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Five questions

Scott Montgomery recently asked me five questions in anticipation of this month’s Hard Word Book Club in Austin. Here are the results.

With its working class misfits with dark pasts fighting darker corruption, Benjamin Whitmer’s new mystery Pike is quite possibly the purist definition of modern hard boiled fiction. His title hero has a hard past, mainly of his own doing, and besides that the only things he has are his young friend, amateur boxer Rory, and a personal code.

When the hero’s daughter dies from a supposed overdose and he inherits his granddaughter, he suspects something isn’t right. He and Rory go to Cincinnati and run up against one dirty cop.

Whitmer files his prose style to a razor sharpness that makes Hammett look flowery. His action scenes are fierce and his terse dialogue can be both funny and chilling. It’s no suprise the book, published by independent publisher PM Press’ hardboiled imprint Switchblade, has been steadily getting attention from crime fiction fans, booksellers, and writers of crime fiction.

Ben is kind enough to agree to call in to The Hard Word Book Club’s discussion of Pike on March 30th. I thought I’d warm him up with some questions via e-mail.

The rest.

(Cross-posted at

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