Interrogation—Dana King

Who: Dana King

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.

Where: Maryland

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.

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Interrogation—Dana King

Dana December 20 2014 in Ft Collins Co v2Who: Dana King

What: His first novel featuring detective Nick Forte, A SMALL SACRIFICE, received a Shamus Award nomination in 2013. Woody Haut named GRIND JOINT, Volume Two of a series set in the fictional, economically depressed town of Penns River PA, as one of the fifteen best noir reads of 2013. A short story, “Green Gables,” appeared in the anthology Blood, Guts, and Whiskey, edited by Todd Robinson. Other short fiction has appeared in The Shamus Sampler: Volume 2, Spinetingler, New Mystery Reader, A Twist of Noir, Mysterical-E, and Powder Burn Flash.

Where: Maryland

Interview conducted by email. Some questions and answers have been edited.

I just read the third Nick Forte book, THE MAN IN THE WINDOW. How would you introduce your protagonist to somebody who is new to the series? 

Forte is the first protagonist I created, in a series of short stories I wrote for friends at work. The stories featured thinly disguised versions of co-workers. Wait. That’s not right. They featured depictions of co-workers that were as accurate as I could make them with my tongue planted firmly in cheek. All I changed were the names. So Forte is me. Musical background that didn’t work out, but still influences him. Divorced father who has a lot of guilt about it.

Forte is an everyman with skills. He’s not a drunk or addict or suffering from PTSD or other demons. He’s a divorced father trying to make a living at a career he never would have chosen, but has found he has some chops for. Loyal friend, devoted father, good sense of humor, and genuinely tries to do what’s right. That comes to haunt him as time goes on.

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