It’s very hard not to become fond of likes of Bookie Bob, Harry the Horse or Dave the Dude despite the often quite despicable things they do. What you see on the page are people first; humanity doing what it does best, being human, irrevocably flawed and responding to circumstance with a twist of forgivable innocence. His characters are not portrayed as overtly cruel or hard, but rather observed from a respectful distance and as such you can’t help but accept and forgive them, even feel sorry for them. In fact I found it very hard not to find myself imagining that it would be rather a hoot to live among them with all the intrigue, feuding, larceny, kidnapping, murder, drug peddling and drunken debauchery that went with it.

As writers go he is my kinda guy, that is to say any writer who puts people before plot. Not that I have anything against the other kind of writer, but I wouldn’t want to emulate them. Plot, to me is something that grows out of the head of a character and crawls across the page on a journey of discovery. If I live to see 100, which I very much doubt, I will never lose my fascination for people and the weird and wonderful things they do. And I would hate to think that, as a writer, I missed out on an opportunity to sample something new or, mercy me, back off from a challenge.