Simply put: Who do you think are the crime fiction authors who deserve a bigger reading audience? You know, the ones who consistently produce excellent work but somehow receive minimal reviews (if any), scant sales, and then fade away into the out-of-print blackhole.

For me, it's John Shannon. His Jack Liffey series is one of the best-written Los Angeles based series out there. And while reviews of his releases are always praise-ladden, his books go neglected and rarely see the light of paperback publication.

So tell me, folks?--Whose flag do you wave?

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I find this quite a difficult question to answer because, being on lists and message boards with hundreds of better read than me crime fiction fans, it seems as though all my favourites are relatively popular. However, when I speak to work colleagues or friends not heavily involved in crime fiction circles it seems as though almost NONE of my favourites have ever even been heard of (well, they have now, since I press their books into the hands of everyone I can). So here's a small selection that doesn't encompass every single author I own!

Some of these are not necessarily out of print but definitely deserve to be better known (and have big promotional budgets behind them).

Richard S Prather
Eddie Muller (the man is a writing god as far as I'm concerned!)
Kevin Wignall
Stuart Pawson
Scott Phillips
Reed Farrell Coleman

And I'm really really surprised that Daniel Woodrell is not better known outside the general crime genre.
Very good calls, Donna. I completely agree with your feeling about Daniel Woodrell. Richard Prather was very popular in his day, and his Shel Scott series ought to be reprinted. Eddie Muller ought to write more novels; his first two were terrific. And let's all hope the new Moe Prager novel from Reed Farrell Coleman brings him lots more readers. As for the rest you listed, I plan to check them out.
Especially Eddie Muller, Scott Phillips. and Reed Farell Coleman. One of my favorites is Richard Helms.
-David Corbett. Considering that he's been publishing for only 5 years I wouldn't yet put him the "fade away into the out-of-print blackhole" category but he has consistently been publishing some of the best fiction of the last 5 years. I wish more people read him.

He is a fantastic writer whose stories could be told by no other. His canvass of choice is no less then the whole of the human experience. Simply put, he is brilliant.

If Dennis Lehane threw down a gauntlet with the publication of Mystic River then Corbett has effectively picked it up.

-After Silence by Jonathan Carroll. Carroll's fiction is truly uncategorizable with a good bit of it falling into the magic realism category. But in 1992 he wrote a book called After Silence. This book is insane. It is downright brilliant. It is truly one of the most hardcore noir books that I have ever read in my life. The characters are real, the situations are complex and that ending.......

Here is the opening of the book"

" How much does a life weigh? Is it the product of our positive or worthwhile acts, divided by the bad? Or is it only the human body itself, put on a scale - a two-hundred-pound life?

I hold a gun to my son's head. He weighs about one hundred and thirty pounds, the gun no more than two. Another way of thinking about it: My son Lincoln's life weighs only so much as this pistol in my hand. Or the bullet that will kill him? And after the shot will there be no weight?

He is smiling. I am terrified. I'll pull the trigger and he will die, yet he's smiling as if this fatal metal against his head is the finger of a loved one.

Who am I? How can I do this to my own son? Listen- "


-Charlie Stella. If someone needs to correct me then please feel free but its criminal that the man has no books in paperback. Stella's voice is a unique one and I think more people would read his books if they were out there.

-Robert Ward. For the mystery genre Ward may be the epitome of the "writers writer". Check out Red Baker, The King of Cards & his latest Four Kinds of Rain

-Tim Powers. To be fair Powers is a fantasy writer who deals at times in secret histories, the occult & the supernatural. But I think that some of his books would certainly appeal to mystery/crime fiction readers. Specifically Last Call, Declare & Three Days to Never.

-Joe Pitt series. Charlie Huston's cross-genre beast. This series is great but I only mention it here because I'm afraid that it could fall through the cracks because it doesn't fit squarely into one genre.
You are right on the money on those last four listed, Brian. I thought NO DOMINION, the second and latest in Huston's Joe Pitt series was fantastic. And Stella, Ward, and Powers also ought to have bigger audiences.
Oh - definitely Charlie Stella! I love his books and he should indeed be better known. I was going to say David Corbett but since he got quite a good promotional push in the UK by Orion I wasn't quite sure if he qualified :o) Again, though, I wish he was read by more people. THE DEVIL'S REDHEAD was a stunning book that I still think about despite having read it several years ago. I have his new one and will be reading that soon.
Hell yeah to Donna's list, particularly Prather and Muller. I'd add William Francis to the list of vintage stuff I'd like to see reprinted. Day Keene's been reprinted a bit more than Francis but still isn't as well known as he oughta be. I haven't read Shannon, so I'd like to check him out.
By all means, check Shannon out. His latest is called, THE DARK STREETS, just out this month. Once you read him, please let me know what you think.
I would like to add Eleanor Taylor Bland. I´m not sure how much attention her books are getting in the USA, but lately there are no more paperback editions of her books.

She´s not noir and writes in an almost classical mode but in my eyes she´s the "american social conscience". Her persons are real and the stories quit complex and thrilling.
Edward Wright, although I think that he will break through with his next book, a standalone.

Ditto on John Shannon. If his books were more readily available in paperback, he would be more easily able to build a larger following. (So there are merits to being a PBO writer!)

And ditto on Scott Phillips.

I'm also a big fan of Dianne Day's Fremont Jones series. Still shocked that it was dropped.
I was all set to weigh in on Edward Wright, then saw Naomi beat me to it.

Clea's Moon, While I Disappear and Red Sky Lament. An excellent writer who deserves far more attention than he's been getting.
I nominate Thomas Adcock, author of the Neil Hockaday mysteries. He won an Edgar in 1992 for DARK MAZE, yet seemingly walked away from Hockaday 10 years ago after the sixth book in the series, GRIEF STREET. I understand he has a short story called "Lawyers' Tongues" in the new Akashic anthology, NEW ORLEANS NOIR. Has anybody around here read it?

Another author who in my opinion is underappreciated is Kent Anderson, author of NIGHT DOGS and SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL.

And someone who should have had huge commercial success a long time ago is Daniel Woodrell. WINTER'S BONE was the best book I read in the last year, maybe in the last 5. While most folks know about his Ozark Noir books, I rarely hear anyone talk about his Renee Shade series. And WOE TO LIVE ON is a classic in its own right.

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