Sunday 29 April 2012

One Man's Opinion: THE CRIME INTERVIEWS (volume 1) by LEN WANNER

Though it doesn't say anything about the book, this was the first I'd chosen to read entirely on my android phone.  It seemed perfect for such an experiment given the natural breaks and I must say I enjoyed using the device much more than I expected. 

'The Crime Interviews 1' is such a good idea and it's very well executed.

Len Wanner has interviewed some of the heavyweights of Scottish Crime fiction and presented them in a very engaging way.

It's clear that Wanner knows his subject and he has done a huge amount of research before each one.

The interviews seem very fluid, linking questions together very smoothly as Wanner dances around making sure he exposes all openings without being pushy.  There are core questions that he broaches with all those involved (Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, Alice Thompson, Neil Forsyth, Allan Guthrie, Christopher Brookmyre, Karen Campbell, Paul Johnstone and Louise Welsh) which reveal Wanner's academic leanings and perspectives and there are those designed for the individual which reveal the human touch.

We get to consider writing from the point of view of the auteur as well as from being given the opportunity to think about how the individual work is a reflection of society and where it fits in to a scheme of literature with a substantial history.

I felt like the interviews took place in relaxed settings and that the interviewees have utterly trusted their interrogator.  I suspect that the quality and the nature of the answers also demonstrates the respect that the subjects have for Len Wanner and his understanding and knowledge of and about the genre.

As with collections of any kind, some of these I enjoyed more than others.

Rankin and MacBride are great choices to open the book.  I'd like to offer a special word for Alice Thompson's which was a very pleasing surprise.  Icing on the cake though, was always going to be Allan Guthrie for me and I was delighted by what I found.

No matter which author you prefer, each interview is long and detailed enough that you'll feel you got your money's worth and more besides.

If you're a fan of crime fiction, you're a student of the genre or a writer hoping to pick up some tips on your craft, this is a book you'll get a lot from.

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