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Bay Tree News

(Gijon, Spain, EFE)

The American writer William C. Gordon has reclaimed the style of the 60s in his crime novels, which he presented today at the Semana Negra (Noir Week) in Gijon.

Gordon is considered by critics to be the last survivor of the true genre because he preserves the original clues of the noir novel. Gordon has said that he refuses to use technology to solve the cases. In his novels the investigators don’t need DNA tests, computers or cellular phones, they only use their intuition, a precise methodology and intelligence.

“The idea is to use the brain to face the problems step by step, solve the criminal case and find the assassin,” he said today at the press conference.

Born in 1937 in Los Angeles, the author was in the U.S. Army, he owned a bar and worked as a lawyer in San Francisco. His wife, the Chilean writer Isabel Allende, pushed him to write noir novels.

Gordon created the character of Samuel Hamilton, a newspaper reporter who is the protagonist of his novels The Chinese Jars, King of the Bottom, Fractured Lives, and The Ugly Dwarf. “The protagonist is a reporter and not a private eye or a policeman precisely to avoid technology in the investigation,” explained the author.

In the first novel Samuel Hamilton is a ruined man, a drunk and a loser who needs help from others, but in the other two novels there is an evolution in this character: his life improves, said Gordon.

His father was the inspiration for title character in The Ugly Dwarf, whom he describes as an emotional dwarf, shameless and a womanizer. Gordon agrees with Ernest Hemingway in that “all novels are somehow autobiographic.”

His father’s assistant and mistress inspired the character of the dominatrix, who is the dwarf’s lover in the book. The writer has said that “for revenge and because he hated her,” he wanted to portray a negative image of the woman, but the unexpected result was that the readers sympathize with her.