Thursday, July 2, 2015

James Lee Burke, Carl Hiaasen and Scott Turow: More mystery writers choose their favorite books.

Today's lists are from J. Peder Zane's The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books.

James Lee Burke

Burke's 1989 Black Cherry Blues won him an Edgar for best mystery novel and appears on a number of all-time best mystery lists. He has also won an Edgar for Cimmaron Rose (1997) and an MWA Grand Master Award recognizing his career.

1. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (1929).
2. Dubliners by James Joyce (1916).
3. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (1940).
4. All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (1946). I
5. The stories of Flannery O’Connor (1925–64).
6. The stories of Andre Dubus (1936–99).
7. Mildred Pierce by James M. Cain (1941).
8. The Big Sky by A. B. Guthrie, Jr. (1947).
9. The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham (1919).
10. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925).

Carl Hiaasen

The comedian Ed Wynn, on his deathbed, was asked whether dying was hard. He answered, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." With a great humorous-mystery writer like Hiaasen, you get a whole lot of death and comedy. What could be better?

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1962).
2. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884).
3. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger (1951).
4. The Comedians by Graham Greene (1966).
5. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (1969).
6. Stories of Franz Kafka (1883–1924).
7. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939).
8. Ninety-Two in the Shade by Thomas McGuane (1973).
9. Stories of Flannery O'Connor (1925–64).
10. Money by Martin Amis (1984).

Scott Turow

Turow burst on to the scene in 1987 with Presumed Innocence a novel that nearly single-handedly transformed/invigorated the legal mystery subgenre. Cumulatively, his novels have sold over 30 million copies.

1. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916).
2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877).
3. Rabbit Angstrom - Rabbit, Run (1960), Rabbit Redux (1971), Rabbit Is Rich (1981), Rabbit at Rest (1990) by John Updike.
4. Herzog by Saul Bellow (1964).
5. Tell Me a Riddle by Tillie Olsen (1961).
6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844).
7. The Works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616).
8. The Bear by William Faulkner (1942).
9. Tender Is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1934).
10. The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett (1932).

Previous posts of mystery writers choosing their favorite mysteries.

  The first post: P.D. James, Andrew Klavan, Thomas H. Cook, John Dickson Carr and Arthur Conan Doyle.
  The second post: Isaac Asimov, Robert Barnard, George Baxt, James Ellroy, Michael Gilbert, Sue Grafton, Reginald Hill, Tony Hillerman, HRF Keating, Peter Lovesey, Charlotte MacLeod, Sara Paretsky, Julian Symons, and Martin Hill Ortiz.
  The third post: Robert B. Parker, Elizabeth Peters, Peter Straub, Donald E. Westlake, and Phyllis A. Whitney.
  The fourth post: Aaron Elkins, John Gardner,  Michael Malone and Marcia Muller
  The fifth post: Robert Barnard (best recent), Jacques Barzun, Rex Stout and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine 1950.

 The sixth post: Jeannette de Beauvoir, Mary Reed, and John Dufresne.
 The seventh post:  Angela Zeman, Carolyn Wheat, Ann Rule, John Lutz, Dick Lochte, Laurie R. King, Tony Hillerman, Jeremiah Healy, Linda Fairstein and Jan Burke.
 The eighth post: Agatha Christie (favorites among her own works), Julia Buckley, and 38 renowned authors choose their favorite forgotten books, including John Le Carré and Elmore Leonard.
 The ninth post: Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly, Don Winslow, Polly Whitney and E.E. Kennedy.
 The tenth post: George Pelecanos, Mary Higgins Clark and Charlaine Harris.
 The eleventh post: Stephen King. (With links to his favorite short stories.)

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. His latest mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at


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