Friday 8 April 2011

Russel D McLean interview: The Good Son

The Good Son by Russel D McLean
99p, Amazon UK

Russel D McLean is the Shamus-nominated author of the J McNee novels, THE GOOD SON and THE LOST SISTER. He blogs weekly at Do Some Damage and somewhat less frequently at These Aye Mean Streets.
Can you sum up THE GOOD SON in no more than 25 words?
A Scots private investigator gets in over his head investigating an apparent suicide that leads to a confrontation with a pair of vicious, gangland psychopaths.
What's the best piece of craft advice you've been given?
Eliminate the unnecessary.
As a reader, how would you describe your taste in crime fiction?
My tastes have always run to the darker side. I came to the genre first through Elmore Leonard and Lawrence Block and then moving to James Ellroy, Don Winslow and so forth. I like my crime to be more about the effects of the criminal act on the characters than necessarily about solving a mystery.
What are you reading now?
Just finishing a re-reading of Megan Abbott’s brilliant BURY ME DEEP. Thirties-set noir based around a real life murder case. Chilling, gripping and quite incredible book.
What do you look for in a good book?
I’m big on voice. A strong, powerful voice will just pull me right in. An author has to convince me with every word that they believe in what they’re saying.
What's your favourite part of the writing process?
There’s a moment where everything clicks into place, when you can feel the rhythm of a piece, practically sing it. While that first flush of working on a story is exhilarating, it is nothing compared to the moment I described where you come to realise you might actually have something worthwhile on your hand; where the reader-half of your brain is as excited as the writer-half.
Ever tried your hand at screenwriting?
I used to want to be a screenwriter. Every year I’d enter the Writer’s Digest competition with a television screenplay, usually for an SF show. Every year I’d get nowhere. I haven’t really tried the form in a long time, though. It would be interesting to see if I could really go for it.
Do you read outside of the crime genre?
Although a great deal of my life revolves around the crime genre, I still like to return to my first love of SF every once in a while. I read and re-read a lot of Philip K Dick, and two recent discoveries for me are Alistair Reynolds and Jeff Vandermeer.
I’ve been known to pick up more literary works as well and have raved to anyone who’ll listen about books like THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY and CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL, both of which are books, I suspect, no one would normally associate me with reading.

The Good Son by Russel D McLean
86p, Amazon UK


  1. the Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay is wonderful. absolutely brilliantly written from the off and a thrilling plot. best, for me, were the descriptions of mad sketching. As for Carter Beats The Devil, i think that's even better. two of my favourite reads of the last five years or so, without doubt and the two books i often recommend also (how strange).
    i picked up the Good Son the other day - hard to resist a quality book at that price.

  2. Bloody bargain ... is this the start of me buying books I already have on my shelves as eBooks, now? I think so.

    Luv the new jacket btw, Russel.

  3. Great jacket. JT Lindroos again.

  4. Cool answers, and the price is right. Going to give it a read and looking forward to it.

  5. Writers / novelists / screenwriters should look at Kal Bashir's 510+ stage hero's journey work over at ; it's brilliant.