Debbi Mack interviews crime writer Bob Hartley on the Crime Cafe podcast.

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Unfortunately, I can no longer provide transcription show notes, but will resume doing so when finances allow. I have tried to note at what time various discussion topics come up in include a few teaser quotes from the interview.

“I grew up on the far West Side of Chicago, and that was the world that I grew up within. … During that time, there was a lot of economic turmoil going on in the Seventies, and I witnessed it. A lot of racial turmoil, as well, and I witnessed all of that, and that has put a mark on me. I have difficulty writing about anything else.”

“Although I’m certainly glad that [North and Central is] looked upon as a noir novel—it captures that time and so forth—I think of it as a metaphor for the system itself. A lot of what we’re experiencing right now. A lot of low-paying jobs, a lot of people without any real … well, without a lot of hope.”

“Human beings like to think they’re in control, but in reality, as we found out recently, you’re not in control. And so we scramble to find some kind of control when we really don’t have it. … So, we’re constantly trying to do that, but in reality, sometimes the situation … you have no control.”

About the influence of Chicago writer, Nelson Algren: “When I read his books, I saw somebody who was looking at a neighborhood and actually writing about people who aren’t represented in fiction very often and captured it very well. … Even the minor character, if you were to follow that character, if you were to follow that character out the door, you would be experiencing a story that might just be as compelling as the one you’re reading. That’s tough to do, and Algren did it very well. If you’re saying I’ve come close to it, that’s great.”

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