While I do tend to read science fiction more than anything else these days, largely because I spent my formative years reading a whole host of things and now just focus on what I want to read, I don’t read it exclusively. One of the genres I dip my toe into from time to time, especially if there’s a big feature film being made from it, is the crime fiction realm. There are a lot of strong writers working in there dealing with some great ongoing character series but there are a lot of fantastic standalone novels that make for great summer beach reading.
I don’t read in this genre a lot but there’s one writer that will always get my attention since finding out about him in the 90s with Andrew Vacchs. Born in ’42, his life is a fascinating one in dealing with the harshest of things in the world and that real-world experience translates into some brutal but authentic and really engaging material. Working both social services and as a federal investigator in his younger days, he also spent time in the warzone of Biafra to help people and eventually became a lawyer years later that focused exclusively on representing children and adolescents as a law guardian for them. Suffice to say, he’s seen the real shit and that has guided him through the thirty+ novels that he’s written over the years, notably focusing on the character of Burke in the more hardboiled subgenre.
Hell, the guy lost an eye when he was seven years old and has worn an eye-patch for the next seventy years.
My entry into his world was with the novel Down in the Zero but it was his third book, Blue Belle, that made me a fan – one where I can only read every now and then because of the brutal reality of the world that he writes about in all his works.
Who’s your favorite writer or novel or series in this area?
Bonus Question: Which book would you want to see from this genre that you like be adapted into a high-profile movie or streaming series?