Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ce n'est pas un crime!

O.k. folks, here it is, the meme I've been telling you about. This is the brain child of Corey over at The Drowning Machine, and if you haven't seen his responses, make sure you go over and take a gander. Without further ado:

1. What's the first crime fiction book you remember reading? And the last?

I guess the first would probably be THE WESTING GAME. I was frustrated at first because I didn't get it the first time I read it. When I read it a second time, I thought it was brilliant. Maybe that's when my love of puzzles started.

Anyway, the last crime fiction novel I finished was PEPPER PIKE by Les Roberts. What I was reading last night was also crime fiction, though. I'm just not finished yet; that's SILENT COUNSEL.

2. Choose one from each of these pairs:

A.) Historical or contemporary? - I'll have to go with contemporary, but I do like historical.

B.) Golden Age or hardboiled? - I guess I'll go with hardboiled here.

C.) Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler? - I have to pick Chandler on this one because I haven't had a chance to read Hammett yet.

D.) Elvis Cole or Harry Bosch? - I like them both, but Elvis.

E.) James Bond or Modesty Blaise? - Can I say neither here? I am not a huge Bond fan and I haven't read any Modesty Blaise.

3. What's the one crime novel you can't believe never won an Edgar? ONLY ONE! (Warning: When I say one, I don't mean waffle between two or more. One means one.) **O.k., being the smart aleck that I am, I'm truly wondering what would happen to me if I waffled...but, I'll behave.**

I am going to go with L.A. REQUIEM on this one because whenever I'm asked what one book a person interested in crime fiction should read, this is my response. It was nominated, but it did not win. I think in terms of more modern crime fiction, it has had a huge impact on the genre.

4. You think your spouse might be cheating on you. You're very wealthy and according to the pre-nup your spouse gets nothing if it can be proved he/she committed adultery. You can hire one of these characters (and none other) known for either their rather crude methods or their general ability to screw up: Clete Purcel, Jack Taylor, Chance Purdue, Stephanie Plum, Cal Innes, Izzy Spellman.

My response for this one is probably going to be Clete Purcel because if he doesn't prove my husband is cheating, my husband will probably end up dead or missing anyway - either way, I win!

5. You're cheating on your suspicious spouse (yes, the rich one in question #4) and you think he/she has hired a private detective to follow you. You have to find out who the detective is and hope you can bribe or persuade the detective to come over to your side. You've narrowed the possibilities to three: Elvis Cole, Matt Scudder, James Rockford. Which do you hope it is and why?

Are you kidding? James Rockford. Have you seen him lately? I could take him no problem! By the way, this is so irrelevant because if I had a spouse, I'd NEVER cheat!! I'm so boring!

6. You're heading to that perennially popular desert isle. You can pack as many crime novels as you like as long as they all come from the same decade (year beginning 00 and ending 09). What decade do you choose and why?

My first thought on this was the '90s because that encompasses a number of my favorite series: Elvis Cole, Myron Bolitar, Harry Bosch, Patrick Kensie...I could pack some Pelecanos, Hillerman, J.L. Burke...Those could definitely keep me busy.

My other thought on this one was, like Corey, the '50s. But my reason for the 50s is simply that I've been wanting to read more of the likes of Chandler and Macdonald, but just haven't found the time to sneak them in.

So, since Corey picked the 50s, I'll go ahead and go with my original thought. There's tons from the 90s that I still haven't gotten to yet!

7. What's the best crime short story you've ever read?

I haven't read many short stories, so my scope is rather narrow on this one. BUT, I'm going to dig back and pick something most folks probably wouldn't automatically think of. I love the Faulkner short story "Barn Burning." I think that can be in this category.

8. One of your neighbors has been murdered. Another neighbor is a fictional amateur sleuth who's been poking around, asking you embarrassing questions. Who is the amateur and how do you intend to deflect further interrogations?

I'll try not to be quite as mean as Corey on this answer ;) I'm not going to kill anyone, but maybe I could give Stephanie Plum a riddle and she'd end up so confused on the riddle, she'd stop poking around? Of course I could also try handcuffing her to the shower curtain rail, too!

9. Your favorite crime fic or crime-related blog? ONLY ONE (See the warning in question #3) - **You know a MAN wrote this warning! LOL**

Corey pointed out Declan Burke's blog, so I'll pick something different. I really enjoy Oline Codgill's part of the Off the Page blog. Oline also blogs at Mystery Scene Magazine, but since I'm only allowed to choose ONE, I'll go with Off the Page.

