Day 13: Your Favorite Writer
I have quite a few favorite writers, depending on my mood — Tony Hillerman, Clive Cussler, and J. K. Rowling all have spots at the top. There is one writer, however, whom I favor more often than all the others. And yet I haven’t read any of his books in several long years. The last was a re-read and I sold off a collection of his short stories before I even had a chance to finish it.
That author is Lawrence Block. His two best known series are the mysteries featuring Matthew Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr. While Scudder is more popular amongst Block’s fans (a new installment has recently been published as well), I much prefer Bernie — a New York City bookseller by day, cat burglar by night. The dialogue in these stories is some of the most realistic and comical that I’ve ever encountered.
When Lawrence Block visited Albuquerque a decade ago, he signed for me a complete set of The Burglar Who… books published up to that point. I’m also a big fan of another of his characters — Keller is a hitman who puts much of his earnings into a stamp collection, a relaxing hobby contrasting with his vocation of killer-for-hire. Another of my favorite series of short stories involves a lawyer who always wins, no matter what. Many of those successes — if not all of them — happen outside of the courtroom under somewhat mysterious circumstances. Block has written over one hundred novels, many more short stories, and even a few books on the craft of writing.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any Lawrence Block eBooks nor have I ever seen any of his books in the used bookstores around Phuket. I’ve been deprived! I certainly can’t afford to order any from the States given that Amazon.com charges almost as much in shipping costs as the price of a new hardcover. I’ll have to hold out for a while longer. Perhaps if I can get down to Singapore again sometime I might find one or two there…