James V. Irving is an author in the mystery genre, known for his Joth Proctor Mystery Series with 16 books and counting. He is also a former journalist who has written about issues of race relations in America, among other topics. His latest book will be released soon on September 25th called “The Girl With Emerald Eyes”.

James (Jim) Irving is no stranger to the world of detective work. In his early years, he worked as a private detective before pursuing a law degree, which led to a lengthy career as a criminal lawyer. Jim is now the author of the critically acclaimed Joth Proctor mystery series, in which the detective investigates crimes in Washington, D.C.’s sordid underbelly. Imagine Batman, without cape and amazing gadgets, in a corrupted Gotham City. We recently got the opportunity to speak with Jim about his novels, Joth’s heroic abilities, his favorite fictional sleuths, and much more. 

Have you always been a mystery fan? What made you choose these books?

Yes, I’ve always appreciated mysteries, ever since I was introduced to Sherlock Holmes in my early adolescence. Detective and criminal stories, in my opinion, offer excellent story-telling templates. The structure invites you to construct a scene that is both familiar and unfamiliar, with changing circumstances that provide suspense and ambiguity. You’re in for an interesting journey if you can add fascinating individuals that work under duress to the mix.  

Friends Like These and Friend of a Friend are the first two volumes in the series; tell us about them.

Holly Sullivan is found dead on her sofa, apparently from a heroin overdose, in Friends Like These. Her former husband, Sully, and her brother, Paul, both claim the developable real estate she once possessed. Joth is Sully’s closest buddy and Paul’s college teammate, and he finds himself in the center of everything. Sully and Paul are both out of luck, but one of them is going to strike it rich. Both are ready to lie and deceive in order to get the land, and we are left to wonder what else they are capable of when individuals start showing up dead.   

Halftrack Racker, a former lacrosse All-American who operates a crooked but lucrative investment firm, is the titular character in Friend of a Friend. In a situation that challenges Joth’s own values against his ethical commitments, Joth leads him through legal examination. Track’s evil side is emboldened by Proctor’s success, and in the end, Joth must not only determine what justice needs, but also carry it out.   


You worked as a private investigator! Tell us a funny tale about those times.

Those were enthralling times. Days marked by the sheer exhilaration of accomplishment obtained by ingenuity and bravery interspersed by gloomy, occasionally hazardous, and frequently dull days. For a huge insurance firm, I handled a lot of fraud detection. I was despatched to collect evidence that a certain Mr. Wolf was faking the back ailment that prohibited him from working. I discovered that Wolf had changed his name to Mr. Fox and was running a phenomenally successful gentleman’s club and adjacent jewelry shop in Baltimore after a lot of legwork and record checks. I obtained the documentation I need, which included a stunning turquoise ring purchased with insurance company monies and worn by my boss until his retirement. I escaped by the skin of my teeth as well. Mr. Fox was furious when he discovered he was going to lose his tax-free monthly cheque from the insurance company. That, however, is a different tale.   

Outside of mystery, what are some of your favorite genres?

Fiction set in the past. These novels, like detective fiction, often center on corrupting human impulses like as envy, thirst for power, and greed, and so magnify the kind of human behavior we see on a more intimate and personal scale in the private investigator’s world.    

A sizable section of our audience enjoys superhero stories; what would Joth’s superpower be if he had one?

Invisibility is what Joth wishes for. He’s a bit of an introvert who prefers to stay out of the limelight. And if he could sneak in and out of sight at leisure, finding out the truth would be lot simpler — and less risky.

What would his kryptonite (strength) be?

Joth’s strength is also his vulnerability. He is devoted to a fault, and his devotion to friends and customers may often override his common sense, causing him to make blunders and poor judgments. He is diligent and tries to do the right thing, but when the demands of people he loves are balanced against his own, he might make judgments that jeopardize his own career and put him in danger.

Who, in your view, has done the best job portraying the PI on film? Jack Nicholson as JJ Gittes, Warren Beatty as Dick Tracey, and Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade are among our favorites.

The gold standard is Jack Nicholson in Chinatown, but the most realistic cinematic representation of a private detective, in my view, is James Garner in the old Rockford Files TV program. Rockford is as near to the real thing as it gets in terms of living style, the kind of cases he’s required to handle, and his attitude to his profession.

Is there a feeling of competitiveness between private investigators and police officers? The majority of films depict that connection as a competitive one.

For whatever reason, I’ve found the cops to be hesitant at best when it comes to cooperating with me. I won’t guess as to why, and I’ve seen plenty of exceptions to this general rule, but you normally work around or around them – and very carefully.

What are your thoughts on the current popularity of real crime? Is it the suspense/, the murder, or the small detective in all of us attempting to solve the crime? There seems to be a new documentary produced every week – is it the suspense/, the murder, or maybe the mini detective in all of us trying to solve the crime?

Detective fiction is sheer escapism with a real-world setting. People want to root for or against the different characters, and they want to watch how justice is carried out – or not. They also want to be able to relate to real-life people and events. This, I believe, is the benefit of detective fiction over science fiction, and that is why it is and will continue to be a popular genre.

When is the next book coming out?

I anticipate the publication of Friend of the Court before the end of the year.

Who would you want to see in the role of Joth in a film?

My daughter, who is well-versed in such matters, suggests Bradley Cooper or John Krasinski.

Visit https://www.jamesvirving.com for additional details.

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