What: His Penns River series of police procedurals includes WORST ENEMIES and GRIND JOINT, which Woody Haut, writing for the L.A. Review of Books, cited as one of the fifteen best noir reads of 2013. His newest is RESURRECTION MALL, recently released from Down & Out Books.
Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.
Congrats on the upcoming release of RESURRECTION MALL. What can readers expect from the third installment of the Penns River series?
Trouble. Just as a television minister’s religious-themed mall looks like it could provide a counterweight to the casino, the murder of five drug dealers sets the town back during one of the coldest winters on record.
A lot of modern crime fiction is set in urban locations. What’s the appeal of the rural setting in the Penns River series?
As you said, a lot of crime fiction takes place in urban settings. What I want to show is how less but still serious crime can affect a smaller community that lacks the resources and resilience of a larger city.
I don’t look at the setting as a challenge. I’m not comfortable in cities and like that a smaller town allows me to play counter to a lot of current tendencies. For example, Penns River can’t afford state of the art forensics equipment and has no crime lab. The cops have to solve crimes the old-fashioned way. This forces people to interact, which I find inherently more interesting.