Guest Spots: Beans on fiending for a good whodunit novel

Beans: End It AllBeans: End It All (Anticon, 2/15/11)

Beans: “Mellow You Out”

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You probably know longtime indie rapper and producer Beans from his work in Antipop Consortium, a hip-hop group that he formed in 1997 with High Priest, M. Sayyid, and Earl Blaize. You might also know him from his extensive list of collaborations with artists like Vernon Reid, Holy Fuck, and DJ Shadow. Or maybe it’s his recently released album, End It All, featuring contributions from the likes of Four Tet, Son Lux, Sam Fogarino of Interpol, and Tobacco, among others.

What you probably don’t know him from is your local book club. But maybe you should. Beans loves mystery novels.

Why I Love Mysteries and Crime Fiction
by Beans

ALARM, I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about reading how an author can depict someone getting cleverly murdered that really fascinates the shit out of me. Ask anyone who has ever toured with me, and they’ll probably say that I drink too much, but I’m also a voracious reader of mysteries and crime fiction.

The more gruesome and menacing, the merrier, I say. Bring it on! Personally, I don’t even remember how I got started reading mysteries. My father was the same way about reading, so I guess it runs in the family. As I was growing up, my dad used to read a book a night, but his genre of choice was science fiction. At the end of the day, I’d kill for a great whodunit.

In my reading taste, I tend to follow various authors and characters in a series that they’ve created. Currently, I’ve been reading Lee Child‘s ex-military, policeman-drifter Jack Reacher series. The series is both exciting and a constant page turner, as the character’s past is always catching up with him.

I was put on to Reacher by my man Malik. He loaned me the Reacher book 61 Hours, and I put him on to another favorite series of mine. I loaned him the first Parker book by Richard Stark, The Hunter.

Richard Stark is a pseudonym for author Donald Westlake. His novels follow the exploits of Parker, an immoral thief. I love all of the Parker books. University of Chicago Press recently re-issued all of the Parker books that have been out of print for a number of years, so you can image how disappointed I was to find out that Malik spilled wine on my book when he left it in his backpack. Sucks!

One of the grittiest series characters that I read is the Burke series, written by former child-protection lawyer Andrew Vachess. Seriously, the subject matter of all of the Burke novels is hardcore. Burke is a complex individual and self-appointed protector of children against freaks: child abusers. One of the Burke books, Sacrifice, is about the rescuing of a 9-year-old child who becomes a murderer after being sold to a Satanic cult by his parents, and then develops a split personality that strangles babies. The events that transpire in the pages are quite grim. I find myself sometimes not being able to finish, but the bright side to all of the Burke novels is that the villain always get his in the end — brutally.

Overall, I have a lot of authors that I really enjoy, such as: Chelsea Cain and her series featuring female serial killer Gretchen Lowell and her fractured love affair with Det. Archie Sheridan; Phillip Kerr, writer of the Berlin Noir series that follows honest detective Bernie Gunthur during World War II Nazi-occupied Germany; Linda Castillo and her creation, detective Kate Burkholder in Amish country; Nick Stone‘s Max Mingus righting the wrongs of Haitian child slavers and zombie assassins. I’m faithful to Michael Connelly‘s LA detective, Hiernomymus Bosch, and Jeffery Deaver‘s paraplegic forensic scientist, Lincoln Rhymes. Chester Himes‘ hard-hitting uptown detectives Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones are classic. Lawerence Block is one of my favorite authors.

Hard Case Crimes also is a series of books featuring various writers of the mystery genre writing standalone stories. So far, I’ve read everything they’ve ever been published. I get really upset without a good book in my hand. I fiend for a good book like sex, and look forward to exploring new books in this genre at every turn.

Truth be told, I have a desire to write my own book someday. Maybe I’ll call it Navigation To Nowhere. Maybe it will be about a musician who becomes a mass murderer. You know, the same old story, right? Maybe it will be about boy meets girl, boy loses girl, and then turns around and kills many, many people.

Who knows? I guess we’ll both have to wait and see.

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