Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now lives in Cape Town, a city as violent as it is beautiful. Before turning to a life of crime, he was a screenwriter, producer and director. His debut thriller, Mixed Blood, is in development as a feature film starring Samuel L. Jackson. His latest novel is Wake Up Dead.

From Smith's Q& A with Crime Beat:

Crime Beat: You have been compared to Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, Elmore Leonard, Mickey Spillane, and Donald Westlake which is such a broad sweep of the genre as to render these comparison’s silly. Comparisons are both flattering and tedious. Do you just brush them off as reviewer’s laziness, or do you trace back roots to some or all of these writers?

Roger Smith: Comparisons are odious, but who the hell can resist these — with the possible exception of Mickey Spillane! Of course I’m flattered, but I understand that comparisons are often merely a way of thumbnailing a book, ala Hollywood: the Hansie meets Deep Throat kind of thing.

But Leonard is a great influence: the ensemble cast, the suspense rather than mystery approach, the dark humour. And the late Westlake’s Stark alter-ego remains a reminder that there’s an alternative to the Scandinavian snooze-fests that weigh down the bookshelves. James Ellroy’s name comes up quite often too. Body count, I guess.

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Crime Beat: All the elements of Mixed Blood are to be found again in Wake Up Dead: the tight fast plot, the clipped dialogue, the cast of dangerous, explosive characters who exist in a drug heightened toxic world. It is almost a hermetically sealed world; once you’re in, there are not many ways out. Death of course is one. Obviously this is a world you want and the world you believe inherent to the crime novel.

Roger Smith: Well, I don’t know if it’s a world I want, but it is the world we live in, so I’m going to write about it. I’ve said this to you before, but I admire crime fiction that reflects the world in which it is set. Somehow, I don’t see contemporary South Africa as the setting for capers and cozies, but...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Roger Smith's website.

Read about Roger Smith's top 10 crime novels.

The Page 69 Test: Mixed Blood.

The Page 69 Test: Wake Up Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue