Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Writers We Should Be Reading

by Marcus Sakey

I'm in the middle of THE FINDER, by Colin Harrison. It's probably the third or fourth of his I've read, and every time I pick one up, I remember how much I love his stuff. He's a terrific stylist who draws psychologically sophisticated characters, people I not only believe in, but understand, dirt and all. He also tends to drop shattering observations almost as side notes, many of which on their own would be worth the price of admission.

And yet I don't feel like enough people know about him.

Harrison is a bestseller, so I'm not singing a sad song about a genius laboring in obscurity. But despite that, he's one of those writers whose names don't seem to come up as often as they should given the caliber of the work.

Don Winslow is another. This guy is a writer's writer. His prose is lean, powerful, stylish, and exciting. THE POWER OF THE DOG is flat-out terrific, like James Ellroy if Ellroy liked people. (I love Ellroy's work, by the way; I just think he's a misanthrope, and I doubt he'd disagree.)

Again, Winslow sells very well, and there have been awards lately and films in the works. I'm not suggesting he isn't doing beautifully. It's just that there seem to be a handful of names that take up most of the oxygen in this genre.

Which led me to wondering--who else am I missing that I really should read? What authors would you guys throw out that fit this category?

30 comments:

Jen Forbus said...

I'd definitely add Timothy Hallinan to that list. I just read Gar Anthony Haywood and was floored! Why hadn't I heard of him before? Amazing! I don't think Craig Johnson's name comes up enough, but it seems to be gaining momentum, so maybe that's changing. How about Charlie Huston? I hadn't heard his name until last year and when I read him I was blown away.

And of course anyone who spends much of any time around me has to say, "Shuuut. Up. with the Gregg Hurwitz and Marcus Sakey, already!"

Jen Forbus said...

Another little tidbit. A writer was asking me for some input on a presentation he was doing and I offered some suggestions and his response was, "they need to be bigger." (as in bigger names in the industry) Why? Why can't they just be extraordinary examples of what you're talking about? That's a prime time to get names out where others can hear them and wonder about them and consider them. Readers love to know who authors are reading! They tell me that all the time for my blog.

Ron Earl Phillips said...

I was recommended Winslow by writer Duane Swierczyski not long ago. Ate up a couple of his backlist books, but his new one SAVAGES sounds like a must read. So many books, so little time.

alsek said...

I also love Don Winslow. Other authors who I feel don't get enough recognition are (in no particular order) : James Sallis, Daniel Woodrell, David Peace, Alan Furst, Arnaldur Indridason, John Straley, and Craig McDonald.

David Terrenoire said...

I'd add David Fullmer to the list of the underappreciated.

David Terrenoire said...

Oops, that's one L. David Fulmer.

I'm an idiot.

Cory Highfield said...

I am adding Jason Starr to the list. In my opinion, he is one of the best and doesn't get much recognition at all.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to add Philip Kerr. I've just started the 5th in the Bernie Gunther series and I just love it to bits. The writing is phenomenal and Bernie's a wonderful character.

Jamie

Bethany K. Warner said...

I recently finished David Gordon's "The Serialist." Pretty amazing. And since it's his first book, here's hoping he'll write more.

Libby Hellmann said...

S.J. Rozan needs to be known more widely... She won the Edgar a few years ago...

T. Jefferson Parker

Val McDermid...

Libby Hellmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcus Sakey said...

These are all great recs. Some I know and love--Charlie Huston, Jeff Parker, Duane Swierczyski, Jason Starr--but some I haven't heard of. Thanks for passing them on! Looking forward to finding new favorites.

Dana King said...

Jen beat me to it, but Timothy Hallinan definitely jumps to the top of my list, along with John McFetridge.

Jon said...

KEN BRUEN !! Extremely underrated.

Naomi Johnson said...

Love me some Craig McDonald, Don Winslow, Dave Zeltserman, Paul Tremblay and Roger Smith.

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