What I was wondering the other day was whether I could point to one book (or one story) that changed everything for me. I started reading crime fiction with the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books when I was seven or eight, and I continued from there. But was there one book that made me say, "This is it. I want to spend the rest of my life reading and writing and studying this kind of fiction."

It's hard to pinpoint a single book or author for me, but if pinned down and threatened, I'm pretty sure I'd point to the summer of 1965 when I found a copy of Red Harvest in the library at North Texas State University. After that, I never looked back.

So how about you?

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I don't think I can pinpoint a single book either, Bill. But when I read Robert Ludlum's Bourne Identity, I was blown away with the intricacy of his plot and how it pulled me in and didn't let go until the last page. I became hooked on espionage thrillers, but the structure of his pages was amazing. Even before I knew I wanted to write, I remember noticing this. The man kept me up nights everytime I read one of his novels.
I was hooked on espionage thrillers for a few years, too. Read them by the metric ton.
For me it was The Maltese Falcon.
I read the Falcon a week or so later, though I'd seen the movie a couple of times already. It would no doubt have done the trick.
Now that I think about it, Spillane's THE BIG KILL might have been the one. Hard to pinpoint.
My answer, if pressed: Lawrence Block's Eight Million Ways to Die.
A good one, for sure.
LOL! Erm, I think it WAS the Nancy Drew series that got me interested in writing mystery fiction. Since the first mystery story I wrote was with a schoolmate when I was nine, it couldn't have been anything much more adult than that and the Hardy Boys.
I loved those books, but at that time I didn't think I'd ever write a book at all. I'm not sure what I was thinking of except maybe baseball.
Rex Stout was one of the greats, for sure. I wanted to be Archie Goodwin for a while. Heck, I still do.
The first books that I read on my own were Watership Down, The Lord of the Rings, Encyclopedia Brown & The Great Brain with those four books my reading course was pretty much set for life.

My mom is a cozy reader so a lot of what I read were the books that she was finished with.

But within one year of each other I read two books that really changed the way that I viewed everything as an adult and have most affected my reading since then. Clockers by Richard Price and Homicide by David Simon. They blew me away.
I haven't read Simon's book. I guess I should put it on the TBR list.


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