One of my qualifications for mystery/legal/police procedure fiction authors is their re-readability. I traded a whole bunch of Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos novels because, while I enjoyed them the first time and admired the writing immensely, I found them too hard-boiled, hard-timed, hard-assed to keep on my shelves.
Here are some writers whose volumes I will keep:
- Lee Child -- the Jack Reacher series. Hot, violent, well-written, sexy; otherwise indescribable. Here's a durable quote, between Reacher and a femme fatale who has set him up for a beating: "I don't mind the sight of blood," she said. "I'm sure you don't," Reacher said. "One week in four, it makes you feel mighty relieved."
- Peter Abrahams -- all his stuff so far, even one I bought by mistake for "young adult" readers (heroine is 13--the Echo Falls stuff, praised by the prolific Stephen King himself).
- Michael Gruber -- he wrote most of the Butch Karp legal suspense novels, and you can tell by the change in authorship in the later versions when he left off (he and Tanenbaum are first cousins). I don't know who does Robert K. Tanenbaum's ghost writing these days but it's not in the same class at all. Gruber's 3 Jimmy Paz novels and his subsequent The Book of Air were compelling. And I have nearly preordered his latest. Will soon commit.
- Ed McBain -- I have avoided his oeuvre for many years, don't know why. He's erudite and intelligent. But I have read only one of his non-Matthew Hope novels and skipped about 3 pages of the denouement of one; the other was a non-Matthew Hope, non-87th Precinct called Doors, and I have yet to read any of the police/detective novels. Hey, I've just started, OK??
- Dorothy L. Sayers -- long dead. But she's the best and original, after the dry Wilkie Collins and insufferable Edgar Allan Poe. And I like that she taught herself medieval Italian to support a thesis.
- Nelson Demille -- John Corey should be a movie hero by now. You'll love this guy. And all his other guys.
- Thomas Perry -- another potential movie guy. Why can't Jane Whitefield, The Butcher's Boy, or Chinese Gordon be heroes?
I'm going by the stacks on my dresser, before I move them to their semi-permanent places in the "library."