That quote alone from CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger Award winner and crime fiction Grande Dame Val McDermid should be enough to get you on board author Steve Mosby’s bandwagon.
But considering I’ve planned for this to be Steve Mosby Week (who needs Shark Week?) on Musings of an All Purpose Monkey, if I left it at that things would be rather sparse around here. So, please allow me to add my decidedly less weighty opinion on the subject of Steve Mosby’s writing.
I don’t remember how I first discovered Steve’s novels, but I think myself very fortunate to have done so considering they are not as yet published in the United States… which is a damn shame, and why I’ve decided to shine a spotlight on him this week.
Born in Leeds, UK, where he still lives, Steve remembers “always being encouraged to read and write when I was younger. We weren’t exactly well-off, but I remember my mother saying, “There’s always money for books”, and I grew up with the idea that fiction was something very special, which I still think today, to the point that I’ve never knowingly thrown a book away. Being a writer is all I’ve ever wanted to be.” Thankfully for readers, Steve has achieved that goal and is the author of five published novels, with a sixth on the way.
Though generally classified as “crime fiction,” in reality Steve’s writing is a bit more slippery than that to pin down. Straightforward police procedural, dark satire, classic detective story, psychological thriller… elements of all make their presence known throughout his work. One thing they all have in common, however, are the underlying themes of good and evil, chaos and order. It’s territory that is hard to explore properly without going to some very uncomfortable places at times. In fact, when asked to describe his writing Steve’s response is: “Dark, cruel, emotional.”
Tempering that darkness, however, is the incredibly strong sense of character Steve brings to those who populate his novels. Undoubtedly his background in philosophy gives him a more nuanced approach to creating characters than you find in the garden variety serial killer book; in a Mosby novel every side of the equation is represented, usually through the combined views of several characters. There is also a depth to the people Steve writes about that rings true. They are full of love and hate, hope and doubt, bravery and cowardice. In short, they are truly human, even when being so requires the reader to confront the ugliness that humans are capable of toward each other.
Dark though his writing may be, don’t let that or those tattoos fool you. As anyone who follows Steve on Twitter can attest, he’s actually a quite personable, low-key, funny guy and proud father of an adorable new baby boy. He just happens to like “making horrible stuff up” for a living, and he does so very, very well. Therefore, the plan for Steve Mosby Week is to introduce you to Steve’s very well made up horrible stuff by reviewing all of his books. There will be mini-reviews of The Third Person, Cry For Help, and The Cutting Crew, as well as full reviews of Still Bleeding and The 50/50 Killer.
If this is the first you’re hearing about Steve, hopefully something this week will catch your eye enough for you to give him a try. If you’ve known about him but just haven’t gotten around to reading his books yet, get to it! And if you’re already on board the bandwagon, please leave a comment, retweet, share on Facebook… generally make some noise to help get the word out about this great author!
Special thanks to photographer Roger McNally for providing the great shot of Steve. Check out more of Roger’s work at Roger.The.Dodger’s photostream on Flickr.