Saturday, 12 November 2016

Push-Ups: Grant McKenzie

So, what you pushing right now?
My 10th thriller, The Butcher’s Son, brings back Child Protection Officer Ian Quinn in a stand-alone sequel to last year’s The Fear In Her Eyes. Attentive readers will also note Portland Homicide Detective Jersey Castle from my thriller Speak The Dead also pops by.

What’s the hook?
Ian Quinn has spent his life protecting children from the monsters that live among us. As a child protection officer, Ian places their lives above his own, and has no qualms about getting his hands dirty when it comes to protecting those who can't protect themselves. Years ago, Ian was unable to protect his own daughter when she was killed, and has channeled the anger and sadness into his vocation. Ian has tried to bury his past. But the past is far from done with him.
Ian's own father left years ago, leaving Ian and his mother alone. But out of the blue Ian is called by an attorney, claiming his father has recently died and named Ian in his will. Ian had assumed his father was long dead. When Ian goes to the lawyer's office, he is given three items:
The first is a key.
The second is a deed to his grandfather's old butcher shop.
The third is a letter from his father that reads simply and cryptically: "Sorry for everything, son, but it's your burden now."

And why’s that floating your boat?
The Butcher’s Son is a story about family secrets, both the spoken and unspoken, and how they can affect one’s life. Ian is a man who has been tempered in fire, but there has always been something missing. Despite his inherent toughness, which is wrapped like armour around a broken core, Ian has always wondered why everyone he loves ends up leaving. His sister vanished without a trace when he was a child. Two years later, his grandfather died and his father vanished after the funeral. And in The Fear In Her Eyes, he had to deal with the mysterious death of his daughter, and the collapse of his marriage. But now, in The Butcher’s Son, he gets to find some answers. And those answers lead him down a jagged path full of bloody secrets and violent threats that he had no idea about.

When did you turn to crime?
I have always read crime novels from the young-adult mysteries of Enid Blyton to the teen novels of S.E. Hinton. I started my first novel in junior high as an exercise for myself to see if I could do it. And then in high school, I devoured the hardboiled mysteries of Mickey Spillane and John D. MacDonald, the noir of Chandler and Hammett, and the wonderfully gifted Gregory Mcdonald whose Fletch novels inspired me to keep writing. As a young journalist working the Dead Body Beat at 19, I was exposed to the underbelly of reality and saw that crime was messy, violence was sloppy and some very bad people got away with a lot of bad shit. Naturally, this also influenced how and what I wrote.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
I like and read all of it, really. But I do find myself relishing the hardboiled stuff, which is mostly out of the UK. Hardboiled writers have a tendency to break more boundaries and don’t fear where they tread.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
I’ve been reading a lot of cool stuff lately from some favourite authors such as Robert McCammon, Gregg Hurwitz, Dennis LeHane, James Rollins, Ken Bruen, and, of course, M.C. Grant’s Dixie Flynn trilogy.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?
All of the Grant McKenzie novels would make brilliant movies. The screenplay for K.A.R.M.A. won a Praxis Fellowship, but why No Cry For Help hasn’t been snapped up by the film folk already is a head scratcher.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
I read in both paper and digital.
I still prefer the feel of a printed book, and tend to buy my favourite authors in paper, but I enjoy the convenience of my ereader, especially when reading at night or when I’m camping in my old VW Westie. I’ve been published by both mainstream and Indie, and can say good and bad things about both.

Shout us a website worth visiting … - A wonderful organization that helps the homeless and people living in poverty.

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
Born in Scotland, living in Canada, and writing American fiction, I wear a toque with my kilt and six-guns. I was born in East Kilbride, Scotland, and moved to Canada with my family when I was 13. Most of my novels are set on the west coast of America from Port Angeles to San Francisco, but with occasional forages across the border into Canada. It’s fun being able to visit the places I write about, digging up odd bits of history and local colour to add to the narrative. As a long, long time comic book fan, one of my secret goals, apart from actually making a living at this writing gig, is to write some comic books.

:: Check out Grant's website: