Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thomas H. Cook

At January Magazine Ali Karim has an extensive and enlightening interview with Thomas H. Cook, winner of "an Edgar Award for his 1996 novel, The Chatham School Affair, and [whose] 2005’s devastating Red Leaves was nominated for an Edgar, a Crime Writer’s Association Dagger Award, an Anthony Award, a Barry Award and Sweden’s Martin Beck Award." Cook's latest novel, The Fate of Katherine Carr, was publisher this summer.

A small sample of the interview:

What is it about the conventions of crime and mystery fiction that attracts you to this dark end of the street?

Namely, it is the sense of people in crisis. That is the heart of all drama, whether the crisis be physical or spiritual or moral. Crime writing takes crisis as the given, and I really like that aspect of the genre.

One theme that striates your work is the deceptive nature of human beings. You’re also interested in how fate and circumstance weave around people, often revealing aspects of their lives that were hidden from view. What draws you so to the machinations of the human condition?

I continue to be moved by the capacity of people to learn from their mistakes, and by their heartfelt attempt to help others learn from those same mistakes. Because of that, I like writing novels in which the actions occur in the far past, and are now being reflected upon. That structure allows for characters both to carry out and to reflect upon their actions.

In your novels, you look into the psychological aspects of evil. My father is a retired psychiatrist, and he often warned me that about 10 percent of humans have sociopathic/psychopathic tendencies, to lesser or greater degrees. What is it about the evil that lurks within many of us that interests you?

Evil at the...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue