Welcome to our continuing Fiction Friday series. We have a little time off I see … no wonder this post is getting longer … but we’re still spilling our guts here every week to help you find great reads in the mystery-suspense-thriller genre. I previewed this new series earlier, so I don’t need to repeat it … other than to remind you that I intend to stimulate your discovery of the good, the bad and the only genre where a ranch breakfast is a steel metal jacket dipped in cordite.
Mostly, we’re just taking a break to have a little fun. [All names in Bold Italic ... BLACK for authors, titles in GREEN, characters in ORANGE ... except URL references in RED. No affiliate links]
A couple of things worth noting this week. If you haven’t read Nelson DeMille, perhaps most famous for The Charm School, you’re missing a rock solid writer with a great sense of humor. If you haven’t already, you need to meet John Corey, his wise-cracking protagonist and one of the few laugh aloud characters in the genre. If you subscribe to DeMille’s newsletter, you’ll see where the rousing good humor comes from.
Amazon also just published their 2010 Top Ten in the mystery-thriller-suspense genre. Not sure what it says about my reading choices … or theirs …. but I’ve only read 1 of these books … Lee Child’s latest Jack Reacher thriller is on the “Still Savoring” list so that will become #2… and I have read books by only 2 more of these authors … and have only heard the names of some of the rest. Might say more about Amazon’s thought process … nothing from James Lee Burke, David Baldacci, Nelson DeMille, Stephen Hunter, Forsyth, Connelly, Pelecanos, Turow, Higgins, Sandford ... something’s off with that list. I’ll take a closer look … I may have a lot more work to do … and get back to you next week about this.
You may note that Shelfari is on hold for the moment. Need to get a little deeper there and will report back next week. In the meantime, let me know if you have any experience with it … or with Goodreads or Collectorz or other bookshelf software.
Read John Hart (notably, winning the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Novel in 2 of the last 3 years for Down River and The Last Child. [If you check the history of this award, very few have won it twice. Do you know who they are?]
I’ve read both and they’re terrific. His first novel, The King of Lies, came out about 4 1/2 years ago … and that may be my favorite that didn’t win the Edgar … so he’s hit a few home runs early in his career. His next book, Iron House, will be out next summer. If you haven’t discovered him yet, get moving. Yes, you will thank me later. Send cookies … or maybe a new Ferrari?
With 23 novels, including his latest, The Confession … and 250 million books in print worldwide … John Grisham needs no kudos or recognition from me. Yet, I confess that I have only a lukewarm attraction toward his novels. Yeah, I know, many of you are big fans … and maybe his opposition to profanity has cemented his relationship with many of you. In the interest of full disclosure … that’s our deal, right? … I continue to trend toward grittier characters, backdrops … read TV’s The Shield, The Wire, The Sopranos, Deadwood, Sons of Anarchy …. You too? Any idea why? If you got a theory, share it. We’ll chat about that down the road.
BUT, I have dipped back into the Grisham catalog from time to time just to see what he’s up to, what may be changing, etc. In the dearth of this summer’s releases, I picked up and just yesterday finished The Partner. It’s older than I thought … published 1997 … but it promises a clever plot line about a man who stole $90 million from his partners and fled the country … only to be found and brought to justice 4 years later. Grisham is a good storyteller and it was an interesting plot that kept me reading … but the ending was like looking through the wrong end of a telescope with only one pssible solution that I saw coming.
I’ll check in with John Grisham from time to time … but I still favor a few more genuine ass-whippuns where the bad guys DO get a little eye-for-an-eye-justice. Yeah, I know, it’s not the most civilized approach … But where else can you have that kind of fun and NOT rot in Angola?
Nothing’s changed here … yet. If you love Dave Robicheaux, Clete Purcell and Jack Reacher like I do, you’ll find these gems listed in FRiction FRiday: Imagine having a 007 license! Cody McFadyen, Christopher Reich and David Baldacci are also Still on the Shelf.
Known to Evil is one of the books that slipped past me. This is the second installment in the saga of Walter Mosley’s new character, Leonid McGill. Maybe it got by me because I’m still plenty annoyed at the demise of the Easy Rawlins series, one of my favorites. I can’t think of another character, in this case an astute and tough war veteran living in early 1950s Los Angeles … that I so closely followed … and the series ended because the author thought everything had been said. There were 11 books in the Easy Rawlins series, starting with Devil in a Blue Dress in 1990 (later a movie starring Denzel Washington), and ending with Blonde Faith, the 11th book in the series over a 17 year period.
So much more to say … so little time … see ya next week!