Tag Archives: Sam Hawken

Crime Factory issue 15 is live

CF #15 cover

Issue 15 of the award winning magazine Crime Factory is hot off the digital press and ready for you to feast your eyeballs on.

As usual, the magazine is full of great content, including my interview with the long time Bangkok-based author of the Vincent Calvino PI series, Christopher G Moore. I grill Moore about writing crime fiction in Asia, the role of the cultural detective and the changes he’s witnessed in Thailand and the surrounding region over the twenty five plus years he’s been living there.

Journalist and regular contributor Tom Darin Liskey recounts getting mixed up with bikers and drug dealers in St. Louis in his teens. Steve Peacock takes us through his difficult journal in seeking justice and peace after being shot in the line of duty. Dave Honeybone interviews the author of Tequila Sunset and The Dead Women of Juarez, Sam Hawken, Benjamin Welton dissects Lon Chaney’s silent crime film, The Penalty, and John Harrison guides us through the pre-Comics Code Authority American crime comic books. There’s also heaps of great fiction and one hundred percent sock puppet-free reviews.

You can buy the Kindle version off for $2 or the old-school print version for $8 here on Amazon, OR you can buy it directly from the Crime Factory Publications site here, in which case the great Satan won’t get a cent of your money.… Read more

Interview: Sam Hawken, author of The Dead Women of Juarez

The Dead Women of Juarez was one of my favourite summer reads of 2012. It’s a hard-boiled crime novel set against the backdrop of the real life horror taking place in the Mexican city of Juárez, across the US border, where as many as 5000 women have been murdered since 1993.

I recently posted a review of this book here. The book’s author, Sam Hawken, was kind enough to agree to answer some questions by e-mail from Texas about his work.

What was the inspiration for writing The Dead Women of Juárez?

The story of the dead women is inspiration all by itself. I first found out about the problem while visiting Amnesty International’s site looking for something else entirely and immediately I thought it would make for a good story. It’s hard to beat real life when you’re coming up with ways people make other people miserable.

One of the things I liked about your book was the way you were able to set a hard boiled crime story against the backdrop of such horrific real life events, without trivialising or sensationalising them. Crime fiction is an excellent way of holding up a mirror to society’s problems but it can be hard to do. Was that something you were conscious of when you were writing and was it difficult to pull off?Read more

Book review: The Dead Women of Juarez

It’s a tough sell setting crime fiction against a backdrop of real life horrors without coming across as sensationalist or trivial. But this is precisely what Sam Hawken attempts to do in his first book, Dead Women of Juarez, and pulls it off fantastically.

The real life horror in question takes place in the Mexican city of Juarez, just across the border from the United States. Juarez is famous for two things: as a magnet for multinational companies seeking cheap, mainly female, labour, and the fact since 1993 as many as 5,000 women have been murdered there and no one has been brought to justice.

Hawken inserts into this picture the fictional character of Kelly Courter, a washed up, junkie boxer who makes a living as a punching bag for younger, hungrier Mexican fighters. As a sideline, he traffics and sells drugs for Esteban, his friend and the brother of Kelly’s on again, off again girlfriend and women’s rights activist, Paloma.

Kelly is in self-exile in Juarez, escaping the legal and moral consequences of a fatal mistake, the details of which we learn much later on in the book. It’s a day-by-day struggle to survive in a tough town, constantly being shadowed by grizzled Mexican narcotics cop, Sevilla, apparently intent on busting Kelly for his illegal activities.… Read more

Book review: The Devil All the Time and other summer reading pleasures

No matter how stressful the Christmas/New Year period is (and mine has been pretty stressful for reasons I won’t go into here) there’s always the chance to read.

This year’s been no exception. I managed to knock off several books I’ve wanted to read for a while.

The first was Dead Women of Juarez by Sam Hawken. This was a great hardboiled read, especially for a first novel. I particular admire the author for having the guts to set the story amid the real life horror story in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, where since 1992 as many as 5,000 women have been murdered and no one has been brought to justice. I’ve done a longer review of Dead Women for Crime Fiction Lover and will post it to this site next week.

Another author I’ve been wanted to check out is Vicki Hendricks, who writes erotic noir fiction set in Miami. Her 2007 book, Cruel Poetry, took me back to the mid-nineties when Miami-based crime fiction was huge. The city’s crime rate was through the roof, Elmore Leonard was based there and writers like Carl Hiaason and Edna Buchanan were best sellers.

This book is very different to the other Miami crime novels I can remember reading, in a good way.… Read more