Barry Crowther: How Long is a Piece of Rope

First of a new series in which I ask thriller writers the questions that really matter. A huge thanks to Barry Crowther, author of Missing, and Nothing (UK, US).

First, a little about Missing, $2.99 on for Kindle, £2.14 on

Debt collector Matt Spears isn’t having a good day. He’s being framed by the cops over an alleged assault and has inexplicably found himself indebted to the blind, but ruthless gangster, Vincent Barbour. When Barbour’s supposedly dead niece, Emma, surfaces in a graphic sexual video on a porn site, he asks Matt to find her in exchange for wiping the slate clean. Within a matter of hours, Matt is plunged into a world of sex, blackmail and murder. Trying to unravel the mysteries of a troubled young girl’s disappearance, he discovers the dark side of the porn industry, complicated family secrets, government  corruption, sadistic gangsters, and narcissistic celebrities who all come together to find a girl who is simply … missing.

Barry Crowther has made his home in San Clemente Southern California. Originally from Manchester England. He has had short stories published, this is his first novel on the eBook platform.

He continues to work and write on the follow up novel in the San Clemente sun with his three daughters, wife and chocolate lab Coney.


MISSING is a very engaging story with a highly satisfying ending, which was completely unpredictable. Crowther is a transplanted American, but writes like a British Mickey Spillane. There is violence and sex in this book but nothing overly graphic. Crowther is a native of Manchester, England and it shows in his vivid descriptions of the seedy underbelly of the city. Crowther does for Manchester what Ian Rankin does for Edinburgh in his Rebus stories. Rankin fans would love this book.
James A Anderson, Author of Deadline


1. Missing is way better than any of my previous novels but one day I’d really like to be as good as Tell No One by Harlan Coben. I sort of dodged this question with grace. I could have mentioned a couple of novels I have read that really upset me. The quality of writing was so bad, I threw them across the room. Now I read on my iPad, so I keep the novel chucking to a minimum 😉
2. You will just love my book if you enjoyed the Matt Scudder Series by Lawrence Block but if you’re a fan of Colin Dexter’s Inspector Morse then steer well clear
3. Happiness comes from…

the barrel of a gun.
4. How do you see the role of food in the contemporary thriller and where does MISSING fit into the spectrum?

Food plays a huge part in contemporary life. Think about when we were kids (I’m 45) so there was no McDonalds. If my parents went for a ‘fancy’ meal it was a local hotel. Eateries hadn’t been invented and Gordon Ramsey was playing soccer on a Scottish square of grass on some council estate. For MISSING I display more the effects of food. One of the characters loves food a little too much for her own good and feels she is a connoisseur of curry. Matt (the hero of the piece) falls prey to one of the curries. The effect is devastating on both ends.
5. How would it affect the direction MISSING takes if the action were moved wholesale to the set of Glee in chapter 7?

It wouldn’t change a thing. The action takes place in a porn producers office. I think Mister Shoo and the rest of the cast would fit right in.
6. When you’re writing, would you rather look out at the sea, or in at your thoughts?

It’s a fact that I can see the sea (or the ocean, over here) from my writing area. I can see the ocean right now as I’m typing this. Yes, I’m a very lucky fellow.
7. When writing, do you start at the beginning and keep going, or start at the end and work back?

I sort of hop around. I get the framework in shape in the form of an outline and then I write the first scene that I see very clearly in my mind. I use the excellent Scrivener software, which supports this method of working.
8. A great villain or a great hero?

A grrrrreat Villain. Much more fun.
9. MISSING will change the way a reader looks at…

 Gangsters in fiction. The modern Gangster is so intelligent that they are almost pseudo secret agents. They have enough money and tech-staff to buy the latest gadgets and keep the law one step off the pace.
10.How long is a piece of rope?

Really really short.

Barry, thank you, it’s been a pleasure!


~ by danholloway on April 4, 2011.

4 Responses to “Barry Crowther: How Long is a Piece of Rope”

  1. How long is a piece of rope? A great title for a series. The mention of Mr Block makes it very tempting. I had an interview from him earlier this year and I could hardly believe my luck. I also read a great review for his new Scudder novel today over at Spinetingler.

  2. Yeah, I saw that on Youwriteon, Nigel – nice work!

  3. Hi Dan, Barry,

    Great questions and great answers!


  4. Thanks, Susie, it’s been a pleasure getting to know Barry and his work.

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