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I’ve always been fond of reading and conducting interviews, and the first book I edited, Conversations with James Ellroy, was an anthology of interviews. Since then, I have published a number of interviews with authors and filmmakers on this blog. Therefore, I thought it was high time I created an archive of these interviews to make them easy to access.

Below you’ll find introductions to each interview as well as links to the interviews published on this blog. I plan to update this page every time I conduct a new interview.

An Interview with Leye Adenle: Author of Easy Motion Tourist and When Trouble Sleeps

Leye Adenle is a rising star in the world of Nigerian and British crime fiction. His debut novel Easy Motion Tourist introduced Amaka Mbadiwe, ‘a sassy guardian angel of Lagos working girls’. In the novel, British hack Guy Collins becomes a murder suspect when a woman’s mutilated body is discovered near one of the main hotels in Lagos. Much of the novel is told from Collins point-of-view, and it is through him that we meet Amaka and witness the extraordinarily vibrant and dangerous character of Lagos as a city. In the follow-up, When Trouble Sleeps, a plane crash kills the state’s gubernatorial candidate. His replacement, the venal Chief Ojo, looks set to enjoy all of the power and influence that comes with high political office. However, Amaka has access to information that could reveal Ojo as a violent and depraved pervert, and Ojo will do anything to stop her from revealing it.

Copy Boy: An Interview with Shelley Blanton-Stroud

Shelley Blanton-Stroud: Author of Copy Boy

Shelley Blanton-Stroud: Author of Copy Boy

Copy Boy is the debut novel by Shelley Blanton-Stroud, an author and academic based in Sacramento.

It’s the height of the Great Depression. Seventeen- year-old Jane is caught between an abusive father and manipulative mother. Then one day her father’s physical abuse gets too much for her. Jane snaps, attacking her father with a crowbar and leaving him for dead in an irrigation ditch. She flees to San Francisco where, turned down for job after job, she calculates that men have more economic opportunities than women. Jane disguises herself as a man to be hired as a Copy Boy for a local newspaper – The Prospect. All goes well for a while. But every time a person reinvents themselves, the past is not far behind. Jane’s new identity could unravel when she spots a photograph of her father in the paper with his arm around a girl who was later viciously attacked with a crowbar and left in a coma.

Is her father still alive? Was the assault on the girl a message and will Jane be next? It’s an intriguing premise, skilfully executed, in a narrative which merges suspense with some finely realised noir period detail. I had the pleasure of interviewing Shelley Blanton-Stroud about Copy Boy

An Interview with Writer-Director Andrew Cull on In the Dark and the Enduring Mystery of Louise Paxton

Writer-Director Andrew Cull. Photograph by Libby Double-King

Some time ago, I wrote a review of the internet horror series In the Dark. The story concerns Louise Paxton, a young woman who moves from her hometown of Norwich to a dream home in London. At first everything seems to be going well, with Louise enjoying her newly found freedom and life in the big city. But then, sinister things start to happen. Louise suspects she’s being watched or worse: an intruder may be periodically entering the apartment.

Is Louise paranoid, or is she genuinely being stalked, or is there even something paranormal at work? There are thirty-eight videos in the series, ranging from just a few seconds to around eight minutes in length. You can access them all on this YouTube page. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and watch them in order for the full immersive experience. The vérité horror style of In the Dark was quite different from my usual tastes in crime fiction, but I was floored by the series and felt compelled to write a review. Shortly thereafter, I wrote another piece unveiling Louise Paxton as the actress Zoe RichardsIn the Dark was originally presented as a found-footage style elaborate hoax, and many internet viewers believed Louise Paxton was a real person. This may seem difficult to accept, but when you watch the drama, especially the disturbing ending, you’ll understand the fervent grip it had on viewers’ imaginations when the story first unfolded.

Over the years, interest in the Louise Paxton mystery has endured, and the original reviews I wrote of the drama have generated massive web traffic for this blog in locales as far flung as Indonesia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Russia, Mexico among others. I’m periodically contacted by people who, in all sincerity, are concerned about Louise Paxton and want more information on her. This only made me more intrigued by the drama’s enduring appeal more than ten years after it debuted on YouTube.

I decided to contact the writer and director of In the DarkAndrew Cull, and was delighted when he agreed to be interviewed by me. Since In the Dark, Andrew has gone on to success as the director of the feature film The Possession of David O’Reillyand is the author of the recent short story collection Bones.

