What Got You Hooked on Crime, Louis?

Louis-Bravos-300x300The aptly-named Louis Bravos is a Japanese to English translator, blogger and writer, living in Melbourne, Australia. After three university degrees and three years spent in rural Japan, he is now working on his first novel and also writing short stories. He is a fellow contributor to the Crime Fiction Lover website and would love to see more Asian crime books translated. You can follow Louis on Twitter but will find he sadly neglects his own blog.

How did you get hooked on crime fiction?

I grew up reading a lot of genre fiction – Stephen King was my¬†favourite author as a child – but for some reason that stopped during¬†high school. After I finished university I went to live in Japan for a¬†while, and my range of reading material was pretty limited. I found a¬†book store with a small English language section, and one of the books¬†I picked up there was The Long Goodbye. In the next few months I read¬†everything Raymond Chandler wrote (except Poodle Springs, which I¬†still haven’t read. I don’t know if I ever will…) and from there¬†moved on to Golden Age detective fiction, also readily available in¬†Japan. Since then I haven’t looked back.

Are there any particular types of crime fiction or subgenres that you prefer to read and why?

I’ve been reading a lot of espionage lately. ¬†I tend to find an author¬†I like and read everything they’ve written. Now I’m reading through Alan¬†Furst’s WW2 spy novels, but before that I was reading noir, or police¬†procedurals. Previously, I’ve devoured Sj√∂wall and Wahl√∂√∂’s Martin Beck¬†series, and Andrey Kurkov’s surreal novels – almost crime fiction, in¬†a way. Next up I think might be David Downing’s John Russell series,¬†or Derek Raymond’s factory series of British noir novels.

What is the most memorable book you’ve read recently?

PM Newton’s Beams Falling, set in the early 90s in a Vietnamese¬†immigrant community in Sydney’s western suburbs. It tells the story of¬†a community torn apart by drugs and racism. I hadn’t heard of the¬†author before, but picked this book up because of a great review I¬†read online from the blog of an independent bookstore I really trust. And I have to say I was not disappointed.

If you had to choose only one series or only one author to take with you to a deserted island, whom would you choose?

Of course, if I was going to a deserted island I would pack¬†accordingly. Thinking strategically, I’d have to take an author who¬†has written several books, but whose works I’ve only read one or two¬†of. I’d probably go with James Ellroy, Lawrence Block or Ed McBain,¬†authors I’ve always been thinking I should read more.

What are you looking forward to reading in the near future?

I still haven’t read the latest Alan Furst. I’ve been putting off¬†finishing the series, because then it will be over and I’ll have to¬†wait for the next one to be published. I had the same problem with the¬†Martin Beck series, although at least this time there’s a chance that more¬†will be published.

Outside your criminal reading pursuits, what author/series/book/genre do you find yourself regularly recommending to your friends?

I enjoy a good epic – the Russian classics, or Moby Dick. I’m not sure¬†if others share my belief that Anna Karenina is a really fun novel. I¬†like to try anything that’s translated, and I often find myself in¬†bookstores buying books based on their covers.

Thank you, Louis, for sharing your reading passions with us. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who nearly cried when the Martin Beck series was over, and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard Anna Karenina described as ‘fun’ before.

For previous revelations of reading passions, see here. And if you would like to participate in the series, please let me know either in comments below or on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “What Got You Hooked on Crime, Louis?”

  1. Marina Sofia – Thanks for introducing us to Louis.

    Louis – I honestly think you can’t go wrong with Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct series. It’s terrific. And like you, I sometimes find myself going on almost a reading binge if I find an author whose work I really like. Glad you found that Chandler. I wish you much success with your novel.

  2. I’m with Louis on wanting to see more Asian crime being translated. Anna Karenina fun? Hmm! I must admit that I once listened to such an awful radio adaptation that I was thrilled and exicted to hear that train arriving – does that count?

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