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Author Archive: "Roger Hobbs"

The Arduous Process of Having No Process

Most days, around noon, something very strange happens to me. It starts off with a headache. My head begins to feel stuffy and there is a slight pain behind my eyes. I feel distant from my body. Then, after a few minutes, a fog of unusual thoughts settles in. I stop thinking about the thousand little practical matters that run my life and start thinking about fictional problems and fictional places. I stop being able to maintain conversations. My eyes lose focus, and I can't stop staring off into the distance. I lose interest in whatever I was doing before; it doesn't matter what. I stop being hungry, being thirsty, being tired or sick. I can't pay attention to any of my bodily needs, however basic. I fall into a sort of trance. I feel hypnotized, like I'm not really in charge of my body anymore. I drink five or six cups of coffee to help with the fogginess, take a bunch of aspirin for the headache, smoke a few dozen cigarettes, and then sit at my computer and write.

I often don't get up for 12 or 16 ...


Five Books I Love for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day: the spirit of love is in the air. I've never been a big fan of the day myself — I can practically hear the sighs of disappointed lovers in the air, smell the copious amounts of cheap perfumes wafting down the avenue, and taste the low-quality imitation chocolate taped to the inside of the greeting cards in classrooms around the country. However, in the spirit of the day, I thought I'd share with you a few things that I love: five thriller novels so good, so spectacular, and so well-written that they changed my life. These are the books that I love more than anything. Books that, once read, shaped the way I would write, the way I'd think, and the way I'd live my life thereafter. And is there anything more lovely than a good book on a romantic day? I don't think so.

Enjoy.


Dangerous Knowledge

I'm sitting in a bar in North Seattle, the kind of place where you only end up well after midnight in a blacked-out stupor. The place has got a name, but if I said it here I wouldn't be allowed back. It's that sort of place. It's also the middle of January, so the heat is hiked up to the limit and I'm busting beads of sweat like a stuck perp. I'm trying to smother my sobriety with an orange juice and vodka, sitting in a stool belly-up to the bartender, way back by the bathrooms in the shadow of the jukebox. A man in a black-leather biker cut with a one-percenter patch hustles up next to me. He takes a seat and orders down a double rye, then pats a Marlboro red out of his pack and tears off the filter. Smoking inside is illegal in Seattle, but nobody here is gonna stop him. He lights up with a torch, drains the rye to the cubes, then turns to face me. He smells like motor oil and gas station aftershave, and if this guy hasn't been drinking ...


Top 10 Favorite Lesser-Known Criminal Slang Terms

So my book about a high-profile bank robbery, Ghostman, comes out today. I have to say, the excitement here is already reaching something of a fever pitch. Yesterday I received almost a dozen requests for interviews, nearly 50 letters from eager fans (or soon-to-be fans), and literally hundreds of Twitter and Facebook mentions, most of them stemming from the mostly positive review of my book by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times. I know it is only the very first day of publication, but I'm already tired of talking about myself for hours and hours on end. So, instead, today I'm going to take it easy and give you a blog post doing what I do best. Here is a short list of lesser-known crime slang I picked up over the course of my research for Ghostman.

10. Scatter: A scatter is a secret hiding place where an individual heister sleeps while he is gearing up for a job. The scatter is something of a sacred place — other members of the crew don't go there, and no work is ever done there. It exists ...


Everybody’s a Criminal

If you read Ghostman, my debut novel that comes out tomorrow from Knopf, you'll probably notice one thing right away — I love facts. I'm a guy who digs the little things. The book is filled with crisp detail and practical minutia on a variety of criminal subjects, from the banking industry to the drug trade and everything in between. Ghostman, someone recently told me, is like reading a how-to guide to the modern art of bank robbery.

In the first few chapters, for example, I describe how to properly slurp up a bone of crystal meth and what happens when you drink a whole bottle of cough syrup. I talk about how the government prints, protects, and distributes all the new money it prints, and I describe the security features of a casino down to the cash cages. I let you know how to get rid of a body so it is never found, and I tell you how easy it is to shoot someone under a kitchen table using a silencer made only of simple household products. I even go on about the relative demerits of ...


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