B.R. Stateham may rightly be named the new hardnosed. His novels are full of the kind of scenes and characters associated with the old style die hard crime writers but renewed with his own style. BR has a new novel out, Guilt of Innocence. Bryant met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about his new release and detectives.
Tell us about Guilt of Innocence.
Guilt of Innocence is the third book in the Turner Hahn/Frank Morales series. Like the other two, Turner and Frank, old hard nosed homicide detectives who have been partners for years, are working on two homicide cases simultaneously.
The homicides are totally unrelated. But each case turns out to be a real puzzle. One case has a dead corporate attorney, a wife who has more money than most third world nations, a partner in the dead man’s law firm who has been jealous of the dead man’s phenomenal rise in the corporate world, and a mystery woman who has . . . shall we say . . . a history of violence.
The second case involves a cold case file. Fifteen years earlier a girl disappeared out of her house mysteriously. No one heard the kidnapper (or kidnappers) enter the house and take the child. The family’s dog made no sound at all as it slept at the bedside of the girl. Years later she returns to the city and is promptly murdered by someone. Someone who has ties with a powerful crime syndicate. Secrets from the past are explosive and deadly and must be kept under wraps. Explosive enough to kill in order to keep them bottled up.
I happen to like writing multiple cases for this duo to investigate. It may sound confusing to most. But for a true fan of the genre I think it’s like icing on the cake. Or Nirvana.
Do you think the best detectives have strong criminal shadows?
Indeed I do! Several pundits have said that the best cops are usually the ones who were lucky enough not to get caught in some crime or another in their youth. In think that’s true. But more, experienced cops who have worked on the job for years have the inside edge, don’t they. If they wanted . . . to borrow a phrase from Star Wars . . . to go over to the Dark Side they would know all the ropes on how to get away with something.
And sometimes being a good effective cop means pushing that ethical envelope to the extreme. If not out right shredding it to smithereens.
Tell us the darkest thing about your mind.
Ahah! No . . . I don’t think so. Like all of us, there are histories and thoughts that would be considered deeply disturbing to others. Anyone gifted with a vivid imagination can, and do, come up with some surreal, even terrifying, mental images probably best kept to one’s self.
(Which is one reason I hope gizmos built that will be able to read one’s mind are never invented. If that happens I’m in a world of hurt!)
What else is on the cards for you this year?
There are lots of projects hot in the oven. Next up is a five-part serial novel called Assignment: Mordecai Bloom. Half Harry Potter magic, half Jason Bourne adventure; I plan to bring each segment out every three weeks until all five parts are published.
After that a character of mine called ‘Smitty’ is first going to have a three-novella anthology published and then, hopefully, later in the year, his first complete novel.
And then there is a historical novel I’ve been working on. Ancient Rome and an old soldier who is asked by his emperor cousin to go about the empire and solve unsolvable cases steeped in Roman politics.
Projects are always popping into my head. I’ll be busy for the next 100 years.
Thank you Bryant for an insightful and entertaining interview.