Age ain’t nothin’ but a…problem

In a recent Wall Street Journal, Alexandra Alter talked about the dangers of having your literary characters, especially detectives, age in real time. She cites several examples of authors allowing their characters to develop the infirmities and declines that come with advancing years, as well as those who freeze their heroes in time so that while the world changes, they … Read More

Fatherhood, Spenser style: Early Autumn

Since the death of Robert B. Parker in January 2010, I’ve been re-reading his Spenser novels. The earliest ones, written in the 1970s and 80s, staked out his moral as well as physical territory, revolving around ideas of traditional masculinity in conflict with the modern world. And in 1981’s Early Autumn, Spenser demonstrates how his code is built and applied … Read More

"The work is play for mortal stakes"*

In 1988, I lived in Huntsville, Alabama working for Olan Mills Portrait Studios as a traveling photographer, a job with slightly less dignity than scraping up road kill. I also wrote novels on big yellow legal pads, that I subsequently typed up when I had the chance (on a typewriter, even). My stuff was terrible; I had no sense of … Read More

“Do you fall in love with all of your clients?"

NOTE: SPOILER ALERT IN THE COMMENTS Recently I got an e-mail from a reader that said, in part: “Eddie LaCrosse with a girlfriend is not the same as Eddie LaCrosse wandering companionless through the world. The lonely but worldwise Eddie LaCrosse seems like a stronger character…Burn Me Deadly starts out great, but as soon as it went to the town … Read More