CRIMINALLY GOOD: interview with author Bob Kroll

1) So, who are you & what have you written?

I’m Bob Kroll, author of The Drop Zone and The Hell of It All, the first two books in a crime trilogy about retired detective T.J. Peterson. I have made a living as a writer since the 1970s, and during that time I wrote just about anything that would make a buck. Radio and television commercials were a major source of income, and they helped hone my writing style down to what is necessary to tell a story and to push it forward. I also wrote stage plays, documentaries, and popular histories. You can visit my website to learn more about me.

2) Why do you write crime fiction?

Writing crime novels allows me to explore the depths of human weakness and the tragedy that is life. The darkness intrigues me, as does the sordidness and the wickedness that lies just beneath the thin crust of refined society. My main character, Peterson, is an antihero burdened with guilt for a failed life. He seeks purification, and must go to hell in order to find it. The hell he descends into is the criminal world, which is brutal and merciless.

3) What informs your crime writing?

I think my previous answer explains a lot about what makes my writing tick. However, I do draw from the front pages and from sources within the police department and the Department of Justice. I go for the reality of today’s crimes then wrap them in darkness and infuse them with my antihero’s drive for righteous retribution.

4) What’s your usual writing routine?

Quite simple. I write from 8 am to noon, everyday. That includes research time, plotting, and character development.

5) Which crime book do you wish YOU’D written, and why?

Not a crime novel, but two short stories. One is by Erskine Caldwell, titled August Afternoon. The other is by Ernest Hemingway, The Killers.  In a minimum amount of words, both stories convey a tension that is palpable, and characters that ooze distrust and violence. The dialogue is sparse, but conveys so much about character and story without being on the nose.

Since I mentioned dialogue, I should also include the crime novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins. No one writes dialogue like Higgins. The novel is tightly plotted and rings with truth.

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