Thursday, April 26, 2018

Alex Grecian

Alex Grecian is the national bestselling author of the contemporary thriller The Saint of Wolves and Butchers, the novels of Scotland Yard’s Murder Squad, including The Yard, The Black Country, The Devil’s Workshop, The Harvest Man, and Lost and Gone Forever, as well as the critically acclaimed graphic novels Proof and Rasputin.

Recently I asked Grecian about what he was reading. His reply:
I’m always reading several books at once, and I split my time between fiction and nonfiction. The books I read for pleasure travel from the table next to the couch, to the table next to my bed, and to all points between.

Right now I’m finishing up All the Pieces Matter: The Inside Story of The Wire, an oral history by Jonathan Abrams. I’m a fan of the show, of course, but also of David Simon’s books, and I picked this up hoping to get a little insight into his working process. There isn’t enough of that here, and there’s less time spent talking about the writer’s room than I might have liked, but there are still great nuggets of information sprinkled throughout, and short interviews with the outstanding writers involved in The Wire, including Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Richard Price.

I’m dipping randomly into both Kinsey and Me, a collection of Sue Grafton’s stories and essays, and volume eighteen of the Complete Carl Barks Library (The Lost Peg Leg Mine). Grafton’s book has been sitting on a shelf in my office since I bought it, and her recent death prompted me to pick it up again. Carl Barks, was of course one of the greatest comic book creators ever, and his Donald Duck stories are the literary (that’s right, I said literary) equivalent of comfort food for me. Fantagraphics Books is currently doing a wonderful job of recoloring all of Barks’s old stories and collecting them in nice hardcover editions.

The books I’m reading for research purposes generally stay in my office. Right now I’m working on my next novel and planning the one after that, so I’m research wildly different subjects. One of my projects is set in Alaska and I’m learning a great deal about life there from John McPhee’s excellent Coming into the Country. McPhee’s journalism is always presented in the most entertaining way possible and his work is incredibly well-structured, so this feels more like a pleasure-read than research. The other book I’m writing involves a heart transplant, and Donald McRae’s Every Second Counts almost reads like a thriller itself. I find myself caught up in the stories of the doctors who pioneered that surgery, but in the process it’s helping me pinpoint what I need to know and who I should talk to about transplant procedures.
Visit Alex Grecian's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Saint of Wolves and Butchers.

--Marshal Zeringue