Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Chris Holm

Chris Holm is an award-winning short-story writer whose work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, and The Best American Mystery Stories 2011. His Collector trilogy, which blends fantasy with old-fashioned crime pulp, wound up on over forty Year’s Best lists. David Baldacci called Holm's latest, the hitman thriller The Killing Kind, "a story of rare, compelling brilliance." He lives in Portland, Maine.

From Holm's interview with Angel Luis Colón for the Los Angeles Review of Books:

In The Killing Kind, we’re introduced to Michael Hendricks — simply put: a hit man who kills other hit men. Now, there’s a rhyme and reason to it, and like most protagonists we’ve met in noir or suspense novels, it’s redemption. But to that point, do you believe that Hendricks is truly redeemable? His actions are still, in essence, selfish.

That question is the central tension of Hendricks’s story, and doubtless why I couldn’t leave the short well enough alone. While I’m proud of what “The Hitter” accomplished, both critically and from a narrative perspective, it didn’t answer the question to my satisfaction.

For a long time, the question that drove my writing was, “What makes an ostensibly good person do bad things?” But lately, I think that’s been supplanted by, “What’s the worst a person can be and still come back?” I’m also fascinated by an individual’s ability, or lack thereof, to achieve sufficient velocity to escape his or her own past. Hendricks — who went straight from the foster system to the military, where he discovered he had a knack for killing but not necessarily the stomach — affords me space to explore all three.

Is Hendricks redeemable? I’m not sure yet. But it seems to me that, either way, a life of violence is unlikely to be redeemed by more violence. Unfortunately for Hendricks...[read on]
The Page 69 Test: The Killing Kind.

Writers Read: Chris Holm.

--Marshal Zeringue