Moore explores the link between shopping and sexual desire in The Night Market (HMH, Jan.), a futuristic thriller.
Is The Night Market primarily a thriller, noir, or science fiction?
I’ll follow a story wherever it goes, without thinking about the boundaries of genre. That might drive marketing people insane, but I hope for readers it creates a story that’s true to itself. For me, The Night Market is a thriller. It’s built around a fast-paced plot—a race to solve a mystery and uncover a conspiracy. That said, I’d be thrilled if someone read the book and came away thinking: “Hey, wow. That was like Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick sat down together with a typewriter and a case of bourbon and just went crazy.”
Why did you decide to focus on shopping and mercantilism?
In The Night Market, shopping and mercantilism are boiled down to desire. In the carnal sense. The world is already headed in that direction. Think of any billboard you’ve ever seen with a seminaked woman selling something. This book just takes it to a logical conclusion. Human desire is a many-faceted thing. It can be magical and uplifting. It can also have some very dark consequences. Not that I presume to offer any social commentary—this is a thriller, after all—but I did want to explore that a little.
Did you have a year in mind for the novel?
It takes place around the year 2060. I’ve written three books now that have Dr. Henry Newcomb as a recurring character. He was one of the more important characters in The Poison Artist, and then played a minor role in The Dark Room. Both of those are in the present day, and Henry is a middle-aged man. In The Night Market, Henry is a very old man. I should add that these are standalone novels, and can be read in any order.
Why did you bring back the artist Bridget Laurent from an earlier novel?
The painter Bridget Laurent was the girlfriend of the main character in The Poison Artist. She had a rough time in that novel. I thought it would be nice to make clear in The Night Market that, in spite of everything, she carried on. But beyond that, her art was a counterbalance to the story’s steroidal consumerism. The book depicts a world where people will sell their souls for a handbag or a silk shirt. They are trading the immortal for the transitory. On the other hand, while art can be monetized, it transcends commercialism, so it endures.