Belfast crime-writing ace Sam Millar is the first novelist to be hauled down to
crimetimepreview headquarters for questioning. Sam has published six novels,
including The Redemption and The Darkness of Bones, as well as the
award-winning memoir On the Brinks. Here he reveals how Sean Penn
might have portrayed him on the big screen…
Your favourite British crime series or thriller on TV?
Life on Mars. I was totally hooked from the very first show. One of those
rare classics that only hits our screen every decade, if we’re lucky.
Favourite US crime series or thriller on TV?
Always loved The Sopranos, but then came the brilliant The Wire, and
knocked them off the top of my list.
Top TV cop?
Columbo. Oh, one more thing...
Which unfilmed book/character should be made into a TV drama?
Er, my Karl Kane series of books, which accidentally, are being considered
as we speak by Carnival Films. Sorry for such grovelling self-promotion.
If one of your novels were filmed, who would you cast to be the hero?
Liam Neeson, would be the obvious choice, as Karl Kane is a Belfast PI.
But when Warner Brothers bought the rights to my memoir, On The Brinks,
they were looking at Sean Penn to play me, which I found slightly bizarre,
if highly complimentary.
What do you watch with a guilty conscience?
Mad Men. I hate smoking and sexism, but I’ve become totally addicted
to the show and all its vices and non-pc jargon.
Least favourite cop show/thriller?
Heartbeat. A paradox title for a show with very few actors’ hearts
Do you prefer The Wire or The Sopranos?
The Wire (sorry, Big Tony).
Marple/Poirot or Sherlock Holmes?
Wallender – BBC or the original Swedish version?
The Swedish version. I find it grittier, even though fellow Belfastian,
Kenneth Branagh is in the BBC adaptation and doing a fine job.
Your favourite crime/thriller writers?
So many great ones, it’s hard to be selective. Cormac McCarthy,
Nelson DeMille, Jon Land, Declan Hughes, and two powerful crime
writers to watch out for in the future: Leigh Russell (Road Closed)
and James Thompson (Snow Angels).
Favourite non-crime/thriller author?
Graham Greene. Timeless writing.
I have two. No Country for Old Men, even though it wasn’t
half as good as the book, and The Long Good Friday, arguably
the best British gangster movie ever made, for my money.
You’ve been framed for murder. Which
fictional detective do you want to call up?
Jim Rockford. He mightn’t get me off, but
• Sam Millar’s latest Karl Kane novel is
‘The Dark Place’