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Pick Up at Union Station Cover


Gary Reilly


Running Meter Press (June 19, 2015)



Who finishes dinner and does “the dish”?

Who wants to earn only the precise amount of money—and no more?

Who wonders why anybody wants to “do” anything?

Who hides his daily cab-driving earnings in his copy of Finnegan’s Wake, the one book he knows that nobody will ever steal?

His name is Brendan Murphy, a.k.a. “Murph.”

He is the self-deprecating anti-hero , so far, of six novels in The Asphalt Warrior series. The seventh, Pick Up At Union Station, comes out on Friday, June 19.

Murph is one of a kind. He lives alone in his crow’s nest apartment in Denver. He tries, desperately, to never get involved in the lives of his fares (and usually fails). He tries to write a best-selling novel as a ticket to fame, but does more thinking and fretting than writing. He has a problem with developing plots. He’s afraid of being stuck writing “formula fiction” and worries that he might be seen as having even too little talent “to sink that low.”

Murph is the alter-ego of his creator, Gary Reilly.  Gary died in 2011, leaving behind 25 completed novels (11 of those featuring “Murph”). Like Murph, none of Gary’s novel-length fiction was ever published. “I really ought to stop writing novels and try to fail at something more realistic,” thinks Murph. “Like cliff diving.”

Murph is getting noticed. So is Gary Reilly. Two of the six books to date have been named as finalists in the prestigious Colorado Book Awards (Ticket to Hollywood in 2013 and Doctor Lovebeads in 2014).  And last December, a book reviewer on National Public Radio raved about the series as among the best books he had read that year. He called Murph’s approach to life “huge fun.”

Why? Because Murph is refreshing. He’s got a unique approach. He wonders, at the deepest levels and always with humor, about fundamental motivations in life. He is a diehard Bohemian. Every move in life deserves careful measure. Murph is a master over-thinker. The smallest decisions are thoroughly evaluated. Murph tried the corporate environment once, a fictional office he refers to as “Dyna-Plex,” but didn’t comprehend its function or purpose—or his role in the organization. “The problem with Dyna-Plex was that you had to pretend to be working when you sat at your desk,” says Murph. “As far as I was concerned that was taking fraud just a little too far.”

He bailed and returned to the world of driving a cab.

But Murph is not an embittered loner. As the world passes through his back seat, Murph shows us over and over that he’ll go out of his way to make things right. He returns a lost purse—and gets tangled up in a murder investigation. He goes looking for two missing girls—and finds himself going donning hippie garb to go undercover in a Boulder commune. He inadvertently gives a bank robber a ride—and wrestles with a decision that could change the entire trajectory of his life.

Murph relishes his loner status but at every turn demonstrates his complete entanglement in the world and his willingness to help, when needed.

Murph’s perspective on the world, like all great literature (yes, literature), is one-of-a-kind. Murph, of course, is Gary Reilly’s alter-ego, and Murph very much embodied Gary’s musings on the world and what motivates people to get out of bed and go about their business, whatever it is.

I read all the Murph novels when Gary was still around, when I had the chance to tell him how hard I had laughed.  I think Gary thought about life harder than anyone I ever met. He was amused by motivation, organizations, personal goals, agendas and egos. He poured his heart and soul into Murph.

You’ve heard of unreliable narrators? Murph is the opposite. He’s truthful—and funny as hell—to the bone.


Mark Stevens is the Denver-based author of the Allison Coil Mystery Series—Antler Dust (2007), Buried by the Roan (2011), Trapline (2014) and Lake of Fire (Sept., 2015). Buried by the Roan was a 2012 finalist for The Colorado Book Award. Trapline won the 2015 Colorado Authors League Award for genre fiction and is a finalist for the 2015 Colorado Book Award. Mark is co-owner, along with Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe, of Running Meter Press, the publishing house that is bringing Gary Reilly’s works to readers everywhere.



Gary Reilly was a writer.

Simply stated, that was the essence of the man.

Born in Arkansas City, Kansas he spent his early years in Kansas and Colorado in a large Irish-Catholic family–seven brothers and sisters. The family moved to Denver where Gary attended parochial high school, graduating in 1967.

He served two years in the army, including a tour in Vietnam as a military policeman.

After discharge, Gary majored in English at Colorado State University and continued studies at the Denver campus of the University of Colorado.

All along, his overarching ambition was to write fiction. And he did, prodigiously. His first published short story, The Biography Man, was included in the Pushcart Prize Award anthology in 1979.

Later he turned to novels, several based on his army experiences. While he wrote both serious and genre fiction, his greatest invention was the character, Murph, a likable, bohemian Denver cab driver. Starting with The Asphalt Warrior, Gary cranked out eleven Murph novels.

His dedication to writing did not include self promotion. Instead of seeking agents and publishers, he focussed on his craft, writing and rewriting, polishing to perfection. He wrote well over twenty novels before he thought he was ready make his work public.

Unfortunately, he passed away in March, 2011, before he could realize that dream.

Friends and family remember Gary as a fun-loving, generous soul who always had time for other writers, helping them shape their work, getting it ready for print.

Now, through Running Meter Press and Big Earth Publishing in Boulder, Colorado, Gary Reilly’s fiction is finally coming to bookstores in Colorado and across the nation.

Catch INFINITE HOUSE OF BOOKS’ previous guest post with co-publisher Mike Keefe about Gary Reilly on the companion Tumblr site, containing the “best of” the site prior to 2015!