Friday, March 5, 2010

Best Served In Fiction

Today our guest is Dan Krokos, and we couldn't be more pleased. With characteristic modesty, Dan describes himself thus: "I’m a twenty-three-year-old gas station attendant/student who writes crime fiction. I can usually be found leaning against poles with various satellite equipment lingering in the background."

We met Dan at Bouchercon and can report with confidence that he is one of the good guys - friendly, charming, interested in everyone around him, and enthusiastic about the genre. Oh, and the guy is a damn good writer. We foresee an incredible publishing future for Dan, who already has one of our very favorite agents on his team.


I went to a bar one time. Had a fruity beer with my fruity friend. The drive was long, and I had work the next morning, so I cut out early. Thirty minutes, tops. Walked to the parking lot and saw my car was gone.

My car was gone.

I checked off a few possibilities: wrong parking lot, wrong space, I am dreaming, someone stole it. Then I saw the sign twenty feet down, tangled in a miniature forest of bushes. Private parking for a dentist. First I screamed at the building (I wasn’t drunk, I normally scream at inanimate objects), then I open-hand slapped the sign. Someone reported gunshots, but that’s a story for another time.

My story is this: I felt cheated. I felt scammed. I experienced rage.
I didn’t know it was a tow away zone, and now I had to pay out one hundred and fourteen dollars to some smelly tow truck drivers who prowl the streets for lots they have contracts with. I wanted to kill them. I wanted to go Travis Chase on their asses and roll a car through the storefront, then walk through the shattered mess with a gun in each hand. Maybe say something like: “I’m going to tow away your life.”

I didn’t do any of that. I paid my fine and moved on.

Revenge in fiction is not revenge in real life. My book features a pile of vengeance. My character is wronged and he does something about it, consequences be damned. It feels good. It feels brutal, too. It feels wrong at the same time.
Because aren’t we supposed to forgive? Has vengeance ever made anyone feel better? While writing my book, I constantly wanted to pull my character back. I wanted to tell him his actions weren’t going to lead to a rebalancing of the universe.

Morality aside, the logistics of vengeance seem impossible in most cases. Say tomorrow you come home and a loved one has been murdered in the kitchen. Maybe they were in the middle of making your birthday cake, and flour is mixed in with the blood. How dramatic. The police have no leads, no witnesses. You want justice, you want revenge. How would you go about it? In a book, you call up the guy who knows things and maybe he heard something and maybe you check it out and find out something else and soon you’re on the trail of the killer and you suddenly know how to fight with a pipe and ride a motorcycle.

You don’t do any of that, because you’re not Slevin Kelevra. Or the Punisher. Or Kevin Bacon in that one movie.

You sit at home and wallow and eventually heal. You do like Sophie and send red-hot mental poxes. You pay your fine and shake your fist at the tow truck driver when he’s not looking.
You read a story and revel in a character’s emotions as he or she does the things you cannot.

That’s why we read books.

19 comments:

Elisabeth Black said...

Dan, you're such a good writer.

Janet Reid said...

And now you see why my first reaction to Dan Krokos was "sign here Dan."

Susan Adrian said...

Ahh. VERY nice.

Cynthia J Faryon said...

I don't read crime fiction... until now

Harley May said...

Beautiful post. I'm a pretty big Dan Krokos fan. Thanks.

Sophie Littlefield said...

We'll miss you at LCC, Dan! Keep up your grueling training regimen for bouchercon :)

Bill Cameron said...

Which one Kevin Bacon movie? Tremors, right?

Rachael Herron said...

A-freakin'-men. (And man, I hate getting towed like that.)

Juliet Blackwell said...

Okay, I've posted TWICE and they've both disappeared, convincing me that Blogger hates me and that, yes, I might have to seek retribution. I'm feeling like I might even know how to fight with a pipe and ride a motorcycle ;-)
Thanks for stopping by, Dan! Hope to see you again soon--
Juliet

TH said...

well damn. i never knew i liked crime fiction.

Shane Stewart said...

Can't wait read your book. Good Luck!

Shane Stewart said...

Can't wait to read your book(s) Good Luck!

TrishaleighKC said...

Love your post. Can't wait to read your book. Pretty much what everyone else said. I'm sure you never get tired if hearing it though. I'm a big fan all ready :).

suzie townsend said...

Love your post. Love your book. LOVE Slevin. :)

Gigi Pandian said...

Damn, this makes revenge sound much more fun than I ever imagined. Look forward to reading your book!

Dan Krokos said...

Wow!! Thank you guys so much for commenting. Glad you all liked it. I plan on making another blog post sometime around 2011.

And Suzie, I don't like how my book gets a "Love" but Slevin gets all caps : )

Dan Krokos said...

Sophie, will you have a drink in my honor at LLC? Think of me languishing back in Ohio, wishing more than anything I could be there. See most of you in October!

Deb Vlock said...

This is a great post, Dan! I can't wait to read your book...

Sophie Littlefield said...

OK Dan, you got it, I will carry out that assignment gladly!