Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Chris Ewan

Chris Ewan is the author of the stand-alone thrillers, Dark Tides, Dead Line, and Safe House, which was named by The Telegraph as one of the top ten crime novels to take on vacation, and the Good Thief mystery series.

Recently I asked Ewan about what he was reading. His reply:
I am currently reading Night Watch by Terry Pratchett. I’ve never read any of Pratchett’s work before, which has been a major oversight by me and a persistent bugbear for my wife. My wife is a Discworld fan and has been telling me for years to try one of Pratchett’s books. She tends to remind me that I’m forever thrusting crime novels into her hands and telling her she must read them and that it’s way beyond time the tables were turned. She’s right, of course, and so not very long ago we took a drive out to the Discworld Emporium in Wincanton, Somerset, where my wife bought me a copy of Night Watch and I got my very own Discworld stamp to go along with it.

Turns out I am more of a fool than I realised because the book is a delight: droll, clever, full of energy and relentlessly inventive. I can already tell we’ll be making a return trip to the Emporium before too long…

I’ve been on a run of great crime novels just recently, one of them being Alex Marwood’s The Darkest Secret, which is a fiendishly clever psychological thriller about the disappearance of three year-old Coco from her parent’s holiday home and the ramifications of her loss on a wide and colourful cast of characters, among them Coco’s twin sister, Ruby, and her step-sister, Milly. The narrative is split between two weekends, fifteen years apart, and while the mystery is compelling and endlessly twisting, where Marwood really excels is in the remarkable insights she gives to the psyches and emotions of her characters.

Noah Hawley’s The Good Father has been my favourite discovery this year. I came late to the television adaptation of Fargo, of which Hawley is showrunner, and later still to his wonderful novel, but it’s not a mistake I’ll repeat. Dr Paul Allen is a respected doctor and happy family man but all of that is pulled apart the moment his estranged son is accused of killing a Senator who is the forerunner to be the next President of the USA. The novel has it all: sleek prose, a compelling narrative and a deep emotional pull. Outstanding in every way.

I’ve been completely fascinated by James Nestor’s Deep, which as the subtitle will tell you, is about Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves. I turned to the book as research for the novel I’m currently working on but it completely swept me away (no pun intended) with its revelations about the freediving community and the capacity of the human body to adapt and remodel itself to cope with swimming deep underwater on only one breath. Reading this book made me acutely aware of every breath I was taking as I was turning the pages.

Next up for me will be another forthcoming crime novel, Tim Baker’s Fever City, of which I’ve heard great things. It’s an ambitious, expansive conspiracy thriller that puts a new spin on the JKF assassination. I can’t wait to dig in.
Visit Chris Ewan's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Paris.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Vegas.

The Page 69 Test: The Good Thief's Guide to Venice.

The Page 69 Test: Safe House.

--Marshal Zeringue