Monday, 21 May 2012

PUSH-UPS: Wallace Stroby

So, what are you pushing right now? What’s the hook?
The new book is KINGS OF MIDNIGHT, a sequel to last year’s COLD SHOT TO THE HEART. It’s my second novel about a female professional thief named Crissa Stone. In KINGS, she and an old-school wiseguy are chasing after $5 million in cash stashed away by a mob boss following the 1978 Lufthansa heist at New York’s JFK Airport. 

And why’s that floating your boat?
If you’re writing about high-end armed robbery in the United States, the Lufthansa heist was certainly the real deal in that respect. At the time, it was the largest cash robbery ever on American soil, with an estimated take of $8-$10 million (no one knows for sure). Almost none of the money was ever recovered. And being that almost all the principals are now dead (most of them murdered shortly after the robbery), it allows for a lot of fictional license. 

When did you turn to crime? 
I think what you write chooses you more than you choose it. As a kid, I read a little bit of everything, but as a teenager I gravitated toward crime fiction, especially after discovering Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain. Later on, it was John D. MacDonald, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block and their contemporaries, then James Crumley, James Lee Burke and others. For me, crime fiction was both an escape from the world, and a way to help make sense out of it. 

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary? 
In the end, definitions aren’t that useful. Genuinely classic novels feel contemporary, regardless of when they were written. “Hardboiled” is an egg recipe. And “noir” is just the French word for black, right?

And, what’s blown you away lately?
Finally catching up with the dark brilliance of BREAKING BAD on DVD. Best television crime writing since THE WIRE. Equally haunted by recent viewings of Jean-Pierre Melville’s 1969 film ARMY OF SHADOWS, about the French Resistance.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
Human beings love narrative, in whatever form. It’s in our DNA. Regardless of the technology involved, a good story well told will always find an audience.

Shout us a website worth visiting … 
There are lots of great sites filling the gap left by the drop in books-related coverage in mainstream media. In a lot of cases, the online writing is far superior, especially when it comes to covering crime fiction. I’m fond of the newly launched Los Angeles Review of Books (, as well as sites such as Pulp Serenade ( and The Violent World of Parker (http// 
Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
Here’s five things, One of them is a lie:
1.) I’ve seen TAXI DRIVER fourteen times.
2.) Bruce Springsteen once borrowed my DVD of Monte Hellman’s TWO-LANE BLACKTOP.
3.) Years ago, I had a conversation with Stephen King while standing at adjoining urinals at the New York Hilton.
4.) I went skydiving once, landed in a tree and had to be rescued.
5.) I once hit a Catholic nun in the back of the head with an orange (by accident).

Anyone who wants to take a guess as to which one's a lie can drop me an e-mail at I’ll pick two winners at random from the correct responses, and send them signed copies of the new trade paperback of COLD SHOT TO THE HEART. But be warned, I’m a good liar.