And so the orgy began.
It was not long before I was reading mysteries with the insatiable, indiscriminate appetite of a Great White Shark. If a mystery swam in my view, I ate it. And my literary stomach was soon cluttered with the fictional equivalent of license plates, bathing suits, tennis balls, and chunks of once-inflatable rafts.
Who else? I've splashed in Sue Grafton's alphabet soup. I started with G Is for Gumshoe and have read all the ones since then; oddly, though, I've not gone back to read A-F ... not sure why? Maybe I'll do it when I've read Z and realize there will be no more?
I actually kind of enjoyed a short series by a Cincinnati writer--Jonathan Valin--who wrote some novels about Harry Stoner back in the 1980s and 1990s. Then vanished. I just looked on Amazon and saw that a new one is coming out soon--to Kindle Direct. Don't know what the story there is.
One novel by Michael Connelly about his L. A. detective Harry Bosch (actually, it's Hieronymus Bosch--"Harry" for short) has forced me to read all the others--and a new one is out right now: The Black Box. Gotta order it.
My older brother, Richard, got me started on a series about a small-town police chief, Mario Balzic, in Pennsylvania, a series by K. C. Constantine. I ate all those like a weasel eats free eggs.
Surely there are more?
Why, yes! All those Scandinavians I've been reading lately: Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, Stieg Larsson, Camilla Läckberg.
And some more Americans: Ridley Pearson (I like the ones about the Sun Valley cops--all the titles include the word Killer--like Killer Summer), Charles McCarry, Carl Hiaasen, and David Morrell, and ... the list goes on, and I'm getting tired. But ... one more ...
Leonard, early in his career, wrote some Westerns--including Hombre and Valdez Is Coming. (Both became films.) One of his short stories, 3:10 to Yuma, has been filmed twice, most recently in 2008 with Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. I liked Leonard's Westerns. Wanted more of them. So I decided I would ask him ...
His line was long. But, of course, I eventually reached him. And popped the question: Are you ever going to write another Western?
He looked up at me. Sighed. No one reads them, he said. And went back to signing books.
Some years later, 1999, he published Cuba Libre, kind of a Western. So I decided it was I who had given him the idea. And I decided I should take a share of the credit.
And so I am.