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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011 10:30 am
Don Winslow Is a Little Jealous of Robert Crais
Posted by: Keir Graff

Don Winslow (photo by Andy Anderson)Mystery MonthDon Winslow is a writer’s writer—and we have proof. We asked a lot of great writers to share their favorite crime novel read of the past year, and the very first to respond, Gregg Hurwitz, named Don Winslow’s Savages. Given that Booklist has given starred reviews to Winslow’s last three books, you might call him a reviewer’s writer, too. But no matter how many accolades he garners (and can you use accolade without garner?) Winslow is a reader’s writer. And that’s most important of all.

But we asked him to sing another writer’s praises, so we’ll let him do it.

There’s a lot of great stuff out there, but I’m going to go with Robert Crais’s The Sentry.

First of all, I Like Pike.

The Sentry, by Robert CraisI just do.  I like the man, I like his skills, I especially like the old-fashioned albeit hipped-up code that the man wears like his sunglasses (a knight’s visor?).  He protects the helpless (or seemingly so), he keeps his word, he is that hero handed down to us from the Arthurian legends to the dime cowboy novels, through Raymond Chandler and then to us who walk this literary turf. Nobody does this better than Crais, and it’s a hard trick to pull off in contemporary America. You have to like Pike at the same time that you fear him—you have to respect his code at the same time that you cringe at (and come on, applaud) the violence that comes with it.

I also love that Crais took a Number 2, a sidekick to Elvis, and has made him a Number 1 for a couple of books. Again, that’s a tough trick—it hasn’t been done successfully very often—but Crais really does it in The Sentry, while still moving Elvis Cole forward in interesting ways.

And then there’s the setting—southern California.

Again, nobody does it better.

I’m a little jealous.

Still,  I Like Pike.

Share your own reading recommendations in the comments, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter (#mysterymonth)—all month long!



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