In 2011, I made my first acquaintance with Shell Scott after the urging of Barry Ergang, who has given me plenty of recommendations for hardboiled authors for me to read. While I haven’t had as much experience in the hardboiled field as Barry, I loved Strip for Murder for what it was: an outrageously funny book with a pretty good mystery and some very good standout scenes.
But when I found out about it, I hesitated before buying an Exclusive Interview with Richard S. Prather, Author of the Best-selling Shell Scott Mystery Series for my Kindle. Mainly I hesitated over its length. The print length is a mere 78 pages— far too long to read on a computer, but too short to publish as its own book. (The Kindle market is practically perfect for things like this, isn’t it?) Would it be worth the cover price?
If you’re a fan of Prather (and I think I am despite reading only one book), the answer will probably be “yes”. This interview with the author is a very interesting one, covering his writing career and personal life. You find out about his marriage, how he got his start in the writing business, and how he wrote his books. The process is fascinating, and his advice for aspiring authors is quite interesting. He shamelessly advocates milking your best scenes, for instance, a piece of advice that I think many authors would do well to follow.
And what else is there? Prather goes on considerably about his personal views. I was personally quite interested. I’m a Catholic who takes his religion seriously, and as a result I’m always interested in the religious views of authors I admire, be they agnostic or Anglican. Prather’s are… interesting. I’m very rarely in agreement with them, but I wish he did more talking of his own on the subject. He often quotes books he finds inspiring, and while it’s an interesting insight into his reading matter, I wish he’d used his own words more often instead of resorting to extensive citation.
One of the most interesting parts of the interview is when Prather discusses his current reading material. But there’s plenty of other stuff you’ll find out about Prather. This includes some controversial views about the 9/11 tragedy.
Unfortunately, 2012 is not off to a flying start for me— this review seems rather disjointed and awkward to me. But maybe it’s just me. If you’re a newcomer to Richard S. Prather or if you’ve been a loyal fan for years, this interview is likely to interest you. It’s an interesting one, but I’m not quite sure if I’d recommend it as a casual read to someone unaware of Prather or unacquainted with his work.