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Interview: Lenny Bartulin by Gayle Surrette
Cover Artist: Photo by Tom Williams
Gumshoe Review *Interview  ISBN/ITEM#: INTLBartulin
Date: 29 January 2010

Links: Author's Blog / Facebook / Review: Death by the Book /

Lenny Bartulin lives in Sydney, Australia. He has previously published poetry in Heat and Meanjin. His first Jack Susko mystery was published in Australia in 2008 and entitled A Deadly Business. It's just been published here in the states as Death By the Book. The second book in the series is Black Russian.

Lenny was kind enough to answer a few question for us this month.

Gumshoe: Having checked out some reviews of Death by the Book under it's US and AUS title (A Deadly Business, it seems many reviewers were confused about whether it was a serious entry in the hard-boiled loner/noir segment or a spoof of same. I thought it was a ripping good story. What's your take on this comment?

Lenny: No spoof intended! When I discovered hard-boiled/noir literature and film noir, too I was completely blown away by its story-telling power. In a contemporary sense, I felt that it still had so much to offer and I wanted to tap in on that.

Gumshoe: We've noticed that often books released in other countries first get a new title when published in the US. Since this happened to A Deadly Business, which became Death by the Book, do you have any insight into this trend? Or is it a way to get readers to buy two copies of the same book?

Lenny: I think it's more to do with each market being different and the titles reflecting what publishers think will work better/appeal more. (Though I certainly feel like I've got two books for one!)

Gumshoe: Okay, I read your blog entry. What are the five books you wish you'd written and why?

Lenny: Oh geez...okay, first to pop into my head...(in no particular order)

    - Jack's Return Home by Ted Lewis: because it's like polished steel. Hard and tight and bleak, yet in its own way, beautiful.

    - The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler: among other wonderful things, the greatest opening chapter in the history of literature.

    - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson: because each time I read it I get the same goosebumps I got as a kid.

    - The Blonde on the Street Corner by David Goodis: the writing is just terrific. There's a fight scene in it that's done better than Hemingway...

    - Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: close to perfect in every way. The English equivalent of The Great Gatsby.

(see how I cleverly slipped a sixth book in there?)

Gumshoe: Is there going to be a third Jack Susko? What are you working on now?

Lenny: Yes, most definitely a third Jack. I'm 10,000 words in and having a ball. After that, a stand-alone crime novel to be set in Tasmania...

Gumshoe: What has surprised you most about your readership and their response to your novels?

Lenny: Im always chuffed when wonderful elderly ladies tell me how much they enjoyed the books.

Gumshoe: Any question you hope someone will ask but they don't? (What would you answer?)

Lenny: Question: Can we make a film of the Jack Susko novels?
Answer: "Yes."

Gumshoe: Thanks for your time.

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