Crime fiction maven J. Kingston Pierce interviewed William Ryan, the Irish former corporate lawyer, now residing in London, who’s written two historical crime novels set in the Soviet Union of the 1930s. The first of those, The Holy Thief (2010), was nominated for the British Crime Writers’ Association’s John Creasey Award and was shortlisted for both a Barry Award and the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. Its new sequel, The Darkening Field (Minotaur), continues the investigative exploits of Captain Alexei Dmitriyevich Korolev of the Moscow Militia’s Criminal Investigation Division.
Read the interview at Kirkus Reviews.
From some bonus exchanges from the interview that Pierce posted at The Rap Sheet:
JKP: Are you a big reader of historical thrillers? Which books from that subgenre would you most recommend?--Marshal Zeringue
WR: Two books that have stood out for me recently are R.N. Morris’ The Cleansing Flames and Jason Goodwin’s An Evil Eye. Both are part of a series--Morris’ being set in 19th-century St. Petersburg and Goodwin’s at the same time but in Istanbul. Morris and Goodwin have a lot of qualities in common--they know their stuff, they write elegantly, and they tell great stories. I highly recommend them.
JKP: Was your choice of a Russia-based detective series influenced by, say, Martin Cruz Smith’s Arkady Renko novels? Stuart M. Kaminsky’s Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov novels? Or other such works?
WR: I’d say the biggest influences were probably Dashiell Hammett, Georges Simenon, and Raymond Chandler. I've always been fascinated by the 1930s in general, and those three were certainly very useful in trying to create the atmosphere in the Korolev novels. I didn’t read Martin Cruz Smith until I was pretty much finished with The Holy Thief, but I think he’s a great writer and I wish in some ways I’d read him earlier. Alan Furst would probably be another author who is in the back of my mind when I write, and maybe Boris Akunin as well.
JKP: Why have you “always been fascinated by the 1930s”?
WR: I suppose it’s partially because...[read on]