by Craig McDonald
“A fascinating follow-up to the 2006 Art in the Blood…”
In 2006, Craig McDonald published Art in the Blood, a collection of probing, long-form interviews with 20 major crime writers that was immediately hailed as a definitive text in the study of modern crime and mystery fiction.
Now McDonald a genuine expert on the history of crime fiction (Eddie Mueller, San Francisco Chronicle) returns with Rogue Males, a collection of no-holds-barred interviews with 16 authors who have shaped and defined narrative fiction and songwriting.
Rogue Males includes conversations with crime fiction legends Elmore Leonard and James Crumley (in one of his last interviews); premier stylists James Sallis and Daniel Woodrell; noir kingpins James Ellroy and Ken Bruen, and top thriller writers Lee Child and Randy Wayne White.
Stephen J. Cannell and Max Allan Collins hold forth on the intersection of crime novels and the silver screen while Andrew Vachss, Pete Dexter, Craig Holden, Alistair MacLeod, Tom Russell and Kinky Friedman round-out this one-of-a kind collection on the craft of writing an array of mavericks, trailblazers and the gadflies. Men of conscience, entrepreneurs and magnificent bastards, as McDonald puts it in his introduction.
A fascinating follow-up to the 2006 Art in the Blood dialogue with leading crime writers, this collection by journalist and fiction writer McDonald (Head Games) underlines the rogue male theme by putting some of the most influential crime fiction wizards under the spotlight. Among the personalities of murder and mayhem interviewed are Elmore Leonard, James Crumley, James Sallis, Daniel Woodrell, James Ellroy, Ken Bruen and Lee Child. There are choice nuggets in the chatter between MacDonald and the scribes, Leonard revealing the secret to James Patterson’s profitable corporate brand, Andrew Vachss endorsing the merits of print journalism and Ellroy labeling the late poet Anne Sexton hot but doomed. Wannabe writers will savor the various tidbits of information about novelization and screenwriting from veterans Max Allan Collins, Stephen J. Cannell and Pete Dexter. The troubadour section of the book has its crowning glory with a howling yuk-fest by singer/ writer Kinky Freedman and an insightful tit-for-tat by literary mavericks James Sallis and Ken Bruen. Informative, compulsively readable and mentally spicy.
- Publishers Weekly
McDonald, author of two crime novels starring raffish crime writer Hec Lassiter (Head Games, 2007, and Toros & Torsos, 2008), is also a critic and interviewer. In Art in the Blood (2006), he compiled 20 uniformly fascinating interviews with major crime writers. This second volume covers the same territory, but only James Ellroy, Lee Child, and Ken Bruen appear in both books. As a writer and an unabashed fan of the hard-boiled style and worldview, McDonald brings a knowledge and point of view to his questions that unlock the personality behind the public persona in all of his subjects. For example, he gets James Crumley (in one of the last interviews before his death) to comment in an aside that, though quite fond of France, he could never “live someplace without cable TV and American football.” His subjects tend to be writers’ writers—Daniel Woodrell, James Sallis, Pete Dexter—not mass-market household names but authors with whom readers make a deep and lasting connection. And when he does talk to those who have achieved mainstream success (Child and Elmore Leonard), he shows us the craftsmen behind the books. A must for all fans of the “rogue males” who populate the edgiest crime fiction