George Pelecanos considers him the leader of Noir’s new school, Bret Easton Ellis is already adapting his Follower into a HBO serie…
Meet Jason Starr, a novelist from Flatbush who sometimes gets like Psycho killa : Norman Bates !
I’ve been living in Flatbush -right in the middle of Brooklyn- until I was 18-19 y.o, then I left to go to college… I’m in Manahttan right now, Upper East Side.
I’ve heard you’ve had a lot of shitty jobs before you blew up.
A lot. I’ve been a dish-washer, a telemarketer, I’ve parked cars, I’ve written for a couple of financial magazines… I even had a job where I was operating pizza vending machines… you know, like they do for drinks, but with pizzas (laughs), that was stupid…
Whats does the expression « New York Minute » mean to you ?
The intensity of the life in Manhattan. Guys laying in the subway, yellow cabs… Wall Street.
Only Manhattan ?
Yeah… Like most people, I identify New york to Manhattan. Nobody don’t really think of all 5 boroughs when you speak about New York.
We do. People say anything can happen in a New York Minute, for better or worse… Do you have a Brooklyn example ?
(Long pause, he tries to remember one) Back In the 1980′s… I’m walking home from school one day, it’s a normal day and then, I see a guy attack this teenager and start slashing his face with a knife. It was brutal, bloody, horrific.
Do you know why he did it, or if the guy has been arrested ?
No, I never heard anything about it. This was in 1984, the height of the crack problem in New York, when violence was rampant. I have no doubt the attacker was high on crack.
Did the kid survive ?
Yes, it was just his face that was slashed and he was running, screaming for help.
You were 18 at the time, and you started writing later… Do you think seeing such a violent act “triggered” something about your imagination ?
I’m not sure, it might have… It was the first time I’d seen brutal violence. This happened right in front of my house, on Bedford Avenue, near the Long Island Railroad train tracks.
You never read crime fiction before going to college, what brought you to it ?
I’ve never been deep into books. When I started writing (in college), my style was already precise, the sentences were shorts, so I started looking for writers who worked like that. I began with Albert Camus, but then I found out he was influenced with James M. Cain, that The Stranger was inspired by The Postman always rings twice… I had started writing « literrature » novels and I realized my style was naturally feeling like Noir, so I got into reading Elmore Leonard’s books, then Jim Thompson’s, then others… and this whole thing became my world.
Now that you’ve get to know the guy, peep his Top 5 lists for eternity
1st things 1st : The Books.
Crime and Punishment (Fedor Dostoïevsky, 1866)
The Killer Inside Me (Jim Thompson, 1952)
Edith’s Diary (Patricia Highsmith, 1977)
The Rules of Attraction (Bret Easton Ellis, 1987)
Get Shorty (Elmore Leonard, 1990)
Then, the Movies :
The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946)
Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
Inglorious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009)
The Comfort of Strangers (Paul Schrader, 1990)
Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)