Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Linwood Barclay, Ross Macdonald, and me: What I shot and thought at Harrogate, Part II

Linwood Barclay signs a book for
an adoring fan. Photo by Peter
Rozovsky by special agreement
with Detectives Beyond Borders.
I’ve never been able to get Ross Macdonald or, as Macdonald himself might have said, I am paralyzed by a deep-seated fear of wince-makingly amateur Freudianism that I just can’t express.

Linwood Barclay, on the other hand, is a great admirer of Macdonald’s, so naturally when Barclay approached as I chatted with a fellow attendee at the Theakston Ole Peculier Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate last month, I said: “Oh, hey! We were just ripping the ---- out of Ross Macdonald.”

Barclay, born in Connecticut but rendered good-natured and amiable by his years in Canada, pretended to be offended. But then he smiled widely and offered a disarming explanation for his Macdonald love.

When he first encountered Macdonald, Barclay said, "I didn't know anything about Freud." And no wonder. Barclay was just 15 years old at the time, and a meeting just a few years later was a formative experience for Barclay. I don't remember the rest of his apologia for Macdonald. Perhaps he was touched by that author's yearning empathy for his characters, and not just his protagonist.

And that's what's important, isn't it, that Barclay, through the deadening welter of Macdonald's Freudian theorizing, found something that touched him and helped make him a critically admired and internationally successful author in his own right. So no, I'm not sure I'll ever warm to Macdonald, having tried his early overwrought imitations of Raymond Chandler and his mid-career embrace of Freud and found both wanting. But I was humbled by Barclay's innocent and whole-hearted early embrace of the man and by how deeply and author can touch his readers.

© Peter Rozovsky 2018

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Friday, August 10, 2018

What I shot and thought at Harrogate, Part I

Jay Stringer
This is Parker Bilal, who said: “If Chandler
were  writing today, he’d be writing about
Cairo or Mumbai or Lagos, these new
Chris Brookmyre
Howdy. And may I say it's nice to be back? Here are some photos I shot at the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival, known to most as, simply, "Harrogate." Photos by me unless otherwise specified.
This is Stav Sherez, whose book The
Intrusions won the festival's novel of
the year award. He also said that of all the
crime writers influenced by James Ellroy,
Don Winslow is the only one who took
what Ellroy did and advanced it.
This is Don Winslow, who stepped
in when the person choosing who
got to ask questions of Winslow
after his onstage interview repeatedly
ignored my raised hand. Winslow,
a prince of a man and a hell of a
writer, said. "There's a fellow down
here who's been trying to ask a
question for a while," and then gave
a long, thoughtful, and wide-ranging
answer to my question about how
he transmutes his meticulous
research into convincing fiction. 

© Peter Rozovsky 2018

Martina Cole with your humble blogkeeper. Her novel
"Get Even" is "a soap opera in the best sense, full of
incident and with empathy for its violent characters,
and taking the tribulations of those characters
seriously. The narrator of the audiobook was
well-chosen, too. I’m guessing her accent is
East London, but not campy or overdone
in the least. It’s good stuff."
(Photo by Ali Karim)
Somber Steve Cavanagh, whose
novel "Thirteen" is brilliantly
executed and excellent fun.
Vic Watson, who kindly invited me
to be a part of Noir at the Bar
Harrogate, where I talked about the
event's history since I staged the
first one in 2008, read a story of
my own, and got a beer spilled
me, which I did not mind, because
the day was hot.

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