First Writes: author Felix Riley discusses his 'Secret Service thriller' The Set Up
This issue’s debut author is Felix Riley, whose novel features a man trying to save the US from a devastating attack. Unfortunately, he’s on the run from the NYPD having been framed for murder
Give us five words to describe The Set Up?
Break neck secret service thriller.
What was the first book you read?
The first book I can remember was The Phantom Tollbooth. Sublime word play for children.
What was the last book you read?
Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. A powerful and original account of the Vietnam War.
Which book makes you cry?
The Grapes of Wrath. The milk of human kindness runs so very deep.
Which book makes you laugh?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The only book I’ve ever read where I’ve caught myself thinking, ‘You can’t say that!’
Which author should be more famous than they are now?
Richard Condon, author of The Manchurian Candidate and Prizzi’s Honor. The latter is a masterclass in how to write a character-centric thriller. That said, he also wrote some weird shit.
Which dead author do you wish was still alive today?
Shakespeare. I’d ask him, ‘Bill, which one is it: to be or bloody not to be? Make your mind up.’
What one thing would you change about the publishing world?
I wish it would come together and launch the definitive iBook website before Apple and Amazon turn publishing into their bitch.
What plans do you have for book number two?
It’s finished. My main character has to put his life on the line defending people he’d rather not.
The Set Up is published by Michael Joseph on Thu 28 Apr.