Power Jun17

Power

Power, money and respect. In the world of organised crime these are the end goals that people pursue, but they are not equal and they don’t walk hand in hand. In crime fiction we’ve spent countless words picking apart and examining the guts of that triangle, as well as how the three sides connect. As with any industry you can have respect without wealth or influence; a hardworking and likable person can be broadly admired without ever rising to consequence just as a rich person can be considered profoundly lazy and hatefully stupid. Respect and money are independent of each other and transient and chased only by those who fail to see the...

Can’t Leave Rachel Out! 

I wrote my first novel—GRAVE DESIGNS—on a dare from my wife. I was a young lawyer in a big Chicago law firm at the time, and I had no grand plan beyond finishing the manuscript and trying to see whether I could interest a publisher. And thus when my agent announced that she’d received an offer from the publisher for the next two books in the series, my puzzled response was, “What series?” “The Rachel Gold series, Mike. She’s a terrific character, perfect for a series.” And so it began. DEATH BENEFITS was the No. 2 in the series, FIRM AMBITIONS No. 3, followed by DUE DILIGENCE, SHEER GALL, and more in the Rachel Gold series. I took a break...

Ten Writing Lessons From Krav Maga

When I started taking Krav Maga my writing pal James Queally asked if I was taking it because I wanted to more accurately write about throwing a punch. I told him, no, that’s ridiculous. I was doing it because I was afraid of my daughter. She’s two and a half now. It’s like living with Leatherface. Peril in every direction. I’ve been doing it for a year and passed the test for P1 (there are five practitioner levels). Not to say I’m proficient in any of this—a lot of the time I still feel like Bambi slipping on the ice, sliding into a snowbank. Turns out though, James was on to something—I’ve discovered a couple of writing lessons courtesy...

The Birth of a Thriller Jun09

The Birth of a Thriller

Forget Nancy Drew. When I was twelve years old my favorite book series featured Bond, James Bond. Not that I was supposed to be reading Ian Fleming’s books. They were written for adults, as my mother would have told me while confiscating the book if she’d caught me, and I wasn’t one. But my father, an orthodontist, had a den that he used as a home office. In that den was a wall of built-in bookshelves. On those bookshelves were the books that he read. The first of those books that I snuck off the shelves was Doctor No. I read it in my bed, under the covers, by flashlight. The sexual references were lost on me. What I loved was the action,...

CROSSING GENRES BY NIK KORPON Jun06

CROSSING GENRES BY NIK KORPON

I used to collect a lot of records when I was in my teens and early twenties. Not as many as my friends, who’d have whole bookcases full of them, but I had a couple hundred or so. Some of them were bad hardcore and punk bands I picked up at various shows, some were great, dusty jazz and blues records I found in the dollar bin. Some I’d picked up specifically because I knew that the girl who sat next to me in freshman math liked those bands, and we had a standing arrangement where I’d trade her records in exchange for her helping me not fail the class. (I’m really, really bad at math.) Some—like my limited edition “Do the Bartman”...

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby; Feminist Crime Fiction May06

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby; Feminist Crime Fictio...

Remember the gumshoe lured into a trap by a beguiling femme fatale? If he was lucky, he survived and went on to marry the good girl. This was the staple of classic crime fiction and Hollywood film noir. There were two kinds of girls: the ones guys can’t resist, and those they marry, either sexy bad girls and “cute kid” good girls. Our male protagonist was a loner—usually a drinker—who prowled the mean streets, subject to his own unwritten code, but outside the law. Like Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe or Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade, they navigated between the cops and the mob to stay alive and catch their man… or woman. With women...