Peter Rozovsky is the creator of the popular and award-winning blog, Detectives Beyond Borders, which focuses on crime fiction written outside the United States. For those not familiar with Peter or his blog, an anecdote from last year’s Bouchercon will give an idea of the regard with which he is held in the crime fiction community. No less an authority than Ali Karim found himself stuck for the name of a foreign (to Americans) writer, and solved his dilemma by asking if Peter Rozovsky was in the house. Peter was, and he knew the name Ali was searching for. No one was surprised in the least.

His encyclopedic knowledge is matched by his generosity of spirit. Upon learning I was at my first Bouchercon and feeling a little uncomfortable at not really knowing anyone, his response was, “Do you know Scott Phillips? Scott! Come here. This is Dana King. Dana, this is Scott Phillips. Scott wrote The Ice Harvest.” And, just that quick, I knew someone.

Peter recently was gracious enough to take the time to submit to some questions about his blog and international crime fiction in general.

DK: How did Detectives Beyond Borders get started?

PR: Traveling had long been my preferred recreation, and I'd been reading crime fiction from outside the U.S. for a few years. I don't remember what spurred me to begin the blog in 2006, but once I did, my ex-colleague Frank Wilson, my newspaper's book editor at the time and a relatively early entrant in the field of blogging about books, helped me out. That was my first example of camaraderie among bloggers.

DK: You post every day, sometimes more than once. How do you find the time and energy to keep up that pace along with the demands of your full-time job as copy editor for the Philadelphia Inquirer?

PR: Novelists will tell you that the way to get anything written is to write every day. Blogging is my writing; I write every day. I lavish great care on it, but it does not take all that much time. Even a longish blog post is not all that long. Neglecting domestic responsibilities also leaves me more time for writing.

(Read the rest of the interview at One Bite at a Time.)

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Comment by Dana King on June 18, 2009 at 6:37am
The character of Lisbeth Salander was one aspect of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO I tought was exceptional. She's a fascinating character, and would have been worth the price of a (significantly shorter) book on her merits alone.

I've not read CHILD 44 for some fo the same reasons Peter mentions above: I automatically distrust "universally hailed smash successes." They often catch some chic wave, and the book winds up being far less than the hype it generated.
Comment by I. J. Parker on June 18, 2009 at 5:07am
Yes, Lisbeth Salander. She was a powerful character and exceptionally well-drawn (given that the author was male). There was prhaps a bit too much graphic sadistic sex. Such things are often chosen to guarantee sales, and to my mind we need not have had those details beyond the facts of what was done to her.

Child 44 contains an unconscionable betrayal.
Comment by pr on June 17, 2009 at 9:43am
At least she didn’t call herself “Freddy.” I was wary of "Child 44" out of the same general wariness for universally hailed smash successes. And maybe I was just a bit jealous of the author's young age.

I presume the character you meant in "Girl WIth the Dragon Tattoo" was Lisbeth Salander. That's interesting because the book's partisans cite her as well, sometimes in extravagant terms.
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”
Comment by I. J. Parker on June 17, 2009 at 9:01am
And while I'm in an irritated mood, I also did not care for CHILD 64 (or whatever number it was).
Comment by I. J. Parker on June 17, 2009 at 8:58am
I'm not at all hesitant -- as folks here know. I've only read the first Larsson novel and thought it had its moments (mostly involving the character of the girl) but was overall nothing special. Now Fred Vargas is special, but I detested the only book of hers that I read. Maybe that's a taste issue. I don't know. I confess I approached it with some irritation over her first name.
Comment by Dana King on June 14, 2009 at 9:19am
I read DRAGON TATTOO with mixed emotions. Many of the issues I had with it can well be attributed to "journalist's first novel" syndrome. I may give Book Two a chance after all.

Comment by pr on June 14, 2009 at 5:35am
Thanks, Norm. I have heard from Larsson partisans that each of the books is better than the last. I have also heard the occasional heresy that the first book is sometimes slow going, but yours is the first attempt I've seen to explain this: that it reads like a journalist's debut novel.

I don't begrudge Eva Gabrielsson, Steven T. Murray or the publishers one cent ot the money they earn from this. It's just that I resent the assumption that everyone has to read this -- or any -- book.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
Comment by Uriah at crimescraps on June 13, 2009 at 9:58pm
Peter, I too was hesitant about Stieg Larsson especially after reading Tattoo which was rather slow but The Girl Who Played With Fire was much more lively. The publicity blitz may have been a bit over the top but I understand Millennium three The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest is even better than Fire. The translator of the Millennium trilogy Reg Keeland [Steven Murray] is a nice guy [as you know from Crime Fest in Bristol] and needs the royalties. ;o)
Indridason is a much more experienced novelist, and Larsson's first book does come over as a bit like a journalist writing a debut novel.
The battle for the International Dagger will be close and I have a suspicion that Johan Theorin Echoes From the Dead might win. Theorin has won Swedish best firstt novel, Swedish Best novel and the Nordic Glass Key with his first two books. Larsson won Best novel and two Nordic Glass Keys with his first [and unfortunately last] three novels.
Interesting interview, well done.
Comment by pr on June 13, 2009 at 10:17am
Thanks for the exceedingly generous comments, all, including Dana, and thanks for some good questions.

In re Stieg Larsson, I feel a certain sympathy for the backlash that attends any great success. A recent comment on the International Dagger shortlist praised Arnaldur Indriðason and added that Arnaldur was "much better than Larsson." Larsson's fans can take consolation that their man is the standard by which all international crime fiction is judged these days. And thanks, I.J., for noting my hesitation or caution about Stieg Larsson. That's all it is; I make no judgments. I hesitated with Fred Vargas when she first started gathering raves in the English-speaking world, and I've since become a fan. That could happen with Stieg Larsson as well.
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”
Comment by I. J. Parker on June 13, 2009 at 4:45am
Excellent interview! You asked all the right questions, and Mr. Rozovsky is an interesting man. I was particularly taken with his hesitation about Larsson. And Van de Wetering was generally very, very good: Police procedurals with a special twist: cops who approach life and crime with the detachment of a Zen monk.

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