A lot of them are my contemporaries. Bestselling, Blockbusting…Boomers! Many have had successful professional careers that predated and inspired their literary achievements. All of them are still going strong. So here’s a heartfelt salute to ten of my favorite genre authors who, like me, are eligible for Social Security. In descending chronological order, they are:
1. Barbara Vine (aka Ruth Rendell), 84. The Queen of Crime (actually, she’s a Baroness) has inspired many of her younger counterparts on my list. Her body of work is amazing, but for my money, the stand-alone novels she writes as Barbara Vine are the darkest and most compelling. She has a brilliant knack for taking a character poised on the edge of reason and then nudging them over the cliff. And you can’t turn away.
2. Sue Grafton, 74. Her acclaimed Kinsey Milhone series makes us wish the alphabet were longer. Grafton has drawn on her own rather harrowing personal history to craft the most likeable of sleuths. We even love her neighbors. And Grafton’s stories find a way to gently teach us life lessons.
3. John Verdun, 72. It’s only been four years since Verdun, a former advertising exec, launched his Dave Gurney series, set in the western foothills of the Catskills. It was a terrific debut and gets better with each volume – complex, clever, diabolical and scary.
4. John Sanford, 68. If I had to pick my favorite go-to author, this former journalist would be the one. He almost makes me want to visit (brrr!) Minnesota, just to make sure Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers aren’t really out there. Sandford makes those characters that believable. His riveting plots and LOL dialogue hook me every time. I have his latest, Deadline, on reserve at the library.
Visit my blog on Thursday, November 20, 2014 to read the remaining five crime writers!