Liu Norton, Siri, Rachel How discussed on 1A
Thiss is one, eh? I'm Jen White in Washington. The hard drinking detective. The thrilling heist the eye candy fem fatale, who, in a stunning twist turns out to also be the story's big bad. These are some of the tried and true and some might say, formulaic elements of crime novels. Police are usually the heroes and characters of color are often absent or presented as cliches. All of that got one of you thinking. I'm test Garretson and I write the Rizzoli and Isles crime novels. My heroine is Detective Jane Rizzoli, and she's a cop who tries to do the right thing. If she sometimes bends the rules, it's for good reasons. Like most mystery novelists, I write about cops primarily as heroes. I'm Asian American, and I personally never had a bad interaction with the police. But that footage of George Floyd's murder by the police and all the other videos of police misconduct. They just kept playing and replaying in my head. I had to stop writing for a while. It forced me to reconsider every scene I right between a cop and a suspect. Now I ask who is really the villain and who was the hero? Well, we decided to check in with a panel of black crime writers on how they see their genre. Grappling with that tough question from California is author Rachel How's L. Hall, creator of the Detective Liu Norton. Siri's, Her latest book is called They All Fall Down, Rachel, Welcome. Thank you. I'm happy to be here. Also with us from California, is prolific, bestselling author Walter Mosley. He's written more than 50 books, including the Easy Rawlins. Siri's. His latest is called Trouble is what I Do. Welcome, Walter. Thank you. And also with us from Virginia is s a Cosby, author of Blacktop Wasteland. And my darkest prayer essay is his pen name will be calling him. Sean. Hi, Sean. Welcome to one, eh? Thank you for having me. I'm happy to be here. So show him your new book. Blacktop Wasteland was released A couple of weeks ago did to stellar reviews. The New York Times called it a roaring, full throttle thriller crackling with tension and charm. Introduce us to the story and its main character, Beauregard, or or Bug. All right. So basically Beauregarde bug mon th is an African American man who lives in rule himself. Eastern Virginia. He is a former getaway driver who went straight opened a small auto mechanic shop. And is trying to live. His version of the American Dream, However, unfortunately, is the book opens, He's under intense financial pressures. A new auto mechanic shop was open in town and is taking his business. His terminally ill mother is about to be removed or kicked out. I should say over nursing facility because of a clerical air with her Medicaid. He has a daughter from a previous relationship who just graduate from high school. It wants to go to college needs mind for tuition, and he's married and has two young sons. And he wants to give them a better life. A CZ. Well, as he says in the book he wants to you. Have his wife have a home That's not on wheels as actual foundation and so As the book opens. He is an extra bleed drawn back into the criminal life in a little faded jury, Heiss and as it is want to do in these types of novels that jewelry heist doesn't go as planned. And so But, ah, a lot of bull regards. Issues are are tired to his poverty, his race and where he lives at in Virginia in the role self Well, Rachel, what did you see other crime and mystery writers getting wrong when they write stories about policing or about race? I think it's ah, It's a problem when things are just kind of black and white on both sides when cops are either good or evil when the community members are either good or evil, I believe We're all kind of these various shades of gray and our interactions with each other are weighted with these shades of gray. I I write stories and characters who are connected to the community there, primarily mostly African American. And even in our dealings with the cops, we want them and we don't You know, it's a very strange relationship black communities have always had with law enforcement. Where we want them to do their jobs, But they we don't want you know them to, uh, basically do what they've done to many blacks. Throughout history from Nis on neck, two dogs to fire hoses to all of it and so literature we're we're committed to making sure that those kind of nuances are there in our stories because it is very complicated. Well, you created the Detective Liu Norton. Siri's. She's a Los Angeles homicide detective. She's a black woman. How does she capture some of that new once you're describing, um, see the child of the eighties. So like me, she grew up in Los Angeles under the Daryl Gates, LAPD Force so that force had a lot of a lot of problems. There are gangs within the cops system. There are places in l A that we as black kids and teenagers could not go. You know, being driving while black. That was a thing. And so Lou Norton grew up. You know, in that kind of air where you'd go see, do the right thing and you come out and they're riot cops. So her turning to the LAPD for this sort of belonging that she needed. She brings with that the sensibility at that black women tend to bring two things knowing what it is to be the other. Knowing how to speak the language, having been educated and gone away to school and coming back to share that and how you know how she deals with her community, seeing her as a savior and as an interval per S o. She brings that kind of every woman to her job, and she can talk to the people She grew up with better than someone who grew up on the West side and as a wife. White male, So she's a She's a boon to the LAPD. But she can also be seen as problematic because, you know, like a lot of women and black women. She's seen as Cassandra. You know, the myth of Cassandra know what Cheats. He's saying the truth, but no one believes her. So she boxes against the waves as he tries to make you know her community. Better than what it can be. Well, Walter, your first published book, The Classic Devil in a Blue Dress, features a black private investigator. Easy Rawlins. It came out 30 years ago. How have you seen the crime genre evolved since you first published that book who hasn't a hard question to answer that? I think that.