Interview with Mike Ripley, Author of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Gourmets have the Michelin Guide, spy fans can now call upon Mike Ripley's Kiss Kiss Bang The Boom in British Thrillers from Casino Royale to The Eagle Has Landed.
Mike Ripley the author of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has probably read more spy books than anyone else on the planet. His book, available now in the UK and due for US release on September 19th (pre-order on Amazon) talks to Shane Whaley of the Spybrary Podcast.
They chat about Mike's love of British thriller books and why Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a ‘readers guide‘ rather than a stuffy literary criticism. I think this extract from the foreword written by Jack Reacher creator Lee Child describes it perfectly. Lee's words excited me and I could not wait to dive into the rest of the book.
‘Some of us had older brothers blazing the way and that is what this book is, the perfect older brother equipped with 20/20 hindsight, saying read this, and then this, and this and this’
‘Treat this book like a catch-up manual and fill in what we didn’t read the first time, some of it might be really good, some of it might recapture the feeling, which would be worth something, a book I might pay for indeed.’
(A massive thank to you Tom at Literary 007 for acting as the ‘fixer' and arranging this interview! Dinner on me in London Tom!)
Who Is Mike Ripley?
Best known for his award-winning ‘Angel’ series of comic thrillers, Ripley reviewed almost 1,000 crime novels in a twenty year span as a critic for the Sunday and Daily Telegraph and the Birmingham Post, as well as contributing to The Times, the Guardian and numerous magazines. Mike has probably read more spy books than anyone else on the planet and in his book, already out in the UK and with a release date of September 19th here in the USA he takes us on an exciting odyssey through the thriller landscape.
‘As gripping and well-researched as any of the thrillers he discusses, Mike Ripley's book also provides a fascinating social history of post-war Britain. A reminder of the relevance of this unfairly maligned genre. Check the room for bugs, settle down, and dive in.’
In this episode, Spybrary Host Shane Whaley discovers:
- What impact did thriller books have on Mike as a boy growing up in the 1960's?
- Why this is called a ‘reader’s history’ of classic British thriller novels rather than a literary guide to spy books?
- What drew him to want to write what we think is the most comprehensive guide on spy thrillers ever written?
- Where did the title of the book ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang' come from?
- Why Mike Ripley focused on spy thrillers published in the years 1953-75?
- What does he think constitutes a ‘thriller' and what are the sub genres within thriller?
- How Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was written and how Mike researched it?
- How Mike has an almost photographic memory for plots and characters from books he read 50 years ago!
- Why Kiss Kiss Kiss Bang is dedicated to spy author Len Deighton?
- What Mike Ripley thinks is the near masterpiece novel of the genre? (He cites two of them.)
- What ingredients are vital in the spy novel?
- What Mike thinks of the modern spy landscape and does he agree with John Le Carre who told an interviewer that he would never stop writing spy stories, because “as with love stories, the possibilities are limitless?'
- What advice the author of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang would give to budding spy writers?
- What is Mike's favorite spy book cover?
- Who does Ripley think is the most underrated spy book author from the era of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – 1953-75
And Much Much More!
Don't forget to join in the discussion with other listeners and spy fans on our Spybrary Facebook Discussion Group
Books mentioned in our interview with Mike Ripley, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Author
As you can imagine, chatting with a spy book expert like Mike, plenty of books were referenced. You should just go out and buy Kiss Kiss Bang Bang for yourself and read about all the wonderful spy thrillers books written in the ‘golden age' of 1953-75. (That will also save me from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.)
Don't forget if you share this interview on twitter – www.spybrary.com/15 with the hashtag #spybrary – you could win yourself a copy of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. We still recommend you support Mike by purchasing a copy of course. This would make a great second copy to scribble your notes on or to give to a loved one as a gift.
Other Reviews of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
The Fast, Gaudy World of the Modern Spy Thriller – Spectator Review
Ripley's Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – Shots Magazine
Think You Know A Lot About British Thrillers? Think Again – Deighton Dossier
Mike corrected me when I said that he has read more spy books than anyone else! He says Randall at SpyGuysandGals.com has read more and we won't dispute that!