Gallows Court: An Interview with Martin Edwards

Gallows Court is the new novel by Martin Edwards. The setting is London, 1930. A series of violent murders, the details as gruesome as the Ripper case, has horrified the capital. Rachel Savernake is the enigmatic heiress at the heart of the mystery. Brilliant, beautiful and cruel, Savernake solved the Chorus Girl Murder and is on the hunt of another killer. Yet, she is equally adept at using violence for her own ends.

I first met Martin when he was a guest at the Visions of Noir conference I organised in Liverpool in 2015. He’s always been enthusiastic and generous, and he kindly agreed to be interviewed by me about his new novel. The following exchange was conducted by email.

Unpublished James Ellroy Interview

I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing James Ellroy four times: on three occasions by telephone and once in his apartment in LA. Three of these interviews are included in the collection Conversations with James Ellroy which I edited for University Press of Mississippi. The interview I excluded from the volume was the third telephone interview which took place in November 2008. After giving the matter some thought, I decided that the interview wasn’t up to the high standard of my other interviews with Ellroy. You have to make some very difficult decisions when you’re editing an anthology of this kind, and I wanted to ensure there was space in the book for some of the outstanding interviews Ellroy has given throughout his career to such figures as Duane Tucker, Paul Duncan and Craig McDonald. However, I came across the interview again recently when searching through an old thumb drive, and I thought there were enough interesting moments to share it with you here, published for the very first time. I’ve edited it down quite significantly to the highlights

An Interview with Leah Konen: Author of One White Lie

One White Lie is the latest novel by Leah Konen. Lucy King is running away from an abusive relationship. To the outside world it might seem strange. She had a good-looking boyfriend who she adored. But little by little, as Lucy is holed up in Woodstock NY with only her dog and her thoughts for company, the reader learns of the abuse and controlling behaviour she has been put through. Things get seriously complicated when a couple she is staying with, seemingly kind and generous on the surface, reveal they have secrets of their own and Lucy gets drawn into a bizarre scheme to fake a man’s death.

Leah Konen has written an ingeniously-plotted, suspenseful thriller that will have you hooked until the last page. One White Lie was published as All The Broken People in the US. I was fortunate enough to interview Leah Konen about her new novel. The following interview took place by email.

The Chosen Ones by Howard Linskey

Howard Linskey’s The Chosen Ones is the fourth novel in the Detective Ian Bradshaw series. Bradshaw is a compelling creation; an honest, dogged policeman often tasked with the most disturbing cases which have lead him to grapple with anxiety and depression. Bradshaw is assisted in his investigations by the journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton. I enjoyed this novel as gripping thriller, with an interesting take on the Buddy-Buddy narrative, and full of twists and turns. Perhaps the final twist was just a bit too much for me but, more than a week after finishing the book, I’m still thinking about it and that’s the sign of engaging writing.

Howard Linskey kindly agreed to answer some questions about his novel and writing:

An Interview with Craig McDonald: The Hector Lassiter Series

Craig McDonald is an author and journalist. He has written fourteen novels, including, to date, nine books in the award-winning Hector Lassiter series. I have kept up a correspondence with Craig these past few years as we are both avid readers of James Ellroy. I’m also a massive fan of the Lassiter novels, and when Craig agreed to be interviewed by me, he also kindly supplied an advance copy of the final novel in the Lassiter series, the forthcoming Three Chords and the Truth. If you are not already initiated, I hope this interview will persuade you to start reading the Lassiter novels. They are compelling, thrilling and darkly humorous. Lassiter is a brilliant creation– a crime writer who learned his trade with Ernest Hemingway and the Lost Generation in Paris in the 1920s. He is also a man who seems dangerously prone to violent intrigue, doomed love affairs, tragic marriages and military campaigns (he’s a veteran of the Punitive Expedition, World War One, the Spanish Civil War and World War Two). Lassiter witnesses history unfolding and, occasionally, has a role in shaping it course. With Three Chords and the Truth, Craig McDonald has crafted a remarkable coda to the series.


Joshua Melville has an unusual family history. His father was a bomb-setter, radical and (depending on your definition of the term) terrorist. Sam Melville was connected to at least eight bombings in the United States in 1969, finally being convicted of bombing the Federal Office Building in 1970. No one was killed in Melville’s bombings. However, a little over a year after he was convicted, Sam Melville was dead, killed in the Attica Prison riot.


