Monday, November 17, 2003

The latest issue of the Mystery News has a piece on Ross Thomas, my all-time favorite crime writer. (An excerpt of it can be read on their website.) Here's a choice line: "Thomas burst onto the fiction scene in 1966 with The Cold War Swap, possibly the best first novel of his generation."

What can I say about Ross Thomas? The man, quite simply, was the best. He truly wrote like a dream...never a wasted word, never a bad sentence. Since his death he's risen to near-mythic stature in my mind -- sometimes I start to wonder: was he really that good? But every time I go back to one of his books, I am reminded once again that YES he was.

St. Martins is doing a great job of reissuing his books; the trade paperbacks look great. (Just got the latest 2 last week.) I talked to Ruth Cavin, the editor at St. Martins who's in charge of this, at Bouchercon. She seemed discouraged about how the sales are going. I hope they do well enough to justify the rest of Thomas' backlist being reprinted.

If you haven't read him, I strongly recommend you do. I would suggest you start with Chinaman's Chance, although it can be hard to find. The afore-mentioned Cold War Swap would be a good substitute, as would Twilight at Mac's Place (out in a few weeks).