Jack Reacher Never Fails

Nor do Bosch or Cole or John Rain.

Suspense/Thriller is the primary genre I read, with the occasional foray into most everything else. Well, I haven’t tried chick-lit yet though I did a run through a gay romance novel by my friend Marlys Pearson awhile back. It didn’t make me lisp or anything.

Oddly, suspense/thriller is not the genre I write. My stuff would feel more comfortable sitting on the shelf next to Christopher Moore than James Lee Burke or Michael Connelly.

I tend to be picky about what I read. I think most writers are. Many are the authors who have fallen from my favor over the years. Their early stuff was great; suspenseful, thrilling, well written, well plotted, many a twist and turn. And then they got lazy, started cranking out the same old same old. Patterson, comes to mind. Clancy. Ludlum. They got to where they could write shit for 300 pages and get away with it. Pity. They were good once.

So I fell into a pattern of suspense/thriller authors who didn’t let me down. Burke, until very recently. Michael Connelly. Robert Crais. Lee Child. Barry Eisler. Maybe half a dozen in all. Except for those occasional forays into other genres, they were all I read.

About a year ago I was up on some blog and there was a list of the best suspense/thriller novels for some recent year or another. I was somewhat shaken to realize that I recognized only one author on that list, and I had never read her stuff. Had I become so sheltered by Connelly, Crais, Child, Eisler, et al that I was ignoring all this new talent? I decided to give them a shot, set my favorites aside for a bit and read where I had never read before.

I’ll admit that I found one or two new authors to add to my comfort-zone reading list, but that’s a sorry number considering how many new authors I tried. How does this stuff get published anyway? What moron is making these decisions? The story lines are so old and worked over they resemble oat meal run over by a truck, and so formulaic you know exactly where the story is going and where it will end three pages in. And the characters! There should be mandatory retirement for the lot of them. I swear, if I see one more gruff but kindhearted, alcoholic, thrice divorced, can’t-get-laid, badly dressed detective of either gender, I’m going to scream.

And let’s not even discuss serial killers. I swear there is but one serial killer character out there and he ends up in every single serial killer novel written. Could we maybe do something a little creative with this character, folks?

So, it’s back to the old gang for me, a little game of catch-up. There are two or three by Child I haven’t gotten to yet. Ditto that number from Crais and Connelly and a new one from Eisler. At least as far as reading material goes, I know I won’t be disappointed for awhile.

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