Wednesday, December 9, 2009

You Have the Right to Six Words - The 2009 Grand Finale!

Well, here it is everyone...the final "You Have the Right to Six Words" post for 2009. Since we started with a bang, I wanted to go out with a bang, too. Seems like our finale bang is actually a couple weeks long, doesn't it?

This week I have a bit of a theme going on: it's the boys of Southern California! I'm hoping their post will bring with it some of that warmer weather, I'm already tired of freezing temperatures! Let's get started!

Leading off our final post is Charlie Huston who writes crime fiction, specifically pulp fiction, in a variety of formats. He has a trilogy of books featuring protagonist Hank Thompson. Charlie also has a series with protagonist Joe Pitt that deals with vampire clans. Charlie released the fifth and final book, MY DEAD BODY, in the Joe Pitt series this year. Toss in a couple stand alones, mix in a few short stories and add comic books. Yes, Charlie revived Marvel's Moon Knight, writing the first twelve issues, and more recently he revived Deathlok with artist Lan Medina.

2009 was a busy year for Charlie. In addition to MY DEAD BODY and the Deathlok comics, Charlie also released a standalone novel, THE MYSTIC ARTS OF ERASING ALL SIGNS OF DEATH. Stephen King says Charlie Huston is "one of the most remarkable prose stylists to emerge from the noir tradition in this century." And Charlie says,

Never did fix that attitude problem.
Next up is truly a crime fiction legend. His writing has influenced many other crime fiction writers, it's made its way to the big screen, and it comes from personal experiences as well as dedicated research. Joseph Wambaugh served a stint in the Marine Corps before attending college and then entering the Los Angeles Police Department. Joe's career with the police department last fourteen years, ending at the rank of detective sergeant. While still on the force, Joe published what he refers to as his "moonlighting novels," THE NEW CENTURIONS and THE BLUE KNIGHT. These novels would cause some problems as Joe's superiors did not care for the way he portrayed the police officers in his novels. He was taking a fresh approach and portraying them as real people, as humans with flaws.

In 1973, Joe published his first non-fiction work, THE ONION FIELD. Joe says, "I feel I was put on earth to write this story, and I've never had that feeling before or since. Nothing could ever stop me from writing THE ONION FIELD." It is the true story of the abduction of two Los Angeles policemen and the subsequent execution of one of those officers. THE ONION FIELD would go on to earn Joe his first Edgar award and take him into the realm of screenwriting.

In 2004 the Mystery Writers of America bestowed on Joe Wambaugh the American Grand Master Award, after which he would begin the first series of his career. The first book of the Hollywood series was published in 2006, HOLLYWOOD STATION. Last month Joe released the third book in this series and his fourteenth novel, HOLLYWOOD MOON.

Joseph Wambaugh has made a lasting impression on the police crime novel. And his lasting impression on this memoir series is
I was only an adequate copper.

I'll take Joe's word for it on that front but on the writing front, he's far exceeded adequate, and I'm so thrilled to be able to include him in the final segment of this year's memoirs.

So, that brings us to the final memoirist for 2009. T. Jefferson Parker has lived in Southern California his entire life. After earning a Bachelor's degree from the University of California, Irvine, Jeff went to work as a newspaper reporter where he covered police, city hall, and cultural stories, won awards and squirreled away ideas that would one day result in his first novel.

That one day came in 1985 with the publication of Jeff's first novel LAGUNA HEAT, which would make its way to the New York Times Bestseller list when it came out in paperback in 1986. It also made its way to HBO when it was adapted for a television movie starring Harry Hamlin and Jason Robards. Of course this was just the beginning of a stellar writing career. In 2001 Jeff published SILENT JOE, which earned him his first Edgar award for Best Novel as well as the L.A. Times Book Prize in the Mystery/Thriller category. In 2004, Jeff would snag another Edgar award for Best Novel, this time for CALIFORNIA GIRL. As if these accomplishments weren't enough, Jeff also penned several short stories. His "Skinhead Central," published in THE BLUE RELIGION, earned him yet another Edgar Award just this year for best Short Story.

