The Please-Come-Back Kids

Authors Who Left Them Wanting More

So, back in October 2006, J. Kingston Pierce, two-fisted editor of The Rap Sheet, asked his readers:

“Which long-missing crime novelist would readers most like to see publishing new books again in the near future?”

The answer? According to the online poll, was Jonathan Valin, the author of the Shamus Award-winning author of the Harry Stoner series, featuring a tough, brooding, Cincinnati private eye, while right on his heels came Stephen Greenleaf, who created former attorney turned San Francisco gumshoe John Marshall Tanner, another much beloved and missing series character.

In fact, private eyes are very well represented in the list. Seven (count ’em — seven!) of the top ten are authors of private eye novels, most of them series, most of which hit their high-water marks in the eighties, a testament to the genre’s strength and popularity in that decade.

It is also, sadly, a testament to the growing bloodthirstiness of the publishing industry that so many of these authors, most award-winning, critically acclaimed and popular, maybe not bestsellers–but all solidly mid-list, were missing in action by 2006. Pierce discusses this in The Please-Come-Back Kids, the post he presented along with the poll results. As he points out, “You can be gathering an Edgar or Anthony one day, and be denied a future publishing contract only months later.”

Anyway, the results of the poll are here, but please head on over to the original article.

Also worth noting are some of the others mentioned in the post:

  • Jerome Doolittle (creator of P.I. Tom Bethany)
  • Robert Irvine (creator of P.I.  Moroni Traveler)
  • Lia Matera (creator of attorney/sleuth Willa Jansson)
  • Frederick Huebner (creator of attorney/sleuth Matthew Riordan)
  • Timothy Harris (creator of P.I. Thomas Kyd)

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