Chris Ewan is the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of The Good Thief's Guide to… series and several successful thrillers. His latest, Long Time Lost (available February 7, 2017), is a fast-paced standalone thriller that features a protagonist who specializes in the unique and highly illegal service of relocating at-risk individuals across Europe with new identities and new lives.
Read this exclusive Q&A with Chris Ewan about his latest novel, what he's currently reading, and whether we might see a return of the good thief Charlie Howard—make sure to sign in and comment at the bottom for a chance to win a copy of Long Time Lost!
What do you want readers to think or feel after finishing this book?
We’ve all experienced the sensation of being followed. We’ve all walked down a dark alley or a quiet street and felt that unsettling prickle of vulnerability. I hope in Long Time Lost that sensation is made real for the reader, but I also hope readers will really come to care for Nick and Kate and be with them every step of the way as the forces that are following them begin to crowd in.
What would be your murder weapon of choice?
A high-end hitman. Keep it professional. Keep my hands clean.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just been rereading Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. I usually go back to at least one Chandler a year, and The Long Goodbye happens to be my favorite. I’ve also been reading Eva Dolan’s Watch Her Disappear, which is as beautifully crafted, sensitive, and informed as all Dolan’s work, and I’ll shortly be starting in on Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips.
What television show are you currently binging?
The West Wing. It’s nice to dream about a Bartlett presidency, but in coming back to the show it’s been a real pleasure to delight in all those great episodes I remember (“Two Cathedrals”!) and rediscover the many I’d forgotten.
Describe Long Time Lost in 5 words.
A thrilling chase around Europe.
What crime and mystery writers did you grow up reading?
I was a huge fan of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books, and one title that will always stick with me is Ian Serraillier’s The Silver Sword (which, thinking about it now, could be the first thriller I ever read). After that, it was on to Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, and from there to Agatha Christie. I have my local library to thank for most of those.
Who is your favorite fictional crime-solving sleuth?
Just one? Really? Recently, I’ve been reading a bunch of Michael Connelly’s novels, so Harry Bosch would have to rate highly. For the best of the unconventional PIs, I’m a big fan of Sara Gran’s Claire DeWitt. But if you forced me to pick only one, it would have to be Philip Marlowe.
Long Time Lost deals with a protagonist, Nick Miller, who specializes in the highly illegal art of relocating at-risk individuals. Your mystery series features a professional (and admittedly lovable) thief. What is it that draws you to writing about characters who can't follow the rules?
It’s so much more interesting to break the rules than follow them, isn’t it? (Or, better still, to make up your own rules.) It seems to me you only get to really know a character when you test and stretch them, and there’s no better way of doing that than by taking a character like Nick Miller, who lives in the shadows and does the wrong thing by choice, and seeing how he reacts in a situation that forces him to be noble. In the case of Nick, he puts everything on the line to protect his clients, and it ultimately jeopardizes the one thing he values more than anything else.
Do you think we'll be seeing any more of Charlie Howard? Perhaps it's time the good thief made his way to the states again…
Ah, I hope so. I’m always keen to get back to Charlie and take him out of Berlin and on to his next adventure. He just about survived Vegas, so I’m sure he’d relish another stateside adventure. Plus, you guys have so much good stuff to steal!
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Chris Ewan is the author of the standalone thrillers Dark Tides, Dead Line, and Safe House, which was named by The Telegraph as one of the top ten crime novels to take on vacation, and the Good Thief mystery series. The first in the series, The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam, was named one of the “best books for grownups” by Publishers Weekly and AARP The Magazine, and one of the best thrillers of the year by the London Times.