The Interrogation Room – Dead-End Jobs Special – Tyson Blue and Nikki Dolson

Continuing my series of interviews to celebrate the release of the brand new All Due Respect anthology Dead-End Jobs: A Hitman Anthology, here are Tyson Blue (‘Killer In A Cage’) and Nikki Dolson (‘Good Samaritan’) discussing their respective contributions!

Firstly, how would you pitch your story to potential readers?

TB: Ray Vincent, a professional contract killer, walks into an FBI office in a small city in Georgia and turns himself in. Mayhem ensues.

ND: A killer, bruised from her last job, under the influence of oxycontin, and on her way back home, interferes in a kidnapping and finds a kindred spirit.

Themed anthologies offer a unique challenge. Did your story turn out how you expected?

TB: Yes, it did. This story had been percolating in my mind for a very long time, and when I heard about this anthology, I knew immediately that it would fit perfectly. I wrote it in about three hours. It had been a story looking for a home for over forty years.

This is the third story I have sold to one of Andy’s anthologies to be set in Larey County, Georgia, the fictionalized version of a place I lived for eighteen years about thirty years ago.

In an interesting aside, almost everything in this story actually happened. I’ll leave you to figure out which is which.

ND: Once I had the first line it flowed pretty easily. Laura has always been a little impulsive. in this story she’s high and becomes the queen of poor decisions. Laura always keeps her word though so once she’s in, she’s all the way in. For better or worse.

Laura is the main character from my first book All Things Violent and this story is only the second time I’ve written about her since that book. It was great fun to write it and now I want to write a sequel to that first book.

Who is your favourite fictional hitman, and why?

TB: Right now, it would have to be Billy Summers, the protagonist and title character of Stephen King’s forthcoming novel. He kills people for a living, having figured out a way to apply the skills he learned as a sniper in Iraq to make a living in the real world. And at the same time, he has a soft side for some of the people he encounters along his way.

ND: There’s so many great ones to pick from! I admit to loving John Wick (the universe created in that series is so detailed!) and Lawrence Block’s Keller was a big influence on me but honestly, my absolute favorite hitman is Sorter from Guy Ritchie’s movie Revolver. Mark Strong played him wonderfully.

If you could put together an anthology focused on a different criminal archetype, which one would you choose?

TB: I don’t know… a terrorist, maybe? It would be quite a challenge to humanize someone like that, don’t you think?

ND: The lovers of criminals. All these people who knowingly choose to be with criminals, to be their emotional support, are terribly interesting to me. Are they in the life or are they pretending? Are they ride or die?  Do they turn tail and run at the first sign of trouble? Or do they turn in their criminal significant other to keep themselves safe and out of prison? That’s the anthology I’d put together if I had the time and connections.

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