What is John Clarkson Reading?
— Marshal Zeringue Featured at Writers Read: John Clarkson, author of Bronx Requiem.
Recently I asked the author about what he was reading.
Clarkson's latest novel is Bronx Requiem.
"I’m often compared to Lee Child, who was gracious enough to give a blurb for Among Thieves, the first in my new series featuring James Beck. The second, Bronx Requiem, came out in November. So, I always read that latest Reacher novel. Ripped through Night School in two sessions."
Had some quibbles with it, but always enjoy spending time with Jack Reacher. I’ve never mentioned this in public, but my first novel, And Justice for One, published a couple of years before the first Reacher novel, featured Jack Devlin as the protagonist. Six-five, two-hundred-thirty pound, ex-Military Police, who could kick just about anybody’s ass (and by the way, like Reacher, also had with an older brother a bit bigger). But don’t get me wrong. In no way am I saying Jack Devlin inspired Jack Reacher. Jack Devlin came out of the same cloth as John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee, Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, Richard Stark’s Parker – all big, tough guy, heroes.
For another reason, I decided to dip back into the work of another master, Elmore Leonard. I suppose I’ve been meaning to do that since Mr. Leonard passed away. I read one of his more obscure novels, Touch, written back in 1987. A book he had a very difficult time getting published. Here’s something interesting about that book. It features one of the most touching, endearing, and thrilling love scenes I’ve ever read. It goes on for pages. From there I ripped through The Moonshine Wars. Fabulous to see how Leonard handles settings and creates a milieu. That teed me up for his book of short stories: Fire in the Hole, which is fascinating to me because you see the origin stories of movies that were made from his works, and the TV series featuring one of the coolest tough guys of all – deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens.
Just today, I started The North Water a period piece by Ian McGuire. It has one of the most riveting openings of any book I’ve read. And what talent McGuire displays writing about the most horrific brutalities with poetic prose. Often times, I’m sorely disappointed by writers in my genre. I can see right through the lack of verisimilitude, hackneyed characters, awkward prose. Not McGuire. A completely original work.
One last item. In the non-fiction arena, I often dip into Shawn Coyne’s daunting masterpiece on editing The Story Grid to sharpen my understanding of story mechanics. Lots to say about that, but want to end now and read until I sleep.
John Clarkson is the author of several thrillers and crime novels published in the late 90's, and the early 00's. During the day, he ran a boutique advertising firm, then a private marketing and advertising consulting firm. He has worked directly with corporate clients such as NewPower, Chase Manhattan and E*Trade Financial where he helped create the notorious E*Trade Baby.