And that stellar career continues. Next month on January 5, 2010, Jeff will release his seventeenth crime fiction novel, IRON RIVER, which will continue the story of Charlie Hood, Jeff's protagonist from THE RENEGADES.

When he isn't hard at work on his next novel, Jeff enjoys spending time with his family hiking, hunting, fishing, playing tennis, diving, snorkeling and traveling.

I don't know that we could have had a better memoir to end this year's project on. I fell in love with it the minute I received it from Jeff:

I walked into a beautiful room.

And I believe he's let us all get a little peek at that room. What a gift for the entire crime fiction community, the entire crime fiction genre. Thank you, Jeff. And I also wish to thank Jeff for this wonderful picture that he provided. He informed me that the person in the background is none other than C.J. Box. A fantastic picture to wrap up the series as well!

Thanks to all the memoirists, today: Charlie, Joe, and Jeff; I am speechless. You have graced my blog with your participation in this project. I am honored; I am grateful; I am over the moon.

I will follow up tomorrow with an "Acknowledgements Page" to this year's project and share my overall thank yous then. But rest assured, I have put this project back on the calendar for next year. I'm going to spend a little time collecting memoirs again and we'll have Season 2 start next summer.

Thanks everyone! Happy Reading!


le0pard13 December 9, 2009 at 9:46 AM  

In the relatively short time since I began following your blog, Jen, I've always been lifted by the books you've reviewed and your enthusiasm toward the subjects you've spotlighted. And out of all that, this has been my favorite series of yours. I know you didn't expect to carry it through to this extent. But like me, others (authors included) have come to recognize it as something quite special, and one of best things in the book blogosphere for 2009. I look forward to its return in 2010. Thanks, very much, for this, Jen.

Brad Parks December 9, 2009 at 10:24 AM  

Jen -- Thanks so much for another terrific installment and for a great year of memoirs! It's a fabulous concept to begin with and your enthusiasm for your subjects has made each and every one a worthwhile read. As authors, we're in your debt.

Kaye Barley December 9, 2009 at 11:29 AM  

Jen - your blog is one I try to start my day with, and I love it. But girl - the "Six Words" posts are the icing on the cake! I am so glad to see you'll be continuing with it next year. I'll be here! and thank you!

Jen Forbus December 9, 2009 at 12:48 PM  

Michael, Brad and Kaye -

Thank you so much for your kind words. This project has been so great because of everyone's contributions and that makes me smile. I'm so glad has been so much fun for everyone!

You're the best!

Pop Culture Nerd December 9, 2009 at 2:12 PM  

Oh, man, this is beyond awesome. LOVE these guys so much I might hurl. That pic of Jeff is great!

The memoirs have been a great ride, Jen. Congrats on your success. Wishing you an even bigger year in 2010.

Hilary Davidson December 9, 2009 at 4:22 PM  

The Six-Word Memoir project has been amazing, Jen. But do you know what's even more impressive? Your energy (limitless!), your enthusiasm, and your commitment to authors and readers. I meant it when I told you that I can't wait to see what you do next.

Also, as a fan, I have a request: when do we get a six-word memoir from Jen Forbus herself?

Jen Forbus December 10, 2009 at 8:13 AM  

PCN, you always make me smile! :) Thanks!

Hilary, I'll have to work on that! ;) Thank you!

Anonymous April 13, 2010 at 7:06 PM  

Books I consider the best reads in Mysteries..
Nicholas Blake mysteries that have to be read in order..only six
THE LEAVENWORTH CASE by Anna Katherine Green
THUS WAS ADONIS by Sarah Cauldwell
THE WOMAN IN WHITE by Wilkie Collins
Children Mystery writing...Kay Tracy Mysteries, Judy Bolten mysteries, Phylis Whitney Mysteries
Ginter Mysteries
just a few here


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