Nicholson Baker Vox is truly impressive.
Iain M. Banks Player of Games, Use of
Weapons, Complicity Banks is a genius. His writings are like a
delayed-action bomb, hitting you when you least expect it. When you read his
work a second time, you see all the clues he left for you that you ignored. The
names he gives his spaceships are worth the price of the books alone.
Clay Blair Silent Victory This comprehensive survey
of the submarine war in the Pacific combines thoroughness and a flair for the
Steven Brust He's taken hard-boiled detective fiction and
brought it to a world of swords, sorcery, witchcraft [there's a difference] and
dragons. His The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, is also one of the most
impressively crafted books I've read.
Raymond Chandler He's one of the masters of the genre,
and one of the reasons Los Angeles is the place for crime in the 20th century.
Pamela Dean Tam Lin, Juniper, Genitan, and
Rosemary. Minnesota is well represented by Ms. Dean and her supernatural
world is interesting.
James F. Dunnigan How to Make War, Victory and
Deceit, Dirty Little Secrets Of World War II. Dunnigan is a terminal
smart aleck. He also has the gift of synthesis and crystal-clear exposition.
Kinky Friedman Friedman has been called the Clown Prince
of Crime. He's also a terminal smart aleck, and he puts his friends in his books
as supporting characters.
John McPhee Pieces of the Frame, Giving Good
Weight I read these books and wanted to become an essayist in college. I
then tried it, and it's harder than it looks. McPhee makes it easy. From
oranges, to birch bark canoes, to tennis, he hold your attention.
Robert B. Parker Double Deuce, Ceremony,
Thin Air are his best, pretty much anything is worth a read. I love his
philosophy of personal responsibility and his ability to evoke the Boston area.
I've also gotten good meals and quotes from Parker.
Dorothy L. Sayers Nine Taylors, Murder Must
Advertise, Gaudy Night. Yes, these are period pieces. Yes, Ms. Sayers
had bees in her bonnet about socialism and Christianity. Yes, sometimes she
reaches for the fantastic. Never mind. Read these, you won't regret it.
Andrew H. Vachss Strega, Down in the Zero,
Pain Management Vachss (pronounced vax) is the Miles Davis of mystery
writers. He's edgy and nervous. His books are not relaxing or happy. He doesn't
intend for them to be. Vachss wants to make you think, and he finds writing
novels is more effective than preaching. If there were more people like Burke
around, the world would be interesting and probably safer.