Interview: Corey Recko

Please welcome Corey Recko, author of Death of a Kootch Show Girl.

Death of a Kootch Show Girl CoverWhat’s your idea of a perfect day?

A mix of writing, spending time with my wife and children, and doing anything fun, either outside of the home or just reading or watching TV or movies.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal? 

New Mexican Mexican food. Or Jerky By Art’s beef jerky (Green Chile and Habanero flavors are my favorites).

Which books/authors have influenced you the most?

Frederick Nolan, Robert Utley, and Leon Metz, all western history writers, had the biggest influence on me. Reading their books from when I was a teen began my love of history, and when I wrote my first book (which was nonfiction western history) I modeled it very much after their books. For fiction and other works, Mark Twain has been a big influence.

Do you listen to music when you write?

Not often. I get distracted by it.

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?

I’ve thought about this but I honestly do not know enough about chocolate to answer that.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?

I was in my car listening to the song “The Empty Bed” by Mick Ronson. The song opens with the narrator lighting a cigarette and ends when the cigarette is done. I thought this would be a good device for something that takes place in the 1950s. I thought maybe I should write a book that takes place in that time period, started coming up with ideas, and by the time I was home I had a rough idea of what I wanted to write worked out in my head.

What themes to you regularly (re)visit in your writing?

In each one of my books there has been a tragic death.

Tell us about your main character.

He’s a reporter with a small-town paper. He wants something more out of life and hopes that covering the murder at the carnival will be his big break. He’s passionate and maybe a little bit crazy. He’s a good reporter though we never see his writing.

He has a little bit of the insanity of Hunter S. Thompson with the style of Joseph Cotton. And he’s named Brian after Brian De Palma. They’re both storytellers, just in a different way.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?

Dashiell Hammett , to talk to him about his time as a Pinkerton detective, Ian Fleming, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Bloch, James Neff to discuss the Sam Sheppard case, and, can I finish with an author who doesn’t write mysteries? If I’ve been given the power to resurrect authors, I’d have to include Mark Twain.

What’s next for you?

I’m researching a few stories from nineteenth century territorial New Mexico.


Corey Recko’s first book, Murder on the White Sands: The Disappearance of Albert and Henry Fountain, won the Wild West History Association’s award for the “Best Book on Wild West History” for 2007. New Mexico Magazine said of the book, “The story moves along like detective fiction . . . .” Of his second book, A Spy for the Union: The Life and Execution of Timothy Webster, the Civil War News review of the book concluded, “Just about everyone will find something to like in this tale of Civil War espionage that mixes in portions of heroism, intrigue, cowardice and betrayal.” Along with books, Recko has written articles on a variety of historical topics for magazines and historical journals and has become a sought after speaker (including an appearance on C-SPAN). Death of a Kootch Show Girl, a murder mystery about a death at a small-town carnival in 1953, is Corey Recko’s first novel.


6 thoughts on “Interview: Corey Recko”

  1. Welcome, Corey! Your MC and the cigarette burning device kinda have a noir vibe…very cool! I wonder if you would enjoy pepper infused chocolate–like ancho or chipotle?


  2. Thanks for the welcomes! The reporter character was loosely based on Thompson in my first draft. His way of speaking as evolved since then, but he did keep some of Thompson’s insanity.

    And I’m not sure about that pepper infused chocolate, I normally haven’t liked spicy sweets. I do like some chocolate (Swiss especially), but really didn’t know enough about it to begin answering that question.


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