Patricia Highsmith 's Ripley books - because of the sense of foreboding that saturates her stories and her insight into the strange character of Ripley. The freedom of unconventional thought that her stories have, inspires me - but it is a tragedy that she was so racially prejudiced; it's difficult to forget this and read her work without my being prejudiced against her. She was an atheist and a democrat and I find it hard to understand how she combined this with such terrible bigotry.
Ross Macdonald - for his strong storytelling and strong dialogue. He comes from a crime writing period in the USA that for me is story-telling at its best. His protagonist, Lew Archer, is a hardboiled private eye and Macdonald writes with energy and with real quality, stories that make his books hard to put down. Macdonald acknowledged the influence that Dashiell Hammett had on him while I feel that my writing is influenced by that period and genre rather than any particular writer.
Raymond Chandler - for his wry observations of human behaviour and his dry ironic dialogue. Chandler wrote pulp fiction which was published in Black Mask because he needed the income - he raised pulp fiction to new heights. His writing is dynamic and page turning, particularly his sardonic descriptions of his characters. Although he didn't always resolve his plots his books always made compulsive reading. I believe that story is what fiction writing is about. And although I have not necessarily fully worked out the plot when I start I will have a skeleton story to build upon - so that my characters are forced to face the many challenges that they will encounter in the story; and a plot structure that they will inhabit. Interesting characters develop from good story.
Gogol - although not exactly a crime writer I love his engaging short stories that contain elements of crime, in an existential way. I have often been tempted to talk directly to the reader as Gogol does but in my fiction it would take the reader out of the environment I have created. Gogol's writing at times verges on the surrealistic and it is this that fascinates me because the surrealism is under the surface and leaves me constantly smiling as I read his work.
About the author: Based in London AW.Rock has been a regular on the Soho scene since the 1960's working in various sectors of the entertainment industry.
Soho Honey by AW. Rock (published by Clink Street Publishing 5th May 2016) is available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit sohohoney.com and follow on Twitter @SohoHoney, Facebook and Instagram sohohoney .