Last night I had the opportunity to hear Joe Clifford in conversation with David Corbett at Book Passage in Marin. The occasion was the celebration of the launch of the second in Clifford’s Jay Porter series, December Boys. (The first, Lamentation, received an Anthony nomination for Best Novel of 2015.)
David Corbett is a deft interviewer—funny and entertaining in his own right, thoughtful and pointed in the questions he poses. In response, author Joe Clifford was lovable. I know Joe would dispute that, but I brought my 19-year-old with me and post event he declared, “I love Joe! He was great!”
Joe writes what I would call “literary noir”.
The mood is dark and piercing, the plot fast and focused. Both are supported by spare, elegant prose that is far more than a means to an end.
Like his protagonist, Jay Porter, Joe comes across as an imperfect man who owns his imperfections and in the process makes us all root for him. Joe Clifford’s willing to go personal, sharing stories of his first date with his wife, his devastating motorcycle accident, his battle with addiction. But Joe also talks writing and publishing with a professionalism that yields helpful takeaways every time I hear him speak.
I was happy to learn that Clifford has signed to write three more Jay Porter books. The only thing that would make me happier would be having Book 3 in my hands right now. Because nobody writes darkness tinged with hope like Joe Clifford.