Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Top 25: I'll show you mine

Date: 19 Apr 2008

notable exclusions: I haven't read Highsmith or Himes, but acknowledge their influence in the genre. I've read Woolrich and Ross MacDonald and haven't had the same emotional response as others, but recognize their significance. I know others speak highly of Charles Williams and Joe Gores, haven't gotten there yet. Joseph Wambaugh belongs in any discussion of crime writers, but he hasn't influenced me. I haven't read enough Lehane to form an opinion, or any Pellacanos yet, but they both worked on The Wire and that has to count for something. Spillane and Vachss are too broad for my taste

as others have noted, entirely subjective

1. Dashiell Hammett 2. James M. Cain 3. Raymond Chandler

the pantheon. I love all three for different reasons. their best work all holds up today

4. Charles Willeford... sociopath with a typewriter, he's right up there with the holy trinity

5. Elmore Leonard 6. James Ellroy

Dutch for the micro, Dog for the macro. both great stylists as well as storytellers. I may be over them now, but I'll never forget 'em. true giants

7. Lawrence Block... one prolific man. one demented sensibility. a wide-ranging tone. and he makes it look so easy

8. Michael Connelly... phenomenal debut. incredible follow through. creator of a character for the ages. the best in the business for over a decade with no end in sight. once opened, his books are impossible to put down

9. Walter Moseley... Easy Rawlins ages in real time. and he does it against the backdrop of historical Los Angeles. from the sociological perspective of the underdog

10. James Crumley... here on the basis of one of the greatest private eye stories ever written. The Last Good Kiss is so good it negates all the unreadable stuff Crumley has written

11. Thomas Harris... here on the basis of two of the greatest thrillers, back to back: Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs. and for creating one of the greatest bad guys ever

12. Carl Hiaasen... I'm done with him too, but what an original voice. others follow in his footsteps 13. T. Jefferson Parker... a terrific novelist masquerading as a thriller writer, still going strong in his third decade

14. Thomas Perry... creator of a great and wholly original series, plus 2 great characters: Jane Whitefield and the Butcher's Boy. writes the most exciting action/suspense setpieces between 2 covers

15. Stephen Hunter... what I said about Perry goes for Hunter as well. series. characters. setpieces 16. Jim Thompson... I gotta justify Jim Thompson? to this list? 17. Lawrence Sanders... great storyteller. fine writer. huge body of work 18. Jason Starr... as vivid as LSD. I can't read his stuff if my life is going bad without getting suicidal. if that's not noir, what is?

19. Ross Thomas... a fine, sublime, intelligent novelist 20. Kent Harrington... terrific novelist, here on the strength of one particularly incredible crime story, Dia De Los Muertos

21. Vicki Hendricks... not as claustrophobic as Starr, and a cunt hair less dark. but perhaps more original a voice and painting on a broader canvas.
  the two of them almost single-handedly keeping noir contemporary and vital

22. Don Winslow... an exhilerating talent 23. Gerald Petievich... for my money, the best of the ex-cops turned writers. outstanding plotting skills

24. Donald Hamilton... Matt Helm was the first truly hardboiled characters I read as a youth. and he held up well as I became an adult. changed the way I thought of heroes

25. Greg Rucka... unsentimental creator of 3 different series which I love, one in books. one in comics. one in both

just missed the cut: Robert Crais... modern, entertaining craftsman growing his talent to fit his ambition

James W. Hall... master of his own particular brand of Florida noir

and John D. MacDonald... Travis McGee is iconographic and an obvious influence of Hiassen's

John Lau

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