Have you heard of the Berwind Mutiny? No? Neither had I, until I read Charles Oldham’s terrific new book Ship of Blood: Mutiny and Slaughter Aboard the Harry A. Berwind, and the Quest for Justice. It’s a true crime tale with an intriguing premise. On October 10, 1905 the schooner Harry A. Berwind was drifting aimlessly about thirty miles off Cape Fear. Boarding parties were dispatched from shore to investigate and they discovered the Berwind was the scene of a bloodbath. The captain and four of his crew were dead. Three surviving crewmen were locked up and charged with mutiny. Were the murders were committed by one rogue member of the crew or was it a conspiracy involving all three men who had been charged? The crux of the matter was that all but one of the victims was white, whereas the three men charged with mutiny were black. In the South at a time when slavery and the Civil War were still a living memory for many people, one would think there was only ever going to be one outcome. However, this landmark case defied everyone’s expectations.

An Interview with PJ Tracy: Author and Creator of the Monkeewrench Series

PJ Tracy is the pseudonym of the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia ‘PJ’ and Traci Lambrecht. Their debut novel, Monkeewrench (2003), was hugely successful and launched their popular series of novels featuring Detectives Gino and Magozzi who investigate complex and grisly crimes in modern day Minnesota. Sadly, PJ Lambrecht died in 2016. Traci Lambrecht has continued writing the Monkeewrench series since her mother’s passing, still using the PJ Tracy pseudonym. Ice Cold Heartis the tenth and latest novel in the series. It is a gripping thriller, full of twists and turns, which offers a vivid insight of modern day dangers the police grapple with in our technologically advanced society.

P. J. Lambrecht, left, and her daughter Traci write thrillers together from their office near Stillwater under the pseudonym P.J. Tracy, photographed Tuesday, August 23, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Scott Takushi)

An Interview with Mike Ripley on the Enduring Appeal of the Albert Campion Novels

Mike Ripley has had a diverse and successful career as a writer. He made his name writing the Angel comedy crime novels. Fans of Shotsmag will know him for his ‘Getting Away With Murder’ column, which mixes genre news, literary gossip and publishing history to great effect. Ripley again put his encyclopaedic knowledge of genre matters to good use in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, a riveting study of post-war British thrillers.

I’ve kept up a correspondence with Mike about all things crime fiction for several years now. We’ve met just once, at St Barts Pathology Museum when I was giving a lecture about the Black Dahliasurrounded by skulls and grisly diagrams. Mike has always been witty, knowledgeable and extremely generous, so I was delighted when he agreed to be interviewed by me about his lifelong fascination with and work on the Albert Campion series.

An Interview with Joseph Wambaugh

joseph wambaugh

Joseph Wambaugh at the 2010 LA Times Festival of Books. Photograph by Mark Coggins

Joseph Wambaugh is one of the most important American crime writers of the past fifty years. While serving as a police officer in the LAPD, Wambaugh began writing about the everyday lives of policemen and women. His first two novels The New Centurions (1971) and The Blue Knight (1972) were instant successes which did much to strip away the myths about police work found in scores of fanciful crime novels/TV shows (some of which were essentially LAPD propaganda, like Dragnet). Wambaugh’s cops are tough and street-smart but they are also harassed, worn down, living with constant pressure and struggling with failing marriages all brought on by the repetitive drudgery and bureaucratic nature of police work. That said, he captures the gallows humour and camaraderie of policemen as only a true copper could. For the average police officer, the pay is poor; political activists regard them as villains; and you never know if an average working day will turn violent. Despite this people are still drawn to the LAPD in order ‘to protect and to serve’ their community, even if it might leave them with a jaundiced view of their fellow human being.

Finally, I was interviewed by the the great Jill Dearman for the Brooklyn Rail.

STEVE POWELL with Jill Dearman

Yours truly introducing Thief at Picturehouse at Fact in Liverpool

James Ellroy’s novels and nonfiction are the stuff of obsession. But what kind of an obsessive writer would dedicate his reading, researching and writing time to uncracking the code of the famed L.A. Confidential and The Black Dahlia author. That writer in question would be a humble and deeply curious British biographer named Steven Powell. Powell is a crime fiction scholar and, in the words of Andrew Pepper, “The authority on James Ellroy.” His book James Ellroy: Demon Dog of Crime Fiction (Palgrave Macmillan 2016) was nominated for the HRF Keating Award for Best Biographical / Critical work. He is also the editor of the anthologies Conversations with James Ellroy (University Press of Mississippi, 2012) and The Big Somewhere: Essays on James Ellroy’s Noir World (BloomsburyAcademic, 2018). He edited the anthology 100 American Crime Writers (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and is a member of the Crime Writers Association. He blogs about crime fiction at The Venetian Vase. Below is my interview with Steven Powell, in which he discussed Ellroy at large in the context of his newest book, The Big Somewhere.

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