Mar 21, 2012

Author Gene DeWeese passes away.

 Author Gene DeWeese has passed away. Born in 1934 Gene wrote in all genres, but in particular Science Fiction.
DeWeese was an active member of science fiction fandom, and his first stories were published in science fiction fanzines. 
DeWeese's first professionally published fiction, the novels The Invisibility Affair and The Mind-Twisters Affair (both 1967), were part of the series of Man from U.N.C.L.E. books written with fellow science fiction fan "Buck" Coulson under the pseudonym Thomas Stratton.  DeWeese since has written over forty books, including novels in the Star Trek, Ravenloft, Dinotopia, and Amazing Stories series. His best-known young adult novel is The Adventures of a Two-Minute Werewolf, which was made into a television movie of the same name.
Gene DeWeese is survived by his wife Bev whom he married in 1955.

 Interview with Gene DeWeese
Summer 2003


Jon: Before writing fiction you were a technical writer for the Apollo program. Was that interesting work or mind numbing?

Gene: Actually, except for pressing pants in a clothing factory one summer many years ago, I don't think I've ever had a job that could be classified "mind numbing" -- unless it numbed my mind so much I've forgotten it altogether. As for Apollo, it was mostly fun, particularly when I was doing a series of programmed instruction texts that were supposed to be an "intuitive" approach to orbital mechanics and another series about the LEM and CM guidance computers. In fact, most of the tech writing I did was more fun than not, since a lot of what I did was try to explain how the equipment worked, which meant I had to find out myself how it worked, which usually meant reading lots of specs and then endlessly bugging the engineers to fill in the gaps and "clarify" the jargon. In a way, the "high" you get when you suddenly realize, "Oh, _that's_ how that works!" isn't all that different from the "high" you get in writing fiction when a plot problem suddenly resolves itself with an "Oh, _that's_ why Character X did that!" And with Apollo there was the fringe benefit of a couple trips to Cape Kennedy and Houston with enough spare time to do touristy things like take a ride to the top of the VAB. Jon: Among your work you have written some franchise books, Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Star Trek, is it a bit limiting to work with in an existing structure like that, or is it kind of fun to see if you can stretch the boundaries a bit?

Gene: The U.N.C.L.E. books were the first sales Buck and I had made, in fact the first things either of us had written longer than a short story, so we considered them a great "earn-while-you-learn" program. And for the Trek books I mostly adapted ideas I'd originally had for sf novels. Even the Lost In Space novel was from an idea that had been laying around for a couple decades and a variation of which I'd used in a Hi-Lo book in the eighties.

Jon: You’ve written in a lot of different genres. Do you have a favorite to write in?

Gene: Juvenile sf, probably, since the informal "voice" in those is the closest to my "normal" style.

Jon: Do you have a favorite to read?

Gene: I've always read both sf and mysteries -- PLANET STORIES and Clarke and Erle Stanley Gardner in grade and high school, Priest and Clarke, Gorman and Pronzini, etc., now.

Jon: Does your wife Bev read your work, and is she honest with you about it?

Gene: Not much of the shared-world stuff, especially the Ravenloft fantasies, but, then, while they were fun and challenging to write and turned out pretty well, I probably wouldn't have found them, let alone read them, if I hadn't known the author.

Jon: You’ve used a few pseudonyms over the years, why?

Gene: It's generally been the publisher's choice. With the first U.N.C.L.E. book, for instance, they accepted the manuscript but rejected the title, our names, and the dedication. INVISIBLE DIRIGIBLE AFFAIR was too long for the cover format, so it became INVISIBILITY AFFAIR. Our names were likewise too long, so we took my unused first name and Buck's unused middle name and became "Thomas Stratton". (We'd already done dozens of pseudo-Will-Cuppy articles for YANDRO under that name.) And then, with only one author's name on the cover, they decided the original dedication, "To my wives and child," was too racy for the intended pre-teen audience, so that was gone, too, replaced by "To Serendipity," which was actually pretty appropriate since the only reason we sold it in the first place was that Juanita had already sold a couple of novels to Ace and the editor (Terry Carr) was also the editor of the U.N.C.L.E. series. As it turned out, Terry was looking for U.N.C.L.E. books with a bit more humor, so he offered Juanita a chance to try out, but she turned it down. Buck and I, being less choosy, decided "what the hell, it's worth a shot," and put together a fast three chapters and outline, which Terry shocked the hell out of us by buying -- and giving us a deadline of less than three months.

