Thursday, December 8, 2011

Craig McDonald

Edgar®-nominee Craig McDonald is an award-winning journalist, editor and fiction writer. His short fiction has appeared in literary magazines, anthologies and several online crime fiction sites. His novels include four entries in the Hector Lassiter series.

His new standalone novel is El Gavilan.

From McDonald's Q & A with crime fiction expert J. Kingston Pierce at Kirkus Reviews:

El Gavilan is very much a social novel. It deals not only with a criminal investigation, but also with the dilemma of illegal immigration. I’m impressed that you accomplished all of this without shortchanging thriller readers or beating them over the head with political commentary. Did you start with the murder story or with the wish to write something of greater social relevance?

The two elements were entwined from conception. I had recently reread [John] Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and that novel, with its themes of immigration, destitution, and its format of interleaving chapters, were something I was thinking of in the shaping of El Gavilan. It’s the one novel of mine where I let my journalism background really have its head. At the same time, I was very cautious about trying not to preach.

Have you had opportunities over the years to report on the movement of illegal immigrants into the Upper Midwest?

It’s very much drawn from what I was seeing around me in central Ohio, particularly starting in the middle- to late-1990s and reaching a peak right around 2002 or ’03. It was a drawn-from-the-headlines work and some of those headlines I’d written in a journalistic context. There was an apartment-complex fire—later determined to be a racially motivated arson—very similar to the one I describe near the beginning of the novel. A cockfighting ring run by undocumented workers was broken up about a mile from my hometown. And an Ohio sheriff or two really was using Homeland Security funds to post billboards similar to those county sheriff Able Hawk posts in El Gavilan. Like Hawk, those same sheriffs were also...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Craig McDonald's website and blog.

My Book, The Movie: El Gavilan.

The Page 69 Test: El Gavilan.

Writers Read: Craig McDonald.

--Marshal Zeringue