The recent death of Elmore Leonard reminded me that I'd never quite finished this little series I'd started (oh, so long ago) about the mystery writers I've been reading the past few decades. I had sort of concluded the series last Nov. 30 with a piece, oddly, that featured Elmore Leonard himself (Link). But after I posted it--and after I looked around a bit on my shelves--I remembered some names I'd neglected.
First--those bestselling literary lawyers Scott Turow and John Grisham. I think I like Turow a little better (he seems less--what?--commercial?), but I usually buy all their books the minute I see them, read them soon afterwards. I have not read Grisham's YA novel(s?), though.
I've also enjoyed reading Colin Harrison, probably among the lesser-knowns. His Afterburn, Manhattan Nocturne, and The Havana Room are among the ones I've enjoyed. He also had a serial in the New York Times called "Mrs. Corbett's Request"--and here's a link to that story that commenced on May 4, 2008. He hasn't had a new one in a while--not sure what's going on. Here's another little feature the Times did on him a few years ago: Link.
I've read quite a few by T. Jefferson Parker and enjoyed the first in the new series he started about Charlie Hood--L. A. Outlaws was the first. But I think they've gotten more and more far-fetched, and I probably won't buy the next one. (Probably, I will, though.)
I read all of Cleveland's own Les Roberts, too, though I haven't read/bought the recent ones.
And I've also devoured some of the Scandinavian writers--especially Jo Nesbø, Henning Mankell, and Stieg Larsson. A little sadness there, though: Mankell has written off his detective, Wallander; Larsson is dead; only Nesbø is still cranking them out (I'm now reading his novel The Bat, the first of the series about Harry Hole, only now available in English).
It's a funny thing about mysteries and me, though: I can't seem to get interested in writers whom other people recommend for me. This has happened with a few famous writers (whose names I won't mention--don't want to offend the recommenders); I've tried--I really have--but I just haven't been able to get into them. My younger brother just sent me a stack of (already-read) mysteries he liked by an Icelandic writer, Arnaldur Indriđason. I'll give one of them a try--just to see.
I've never really thought about why I read mystery novels. It's kind of escapist for me, I guess--TV between the covers of books? I very rarely read them during the working day--usually just at night, in bed, waiting for Joyce to finish up whatever she's doing (it's a cliché, I know--maybe even sexist--to say that women are the best mystery). Joyce, by the way, doesn't read many of them. A few over the past decades. She likes the BBC and PBS Mystery productions, though, and while she watches, the questions flow from her mouth like a busy waterfall. How can something be simultaneously annoying and the most precious sound on earth?