Archive for May, 2011
by Jonathan on May 7th, 2011
I’ve started the West Coast tour for A Hard Death. Since I’ll be driving a lot, I’ve made a, uh, driving mix. It’s fast, noisy, straight-ahead rock’n'roll music. For many people, it’ll be unlistenable. Also, at times it is enthusiastically profane: consider yourselves warned. It’s really not suitable for kids, unless they’re bad kids. Here’s the download link , and here’s the tracklisting:
THE HIGH ROAD TO A HARD DEATH
Mason Williams, “Classical Gas” (not obscene)
The Soledad Brothers, “Break ‘Em on Down”
The Cramps, “Human Fly”
The Gun Club, “Ghost on the Highway”
The Jesus & Mary Chain, “Never Understand”
Motorhead, “The Ace of Spades”
Ministry, “Jesus Built My Hotrod”
Charlie Gracie, “Guitar Boogie”
Clinic, “Walking with Thee”
Mclusky, “Lightsabre C***sucking Blues”
Bad Brains, “Pay to Cum”
One more thing: PLAY LOUD!
by Jonathan on May 1st, 2011
At mystery or thriller festivals, I’m often asked about the importance of accuracy in the genre. I think authors should take whatever liberties they need to tell their stories – after all, these are thrillers, not forensic textbooks. The important thing is that the world of the story must have an internally cohesive reality – Harry Potter is pure fantasy, but feels real because of the consistency and integrity of the characters and universe that JK Rowling has created.
That said, I personally can’t let myself distort the science – I want a character who is shot, strangled or impaled to appear and behave as they would if it had happened in real life. I create situations that are more extreme than those we usually see in our work as medical examiners, and present those scenarios as realistically as possible; I want the reader to mutter, “Whoa!”, both because the situation is extreme, and because it is also palpably real.
While I like to crank up the intensity in my novels, I need everything I use to exist in the real world. A number of elements in A Hard Death may seem over the top, but they’re all based on real world events, from Maggie Craine’s back story to the way the drug trade is depicted. A reader emailed me the other day asking me about the drugs and money in the book, wondering if I was overstating things. But turn on your TV and it’s all there – drugs shipped in homemade submarines, drugs jammed into shark carcasses, drug packets stuffed into live snakes. And it’s all because the money is just incredible.
How incredible? Well, have a look at this collection of photographs from 2007, taken when Mexican government forces, in a joint operation with the US Drug Enforcement Agency, raided the home of a methamphetamine king pin. A private zoo with seven lions, panthers and tigers, an armory replete with gold and gem-encrusted firearms, and cash jammed into cupboards, walls, suitcases and strongboxes: in all $205 million in one hundred US dollar bills…
(Music: Evil Nine, “All the Cash”)