Last month, we pulled our Crime and Mystery novels from Fiction to curate a special section dedicated to not only Crime and Mystery, but International Espionage, Thrills, Chills, Spills (just in case), and Science Fiction. I'll leave Thrills for my upcoming post on things to do in Iowa, but to help acquaint us better with the former, here are some of Elmer Pierre's (the thief of all our hearts here at the store) favorites.
1. John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee started in the mid-sixties and lasted almost twenty years, the titles all have colors in them. The observations about life in general, and Florida in particular, now seem prescient and are always funny.
2. Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone has been working her way through the alphabet since the 80's. She is likeable, steady, prone to thinking things through, and weaves stories that keep you on the hunt with her.
3. Michael Connelly put Harry Bosch on the LA Police in the early 80's. I would start with The Black Echo so you get a feel for his complexity. Connelly has some other character novels, one a lawyer and another an FBI agent.
4. With Robert B. Parker we have at least three series, Jesse Stone, Sunny Randall and, most prolifically, Spenser. The latter started in the 70's and continued well into the 21st century. If you want humor, erudition and appreciation of life, Spenser is your man. I want to wrap up with my two all time favorites in the U.S. genre, Lawrence Block and James Lee Burke.
5. Burke has more than one character series but Dave Robixcheaux and his Louisiana home wraps you in humidity, menace and humanity. The author has a deep passion for justice and the complexities of the human condition.
6. Lawrence Block writes about four series, but the two that I just plain love feature Matthew Scudder and Bernie Rhondenbarr. Bernie runs a bookstore and in his spare time is a burgler. His books can just make you howl with amusement. Matt Scudder, on the other hand, is a man who works for clients as personal favors. He just involves you in the stream of the story , the pulse and fabric of NYC, and what it takes for him to maintain his sobriety.
I mourn the loss of Hansen, MacDonald, Hunter and Parker, and thank them for hours of delight. I am grateful that the others are up and at their keyboards.