(side note: Oline, I've been trying to contact you offline, but don't have a current way to do so; if you happen to swing by here for this meme, would you contact me? Thanks!)

10. A million dollar prize is going to be awarded to the book designated as "Crime Novel of the Century." The book must have first been published between 1900 - 1999. The criteria for the award indicates that sales volume or popularity cannot be considered but influence on the genre as a whole can and must be considered. You get to nominate one title - ONLY ONE! (Do I have to remind you of the warning again?) - for the prize committee's consideration. What book will you choose and how will you persuade the committee that you have made the right choice?

Well, I can only answer this one based on what I've read. So while I think if I'd read a lot more of Chandler and Hammett, one of those two would be my choice (they've influenced so many of today's writers)...I haven't. So, my choice would again be Robert Crais' L.A. REQUIEM because his approach to point of view in this novel is groundbreaking. He thought it would end his career because it was so outside the "rules" of crime fiction. But instead it altered the genre, and I believe for the better.

11. Do you have a "guilty favorite" author or series? Confess here, and don't skimp on the details.

I will honestly admit that I don't feel guilty about any of the books that I read and enjoy. One of the things I like so much about the mystery genre, and crime fiction specifically, is how much variety you are afforded. There's the dark, dark noir - which in too high of dosages might induce suicidal thoughts. There's the light, funny, quick reads that are great to lift your spirits. There are truly deep, symbolic reads that challenge readers to think beyond their safe zones. So, no, I don't feel guilty for reading Crais or Fairstein or Reichs or Cohen or Cleland or Slaughter or Grabenstein or Lehane or Holland or Hurwitz. I love that I can have such a selection and I'll tout anyone I think writes a good read!

12. Many sleuths have a sidekick. Who is your favorite sidekick?

I love Joe Pike, but I don't want to sound like copy cat since Corey already picked, I'm going to pick Milo Sturgiss. I love Milo. Most times when I'm reading (or listening to) a Kellerman Delaware novel, I wish the focus was more on Milo. He's just so unique. He's not a great-looking guy with woman falling all over him - as a matter of fact, he's gay. He's not a deadly dude, although he has killed before - he just doesn't make a regular habit of it. He's funny and compassionate and smart.

13. Many sleuths also have a built-in physical/neurological defect or personality tic. Excluding alcoholism and substance abuse, what is your favorite (most interesting) defect and what character best exhibits it?

As much as I've thought on this one, I can't really come up with an answer. I don't see it as a defect or a tic, but John Ceepak has his code: he will not lie, cheat or steal, nor will he tolerate it in others. I think that's as close as I can get on this response. That's definitely part of what endears me to him.

14. Who is the smartest fictional detective? And how would you know?

Alright, so I have no chance at answering anywhere near as well as Corey on this one. So, just imagine a tongue in cheek as I respond - Jack Reacher. I think of Jack Reacher as the modern day McGyver. He knows what to do in EVERY situation, and even when he thinks he's wrong he's right. And he always manages to get the women to sleep with him, no matter how scummy he looks in his old clothes and uncut hair. Golly, I can't for the life of me figure out how I predict the endings to all those novels.

15. Your daughter/son has informed you that you are about to have a detective (private or police) as a child-in-law. You have gone down on your knees begging it isn't...who?

Well, if it's my daughter, I pray it isn't Dave Robicheaux. His wives all end up dead within a book or two. As far as my son, I have similar feelings to the ones Corey expressed, but I'm going to say Kinsey Millhone.

O.k. answering this made me feel especially narrow in my scope of crime fiction. I'm motivated more than ever to really get out and diversify! Hope you enjoyed it, and if you did, make sure you go over and let Corey know. This is great!

Happy Reading. Hope you week is a great one!


le0pard13 May 10, 2009 at 8:08 PM  

Well done, Jen. This is a great meme, even if I don't recognize, or have read, some of those referenced. And of course, anytime anyone mentions awards or picks and includes Crais, Elvis, Joe or L.A. Requiem in their answers, I'm going to agree with them ;-).

Corey Wilde May 10, 2009 at 8:09 PM  

Bravo, Jen! I know it wasn't easy to answer some of these. And it's okay to duplicate answers when *that's* your answer.

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by 2008

Back to TOP