As for the other names: The editor who was buying my gothics insisted that I use a female name, so I just changed "Gene" to "Jean". (And later met the real "Jean DeWeese", who turned out to be a retired [male] hardware store owner in Ohio.) And for the one romance(GINGER'S WISH), it was again a combination of unused names of the two authors, "Thomas" again for me and "Victoria" for my collaborator, another one-time tech writer who, incidentally, was the model for one of my gothic heroines, a tech writer/instructor working at Elmendorf(sp?) Air Force base in Alaska. (One reader objected to the heroine as being "too competent," which always struck me as one of the weirder reasons for not liking a character.)

Jon: Your latest book, Murder In The Blood, set in Farrell County introduces some really great characters. Is this the first of a series?

Gene: Only if I can sell a paperback edition and find someone willing to contract for a sequel or two. As it is, I have ideas for a couple more, and I've saved one subplot that was originally in MURDER but was taken out when I had to shorten it. Although, come to think of it, I've already used one of those ideas in a Sherlock Holmes story that ended up in EQMM a few years ago.

Jon: How do you approach your writing? Do you outline in advance or do you see where the story leads you?

Gene: Always an outline, for a couple reasons. First, I once tried taking a "see where it goes" approach, and it didn't go anywhere. Second, you have to have an outline in order to sell the book. MURDER is, so far, the only one I've ever written without a contract, but it more or less made up for all the others, in that it's been written and rewritten so often that it would have to be a real bestseller before I'd even make minimum wage on it. And even it started with a fairly detailed outline. Actually, though, there is an element of "see where it goes," even when you're working from an outline. Unforeseen things pop up all the time, and the route you take to get to the end isn't always precisely the route taken in the outline. In WANTING FACTOR, for instance, I found myself killing off one of the characters I hadn't intended to kill, but it just "felt right," and it took me another week to figure out why he needed to be killed. And in MURDER, a couple of the final twists only showed up in the final manuscript -- or somewhere along the line in one of the half dozen or more "final manuscripts" I eventually did.

Jon: What inspired you to write fiction?

Gene: No idea. Probably just the fact that I started reading a couple years before starting grade school and was into pulp detective magazines (like Phantom and Black Book) by second grade and science fiction (mostly Planet and Startling) a year or so later. (Didn't find Astounding/Analog and Erle Stanley Gardner till around 6th.) First thing I ever tried writing was a "sequel" to a Mickey Mouse serial in Walt Disney Comics. (I don't remember what the sequel was, but the Disney serial was a variation on/steal from one or more of Ray Cummings' Girl in the Golden Atom type stories.)

Jon: How much time do you spend writing?

Gene: To paraphrase what Mickey Spillane said at the first Milwaukee Bouchercon (and probably many other places), it depends on how soon the editor needs it. Lately, with no contracts outstanding, not a lot. One time, when the editor needed the last couple chapters of PROBE by Monday, I only got three or four hours sleep the whole weekend and transmitted the last section to his home computer (this was before email and internet) around midnight Sunday night and a batch of changes to the same computer, which he'd taken to the office with him, Monday forenoon. Strange as it may sound, though, that weekend was the most fun I've ever had writing.

Jon: You’ve been using computers a pretty long time. Does it surprise you to see how far computers have come and the way they are a part of everyday life?

Gene: Actually, I was something of a latecomer to personal computers. Didn't get one until '84, which was the year after I'd done a juvenile non-fiction book about them. (COMPUTERS IN ENTERTAINMENT AND THE ARTS) As for being surprised about their ubiquity, not really, except maybe in retrospect. It all happened so gradually, and I'd been writing about the innards of computers since the early sixties, starting with analog, not digital. In fact, the first thing I worked on when I transferred to Milwaukee and what was then AC Spark Plug was the B-52 bombing/navigation computer, several hundred pounds of metal rods and gears. ("Clean the ball bearings with a cloth-covered finger" was one of the boilerplate sentences I came across early on. No one ever told me where they stored the cloth-covered fingers.)

Jon: How many miles a year do you think you put on your bike?

Gene: 1,825 miles the last Bical Year (July 4 to July 4). Most miles in a single year was approximately 3,700 when I was pedaling to and from work all days the weather permitted.

Jon: I found an older copy of Mike Shayne’s mystery digest magazine with a short story of yours in it recently. Have you written a lot of short stories?

