Michael Stephen Fuchs — whose rather good nov­els I have reviewed for Pulp.net and on this blog — has writ­ten an art­icle for the man­fully-named www.shotsmag.co.uk. He writes about the dif­fer­ence between British and American authors in their treat­ment of guns. In sum­mary, the Brits are less expert.

I’ve made my own, mod­est con­tri­bu­tion to this trend by bungling a descrip­tion of fire­arms not once but sev­er­al times in the ori­gin­al pub­lic­a­tion of Déjà vu. I described the cyl­in­der of a revolver as the bar­rel (hey, it’s some­what bar­rel-like!) and was very loose in my treat­ment of the term ‘fir­ing pin’. Fortunately, an American read­er poin­ted this out — in a genu­inely kind man­ner — and I’ve put it straight for sub­sequent ver­sions of the book.

Says Michael:

This cul­tur­al dif­fer­ence also res­ults in some very palp­able dif­fer­ences between writ­ing about guns and gun­play by British authors versus American authors. With American crime and action writers – if you know what to listen for, at any rate – it’s easy to get a sense that they are writ­ing from first-hand exper­i­ence. With Brits, it’s equi­val­ently easy to get a sense they are writ­ing straight from research. This is because, gen­er­ally, at some point in the book, the British writer will let slip one small but enorm­ously glar­ing boner about the makeup or oper­a­tions of fire­arms. When this hap­pens, it’s like get­ting a brief glimpse around the edge of the card­board build­ing facade in a Hollywood set: noth­ing else has changed, all the oth­er details are still right. But, sud­denly, the whole thing just looks irre­triev­ably fake.

I’ll get m’coat.

Hell, I am bust­ing to fire a pro­jectile weapon. I want to know how much it stings one’s palm; what it smells like; how loud it is; does it make that PEEEEOW(OW)(ow) sound lib­er­ally employed on the foley track for The Professionals? I also wouldn’t mind hit­ting some­thing, as long as it’s made of clay.

I won­der if Michael has any in his cup­board.