J.H. Bográn is a thriller writer who was born and raised in Honduras. He is in a new anthology, Hard Targets. It is a collection of hard action thriller stories.
José met me at The Slaughterhouse where we talked about confessions and the contemporary Zeitgeist.
Tell us about Hard Targets.
Death Toll 2: Hard Targets is a collection of thriller short stories. Plenty of action for everybody. The roster includes some of today’s best selling authors around the globe. Here’s the list of the stories and its authors:
- The Able Man – An exclusive tale of a Ranger’s ruthless revenge – MATT HILTON
- Kill Zone – A classic Spider Shepherd SAS short story – STEPHEN LEATHER
- Kyiv Rules – Crime, corruption & the Ukrainian Intelligence Service – ALEX SHAW
- Absolution Withheld – A thief’s strange encounter at confession – JH BOGRÁN
- The Perfect Tonic – A murderous tale of the unexpected – STEPHEN EDGER
- The Commuter – A writer & a serial killer meet –LIAM SAVILLE
- Bangkok Shuffle – A Bangkok PI on the case of two scams – HARLAN WOLFF
- The Four Shades of Black – A special police unit investigates a special crime –MILTON GRAY
- Widows Dance – A Ukrainian militia officer unearths a shocking secret – SCOTT H LEWIS
So you see, nine stories, nine thrills.
How would you elevator pitch your story to a man who hates confessions?
Here’s how I tell people about this short story:
A thief enters a church to do a job, but ends up confessing his darkest sins; definitely it is more than he had bargained for.
How versatile do you think the thriller is as a genre?
Very versatile, the many sub genres should attest to that. We can go from techno thrillers like Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler to historical thrillers like Ken Follett, or why not, legal thrillers like John Grisham.
With any luck you can also run into a romance before you know it. The early works of David Baldacci had heavy elements of a love story, The Winner and Saving Faith to name a couple.
The fact remains that what thrills a reader can be something very personal, or a world-scaled event threatening life as we know it. There are as many thrills as authors out there because we each add our unique layer of trouble to the plot.
And that is the reason why I stick with the genre.
Which contemporary thriller do you think defines the Zeitgeist?
For me, there are two thrillers that define our times:
One is The Godfather, I know it dates back to the 60’s, but its effects ripple back all the way to this date. The book deserves way more credit than it has as I believe it was shadowed by the movies.
The other one is The Silence of the Lambs. It created the epitome of a realistic, yet creepy, hard-not-to-root-for antagonist. Hannibal Lecter is as much alive now as he was at the time of the novel’s release.
The way I see the thrillers of our times, is that they must be dark, gritty, and as far away as possible from clichés. Take a look at the current TV shows line-up like Dexter, CSI, Hannibal, Grey’s Anatomy. They must be as realistic as possible, blurring the line of fiction. The same goes for movies where the campy old Batman and Superman have morphed into The Dark Knight and Man of Steel.
Thank you José for an informative and versatile interview.
J. H. Bográn, born and raised in Honduras, is the son of a journalist. He ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. José’s genre of choice is thrillers, but he likes to throw in a twist of romance into the mix. His works include novels and short stories in both English and Spanish. He’s a member of the Short Fiction Writers Guild and the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributor editor their official e-zine The Big Thrill.