Gene: Not a lot, maybe 15 or 20. There's a complete list of them and the novels on the ACWL.ORG website. Which, by the way, is the only complete and accurate listing I know of, since it's the only one I did myself.

Jon: What is the main difference in writing short fiction compared to novels, as far as pros and cons for the author?

Gene: Never really thought about it, aside from the obvious stuff. Like, it takes a lot longer to write twenty 5,000-word short stories than it does to write one 100,000-word novel. And except for the few exceptions that prove the rule -- like Bradbury or Ed Hoch -- it's almost impossible to make a decent living writing only short stories.

Jon: What was the last book you read and what did you think of it?

Gene: I'll fudge a little and say that the last one that made a real impression on me was The Prestige by Christopher Priest. It's Victorian-style sf about a magician who was able to transport himself instantaneously from one side of the stage to the other, and it's the only thing I've seen in decades that has a truly spine-chilling concluding scene.

Jon: What are some of your favorite movies?

Gene: Here I'll save time by quoting from an article I did for The Milwaukee Journal back in the late 70's. It's still true, the parenthetical insert in the first paragraph even more so since cable and the dozens of movie channels.

"There are only three movies I've purposely gone to theaters to see more than twice. (Watching movies time and again on tv late shows doesn't count; that's laziness, not enthusiasm.)

"Back in the fifties there was The Day the Earth Stood Still, the best of a huge spate of science fiction movies, most of which were mediocre or worse. It has the distinction of being the only sf movie I know of in which Hollywood actually improved on -- rather than destroyed -- the original story. "Then, about a decade later, there was 2001: A Space Odyssey, written by Arthur C. Clarke. Despite director Kubrick's tendency to be obscure, it was the most beautiful and most mind-jolting movie I've ever seen, and it will probably remain so until someone does a faithful version of Childhood's End...

"Then there's No. 3: The Rocky Horror Picture Show..."

In the original article, I went on about Rocky for a thousand words or so, but here I'll limit myself to saying that I first saw it at MidAmericon, the '76 World SF Con, and four more times at the Oriental before the Rocky "fans" (nowhere near as clever as the movie they were drowning out) started getting out of hand. And I'll finish with the one line the Journal censored: "I hesitate to say that it's all in good taste, but, then, taste is in the mouth of the beholder." (A reference to Meatloaf being on the castle menu. The editor/censor changed the last eight words to: "... taste is a pretty subjective business.")

Jon: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Gene: Write!

Jon: What’s harder, the original writing or the re-writing?

Gene: Usually the original writing. I certainly enjoy the rewriting more, which probably explains why I generated at least 8 manuscript boxes full of notes and drafts of Murder in the Blood in the 20+ years between the first draft and the sale last year. Of course there are always exceptions, like Jeremy Case, which I did for Laser in the mid-seventies. That turned out to be one of best things I've ever done -- won Best Novel of '76 from the Council for Wisconsin Writers -- and it was virtually effortless. Went from idea/contract to finished manuscript in roughly one month. And it's just been reissued in trade pb in the MWA Presents series, complete with the original Kelly Freas cover. (Hour of the Cat, a mystery starring one of our cats, was also reissued in the MWA Presents series. All available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, of course.)

Jon: The University of Southern Mississippi has a collection of your papers. How does this come about? Did they ask you? And who tracks down all the papers? Can anyone view them?

Gene: I honestly don't remember. I think Tom Aylesworth touted me onto it, which prompts a sidetrack regarding a question you never asked, something along the lines of: "Have you ever felt like your life was one big coincidence?" Answer: Yes, especially the year I accidentally ran into the "real" Jean DeWeese in downtown Milwaukee, which was by itself a ridiculous coincidence, but only one of many. That was when a new book had just come out, I don't remember which one, and my hometown newspaper, the Rochester (IN) News Sentinel, did a small article about it, ending with the sentence, "Another Rochester native, Tom Aylesworth, just had his 14th book published." Which, at the time, was half a dozen more than I'd done. (He eventually did a hundred or so.) Anyway, I'd never heard of him, so I looked him up in the reference books and found that, not only had he written 14 books, he was a senior editor at Doubleday, who had been publishing my books at the time. So I wrote to the editor I'd been working with and asked if she knew Aylesworth. She wrote back that, yes, he was one floor up, "and he has the cutest picture of you in his high school yearbook." Turns out he had been student teaching my freshman year, and he had the yearbooks to prove it. (To appreciate the magnitude of the coincidence, you should know that Rochester had a population of under 4,000 and the whole high school was less than 400 students) Not only that, he was juvenile fiction editor at Doubleday, so he asked if I had anything along those lines. And that's how I got into writing juvenile sf.

