Ray Bradbury, A Memory of Murder (1984)
Ray Bradbury is, of course, associated with the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. A lot of people don’t know he started out in his early twenties trying to write somewhat hardboiled detective fiction in the pulps on the 1940’s, helped and encouraged by his friend Leigh Brackett.
These 15 stories were originally published between 1944 and 1948 (Bradbury was born in 1920) and you can see why he gave up the field because, while readable, many of them just don't work. In fact, I found several quite ridiculous.
As he went on and tried different things, however, he got more confident and seemed to gain greater control over his material. Nowhere is that more apparent than in one of his most famous stories (included here), 1946’s “The Small Assassin.” It may seem familiar these days, but any similar “killer child” story you might have read derives from the Bradbury rather than the other way around. That alone makes this collection worth seeking out, as does the chance to see the somewhat humble beginnings of one of the most famous genre writers of the last century.