6. Sara Paretsky, 67. Who wrote heroines who got slugged around as a routine part of their job description before Paretsky? Her gritty lawyer-turned-PI, VI, is an icon in the crime genre. Fussy about her clothes, careless about her housekeeping, passionate about opera and her golden retrievers – one of a kind.
7. Kathy Reichs, 66. More banter between a cop and a lady professional. Her Temperance Brennan protagonist, modeled after Reichs’s own career in forensic anthropology, also has drinking issues, which I emulated in my own protagonist. Check out how adept Reichs is at ending every chapter with an irresistible hook. Dare you not to turn the page.
8. Jonathan Kellerman, 65. A psychologist who writes about a psychologist – how can I not relate? But I can only shake my head in admiration at all Kellerman does so well: the bromance between his protagonist Alex Delaware and Lt. Milo Sturgis, his quirky and scene-stealing bit characters, his well-drawn descriptions of settings. And talk about a family business! Check out his newest, genre-buster, The Gollem of Hollywood, coauthored with son, Jesse (who’s too young to make this list in his own right).
9. Jeffrey Deaver, 64. Ooh, can anyone resist Lincoln Rhyme? Can anyone resist Denzel Washington playing Lincoln Rhyme? A brilliant, cranky paraplegic forensic scientist with a fast-driving, ex-model cop girlfriend. What’s not to love? Former lawyer and journalist Deaver is a master plotter. It’s never over till the very last page.
10. Nevada Barr, 62. A former park ranger (and actor), Barr follows her alter-ego Anna Pigeon through various adventures and perils in different national parks. Fresh air. Critters. Killers. All good. Another heroine with drinking issues. Her last novel, Destroyer Angel, was her best.
So that’s my list of Senior Spellbinders. Talkin’ ‘bout my generation!