By Jake Bible
Two words you’d think wouldn’t work together, but combine so brilliantly that it’s all I can think about nowadays. Good thing I make my living thinking about stuff.
Sometimes it’s good to be a writer.
A friend of mine, the brilliant author Patrick E. McLean, turned me on to Richard Stark’s Parker series around at the beginning of 2016. Nothing special about that. People turn other people on to authors and series all the time. It’s how the publishing industry runs, by word of mouth.
Patrick knew those books would do something to my brain. He knew my love of writing thrillers and anti-heroes and guns and violence would lead me down a Parker path no one ever returns from.
He was right.
I put off reading the books for a few months until a family vacation that summer. Then I mainlined those puppies like a Netflix binge on crystal meth. I read every single one in a row. Hell, I even branched out and read the spinoffs (yes, there are spinoffs). I was hooked. I was a crime junkie something bad.
Sure, I’d read crime fiction before. My literary hero was Sherlock Holmes. I loved all those old mysteries. But they were just that, mysteries. Not crime in the sense of a Parker novel. No, that kind of crime was pulpy goodness that had been hiding under my nose my entire life. My father had stacks of crime novels, from Elmore Leonard to John D. MacDonald, sitting all over the house. Yet I’d barely glanced at them.
Horror and scifi were my thing, especially the scifi part.
But now, after decades, I had the crime bug. I had it bad and my mind wouldn’t let it go. That was going to be a problem since I needed capitalize on my scifi writing success. I’d had a couple of novels sell very well (for small press sales) and I needed to keep that momentum going.
Then those two words that started this post slammed me upside the head and I haven’t looked back.
There was some precedent, but not much. Han Solo was a smuggler, a criminal, and probably the favorite character in Star Wars. One of the other favorites? Boba Fett, who was a bounty hunter. Smugglers and bounty hunters. Classic crime tropes. All I needed were these little reminders to get me started.
I’d built a great universe with my Salvage Merc One and simply create different characters that lived in that universe? I had the sandbox, it was only a matter of putting new toys in it.
I created Roak: Galactic Bounty Hunter and it’s taken off from there. The third novel was recently released and a fourth is planned for 2018. Between now and then Galactic Vice is coming out around the end of this year. That’s going to be a bit of police procedural fun mixed with some heavy criminal underworld elements that should scratch the hell out of the crime itch for any reader.
And that’s the point: to create novels that satisfy not only my scifi fans, but bring in crime fiction fans as well. If I’m going to write in a genre called “space crime,” then it has to have equal parts of both while making sure neither readership feels one overpowers the other. Space is the setting, crime is the story. Chocolate and peanut butter in proper proportions to create one unified treat.
Since the Parker books, I’ve devoured Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, not to mention Jim Thompson, Lawrence Block, Ed McBain (because it’s good to know how to catch the criminals too), and so many more. The more I read, the more I want to write, and that is a very good thing, for me and my readers.
Two words I plan on never getting tired of hearing together.
Jake Bible, Bram Stoker Award nominated-novelist of the bestselling Roak: Galactic Bounty Hunter series of space crime novels, the bestselling Z-Burbia series set in Asheville, NC, the bestselling Salvage Merc One, the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash) and the Mega series for Severed Press. He is also the author of the YA zombie novel, Little Dead Man, the Bram Stoker Award nominated Teen horror novel, Intentional Haunting, the ScareScapes series, and the Reign of Four series for Permuted Press, and Stone Cold Bastards and the Black Box, Inc novels for Bell Bridge Books. Find Jake at jakebible.com. Join him on Twitter @jakebible and find him on Facebook.
To learn more about Jake Bible’s most recent novel, click on the cover below: