hotels. Enter Harry Pazik Jr., a good ole boy from Calgary, who is inadvertently swept up in the mayhem of the crooks boondoggle. Meanwhile, across town at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, rehearsals of La Traviata are in full swing. The 300-pound stage manager has toppled to the orchestra pit, crushing the tuba player, while Jorgen Thrapp, assistant to the Lighting Director, is busy behind the scenes with his dealings in drugs and numbers running for a crooked printer intent on making a killing on the big game. Everyone gets more than they bargained for in this slapstick Grey Cup-meets-Goodfellas romp.
Praise for Dead Man in the Orchestra Pit
“‘Only connect’ was E.M. Forster’s advice to writers, and Osborne connects like a mad electrician in a power plant.”
—The Vancouver Sun
“Smart dialogue, fast action, and a mix of liquor and drugs fuel this clever tale.”
—North Shore News
John Thomas Osborne, aka J.T. Osborne, was born on Baffin Island in June of 1949. He has illustrated various books, including Mary Beth Knechtel’s under-acknowledged The Goldfish That Exploded and Social Credit for Beginners: An Armchair Guide (Pulp Press, 1986). J.T. Osborne is also author of several books of poetry, including Under the Shadow of Thy Wings (1986), 9 Love Poems, and Please Wait for Attendant to Open Gate. His first novel Foozlers was published by Anvil Press in 2004 and was followed in 2006 by Dead Man in the Orchestra Pit (Anvil). Osborne grew up in Kamloops, B.C. and Vancouver, co-founded Pulp Press Book Publishers (now Arsenal Pulp) in the early 1970s, and currently resides in Maple Ridge, B.C.