As for the original question again: The university has a huge juvenile literature research collection, the deGrummond collection, and they solicit material from any and everyone who's ever published in juvenile or YA. And my 25 cubic feet pales beside other donations. The champ in that category has donated well over 100 cubic feet. And it's not a case of anyone "tracking down" the papers, etc. In my case, anyway, I just mailed them everything I could find in the attic closets where I'd been packratting rough drafts, notes, correspondence, etc., and they mailed back the paperwork needed to get me a bunch of neat little tax deductions. And they're remarkably well organized. At one point Margaret Wander Bonanno and I wanted to see just what one set of Paramount's comments on Probe had been. I emailed them the specifics, and they located and faxed us exactly what we were looking for within 48 hours. And yes, anyone can view them if they go to the university. What they have on the web is just a sampling and description, done with the money they got from a federal grant a couple years ago. I was just lucky they picked mine as one of the several collections they used the grant for.

Jon: What your favorite way to spend free time?

Gene: Probably play table tennis, despite a lack of depth perception, so if anyone wants a game sometime, feel free to contact me. I got a table and a robot in the basement just last year and haven't gotten nearly enough use out of them yet.

Jon: What’s the one thing always in your refrigerator?

Gene: Coke. And lactose-free milk for one of our one-eyed cats, who apparently is lactose intolerant.

Mar 5, 2012

Flashback interview Ian Rankin

Rankin File

 This originally ran in the Mar/Apr 2005 edition of Crimespree

Crime Denial or Happy Landing
Ruth Jordan

“You know, I’d never really read Crime Fiction until my first book was put in the “Crime Fiction” section of all the book shops. I decided if this was the section I was going to be in, perhaps I should know a bit about it. That’s not saying I’d never read a “crime fiction book.”

It starts when you’re young, really. Movies that are being talked about that your parents won’t let you go and see. A Clockwork Orange and The Godfather. Mum and Dad wouldn’t let me go, but I went to the library and there they were, free for the reading. So it started there. Adolescent strategy.

Of course, there was the odd Holmes and even an Agatha, but I was writing poetry then and trying to hide it from everyone. Then University…

Right, well, so I see KNOTS AND CROSSES in the Crime Fiction section and I’m a bit put off. After all, I’ve just tried to write the contemporary Scot’s novel and I’m in this “genre” section.
Happy to say I landed there. I picked up a few books. P.D. James. Different politics, but a very good writer. It was the Americans I took an immediate shine to, though.

Born in the U.S.A.

James Lee Burke, there’s a writer for you. James Ellroy was a big influence. Some of his stuff comes off as works in progress, copious footnotes. Still, brilliant. Lawrence Block, the Scudder books. Add Ruth Rendell. So that was my beginning. As a writer, you have to read a fair amount; you’d be letting your own writing down if you didn’t.

Good vs. Bad

I love this genre when it’s done well. Crime Fiction lends itself to telling a story through and with interpretation. It’s not fair that “Crime Writers” are often measured by plot, setting and character. I say this having spent seven years deconstructing novels through the sum of their parts. The great crime novel, like any novel is a summation of itself. You don’t pick it apart as your reading it, not if it’s good. And who really has the time for the bad?

There’s bad, too, and I’m willing to name names. Patricia Cornwell, there’s one. Exciting first books. New kind of protagonist. Great science, forward plotting. And then, …, s@#*. Why’d she do it to herself, why did she do it to the readers? Well enough alone, Patsy.

That was the beginning, those first books. At the same time, you’re getting your own career going. Those first years, putting food on the table, I was writing a lot. So much I published under a pseudonym for a time, Jack Harvey.

Meeting of the Minds

I received the Raymond Chandler fellowship one year and my wife and I went about the States, soaking it up with our infant son, Jack. Our first Bouchercon (the annual convention for mystery fans, publishers, editors, writers, agents, and dealers) was in Toronto. I got my first American editor on chance there. My son Jack, all of nine months, was crawling along the floor when an attractive woman in one of the stalls picked him up off the floor.

“What a cute baby!” lead to me introducing myself. To my surprise she said, “My husband is your biggest fan.” Well, since she was quite obviously American my reaction was, “But I’m not even published in the states”.

