Tuesday, September 23, 2014

9mm interview with Jarad Henry

Well, after an appalling start on the Anzac spirit front with the 9mm series (one Australian crime writer covered out of the first 72 editions), I've been rectifying things a little with a few talented Ocker scribes. After featuring PM Newton, Adrian McKinty and Garry Disher in recent weeks, today I'm sharing my interview with Melbourne-based author Jarad Henry, who works in the criminal justice sector alongside penning the DS Rubens McCauley series of hardboiled thrillers.

Described as a "fresh new voice" in Australian crime writing, Henry's books delve into the seedy underbelly of Melbourne and its surrounds, with Henry using his inside knowledge of the criminal justice system to thread realistic frustrations, challenges, dangers, and bureaucratic shenanigans, as well as an atmospheric sense of place, into his exciting tales. But for now, he becomes the 85th author to stare down the barrel of 9mm.

9MM: An interview with Jarad Henry

1. Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
My favourite would have to be Harry Bosch, Michael Connolly's lead character. He's real, based on real homicide cops and works in a department that has all the internal politics of a real major city police department. His management of this and persistence to solve cases others ignore makes for a brilliant legacy.
Second to that is Vincent Calvino, the PI who works the streets of Bangkok, written by Christopher G Moore. Vinnie is tough, street smart and has a strong moral compass, but he's also flawed in the sense that he isn't too clean so as to not fall into the sinful traps that the city offers/

2. What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
It would have to be The Man Who Made It Snow, by Max Mermelstein. This is a true story of an ordinary citizen who ended up marrying a Colombian woman who had connections in South America. When he lost his job he set up the largest ever known cocaine importation business on record. It was a business that brought in tonnes of the drug and so much money they literally couldn't fit it all in a house.  His book details how such an enterprise worked and what eventually brought it undone. The author is still in witness protection.

3. Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?
I wrote a short story about an old man on holiday in Cairns, watching young back packers enjoying their youth, wondering where his life had gone. It wasn't a crime story, more about looking back on life rather than forward. I was 15 at the time, and it formed part of my high school VCE, which I think I received an A rating for. The challenge was that it made me think what it would feel like to reverse things and see the world through the eyes and mindset of an older person. The old man now features in two of my books as the lead character's next door neighbour.

4. Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I love the ocean and the tropics. Scuba diving is a passion so I travel as often as possible to Thailand, where I have a group of buddies who are ex-pats and run a dive centre there. They're great guys and I always have a fantastic time. There's nothing quite like the feeling of weightlessness and cruising underwater, seeing marine life up close. I think it’s the closest thing to being an astronaut.

5. What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
Stay up late on a weekend, drive around and watch the drama of inner city chaos unfold. Past 3am on a hot summer weekend the city takes of it's mask of style and loses itself to the ugliness of alcohol fuelled violence and drama. This is where I got the name for my second book, Blood Sunset. If you come in February, you'll see a real blood sunset, then you know you can stay up late and head in St Kilda or the city or any other entertainment area and things get dangerous but very interesting. Humans are an ugly species in this arena.

6. If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
I like Guy Pierce - his style in the Jack Irish series is brilliant.

7. Of your writings, published and unpublished, which is your favourite, and why?
I would have to say Pink Tide because for the thematics and the character interactions. Its quite an emotional story, which I put a lot of effort into. Of the McCauley series, I'm most proud of that one, although I hope the next one (which I'm slowly working my way through now) is just as powerful and confronting.

8. What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a online or physical bookseller’s shelf?
I printed the email and read it over and over unsure of whether I was hallucinating. After realising it was real I bought a bottle of champagne and finished the whole thing!  As for getting it on the shelves, my father was a pilot at the time and bought a copy at the airport, before they'd even put them on display. He bought the first ever copy!

9. What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
At the Ned Kelly Awards one year I was in a comedy debate with Leigh Redhead, who at the end of her spiel, did a strip show to wow the audience. At the Brisbane writer's festival I was walking back to my hotel when somebody asked for my autograph. That was kind of weird, but its only happened once. On another occasion, at the Byron bay writers festival, it flooded and a whole day of talks were cancelled, so all the authors went to the pub and had a great day getting to know one another. The next day quite a few were hung over, probably hoping for another cancellation.

Thank you Jarad. We appreciate you taking the time to chat to Crime Watch. 


You can read more about Jarad Henry and his books here:


Comments welcome. 


  1. Just ordered Mr. Henry's first book Head Shot. Thanks for the great interviews.

    Dennis McGough

  2. Just received Head Shot and was pleasantly surprised to find it was a signed copy - to a Josh & Danielle. I wonder why people take the time to have a book signed but then get rid of it?