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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Interview with John Robinson

Today we welcome, John Robinson, the author of the popular Joe Box mystery series, published by River Oak. (See his bio and list of books below.) http://www.johnrobinsonbooks.com/

Scrape That Gum Off Your Shoe!

Private investigators. What goes through your head when you picture one? A tough guy in a trench coat spouting gruff, side-of-the-mouth dialogue that’s sharp enough to shave with? Brassy, wisecracking dames in distress? Fistfights, gunfights, and dark, glistening city streets, all put to the music of a lone, wailing saxophone?

Well … yeah.

I do, anyway. Matter of fact, most of us do. But somehow over the years that mythos turned into a stereotype, and we are all poorer for it. Because make no mistake, there are some gems to be found. The masters from the early years showed us how to do it: Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, even Mickey Spillane all had their moments. A lot of their work was magic.

And then, beginning in the sixties, private eye fiction began to fall out of favor. Only in the last decade and a half or so has the reading public decided to give it another try. Thankfully some good writers have stepped up to the plate. A cursory perusal of a bookstore’s mystery section showcases such talents as Robert B. Parker, Loren Estleman, James Lee Burke, Robert Crais, and others. These writers all expanded the borders of PI fiction. Now we have lady PIs, gay PIs, midget PIs, kid PIs, part-time PIs, handicapped PIs, just about everything under the sun … except for spiritual PIs.

Until now.

At the risk of blowing my own horn, I’ve tried to address that. My PI is named Joe Box. He’s a transplanted Southerner, a Vietnam vet, an animal lover, a widower, and a former cop.

He’s also a brand-new Christian.

The tension comes from following Joe as he seeks to balance his new walk of faith against his admittedly gritty profession. The first three titles are Until the Last Dog Dies, When Skylarks Fall, and To Skin a Cat (the last one due out this fall, 2006).
Can a Christian private investigator hold his own in a secular market? Why not? Lord knows there’s a need. But in the spirit of equal opportunity I’ve come up with a second series featuring a character named Mac Ryan. Mac has strong convictions that are his moral code. He’s a combat veteran of the Iraqi war and, like Joe, hails from the south. I’ve left his spiritual condition a mystery (for now). His first adventure, and a hairy one at that, is called Consumed. It’s being considered by some New York ABA houses. All that to say, the future for private eye fiction looks bright, no matter what brand of gumshoe you favor.

Now, enough jawing. Somebody get this dame off my desk, hand me my heater, and cue the sax …

John Robinson is fifty-four years old, married thirty-two years to the finest woman on the planet, his wife Barb. The father of two grown sons and grandfather of two, he’s also the retired owner of a successful financial planning firm. John hopes to eventually go into full-time writing, and as the author of the popular Joe Box mystery series, is well on his way. He’s made some good friends in the Christian publishing world, including Karen Kingsbury, Al Gansky, and Christy-winner James Scott Bell, all of who used their talents to help John hone his craft.

John’s books include:

Until the Last Dog Dies (RiverOak, June 2004)
When Skylarks Fall (RiverOak, October 2005)
To Skin a Cat (RiverOak, September, 2006)


Anonymous Vicky said...

You missed Sherlock Holmes in the list of early detectives :(

10:00 AM  

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