I’ve had some terrific suggestions for crime writers you need to know before you travel.
I mentioned Ace Atkins: Spencer fans will be pleased or outraged to know that AA is going to continue the Robert P Parker series (the way Jeffery Deaver will write the next Bond, or Dirk Cussler is co-writing with his dad Clive).
In Austin, Texas, I find myself sharing a panel with Joe Landsdale in front of 200 librarians from the American Library Association. Joe brings down the house with his impressions of weird people in East Texas – ‘beyond the Pine Curtain’, as he puts it in his Texan twang. I’d recommend his stuff – Mucho Mojo is a hoot, and kept Izzy so engrossed I had to shift places with him on the plane to Phoenix, Arizona, because he was wasting the view out of the window. It has the flavour of Texas.
Others we haven’t had time to acquaint ourselves with yet include Rick Riordan for San Antonio and Austin; Jeff Abbott for Texas; Robert Crais for LA; Julie Smith for New Orleans, and also David Fulmer; T Jefferson Parker for southern California – he’s very popular and well-liked over there; JR Ripley wrote a book called Lost In Austin.
(To which, quick as a flash, I said it was better than Goosed in Houston).
Some of these, I think, are historical. All the better.
Here’s Jon Talton and the opening of Cactus Heart:
Throughout history, the desert has been a place of trial, penance and hard-won revelation. God lives in the desert. But Satan does, too. In the American West, conquistadors and cowboys were tested, and often broken, by the desert. Its vastness hid no cities of gold. Its implacable heat and drought were hostile to the white man’s crops and cattle. Even as the frontier disappeared, the Sonoran Desert remained a wild and unknown place, the home of strange gods, a waterless world of danger and mystery.
But now it is the turn of the third miullenium, and the desert in this far corner of the Far West is air conditioned, irrigated, and comfortably crisscrossed by interstate highways and transcontinental air routes. It is the prosperous, high-tech engine of the New Economy. Even the Indians are in business…