Friday, June 06, 2008

The Greatest Mystery Short Story Writer Ever

I wrote a review this morning where I claimed Steve Hockensmith was one of the greatest mystery short story writers of all time. Though quite possibly Steve agrees with me and is nodding his head right now, that may be a useless claim.

Let me throw out some names: Steve Hockensmith, IJ Parker, Russel McLean, Martin Limon, G. Miki Hayden. Each of these writers makes me pick up and BUY any anothology or copy of EQMM or AHMM I see their names in. I find their stories more than just solid crime writing. Their characters move me, sometimes pretty near to tears. Not an easy thing to do in a few short pages. There. You have my criteria. Good stories with characters I care about. I can add names to my list, but discuss. Make the list longer. Tell me about writers I haven't mentioned. I'm sure I've forgotten plenty of great writers.


Blogger Steve Hockensmith said...

In terms of folks currently active in the field, I'd agree with everyone you listed. (Though I'll withhold judgment on myself -- that's not for me to decide!) I'd also add James Powell, Lawrence Block, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Joyce Carol Oates. Oh, and that Torres guy's pretty darned good, too.

Looking back further, I don't feel nearly well-read enough to judge, though I suppose Conan Doyle, Cornell Woolrich, Hammett and Chandler would all have to be up toward the top.

All I really know for sure is this guy *shouldn't* be on the list:


June 07, 2008 2:06 PM  
Blogger Jainey said...

I don’t know about mystery short story writers, but I do know a phenomenal mystery book writer you can add to your list. If you enjoy a good mystery, I suggest my most current read: a fast-paced, suspense-filled thriller called “The Hidden Man: A Novel of Suspense” by Anthony Flacco. I first got hooked on his debut historical fiction book “The Last Nightingale,” and now I’m finishing up the companion to it “The Hidden Man.” I’m a really picky reader, but this guy is just amazing. I find that a lot of books in the mystery/thriller genre nowadays lack the key elements that make up a good read. For example, what happened to all the humor, edginess, and multi-dimensional characters? Perhaps we have a similar opinion on this, since I love good stories with characters I care about as well.

“The Hidden Man” takes readers back to 1915 San Francisco reborn after the Great Earthquake and Fire. Particularly, I love the complex, flawed characters that make the book shine like a jewel. James Duncan is a famed mesmerist at the pinnacle of his career in the upcoming World’s Fair, and he must work together with equally fascinating Detective Blackburn and Blackburn’s young protégé Shane Nightingale when a fanatic stalker sets out to destroy him. My favorite character is Vignette Nightingale though, who reminds me of a female version of Huckleberry Finn; she’s definitely a character you don’t see often in mystery books these days. I find it more interesting because they must solve a murder that hasn’t even happened yet, based purely on what only the terrified (almost obsessed) intended victim can see. If you like a compelling story and complex characters, this is a book for you. You can check out the reviews and book trailer on his website: Give it a try!

Once I finish this book, I must check out one of your books. I’ve heard great things about you.

July 31, 2008 3:42 PM  

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