The lady’s husband was Otto Penzler and by the end of the convention he had become my first American publisher. Someone willing to give a young Scotsman a shot at an American readership.

Sharing Shelf Space

I kept reading. I’ve come into this all at a very good time. “Grandfather of Tartan Noir”, I’m a bit tired of that. I’m not old enough to be a grandfather! Still, there’s an awful lot of superb writing coming from my countrymen right now. Val McDermid, Sandy McCall Smith, Denise Mina, Louise Welch. Chris Brookmyre is another writer for Americans who like our stuff to find a home for on their shelves.

And for young authors with a lot of promise, I’ll mention Allan Guthrie. TWO-WAY SPLIT is his first novel and in March 2005, he releases KISS HER GOOD-BYE.

Twenty years on and I’m still amazed, but feel I’ve paid the dues. I’ve been at the signings where nobody came, the conventions where no one knew who I was. There are always the moments though.

Full Circle

Last year, I was at the Las Vegas Bouchercon. “British Guest of Honor”. James Lee Burke was the American guest of honor, Ruth Rendell the international guest. Full circle really. I’ve worked hard. They have too. And in opening ceremonies, Lee Child proclaims he was my first reader and fuck all, I believe he must have been. For he’d read my work in Hi-Fi magazine, made up reviews of stereo components I couldn’t afford.

A Different Game

There are differences for a Brit and an American. It’s kind of ironic, when I first signed on with Little Brown they flew me over, there was a breakfast to meet all the staffers and such, Pelecanos, Connelly, Lehane and me.

“Clint’s going to do Mystic River,”

“Hey yeah he’s doing my movie as well.”

And I’m sitting here going, “Fuck, these American writers, they just get these film deals.”

There’s nothing like that in the U.K. No high-end, back-end. If we’re lucky, we might have a new kit paid for by B.B.C. or SKY. But Eastwood? Fuck. It’s a different game.

Birds of a Feather

I’ve my mates you know, Val McDermid, Peter Robinson, Mark Billingham, Simon Kernick. And there’s George Pelecanos, I toured with him last winter. It’ makes a difference, knowing there’s someone with you on the trail whose been through it before.

And the American ladies! Karin Slaughter, Laura Lippman, S.J Rozan: friends and compatriots all. There’s a bar and it’s risen fairly high, but with the talent available in the genre now it can only rise higher.

Crime-writers make a really good community. Crime readers are fair critics for the most part. And Crime Fiction? Well, it’s been very good to me.”

Shortly after completing this interview I heard of a rumor. Could it be? Sean Connery? In a post script I felt I had to ask the man who’s perhaps the biggest movie fan outside of my husband I know…

In June of 2004 I was on a promotional tour of South Africa, and got a call saying Sean Connery would be in Edinburgh in August and would like to meet with me, as he is a big fan of my Rebus novels. So... August arrived and with it a call from Sir Sean. He was staying at a friend's place. I drove there, we sat down together and chatted for a couple of hours. It was a wide-ranging conversation, taking in his childhood in Edinburgh, some of his films, my views of Scotland,. his take on politics and the new Scottish parliament, my inability to play golf, and so forth. He told me he passes the Rebus novels along to friends and recommends them to acquaintances. He also said that had I been writing about Rebus twenty years ago, he would have liked a stab at portraying the detective onscreen. (Of course, I WAS writing about Rebus twenty years ago... but maybe below Sir Sean's radar.) Anyhoo, eventually I was asked to write about Sir Sean for the UK edition of Esquire magazine, so more of our conversation can be found there.

No doubt Crime Fiction’s been very good to Ian Rankin, and assuredly he’s reciprocated.

by Richard Flannery

Rankin has always insisted that Edinburgh is the hero of his novels. Fair enough, but this long-time reader has always had a soft spot for the central character, John Rebus. I admit Rebus is difficult, often as gloomy and cheerless as the Scots climate, but there’s a certain charm in a character who doesn’t try to be likeable. Besides, Rebus needs to be tough. I suppose the novels count as police procedurals in some cataloging sense, but Rebus is definitely not a team player. He holds back information, distrusts most of his fellow officers as well as his bosses. Rebus is about getting the case solved in spite of the police organization. Author Rankin has written Rebus as a person with very little personal baggage. The (divorced) wife and daughter are mostly off in London.

