Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A city perfect for dreamers and killers: Robert Crais

A city perfect for dreamers and killers
Thriller writer Robert Crais talks to Craig Sisterson about the allure of Hollywood and turning an enigmatic sidekick into a leading man.

The very thing that drew a young Robert Crais to Los Angeles more than 30 years ago, just as thousands of people from all over the world are drawn there every year, is what makes the city such a terrific location for crime fiction, says the acclaimed novelist.

"Los Angeles is a destination city for dreamers," he says. "They're chasing hopes, chasing dreams. I don't care if they're Harvard graduates coming from the east coast because they want to be a shmancy attorney at a Century City law firm, they come for exactly the same reasons as some undocumented worker from Central America who's slipping across the river illegally. They're coming to find a future, they're coming here to build a life."

Crais, who grew up in Louisiana and fell in love with "the great promise, mystery and intrigue" of Los Angeles thanks to Raymond Chandler novels and television shows like Dragnet and Rockford Files, moved west in the 1970s because he wanted to become a writer.

"So I'm sympathetic to all those people who come chasing their dreams here, it's something we all have in common."

And it's that influx of dreamers, coupled with a canvas of spectacular physical geography painted with a colourful multicultural brush, that makes LA a perfect setting, says Crais, his passion for his adopted home clear in his voice.



The above extract is from my feature article published in the 19 March 2011 issue of the Weekend Herald, and is reprinted here with permission.


Are you a fan of Robert Crais? Of Los Angeles set crime fiction in general? What do you think of the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books? Who are you favourite LA crime writers? Thoughts welcome.


  1. Craig - Well-done interview! I like Robert Crais' work, and it was nice to learn more about him. He's got a point, too, about LA as a fine setting for crime fiction. It really does have a lot to offer in terms of context.

  2. I love the Elvis Cole and Joe Pike books. I like to think I am R.C.'s biggest fan - well, at least in New Jersey. :)

    I've read all his books and enjoyed reading your interview. R.C. is a terrific writer and a helluva nice guy.

    When I began my chemo a couple of years ago, R.C.'s note was one of the most memorable I received. He is a man who truly values his fans.

    And you should see how he inscribed the latest book, THE SENTRY for me. HA!