Book Brahmin: Mark Pryor

photo: Alia Michelle Photography

Mark Pryor is the author of the Hugo Marston mystery novels (The Bookseller; The Crypt Thief) set in Paris, France. He was born and raised in England, where he worked as a newspaper reporter in Essex. Now he's a prosecutor for the Travis County D.A.'s office, where he's handled felony cases including rape, robbery and murder. He is the creator of the true crime blog D.A. Confidential. Pryor has appeared on CBS News's 48 Hours and Discovery Channel's Discovery ID: Cold Blood and has written for the Huffington Post and His new book is The Blood Promise (Seventh Street Books, January 14, 2014).

On your nightstand now:

The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas, The Blackhouse by Peter May and Confessions of a Sociopath by M.E. Thomas.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. That book is a beautiful tale of the power of the imagination.

Your top five authors:

Alan Furst, Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Eric Ambler and Fred Vargas.

Book you've faked reading:

I can't bring myself to pretend I've read a book when I haven't, but the book I'm slowest to admit I've not read is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Original, irreverent, funny and subversive--four qualities I'd like to exhibit more often, in life and in my writing.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Do people really do that? I won't discount the importance of a good cover, but I can't imagine buying a book solely for that reason.

Book that changed your life:

Don't think ill of me, but Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi. The book opened my eyes to the possibilities of evil in the world, and also the struggle of the good against truly dark people. With his book, my fascination with crime began leading to a career as a police reporter, and then a prosecutor.

Favorite line from a book:

The most recent one I can think of comes from a story (Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason) in which an innocent woman has decided which of two men to trust with her life, both of whom have killed people:

She pounded on the hood of the car and yelled, "Just tell me one thing!" Frozen in the expectation of a rhetorical hailstorm, Jason didn't even breathe. "Just tell me I didn't take up with the wrong f**king murderer!"

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Any of the early Adventures of Asterix the Gaul by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo.

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