Sunday, August 18, 2013

Who Should Bernadette Read?

Although Bernadette is going to post this question on her own blog, I thought we might have some suggestions for her here too. A few days ago, she wrote she was not familiar with American crime fiction writers and the ones she had tried (Cain, Chandler, Lehane, Connelly) were not for her.

Here's what she said next.

Patti my problem is I suppose I don't know where to start with American male authors. The non-American male authors I really like include Alan Glynn, Adrian McKinty, Peter Temple, Garry Disher, Deon Meyer, Geoffrey McGeachin, Reginald Hill, Adrian Hyland, Johan Theorin, Domingo Villar, Andrea Camilleri.

I don't really expect you to deduce from all of that the perfect American bloke for me to start reading but you've prompted me to write my own post about this subject.

Who would you recommend for Bernadette based on this list? I have to admit these writers are not exactly like US writers, are they? I have read the first three and
seem to reflect on their society in their books.

Bernadette is Australian and you can find her blog here


Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

Well, it's a shame that so many great authors in the genre didn't 'do it' for her - I would recommend James Lee Burke, Robert Crais, Walter Mosley, Linwood Barclay and just maybe James Ellroy? It might be easier if she said why such notable authors as Chandler, Lehane and Connelly didn't go over. I will add one more personal observation - that I continue to find it surprising (and, a little dismaying) the extent to which readers and bloggers distinguish between male and female authors - just not something I have ever consciously felt the need to do.

Anonymous said...

Well, I already answered. Based on Meyer and Camilleri as examples I'd recommend good "regional" writers like Archer Mayor (Vermont), Steven F. Havill (New Mexico), Bill Crider (Texas), Margaret Maron (North Carolina), Tony Hillerman (Four Corners), Julia Spencer-Fleming (Adirondacks), Dana Stabenow (Alaska), to name a handful.

Jeff M.

Bill Crider said...

Thanks, Jeff. I was going to make a suggestion, but modesty wouldn't allow me.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I'm so glad you shared that post! I responded to Bernadette the other day directly on her blog, but honestly, I love it that this community shares questions like that. Thanks.

Kelly Robinson said...

I'm no help. I mostly read British crime fiction, and the American ones deemed "not for her" are among my favorites.

George said...

I'd recommend Rex Stout. His Nero Wolfe mysteries seem to satisfy everyone. Or she can go back to reading her fellow Australian, Carter Brown.

Bernadette said...

Thanks Patti for attempting to get me some more recommendations

@Sergio I think the gender issue is an interesting one. In my case the bias is - or was until quite recently - unconscious (it was only when I started keeping a record of everything I read that I could see it) and is purely confined to American writers. Overall my reading has tended to average out at fifty/fifty on the gender scale but the vast bulk of American authors I follow tend to be female. I am curious about this myself, though as I said originally to Patti I think it stems from my reaction to the classic American male crime writers...I was in my late teens when I first encountered Chandler, Spillane et a young, politically active woman trying to work out my place in the world their books - in which women played bit parts (or dead ones) did not speak to me at all. I think now that I was more influenced by this than I'd have thought I might be and there's a kind of hangover effect when I consider what I'm going to read next.

So, now, I am more conscious of gender as a factor in what I choose to read. I do think that men and women write differently, they depict gender differently and they focus on different subjects. And now, being aware of my bias, I would like to do something about see if perhaps there American male writers who write the kind of stuff I like to read.

I'm not sure I can answer you about what didn't grab me about Connelly (I don't dislike the three books of his I've read but I don't love them either - it was probably a matter of expectations as I'd heard such great things about his writing that it would have been difficult to live up to the hype). On Dennis Lehane I'm afraid I did the wrong thing - I read Mystic River AFTER seeing the movie which I disliked intensely - people said I'd like the book more but I couldn't get the movie out of my head. I should probably give him another go.

@Jeff thanks for the names...some completely new ones to me and you're about the fifth person to suggest Tony Hillerman so I think somehow I should start there

@George Stout is actually one of the few American authors I have read extensively, though many years ago now. I did try one of his a year or two back and found it very dated in a way that isn't the case with someone like Christie (for me at any rate).

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and observations about crime fiction. We are half a world apart and you know much more about us than we about you. A great injustice to Australian writers.!