Saturday, August 7, 2010

Tom Hinshelwood

Tom Hinshelwood is a freelance video editor and scriptwriter. He was born in Staffordshire, England and now lives in London. The Killer, released by Thomas Dunne Books in April 2010, is his first novel.

I recently asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I’ve just finished reading 61 Hours by the indomitable Lee Child, the latest in his hugely popular Jack Reacher series. I became a Reacher convert quite late in the day I’m embarrassed to admit. I’m not quite sure why, but there was just always something on my to-read list preventing me from making that first step. But since reading One Shot a few of years ago I’ve summarily devoured the rest of the Reacher back catalogue and eagerly await each new outing. Which is unusual as I’m not always the biggest fan of long book series. It can be hard to get into one partway through when I know there’s a pile of novels worth of back story I won’t have read, and if say I read book ten first I’m bound to find out some of the twists from previous novels before actually getting to read them firsthand. Similarly, starting from book one of an established series can be daunting when there are all those books to read next before I can catch up to the latest. But what Lee has done, and what I endeavour to do, is create a series of novels that all stand purely on their own, so that you can jump in at any point and it won’t ruin any previous twists, and you aren’t missing out on important back story, relationship history and so on.

I’m a huge fan of Lee’s books, not only because they’re truly great stories that epitomize the cliché that you can’t put them down, but also because as a writer I really appreciate his skill with words. He’s a true master who makes crafting a compelling story seem so effortless when it’s anything but. Just reading his books has taught me an unquantifiable amount about the art of novel writing.

61 Hours is an archetypal Reacher tale with the iconic modern day cowboy/knight errant on a quest for truth and justice. Child’s novels are often labelled as action thrillers, but I consider them more classic mysteries. Reacher is mostly certainly a man of action, but he’s more so a man of logic and deduction. There’s always a bad guy to beat but to get to him or her Reacher uses his keen intellect first and his supermarket-chicken-sized fists second. In 61 Hours Reacher ends up stranded in a South Dakotan town in the middle of a blizzard. The cold alone would be bad enough, but there are bigger problems like a meth-producing biker gang, a Mexican drug kingpin pulling puppet strings, and an impending court case and its star witness in mortal danger. There’s bags of tension, great characters, snappy dialogue, and a beautifully restrained romantic subplot that’s restricted purely to over-the-phone flirting. Only Lee Child could successfully pull that off. It’s a great book, and one of the best of a terrific series.
Learn more about The Killer and its author at Tom Hinshelwood's website.

--Marshal Zeringue