Sunday, October 11, 2015

Crime writers who have influenced me

It is, I think, somewhat axiomatic that all writers are influenced by other writers. Someone recently asked me which crime writers have influenced me....if I had any of them in mind when writing Blood Flats

I wouldn't say that there is one in particular who influenced this book---in the same way that Bram Stoker's Dracula has influenced every vampire movie and novel since 1897. But I did read crime fiction long before I ever attempted to write it; so I have indeed been influenced by others.

Crime writer Michael Connelly has stated that Raymond Chandler had a significant impact on his work. I haven't read much Chandler. But here is a list of some of my favorite crime novels and writers from over the years. I have no doubt that some--if not all of them--influenced Blood Flats.

(Note: Not all of these novels are crime fiction, according to the strictest definition of the term. However, all of them do involve elements that are common to crime fiction: good vs. evil, violence, law enforcement, and criminal elements.)

Cormac McCarthy: No Country for Old Men, The Road, Blood Meridian

Blood Meridian in particular had a huge influence on me. While my book is set in the modern era, Blood Meridian is set in the 1800s, so there are virtually no similarities in the plot or characters of Blood Flats.

What struck me about Blood Meridian is its portrayal of over-the-top, epic levels of violence. (This is also true of No Country for Old Men.)

Michael Connelly: all of the Harry Bosch novels

I've read all of Michael Connelly's books. Blood Flats is a rural crime drama, completely different from the LA beat that Connelly writes about. But I learned a lot from Connelly's handling of pacing, plot, and characterization. 

Other favorites:

James Lee Burke: Rain Gods
William Gay: Provinces of Night
John Grisham: The Firm, A Time to Kill, etc., etc.
Joseph Finder: Company Man, Paranoia, Power Play, Killer Instinct
Nelson Demille: The General's Daughter, The Gold Coast

The above is a sample. I read other sorts of books, of course; but these are my favorites in the crime/thriller genre. 

“Meth, murder, and the mafia---a vast tapestry of a southern gothic crime novel with a Dickensian cast of characters.” 

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