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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The very first mysteries I ever read were Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, which I still love. But after several years of reading mostly science fiction, I decided to get serious about crime fiction and asked around. Several friends told me THE BIG SLEEP was the one to read. They were right! So I'd have to say that was "The One" for me.
Chandler is one of my favorites, too. And I like The Big Sleep best of all his novels. I may be in a minority there.
I've only read FAREWELL, MY LOVELY and THE BIG SLEEP, but the latter gets my vote, too.
Well, you really need to read the others. Great, great stuff.


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