"A master of mood and atmosphere” (New York Times), Colin Harrison is the author of six thrillers, including Manhattan Nocturne, The Havana Room, and his latest, The Finder, a tale of global intrigue that reveals New York in all of its 21st-century splendor, greed, violence and desire. He spent six years as deputy editor of Harper’s Magazine and is now vice president and senior editor at Scribner. One of many critically acclaimed authors who will be appearing at the Parkway Central Library during the second annual Philadelphia Book Festival on Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18, 2008, Mr. Harrison recently took a moment to chat with us about some of our favorite topics.
What role have libraries played in your life?
Libraries are sacred places in that they hold and preserve our history and culture. I’m a great admirer of libraries. And they’re a great place to write, too; I composed part of this new book in two public libraries, in Riverhead, NY and in Southold, NY.
What was your favorite childhood book?
I read the mass market paperback of The Godfather when I was about 12 and nothing was ever the same again….
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Too many to name. I like all of Shakespeare’s Fools, I like Updike’s Rabbit Angstrom, I like the Chandler heroes, I like Batman.
Who are the three authors you think everyone should be required to read—which books would you start with?
I understand the spirit of the question but I don’t think people should be required to read certain books. That being said, they should be forcefully introduced to those certain books. You could make a good case that Americans should read All the President’s Men. In that vein, they should read Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies.
If you couldn’t write, what other job would you like to have?
Well, I have that other job; I’m an editor and have been for 20 years. I think being a detective could be pretty interesting, if I could survive the human misery I’d see.