Four years ago, the New Zealand literary world was abuzz with rumours of who was behind the crime writing pseudonym 'Alix Bosco'. According to the author bio on CUT & RUN, which has been published to great acclaim and went on to win the inaugural Ngaio Marsh Award in 2010, and the follow-up SLAUGHTER FALLS, Alix Bosco was "a successful writer in other media".
Speculation was rife - was it a famed literary author who'd chosen to use a different name while delving into the crime genre? Or a well-known journalist or broadcaster dipping into fiction?
Having read both books, my best guess was that it was a screenwriter, and my money at the time was on Rachel Lang - one half of the team behind Outrageous Fortune. Not just for the style and polish of the writing, and the strong female protagonist, but that Robyn Malcolm, star of Outrageous Fortune, had provided a book blurb and then later was tabbed to play Anna Markunas in a planned TV adaptation. Val McDermid was also sure it was a female writer, having been enthralled by the strong female narrator in CUT & RUN. So I was in good company at least...
It turns out I was wrong. In August 2014, junior All Black turned playwright and screenwriter Greg McGee 'came out' as Alix Bosco in a large feature in the Sunday Star-Times. He was one of the people that was rumoured to be Bosco (one anonymous commentator vociferously pushed him as the man behind the pseudonym on this very blog), but it still came as a surprise to many. Kim Knight of the Sunday Star-Times wrote a very fine feature, and it was great to see the splash local crime writing made - noted on the cover of the entire edition, taking the cover of the Culture supplement, then a large spread too.
Back in New Zealand for a visit, I came across this article in my storage locker. I also caught up with McGee for the first time in three years on Thursday evening. He's gone on to other successes since, including writing All Blacks captain Richie McCaw's phenomenal biography, and has a sweeping epic drama novel coming out later this year. Hopefully though, one day soon, he will turn his talents back to another story starring Anna Markunas. She was a terrific character that many people would like to see again.
You can read the Sunday Star-Times feature on the reveal of Alix Bosco, which includes intriguing insights into McGee's very valid reasons for the pseudonym, here.