It was cold this weekend in L.A. so I wore everything I own, causing my husband to say I looked homeless, but it was good because it made me stay in. I slept, read, drank lots of coffee, watched reruns of Fantasy Island without knowing why. And I finally wrote this review of The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler.
This is a collection featuring some of crime fiction’s most successful writers—Robert B. Parker, Laura Lippman, Lee Child, Robert Crais, among others—discussing the creation of their popular characters. Michael Connelly’s revelation that a real tunnel near his childhood home inspired Harry Bosch’s tunnel-rat background is both chilling and enlightening. Crais has a funny yet poignant conversation with Elvis Cole about their mutual fears and sense of hope, and gives a glimpse of Joe Pike’s inner world (it’s green!). Carol O’Connell’s badass ‘tude reminds me I gotta pick up another Mallory book. And though I’d heard most of Jack Reacher’s origin story at Child’s signings, it retains its charm in print.
Some of the other essays aren’t as successful. A few are too earnest and one outright creeps me out (not in a good way), but this is a great intro to the crime fiction world for those of you who haven’t taken the plunge. If you’re already a junkie like me, you’ll enjoy learning more about your favorite detectives while meeting those you’re not familiar with. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read Ken Bruen, but after experiencing his blistering, profanity-laced piece (love his description of an Irish sport called hurling as “a cross between hockey and homicide”), I will rectify that situation.
I also want a hurly.
Nerd verdict: Insightful collection from great Lineup of writers
All week, I’ve been reading reports about Bouchercon 2009, which took place last week in Indianapolis. (To my international readers: It’s an annual mystery convention held in a different U.S. city every year where fans can hobnob with writers.) The festivities sound like a blast (check out blogger Jen Forbus‘s recap), making me really eager for next year’s B’con in San Francisco, which I plan on attending.
I was so excited, I even came up with some panels and authors I’d love to see at the 2010 convention:
- Lee Child discussing “Maximizing the Hurt in Your Fight Sequences”
- Sophie Littlefield on “How to Write 50,000 Words a Day and Get Buff Arms While Doing It”
- Charlie Huston on “Who Needs Quotation Marks?”
- Harlan Coben on “Deadly Sidekicks Can Wear Pink”
- Sue Grafton speaking about her next challenge, “Tackling the Chinese Alphabet”
- Gregg Hurwitz on “Writing Your First Novel at Age 12, Getting Published at 12.5”
- James Patterson on “Whittling Down Your Chapters to Just One Comma”
- Robert Crais and Michael Connelly demonstrating “Effective Greco-Roman Wrestling Moves to Subdue Bad Guys” (This panel will cost extra)
If you’re planning on going, which authors and panels would you like to see?
Lee Child (Sigrid Estrada)
England’s The Guardian reports that thriller writer Lee Child has established several scholarships named after his fictional hero Jack Reacher for students going to Sheffield University, Child’s alma mater.
I think this is the coolest thing. Not only is it incredibly generous of Child to do this, can you imagine saying “I’m going to university on a full Reacher scholarship?” Do you have to get straight As to qualify or can you just kick some bullies’ asses? Either way, you’re making the school a better place.
If you could go/could have gone to college on a scholarship named after a fictional character, who would it be? I would’ve hustled for a Wonder Woman [“I got through Ivy League via the Justice League”], James Bond [“My GPA was four-point-double 0”] or Sherlock Holmes [“Professor Moriarty from Criminology hated me”] scholarship.