Monday, April 21, 2014

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.

His new novel is The Axe Factor, the third novel in the Jimm Juree series.

Recently I asked Cotterill about what he was reading. His reply:
A little shockaroo in this edition of Writers Read. Invariably I’m forced to admit to reading non-fiction or to have the Mad Magazine Christmas edition open on my bedside table. But, surprise, I am reading fiction and I haven’t given up before the end of chapter one as I usually do. There is a tag to this story. A few months ago I was sent a newspaper item in which a famous author; in this case, Isabel Allende, was asked what she’d been reading lately (not unlike this column except I’m not a famous author and hardly anybody cares). She openly admitted - not to reading a Colin Cotterill - but to have gone through the entire series. Not one to miss an opportunity for a blurb I wrote to Ms Allende and thanked her for the kind words. She replied and we became sort of pen friends. Then, woe betide, her books started to arrive at my post office. I hadn’t had a chance to tell her that the reading of fiction wasn’t my strongest point and I was afraid I’d have to lie or divert her with glowing comments about the cover design. The first to arrive was Ripper, her latest, and a murder mystery to boot. We were on our way to Australia at the time and the book was half my luggage allowance but I took it anyway. And I’m still reading it.

I doubt I’ve read any crime fiction that goes into such great detail of every character, including barely visible extras and domestic animals. The army of potential antagonists is vast. Even the dog’s a suspect. But I guess the whole point of writing a whodunit is that you have the reader hanging on to the bitter end for a denouement of the mystery. Isabel (notice the elevated formality) is a master story teller and a beautiful painter of people. She’s married to a mystery writer and unashamedly gives him a plug in the book. But it appears, in return, he’s given her all the background knowledge she needed to write a fascinating murder story.

Not only was the book free it’s also signed so if I ever get around to producing kids, it will be an heirloom of sorts.
Visit Colin Cotterill's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Axe Factor.

--Marshal Zeringue