There are no neighbors, dogs, buddies. Rebus has a favorite bar, the Ox, where no one bothers him unless he wants to talk. Rebus observes the city for us and the cases are mostly revealed through his (third person) eyes, but the Detective Inspector plays his cards closely even with the readers. We’re often not sure what his motives are or exactly what he’s thinking (unless it’s about his musical preferences) and we know little about his history. Rankin has been clever enough to write a mystery series in which the detective is a mystery, something certain to appeal to many mystery readers. We have to do our own Watson work.

The recent novels, RESURRECTION MEN, A QUESTION OF BLOOD , and FLESHMARKET CLOSE (FLESHMARKET ALLEY in the U.S.) tell the story of the emergence of a John Rebus who needs and wants things from other people. It’s about time for the detective to make some changes. His police career is rapidly sliding down the far side of the slope and —just as in real life— his bosses are glad to give this longstanding troublemaker as much pain as they can on his way out. For a long time Farmer Watson, his boss at St. Leonard’s, protected Rebus because Rebus got results none of his other detectives were going to get. By the opening of RESURRECTION MEN Farmer Watson is retired, St. Leonard’s is in the process of closing, and Rebus, always a man alone from our first meeting with him in KNOTS AND CROSSES is even more isolated from most of his fellow officers. Thus, the novel’s plot: Rebus is undercover ( investigating police corruption) at a police re-training course designed to give aging officers a chance to rescue what’s left of their careers before they get fired. Rebus gets there by throwing a cup of coffee at his onetime colleague and sort-of girlfriend, Gill Templar, now his boss, in front of everyone at St. Leonard’s. This little bit of theater works because Rebus’ fall from grace comes as no surprise to his fellow officers. He’s just the man for a bit of attitude adjustment.

A QUESTION OF BLOOD is author Rankin’s commentary on the current fascination with forensic sciences on the bestseller list and TV mysteries. Rebus knows pretty well what the lab reports are going to reveal about the killing, but the real question is why the murderer suddenly turned to violence, a question of motivation. Those answers may come from a study of people’s tangled family history’s, their ‘blood’ background. During the novel Rebus has to confront what his own casual neglect of a family member long ago has contributed to the mystery he’s solving. The mystery of sudden criminal violence is not going to be “solved” by blood spatter patterns OR by gun control legislation. That’s one of the many reasons to love these novels, no quick and easy explanations here.

As FLESHMARKET CLOSE opens St. Leonard’s has closed—hail and farewell-- and Rebus doesn’t even have a desk at his new police station. He hardly seems to be part of organized policing in Scotland at all. Rebus is ‘superfluous to requirements’ except when it comes to breaking the case. During the case he’s less interested in getting a result–in fact the cops get the ‘wrong’ result– than he is in doing something for the victims of the crime. He’s willing to trade a chance to skewer a cop he dislikes for some favors for a hapless refugee family even though the cop has been manipulated by his long-time nemesis “Big Ger” Cafferty.

The Rankin novels, sixteen of them now, have grown both bigger and deeper in the years since KNOTS AND CROSSES. The writing remains superb, probably the best combination of dialog and observation of any mystery series written today. The portrait of Scotland and Edinburgh is now a lavish one reaching well back into the city’s history and encompassing 21st Century developments. The themes of the novels have become more serious moving from fairly conventional crime plots to political change in Scotland, gun violence, immigration. A critical change in the books has been the emergence of Siobhan Clarke (she hates “Shiv”), a younger, female Rebus. Clarke is not exactly a clone of Rebus, she’s more outgoing (at least on the surface) and far more interested in a successful police career than Rebus ever was. But she’s just as single-minded, secretive and determined and has emerged in recent books as pretty much Rebus’ equal as a detective.

Clarke and Rebus have an intriguing relationship. They have each other’s back against the rest of the cops, share information they keep from others, and are complicit in each others’ lies. The two of them, inevitably, rely on their non-communication skills to deal with each other, frequently keeping things from each other to avoid wounding the other’s pride or dignity. Rebus and Clarke are two people for whom non-disclosure is a way of life. There are signs that things are coming to a head for this doughty couple. In FLESHMARKET they are openly jealous of each other’s dates and the question is raised what kind of ‘pals’ or ‘mates’ they are. Can two stiff-necked loners work out a relationship? I haven’t a clue, but at his age Rebus is lucky to have that kind of problem.

Crimespree #5 and 6 are bundled together for ebooks: