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...

Thomas Pluck talks about Bad Boy Boogie May03

Thomas Pluck talks about Bad Boy Boogie

Some of my favorite crime series are duos: Hap and Leonard. Elvis Cole and Joe Pike. Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell. Easy Rawlins and Mouse. Spenser and Hawk. They go together like coffee and begneits, or a burger and fries. When you read enough of these (not that I can ever get enough) you start noticing that one partner is often on the side of order and goodness and the law, while the other appeals to our baser natures: revenge, street justice, and violent retribution. They are the angel and the devil on the shoulders of the story, or rather, the two hands tattooed with “Love” and “Hate” wrestling with each other, like Robert Mitchum’s...

Sam Wiebe Talks Music May02

Sam Wiebe Talks Music

Sam Wiebe’s latest, INVISIBLE DEAD is out now! (In the US from Quercus) We’d like to thank Sam for this awesome essay. You can follow Sam on Twitter at @sam_wiebe Music is an age-old shorthand for who we are. It conveys culture, age, taste, values, even behavior. Music’s ability to reveal our deepest and truest character is absolutely ironclad—all Nickelback fans are morally suspect, while fans of Brahms and Dolly Parton tend to be pure of heart. Jazz fans are insufferable. Country fans are dumb. Do we believe that? I once heard Mark Billingham say that the “loner detective who listens to music” archetype goes all the way back...

Behind the Book: KJ Howe’s THE FREEDOM BROKER Apr14

Behind the Book: KJ Howe’s THE FREEDOM BROKE...

Have you ever heard the term response consultant? If you aren’t familiar with this term, you’re not alone. There are about twenty-five to thirty people in the world who do this job—although the number of responders is growing because kidnapping has become an international crisis, especially in certain hot zones. Response consultants work for private companies in the kidnapping and ransom field, and they provide support and guidance to hostages and their families. These experts risk their own lives to help others, and my character Thea Paris is one of these elite consultants. Her personal story is featured in the first book of the series,...

Hackers and Drones and Phones, Oh My: Using Technology in Thrillers Mar31

Hackers and Drones and Phones, Oh My: Using Techno...

Last year, I decided to kill someone with a drone. It was a crucial moment in the writing of my new book, “A Brutal Bunch of Heartbroken Saps.” One of the protagonists, an Elvis-loving assassin with a penchant for fast food and navel-gazing, had to wipe out a pursuer from several hundred yards away, at night. Initially I considered having him deploy a sniper rifle, only to discard that idea: it seemed a little too, well, conventional for the character. Stumped, I did what every author with a plotting conundrum does best: Olympic-caliber procrastination. And in the course of my random Internet wanderings, I uncovered something that not only...

Behind the Book: The Satanic Mechanic

The second book in my Tannie (Auntie) Maria murder mystery series is The Satanic Mechanic. Central to the story is a PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) counseling group, run by a man known as the satanic mechanic. South Africa is fertile ground for trauma and healing. I had the joy and the pain of being part of the South African anti-apartheid struggle. Marches, singing, teargas, shooting, prison, assassinations, a State of Emergency (in which the state could detain anyone indefinitely) were my rite of passage from youth to adulthood. I visited detainees and their families, counseled torture victims, interviewed abused women, danced in...