“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Brighton’s Rock

Peter James’ (right) latest novel, DEAD LIKE YOU, just went straight to No. 1 on the UK hardback fiction list. Not that he’s boasting, mind, although there is the small matter of the achievement preventing James Patterson from zipping straight to No. 1 for the first time in 10 years. Anyhoo, here’s an interview with Peter James from last weekend’s Sunday Independent, which kicks off thusly:
Do you know how much your body’s organs are worth? According to Peter James, in the hands of illegal organ traffickers, your parts are worth roughly one million dollars.
  The best-selling novelist is a man of many and diverse interests, including criminology, the paranormal and science. He’s also a movie producer who holds a racing driver’s licence. His late mother was glove-maker to the Queen. He once owned a Second World War bomber plane ...
  In short, James is an interesting man. Articulate, cultured and softly spoken, the 61-year-old divides his time between his homes in Notting Hill, London, and Brighton, which he shares with his partner, Helen.
  “Brighton’s great,” he says of the setting for the Roy Grace series of Dead novels. “I think a sense of place is as important as character. A lot of the great crime novels that I’ve admired, such as Rebus in Edinburgh, Hiaasen’s Miami, Ed McBain in New York, and so on, are very true to their setting. And Brighton for me is perfect ... For nine years running it was the ‘injecting drugs death capital’ of the UK. We lost it last year to Liverpool,” he grins disarmingly, “but we got it back this year.”
  James got his first writing break in 1971, on a pre-schoolers TV programme in Canada called Polka Dot Door. Despite subsequently writing and publishing three spy thrillers, however, commercial success eluded him.
  “The real tipping point for me,” he says, “was when I was pouring my heart out to a friend of mine, who was writing jacket blurb at Penguin. And she said, ‘Why are you writing spy thrillers?’ So I said, ‘Because I read somewhere there was a shortage.’ And she said, ‘You’ll never make money from writing something because you think it will pay. You have to write what you’re passionate about.’ That was the best advice I’ve ever had …”
  For the rest, clickety-click here

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