Tuesday, 30 May 2017

BEST OF CRIME with Rod Reynolds

Welcome to my latest BEST OF CRIME feature, looking at crime writers' top picks, from their favourite author and fictional detective to their best writing tip. 

Today I'm delighted to welcome 


to share his BEST OF CRIME ... 

James Ellroy. The same answer I always give! He's divisive for many readers due to the style and content of his novels, and his last few haven't been that great - but his run from 'The Big Nowhere' through to 'The Cold Six Thousand' encompasses five books and fifteen years and I don't think any crime writer has hit and maintained as high a bar as that body of work. The author that hooked me on reading again, and made me want to be a writer.

Heat. The Pacino/De Niro face off is the iconic scene, but just watch how Michael Mann develops his characters, gives everyone a reason and a motivation for what they do and makes you root for both sides even as they hurtle into each other. A novel in film form. And that ending... 

The Wire. Not an original choice, but the series that paved the way for what television has become. Opened the door again for complex, character-driven, niche-appeal, long-form drama. 

Pete Bondurant from Ellroy's Underworld USA trilogy. A mob hitman, right wing nutjob and self-admitted murderer of over 500 people. Not my cup of tea, in real life. And yet somehow he's the hero of the first two books... 

James Lee Burke's Clete Purcell. Dave Robicheaux is the protagonist of the series, but he's a bit too po-faced for me. His former partner in the New Orleans PD, Purcell, is more like it - hard drinking, violent, quick to anger, slow to consider consequences - but loyal, tough, fearless, and very funny. Burke uses him sparingly, too, which is a lesson for all authors. 

The B-movie The Town That Dreaded Sundown is based on the same real life murders as my debut novel, so I watched it for 'research'. It claims at the start that everything depicted in it is true, only the names have been changed. In the film, a young woman is murdered with her own trombone when the killer attaches a knife to it, ties her to a tree, and stabs her to death by playing the instrument. Needless to say, this did not happen. 

That part in the original Robocop where the villain falls into a vat of acid and then gets hit by a car as he's dissolving was pretty shocking when I saw it as a kid! 

So many great blogs out there - this one not least among them. For aspiring writers, I'd always suggest getting on Twitter. The crime writing community on there is big, active and very welcoming - it's definitely the best introduction to the scene. 

Read your work aloud. It's the very best way to pick up on clunky dialogue, prose that doesn't work and passages where the pace lags. 

Coffee. I try not to snack while I'm writing because I'm a terrible chocolate fiend, so I stick to coffee - although too much sends me a bit mad...


Rod Reynolds was born in London and, after a successful career in advertising, working as a media buyer, he decided to get serious about writing. He completed City University's Crime Writing Masters course and his first novel, THE DARK INSIDE, was published by Faber in 2015. The sequel, BLACK NIGHT FALLING, was published in hardback and ebook in August 2016 and in paperback in March 2017. Rod lives in London with his wife and two daughters. 

Find Rod Reynolds on Twitter - @Rod_WR


Publisher's description
And now I stood here, on a desolate airfield in the Arkansas wilderness, a stone's throw from Texarkana. Darkness drawing in on me. Cross country to see a man I never imagined seeing again. On the strength of one desperate telephone call...'
Having left Texarkana for the safety of the West Coast, reporter Charlie Yates finds himself drawn back to the South, to Hot Springs, Arkansas, as an old acquaintance asks for his help. This time it's less of a story Charlie's chasing, more of a desperate attempt to do the right thing before it's too late. 

Black Night Falling was published by in paperback by Faber on 2 March 2017.

Look out for more BEST OF CRIME features coming soon.

Click here to read more BEST OF CRIME features.

No comments:

Post a Comment