By George Ebey
Thomas Pluck’s latest book, LIFE DURING WARTIME, is a blackjack 21 of stories featuring people caught up in crime, facing bleak horrors, or otherwise spun up in the whirlpool of human absurdity.
Take a ride on the neuter scooter in “The Big Snip,” selected as one of the best crime stories of 2016. Follow a mountain man who’s not what he seems into a snowbound frontier town where evil has sunk its claws. Dine at the most exclusive restaurant in New York, where “Eat The Rich” takes on a whole new meaning. And meet Denny the Dent, a hulking 350 pounds of muscle who wouldn’t harm a fly…but who’ll glad crush a bully’s skull. And read the Jay Desmarteaux yarn that takes off where “Bad Boy Boggie” ends.
The Big Thrill recently caught up with Mr. Pluck to discuss what this collection has in store for readers.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
The stories are of several genres but “thriller” ties them all together. Whether the characters are caught up in crime, facing bleak horrors, or wake up in a whirlpool of the absurd, it’s our desire to see what comes next that keeps us turning the pages.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
That as tough as writing a good story can be, I love writing them. It’s like hitting the gym for a hard workout; you cringe at the beginning but you always feel great for having done it, and you learn how to stretch your limits and grow with every story, if you put your heart into it.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
Some of these stories are unpublished but faced some of the toughest critics of all, the audiences at Noir and the Bar readings. When people have a drink and their phone, and you can keep them riveted, you know you’re doing something right. “The Cornus Club” and “Gunplay” did that, and this will be the first time readers can enjoy them.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Joe Lansdale’s a big one for writing a good yarn that will make you cringe and laugh at the same time. Lawrence Block’s another, for switching between Matt Scudder, one of the best hardboiled P.I. series ever written, and his Bernie Rhodenbarr Burglar cozies, when these days everyone has to be a brand that delivers one kind of book, he showed that good writing is what matters.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they find the hundred dollar bills I’ve hidden in ten select copies. Collect them all!
Read the stories readers call “hard-hitting bombs” full of “gut punches and belly laughs”—and be ready to get Plucked!
Thomas Pluck has slung hash, worked on the docks, trained in martial arts in Japan, and even swept the Guggenheim museum (but not as part of a clever heist). He hails from Nutley, New Jersey, home to criminal masterminds Martha Stewart and Richard Blake, but has so far evaded capture. He is the author of Bad Boy Boogie, his first Jay Desmarteaux crime thriller, and Blade of Dishonor, an action adventure which BookPeople called “the Raiders of the Lost Ark of pulp paperbacks.”
To learn more about Thomas, please visit his website.