M. C. Grant is Grant McKenzie, an award-winning screenwriter, editor, and novelist. He is the author of SWITCH and NO CRY FOR HELP (both published by Bantam TransWorld UK).
His short stories have been featured in the FIRST THRILLS anthology edited by Lee Child (Tor/Forge), and Out of the Gutter and Spinetingler magazines. His first screenplay won a fellowship at the Praxis Centre for Screenwriting in Vancouver.
As a journalist, he worked in virtually every area of the newspaper business, from the late-night “dead body beat” at a feisty daily tabloid to editor at two of Canada’s largest broadsheets. Born in Glasgow, Grant currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia.
Here’s a short synopsis of M. C. Grant’s exciting new novel, BEAUTY WITH A BOMB.
After witnessing the gruesome death of an immigrant, Dixie Flynn is on a mission to tell the woman’s story. Acting on a tip, Dixie learns that young immigrants are vanishing…and they’re not runaways. Hooking up with a group of Polish women who are hell-bent on finding their sisters and cousins, Dixie is all too willing to wield a gun and stalk the shadows where human traffickers ply their trade. But crossing paths with smugglers takes its toll, especially when the desire to rescue becomes a thirst for retribution that leaves blood on Dixie’s hands.
What can readers expect from BEAUTY WITH A BOMB?
Thrills, chills and a few laughs along the way. This is Dixie Flynn’s third adventure, and picks up a short time after the events of DEVIL WITH A GUN. Like her first two adventures, BEAUTY WITH A BOMB starts out with what Suspense Magazine calls “one of the most dramatic and shocking scenes I have ever read.” Dixie is also quite a bit different from the stand-alone thrillers that I write as Grant McKenzie. For one, Dixie is written in first-person, present-tense, female perspective, while my thrillers are third-person, past-tense. I also try and have more fun with the Dixie books by including more humour and quirky, fun characters. With that said, however, the plots can be dark and dangerous, but only because I know Dixie can handle them.
You set the novel in the world of illegal immigrants. What attracts you to writing about that world?
As an investigative reporter, Dixie is always exploring the dark underbelly of San Francisco—and few places are darker than the world of sex trafficking. Dixie is a strong-willed feminist who firmly believes that the monsters in this world deserve a teeth-jarring kick in the balls—and she’s just the gal to do it. Dixie is more likely to be found clawing through the muck than hanging out in the press box at city hall. When she learns that women are disappearing from the docks, Dixie will stop at nothing to get the truth—even if that means putting down her pen and picking up a gun.
How did your background as a journalist influence your writing of this novel?
Dixie is such a fun character: she’s fierce, witty, sassy, and headstrong. And although she’s proven unlucky in love, she’s a loyal friend and protector to those she cares about. As a veteran journalist myself, I wanted to explore how that profession has changed, but also bring back some of the grimy glamour of the silver age when the best reporters were the rebels and not necessarily the nicest people. In the 1960s, ’70s, and early ’80s, editorial meetings were more like cage matches of passion and intelligence, with everyone fighting to showcase the best story. Today, the decisions are made from the top down without any real input from editorial at all. Dixie is a bit of the antithesis to this, one of the last rebels working the crime beat of San Francisco.
You have a startling opening chapter. Can you give us a hint as to what happens?
The first sentence sets the scene: “Heavily pregnant, the woman stands on the precipice of the parking garage.” The young woman is teetering, on the verge of leaping to her death, but she has one request of the police who are trying to talk her down: she wants to see Dixie. When Dixie arrives, the woman makes Dixie promise to investigate how she ended up on this ledge. But then before Dixie can gather further information, the woman jumps.
How do you feel this novel fits in with your previous work?
The Dixie Flynn books are definitely a series that is best enjoyed in order, starting with ANGEL WITH A BULLET. Although each book contains a stand-alone story, the characters and big picture storyline are all interconnected and show a progression as Dixie’s cuts and bruises, both physically and mentally, accumulate.
Can you give us any clues as to what will happen to Dixie Flynn in BEAUTY WITH A BOMB?
This story becomes very personal for Dixie. If she got her hands dirty before, this time she gets them bloody. The events of DEVIL WITH A GUN have left her shaken, but it hasn’t softened her bullheaded stubborness at all. That stubborness has also left her vulnerable and when she rushes headlong into danger, this time the danger snaps back. The ending to this one will rock Dixie to her core.
Where will your writing journey be taking you both next?
I’m not sure what’s next for Dixie yet. The new Grant McKenzie thriller, THE FEAR IN HER EYES, has just been released by Polis Books and there is a secondary character from that book who’s been taking me on an interesting journey in a story called “Speak the Dead.” But Dixie will return, I’m sure of it.
Thank you, Grant, for taking the time to sit down with THE BIG THRILL. BEAUTY WITH A BOMB soundslike a great read! I admire your application of real-life experience to your writing. The latest Dixie Flynn certainly got its hooks into me.
M.C. Grant is Grant McKenzie, an award-winning screenwriter, editor, and novelist. He is the author of SWITCH and NO CRY FOR HELP (both published by Bantam TransWorld UK). His short stories have been featured in the First Thrills anthology edited by Lee Child (Tor/Forge), and Out of the Gutter and Spinetingler magazines. His first screenplay won a fellowship at the Praxis Centre for Screenwriting in Vancouver. As a journalist, he worked in virtually every area of the newspaper business, from the late-night “dead body beat” at a feisty daily tabloid to editor at two of Canada’s largest broadsheets. Born in Glasgow, Grant currently resides in Victoria, British Columbia.
To learn more about M. C. Grant, please visit his website.