Do you consider a crime novel or thriller without at least one decent food scene lacking? Maybe it’s just the cook in me, but if there isn’t one well described tasty sidestep, a taco--even a great cup of mud described, I just feel cheated. There are measures to a person and one is what they eat. Please note-- I’m not carping about dainty cozies that cheerily exclaim “Recipes included!” as those books, for me at least, are like looking at really, really bad Christmas sweaters while sucking on a car battery.
Re-read old Pelecanos--CLICK! a craving for pan-fried eggplant or halfsmokes at Ben’s Chili Bowl. Cruise threw a Kaminsky Lew Fonesca novel and I end up slashing across three lanes for a Dairy Queen. Last summer’s opening to Duane Swierczynski’s Severance Package? Potato salad will never be the same.
Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef gadfly and crime writer in his own right (Bone in the Throat, Gone Bamboo, The Bobby Gold Stories), once wrote “I am deeply suspicious of any cook who is less than enthusiastic about sex, music, movies, travel—and LIFE.” Hear, freakin', hear. Bet Tony would agree that good writers embrace all passions. Leave out food, dude, and I'll be leaving you on the shelf.
KIERAN SHEA’s fiction has appeared in dozens of venues including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Thuglit, Dogmatika, Word Riot, Plots with Guns, Beat to a Pulp, Crimefactory, and Needle: A Magazine of Noir ...as well as in some beefy-looking anthologies most of which will make you question the tether of his shiny, red balloon. To his self-deprecating astonishment he's also been nominated for the Story South’s Million Writers Award twice without sending the judges so much as a thank you note. He co-edited the satiric transgressive fiction collection D*CKED: DARK FICTION INSPIRED BY DICK CHENEY and his debut novel KOKO TAKES A HOLIDAY is out now from Titan Books. Kieran divides his time between 38°58′22.6″N- 76°30′4.17″W and 39.2775° N, 74.5750° W.