Friday, April 13, 2012

Howard Shrier

Howard Shrier's first crime novel, Buffalo Jump, won him the Arthur Ellis Debut Fiction award. The following year, his second book in the Jonah Geller series, High Chicago won the Arthur Ellis best book award. Boston Cream, his third book in the series, finds detective Jonah Geller back in Boston to find a missing transplant surgeon.

From Shrier's Q & A with Jonathan Mendelsohn at the Indigo Blog:

IB: Jonah’s Jewish, the surgeon he’s gone to look for in Boston is Jewish, there’s even a rather fascinating Rabbi in Boston Cream. How does your religion fit in with your fiction?

HS: It’s in the stories because I think it’s part of me. When I set out to create this character, I knew he’d be like me in the sense of he’s a secular Jew, an atheist, but still feels very tied to his culture and his community. Judaism’s not about God and religion for him. It’s about family, food, cultural events, songs, things like that. I sort of thought it would be interesting if his clients came to him through friends, family; this is how it goes when you start a new business. So in the second book the client book comes through someone his brother and mother know, in the third its similar, he gets a reference from Jonah’s brother. In the fourth, which I’m writing now , it’s the grandfather of a murder victim who hired Jonah and the murder victim was someone he went to camp with 20 years ago, a kid that he knew.

I think sometimes having a Jewish element is important to me. In Boston Cream there’s a big element of it because one of the more perplexing and I hope complex characters is a Rabbi who is hoping to do big things in a way for his community but also for himself, and his own ego. You know I was raised in a Jewish environment. A lot of what I’ve absorbed is part of that so it’s just pat of me and what I write an not writing about it would be like taking someone like Denis Lehane (Gone Baby Gone) and taking the Boston Catholicism...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Howard Shrier's website.

Writers Read: Howard Shrier (May 2009).

Writers Read: Howard Shrier (February 2012).

--Marshal Zeringue