Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Colin Cotterill

Born in London, Colin Cotterill has worked as teacher in Israel, Australia, the U.S. and Japan before he started training teachers in Thailand. Cotterill and his wife live in a small fishing village on the Gulf of Siam in Southern Thailand. He’s won the Dilys and a CWA Dagger, and has been a finalist for several other awards.

One of his series features elderly male coroner, Dr Siri Paiboun, and is set in Laos. His new novel, Killed at the Whim of a Hat, introduces Jimm Juree, a feisty young female reporter, and is located in Thailand.

A few weeks ago I asked Cotterill what he was reading. His reply:
I was one of those kids who believed there were much more interesting things to do in his school years than study. Subsequently, 1963 to 1970 was an intellectual void in my life. When I should have been amassing that information so valuable for crossword puzzles and Trivial Pursuit, I was chasing balls and girls and reading comics. When I reached forty, I felt the urge to apologize to my brain by making up for lost opportunity. So began a program of self-ed, going over all those things I should have been reading at school. I still don’t read enough but when I do have time it’s non-fiction. I’m currently through The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia by Alfred W McCoy. This is background for number nine in the Dr. Siri series.

But I’m on the road right now in the north of Laos and McCoy was far too heavy to lug around. So I picked up Robert B Parker’s Small Vices and I confess I initially chose it for its weight - barely eight ounces. But fiction travels well and I can leave it for the next traveler when I’m done. But of course there’s another motive. I’m finally prepared to admit I might just be a sort of crime writer and, as such, it serves me well to read better-established and better crime writers. It helps to remind me why I’ll never make a hard-boiled crime novelist. I don’t have the grit. Parker does. He has the tough take-me-on-at-your-peril P.I., Shelly and his black thug sidekick, Hawk. These are protagonists you can climb inside and have beat up the bullies on your behalf. Wry, smart-ass dialogue of the ‘I wish I could come up with something so witty whilst staring down the barrel of a gun’ variety. Sex. Violence. Da werks. In fact, everything a wimpy gardener from Wimbledon needs to be a vicarious tough guy.
Visit Colin Cotterill's website.

The Page 69 Test: Killed at the Whim of a Hat.

My Book, The Movie: Killed at the Whim of a Hat.

--Marshal Zeringue