I love the mystery genre, best of all. And I must almost force myself to get out of my comfort zone and from time to time read a non-fiction; best seller; classic; anything other than a mystery.
With that said, reading the mysteries that I have, it occurred to me that I should do some backtracking and read from the masters of the genre; writers (who proudly claimed to be writers, not authors) and 'just one of the guys.' They thought nothing of 'popping off' with a serial in The Black Mask as an example.
Thus began my personal challenge to delve into Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Dashill Hammett, Lawrence Block (who is still writing) by the way, Donald Westlake, Charles Willeford, and Mickey Spillane. There are more, of course, and I will soon start Paul Cain another of the early pioneers of the genre. Some are considered noir, some hard-boiled but all great and entertaining books which have maintained their 'shelf-life' for decades and decades.
This is my third in the Lew Archer, P.I. series. Lew is a LA detective who simply won't stop until justice is done and if not justice, then the puzzle is solved and life is good (as good as it gets) once again.
Although I've said it before, it’s the sparsity of the writing which I enjoy most of the early writers. The plots are intricate with short, clip sentences, descriptive but not ‘flowery.’ What I find so amazing is that the majority of the writers had very little formal training in creative writing unlike most of the writers of today. Their background and background only prepared them to write with such clarity and readability.
The Black Mask was one of the few publications available for these talented writers who are the basis of the mystery authors we love and read today such as Crais, Connelly, Sandford, Burke, Parker and Lescroart, to name just a few. The Black Mask
has a wonderful website to review including the dramatic and colorful covers of the pulps and the 'dime detective' series, all in their golden age of popularity.
And The Moving Target? As good as it gets! If you haven’t read the ‘masters’ of the genre do yourself a favor and start. If Robert B. Parker says Chandler was his inspiration who can argue with that? I waited much to long myself.