An Interview with Boston Noir Writer Scott Von Doviak by Stephen J. Golds

Punk Noir Magazine

A haunted hotel. Boston. An art heist gone wrong.
Stephen King like narration mixed with Noir’s brutal, dark prose.
Charlesgate Confidential had everything I wanted from a crime novel and it did it all very well! It was easily my top read in 2020 and I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t checked it out so far!

1946: A group of criminals pulls off the heist of the century, stealing a dozen priceless works of art from a Boston museum. Some of the thieves are captured, some are killed—but the loot is never found. Forty years later, a college student finds himself on the trail of the missing art—and the multi-million-dollar reward. But three decades after that, the art is still missing, and as his classmates return to Boston’s notorious Charlesgate Hotel for their big 25th reunion, dead bodies keep turning up. Will the stolen masterpieces be discovered at last?

A breathtakingly clever, twist-filled narrative that moves from 1946 to 1986 to 2014 and back again—and is steeped in Boston lore, including three unforgettable seasons of Red Sox baseball—CHARLESGATE CONFIDENTIAL establishes Scott Von Doviak as a storyteller of the first order, and will leave you guessing until the final page.

“Charlesgate Confidential is terrific. A fun machine…the white-knuckle kind.” – Stephen King

Cheers, Scott and thanks for giving us some of your time. To get cracking, can you tell our readers a little bit about how you got started in the Literature scene?

I’ve been writing all my life, but my first published work was in nonfiction. I was a film critic for a newspaper in Texas, and that led to my first book, Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema, all about ‘70s drive-in movies featuring moonshine, car chases, redneck sheriffs, and the like. I followed that with two more books on pop culture, but writing fiction was always my goal.

You’re best known for your Hard Case Crime novel Charlesgate Confidential. How did that novel come into fruition and what were your inspirations for that story?

The inspiration was the Charlesgate building itself. I’d lived in it when it was a college dorm in the ‘80s, and knew it had a fascinating history and all these rumors about being haunted. Later, when it got converted into luxury condos, I envisioned a story taking place in several time periods involving the building. My first attempt was a time-travel story, but that didn’t work, so I settled on a crime story that would echo down through the years. I used the real Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist as the crime but twisted it to my own purposes.

What advice would you give to up and coming indie authors?

I don’t feel like I’m in a position to give advice. I still need the advice myself! Just know that all the darkest thoughts you have as a writer are shared with pretty much every other writer on earth, no matter how successful.

What are your plans for the future?

More crime novels, I hope. One is done, one is now in progress, and I hope they find good homes. On a personal note, I’m getting married in the not-too-distant future.

Congrats on the marriage, Scott! What is an issue you care about deeply?

Keeping some semblance of democracy alive in America. I’m not too optimistic about it.

What novel are you reading now?

I just finished The Hunting Wives by May Cobb and now I’m starting Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby.

What music are you listening to now?

ZZ Top’s Tejas, in honor of the recently passed Dusty Hill.

What did you last eat?

A breakfast taco.

If you could go on a drinking binge with 5 writers alive or dead who would you choose?

Well, Stephen King would be on the list, except that he stopped drinking long ago. I have the feeling most of my writing heroes would be scary drunks, but I’m hoping to tip a few back with my contemporaries at Bouchercon in New Orleans, pandemic permitting.

What would you like written on your gravestone?

“We never found the body.”

Scott Von Doviak

Scott Von Doviak is the author of three books on film and pop culture: Hick Flicks: The Rise and Fall of Redneck Cinema, If You Like The Terminator, and Stephen King Films FAQ. He has been a freelance writer for two decades, spending eight years as a film critic for The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, followed by a stint as film critic for Nerve. He has also been writing about television for The Onion’s AV Club since 2010. His work has appeared in The Hollywood Reporter, The Oxford American, The Dallas Morning News, Film Threat, and many other publications.

Von Doviak grew up in downeast Maine and am a graduate of Emerson College in Boston. He co-wrote the screenplay for the independent feature What I Like About You, which played the Slamdance and SXSW film festivals in 2000. His unproduced screenplay The Billionaire won Best Maine Feature Screenplay in the 2017 Maine Film Initiative competition.

His debut novel Charlesgate Confidential was published by Hard Case Crime in September 2018.

He lives in Austin, Texas.

Stephen J. Golds

Stephen J. Golds was born in North London, U.K, but has lived in Japan for most of his adult life.

He writes primarily in the noir and dirty realism genres and is the co-editor of Punk Noir Magazine.

He enjoys spending time with his daughters, reading books, traveling the world, boxing and listening to old Soul LPs. His books are Say Goodbye When I’m Gone, I’ll Pray When I’m Dying, Always the Dead, Poems for Ghosts in Empty Tenement Windows I Thought I Saw Once, Cut-throat & Tongue-tied, Bullet Riddled & Gun Shy and the story and poetry collection Love Like Bleeding Out With an Empty Gun in Your Hand.