Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pg. 69: "A Mammoth Murder"

Bill Crider is the Texas-reared and Anthony Award-winning author of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, which includes his latest novel, A Mammoth Murder. He's also the author of--among many other books--We'll Always Have Murder, the first novel in a series featuring Humphrey Bogart as a celebrity sleuth.

I asked Bill to apply the "page 69 test" to A Mammoth Murder.

Here is what he reported:
If you've ever wondered why I'm not a best-selling writer, as who hasn't, just check out page 69 of A Mammoth Murder. It's full of reasons why.

For one thing, it's a conversation between Sheriff Dan Rhodes and Hack Lawton, the dispatcher at the Blacklin County Jail. Hack never gives up information voluntarily. He prefers to have Rhodes draw if out of him. So the conversation that begins on page 69 with Rhodes asking about important calls doesn't end until page 72.

For another thing, Hack loves digressions, which in this case leads to ruminations about Blacklin County's famous romance novelist, Vernell Lindsey, whose goats are on the loose again. The goats, named Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy, are often a source of complaints by Vernell's neighbors, and, sad to say, out-of-control goats constitute major crime in Blacklin County.

By now you can probably see what I mean. Best-selling novelists write about serial killers who skin their victims or madmen seeking world domination or guys who are going to explode if they get more than ten feet from another human being. They don't write about goats or recalcitrant dispatchers in the sheriff's department.

It doesn't matter, though. I've resigned myself to being a lower-than-midlist writer since I write mainly for my own amusement in the first place. I'll keep doing it until they cancel the series or I decide to stop, whichever comes first.
Many thanks to Bill for the input.

Click here to read an excerpt from A Mammoth Murder.

Bill runs an entertaining and information-packed blog ... now with video clips.

Click here to see an almost complete list of the books written by Bill. Amazing.

A couple of years ago Crider interviewed Crider about...Crider. Check it out here.

Check out his article on Western mysteries, "Sleuths in Spurs," which appeared in January magazine a few years go.

A Mammoth Murder is Bill's 13th Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery. The first Dan Rhodes novel, Too Late to Die, won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel.

Bill's 14th Dan Rhodes mystery, Murder Among the OWLS, will be out in January 2007.

Previous "page 69 tests":
Robert W. Bennett, Taming the Electoral College
Nicholas Stern et al, Stern Review Report
Kerry Emanuel, Divine Wind
Adam Langer, The Washington Story
Michael Scott Moore, Too Much of Nothing
Frank Schaeffer, Baby Jack
Wyn Cooper, Postcards from the Interior
Ivan Goncharov, Oblomov
Maureen Ogle, Ambitious Brew
Cass Sunstein, Infotopia
Paul W. Kahn, Out of Eden
Paul Lewis, Cracking Up
Pagan Kennedy, Confessions of a Memory Eater
David Greenberg, Nixon's Shadow
Duane Swierczynski, The Wheelman
George Levine, Darwin Loves You
John Barlow, Intoxicated
Alicia Steimberg, The Rainforest
Alan Wolfe, Does American Democracy Still Work?
John Dickerson, On Her Trail
Marcus Sakey, The Blade Itself
Randy Boyagoda, Governor of the Northern Province
John Gittings, The Changing Face of China
Rachel Kadish, Tolstoy Lied
Eric Rauchway, Blessed Among Nations
Tim Brookes, Guitar and other books
Ruth Padel, Tigers in Red Weather
William Haywood Henderson, Augusta Locke
Jed Horne, Breach of Faith
Robert Greer, The Fourth Perspective
David Plotz, The Genius Factory
Michael Allen Dymmoch, White Tiger
Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Civilizing the Enemy
Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing
Libby Fischer Hellmann, A Shot To Die For
Nelson Algren, The Man With the Golden Arm
Bob Harris, Prisoner of Trebekistan
Elaine Flinn, Deadly Collection
Louise Welsh, The Bullet Trick
Gregg Hurwitz, Last Shot
Martha Powers, Death Angel
N.M. Kelby, Whale Season
Mario Acevedo, The Nymphos of Rocky Flats
Dominic Smith, The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre
Simon Blackburn, Lust
Linda L. Richards, Calculated Loss
Kevin Guilfoile, Cast of Shadows
Ronlyn Domingue, The Mercy of Thin Air
Shari Caudron, Who Are You People?
Marisha Pessl, Special Topics in Calamity Physics
John Sutherland, How to Read a Novel
Steven Miles, Oath Betrayed
Alan Brown, Audrey Hepburn's Neck
Richard Dawkins, The Ancestor's Tale

--Marshal Zeringue