Monday, April 27, 2009

Mystery Authors I like, and T.V. Shows I don't...

Spent the day both at work and at home doing the monthly orders. Usually it's a two day process, mostly because about halfway through it, about 5 hours, my brain becomes fried.

But I've had family in town, and it fell to the last day.

I pushed on through, this time, taking a couple hours break in between sessions.

But by 9:00 I was ready to press SAVE and I had just enough energy to throw myself at the T.V.

Nothing on.

COLD CASE. Started watching, purely awful.

Stumbled across what I thought was an old episode of L & O: Criminal Intent, which is the only L & O I can still stand to watch. (Linda will watch any of them at any time even if she's seen them before.) They've become so stylized lately, so formula, that it's like Kabuki Theater. SVU, especially, is like the Miami CSI of L & O; mannerisms and posturing and message pushing.

Anyway, it turned out to be the first Jeff Goldblum episode of Criminal Intent.

God, I hope they can keep up that quality of writing. Terrific. Had me laughing, exchanging delighted glances with Linda, which is when we know we've found a winner. Goldblum had just the right amount of quirk.

Sure it's the same formula; ultra talented guy, with understanding but exasperated female partner (seems like that they could turn that around), but done so very well.

I've got to remember it's on the USA Channel on Sundays....


I read a new comic from Warren Ellis, Ignition City, which I enjoyed. Set in the last space port in an alternate earth where space flight was already in full bloom during WWII, and has faded into a broken down collection of misfits.

The Avatar titles are interesting to me; they get the top writing talent, adequate artists, and over-the-top storytelling. Can't help shake the feeling that it's second tier stuff, though.

Also tried Viking, which is a new oversized comic (an experiment, I guess. Usually people prefer their comics standard sized.)

It's a pretty package, and I really wanted to like it. But couldn't quite get into it. I may try again later, because I think it would be an easy sell if it was any good.

Can't anyone write a good Viking story?


After taking over a month to read my last book, The Terror, Dan Simmons, I'm back to my mysteries. I'm reading a Jame Lee Burke book. I have about 20 or 30 mysteries writers I consider to be 'reliables', and I've read everything they've done and just wait for the next book.

Micheal Connelly/James Lee Burke/Elmore Leonard/T.Jefferson Parker/Lee Child/James Crumley/George Pellecanos/Robert Crais/Daniel Silva/John Stanford/Thomas Perry/James Ellroy/Lawrence Block/James Swain/Walter Mosley/Thomas H. Cook/Carl Hiasson/John LaCarre/Dennis Lehane/Stephen Hunter/Nevada Barr/Joe Lansdale/ and so on.

I have a whole bunch of secondary authors I'll read if I can't find any of my A list.

Robert Ferrigno/Greg Rucka/Harlan Coben/John Dunning/Jon. Kellerman/Max Allen Collins/Diana Stablenow/Paul Levine/Aaron Elkins/Steve Hamilton/Frederick Forsyth/James Hall/David Morrell/Stephen Greenleaf/and so on.

If I'm really hurting, I always know there are Koonz and King books I haven't read.

There are others I admire, but just never seem to really want to read. Anne Perry/Marcia Muller/Elizabeth George/and many others.

Obviously, I like my mysteries hard-boiled.

There are a whole bunch of well-known mystery writers that I've tried one or two book and just didn't care for them, for a variety of reasons:

Obvious ones, like Robert Parker/Janet Evanovich/Sue Grafton/Ed McBain/Elizabeth Peters/J.A.Jance/Ridley Pearson/Stuart Woods/James Patterson/Patricia Cornwell (I did like the early ones)/and so on. If it's a really well-known author, I usually try at least one book, sometimes two before I give up.

Others, I've read all their books and they're gone and no more are coming. Many of these: John D. McDonald/Dick Francis/Tony Hillerman/Robert Campbell/Micheal Crichton/and of course Raymond Chandler/Agatha Christie/Dashiell Hammett/ and so on.

Someday soon, I'll have to try to do this with my S.F. and Fantasy authors.


Michael said...

We share some favorites and differ greatly with Robert B Parker. My first mystery series was Travis Mcgee and every few years I revisit Mr. McDonald and his keen eye of the failures of American society and culture. Amazing his observations from the 70's still hold water after so many years.

James Lee Burke was one of my favorites for years but his last few books have become rote with little originality. How many times can Dave and Clete say the same things and face the same demons? Spencer and Hawk fell prey to similar cliches.

Robert Crais has found a permanent home on my bookshelf and I recommend him highly. All three authors share the same format of story telling and character development but have a singular style. Good stuff.

Duncan McGeary said...

I don't know. Spencer was just too much for me -- women love him, men fear him (and love him), he's a crack shot and gourmet and and and and....

Just became too much...

Duncan McGeary said...

I wish they would keep all the Travis McGee stories in print, and my all time favorite, Richard Stark.