Craig McDonald is an award-winning journalist, editor and fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in literary magazines, anthologies and several online crime fiction sites.
His debut novel, Head Games, was published by Bleak House Books in September 2007.
From a 2006 interview with Things I'd Rather Be Doing:
Read the entire interview.
What is it about crime fiction that appeals to you? Is it really, as Bruen, Lehane, Pelecanos and others have said, the best way currently to address social issues in fiction?
Tony Hillerman is credited with saying that contemporary fiction is about not much happening to people you can’t care about. Good crime fiction is really what used to be called good fiction. It has great dialogue, convincing characterization and a compelling story – a plot. Good crime fiction offers everything that what currently passes for so-called “literary fiction” lacks. James Crumley and Daniel Woodrell both came out of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and they’ve both chosen to write crime novels.
Crime fiction is indeed perhaps the most potent fictional format to explore “social issues.” On the other hand, I think increasing numbers of crime writers are unfortunately too focused on that aim. My sense as a reader and reviewer is that increasing numbers of crime and mystery writers are straining beyond nuanced social commentary and instead aggressively freighting their books with political dogma. There seems to me to be more preaching and vitriol in more sectors of crime fiction now. Overt partisan politics are exerting themselves and in ham-handed fashion. It may make those authors feel good, but it doesn’t entertain or even edify. Left or right, I don’t like to be lectured to in a novel. I also think those books are going to date, and furiously.
The Page 69 Test: Head Games.