Friday, May 09, 2008

J. Kingston Pierce: "The Book You Have to Read"

Earlier this month author-blogger Patti Abbott introduced what, in her words, “I optimistically hope will become Friday recommendations of books we love but might have forgotten over the years. I have asked several people to help me by also remembering a favorite book.... I also asked each of them to tag someone to recommend a book for next Friday. I’m worried great books of the recent past are sliding out of print and out of our consciousness. Not the first-tier classics we all can name, but the books that come next.”

The Rap Sheet editor and crime fiction authority J. Kingston Pierce joined the initiative today. His pick: The Lunatic Fringe, by William L. DeAndrea.

One paragraph from the essay explaining his choice:
This was the first crime novel I read with old New York City as a setting. But it would certainly not be my last. I credit The Lunatic Fringe with leading me on to Robert J. Randisi’s Bat Masterson novel, The Ham Reporter (1986), William Marshall’s distinguished pair of Virgil Tillman tales, The New York Detective (1989) and Faces in the Crowd (1991), Caleb Carr’s two historical novels, The Alienist (1994) and The Angel of Darkness (1997), E.L. Doctorow’s The Waterworks (1994), the pseudonymous J.D. Christilian’s Scarlet Women (1996), Andrew Bergman’s private eye Jack Levine novels, including Tender Is Levine (2001), and Suspension (2000), Richard E. Crabbe’s brilliant story of chicanery centered around the 1880s construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. However, The Lunatic Fringe is the one of those I recall most vividly. Perhaps because I went on to read it two more times, after relishing it so on the first run-through.
Read the full entry.

--Marshal Zeringue