Book Bag

08.28.12

Otto Penzler’s Book Bag: 5 Underrated Crime Writers

Otto Penzler, proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York and editor of The Great Detectives, a collection of essays written by the world’s greatest crime writers, picks the authors he thinks should be more appreciated.

penzler-crime-book-bag-the-great-detectives
The Great Detectives: The World's Most Celebrated Sleuths Unmasked by Their Authors’ by Otto Penzler. 241 pp. Open Road. $10. ()

The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes

By K.C. Constantine

penzler-crime-book-bag-the-man-who-liked-slow-tomatoes

The creator of Mario Balzic etched a portrait of a dying town in the coal district of Pennsylvania that touches the soul. His blue-collar characters—protagonist, victim, killer, suspect—are all presented with empathetic humanity. The best books: The Man Who Liked Slow Tomatoes, Joey’s Case.

A Twist of the Knife

By Stephen Solomita

penzler-crime-book-bag-a-twist-of-the-knife

Tough New Yorkers are trapped in situations beyond their coping abilities in many of these searing novels. Stanley Moodrow works in the darkness—the darkness of the late-night streets and the darkness of the human heart. The best books: A Twist of the Knife, Damaged Goods.

Green for Danger

By Christianna Brand

penzler-crime-book-bag-green-for-danger

A peer of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers in the late golden age (1930s and 1940s) of the British fair-play school of detective fiction, Inspector Cockrill’s too-few cases are masterpieces of pure detection. The best books: Green for Danger and Fog of Doubt.

Winter’s Bone

By Daniel Woodrell

penzler-crime-book-bag-winters-bone

Even though two films (Winter’s Bone and Ride with the Devil) have been made from his books, and he is the founder and master of “rural noir,” far too few readers have found his books. He’s still writing and winning awards but he deserves a place on the next bestseller list. The best books: Winter’s Bone and Tomato Red.

The Final Winter

By Brendan DuBois

penzler-crime-book-bag-final-winter

Equally adept at novels and short stories, his range may have hurt his chance for a greater following, moving from pure detection to crime stories to giant thriller, all with exceptional skill. “The Dark Snow” was selected as one of the best stories of the century. The best books: The Final Winter, Six Days.