James Craig


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James Craig is a British writer and author of the very popular Inspector Carlyle Series. James Craig had worked as a journalist for many years before he decided to be a novelist. He had tried a few times to write crime fiction books before, but the projects never quite took off. He stopped trying altogether and instead focused on his family and his job. In an interview, James Craig admits that he only tried to write again after about a decade or so. He felt that he was more mature, and he was ready to try a crime fiction story of his own. And this was the conception of the Inspector Carlyle series.

The much-acclaimed series is a London-based set of crime fiction novels that feature a very prominent character – Inspector John Carlyle. James Craig says he got the concept for his central character after he read Michele Giuttari’s A Florentine Death. His series, Inspector Carlyle, is set around Covent Garden, and Craig makes use of and references historical London landmarks like Buckingham Palace. He describes his novels as European crime thrillers, full of unfinished business and moral ambiguities.

Apart from drawing his core concept from Michele Giuttari’s A Florentine Death, James Craig also mentions that being a huge fan of Donna Leon, he was able to get his inspiration from one of her major characters. He has a special and particular liking for the Venetian detective – Guido Brunetti. And this detective, he says, was probably Inspector Carlyle’s biggest inspiration. He draws similarities between the two characters from their personalities, their work lives, and even their family lives. While both characters are professionally jaded on several occasions, they are also fairly stable family men who value family ties.

He specifically chose to set the series in London even though he believes there are much more befitting crime thriller sets around Europe. He favors London because he feels like it has not been given as much attention as a backdrop set as it ought to have. Besides, London is one big metropolis with a large population of people from all over the world. You will find just about any character in London. The series, however, makes use of just a portion of London – between the West End shopping district and the financial district.

A lot of fictional crime thriller authors like to use the Inspector rank as a central character in their books. Many great characters have been born from this rank in some of the best crime fiction novels. James Craig tries to explain this common occurrence in his own novels. He thinks that the Inspector rank is a much-leveled rank. As a protagonist, he wants his central character to have access to both worlds – he can freely interact with victims without scaring them, and he must also be able to rub shoulders with the bigwigs as they are almost always the bad guys that need to be stopped. An inspector rank puts his central character in this appropriate situation which makes him a better character altogether.

John Carlyle is an inspector who works with the Metropolitan Police of London. He works out of Charing Cross station, and readers first encounter James Craig’s central character in the first novel – London Calling. The book was published in 2011. The book explores the intricacies of Inspector Carlyle’s relationships with the people around him. He is a very normal guy by all standards, and he obviously faces the same problems as the next guy and walks the same streets as just about everyone else. James Craig notes that he wanted his central character to have a bit of himself in him – his personal story was going to influence his main character’s story. And this has been applauded by critics who are of the opinion that it makes Inspector Carlyle more flesh and blood – he’s more real because of it.

Inspector Carlyle is a dour fellow and looks like one who is stuck in his job and the daily routine of being an Inspector of police. He is a family man with a fairly stable life; he knows his strengths and appreciates them. On the other hand, he is fully aware of his weaknesses too. He balances his family life and his workplace relationships quite well. He is also seen as a regular guy who puts much focus on particular cases that pique his interest.

As the series progresses, Inspector Carlyle also develops as a character. His character development doesn’t really happen in a dramatic sort of way or make such drastic changes. It is subtle as the story focuses mainly on what makes him the man that he is. Even as the novels get darker and the pace faster, Inspector Carlyle largely remains unchanged – the same regular bloke who wants to solve the mysteries surrounding the murders in his hometown.

Readers will obviously fall in love with Inspector Carlyle, who always seems to save the day. He is a street-smart cop who stops at nothing to get the bad guys and keep his city free from the shackles of gangs and morally corrupt individuals. The series also deals with real-time issues – problems that the world is facing in present times. This is something that many people can relate to, and it earned this crime thriller series a nod from even the toughest critics. Inspector Carlyle has to wade into the murky waters that bring him face to face with real danger. He has to deal with ruthless politicians who will not let anyone stand in the way of their political ambitions. He has to contend with the British aristocrats, his enemies baying for his blood, and even international cartels and gangs.

James Craig makes every novel different, and each has its own story. He has been hailed as possessing a very creative mind and a vivid imagination. His descriptions are crystal clear, and he delivers each story with an engaging tone. So far, he has successfully managed to keep readers glued to the novels – he has sustained his stories even though they revolve around one character – Inspector Carlyle.

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