Appreciating all that makes America special

Lawrence Block

Lawrence Block, Great American Things

Author Lawrence Block is a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. Uploaded by

This is a very personal choice, because most Americans don’t know who Lawrence Block is. Even among those who are diligent readers, he’s not especially well known. But of all the mystery and crime fiction in my lifetime, Block is probably my very favorite. The only reason I say “probably” is to acknowledge the greatness of Elmore Leonard.

Lawrence Block, Great American Things

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LB got his start as many authors of his time did by writing, um, adult novels. They provided an easy entry into publishing, and provided an income that allowed him to pursue a writing career. He’s written extensively about three very different characters: Matt Scudder, a recovering alcoholic private eye; Bernie Rhodenbarr, a sophisticated burglar; and Keller, a stamp-collecting hit man. All his novels have in common a tightly controlled plot, smart and witty dialogue, and great character development. They’re all “good reads.”

A long-time resident of Manhattan, Block sets most of his novels there. He’s published more than 40 novels, along with lots of short stories and a series of books for writers. He was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1993. (By the way, check out some of his appearances on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. They have a great rapport.)

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