TOP 10 PROSE FICTION NOVELS
Okay, for Mark Rake.
Just going off the top of my head.
1) BUDDWING by Evan Hunter
A man wakes up on a park bench in Central Park one morning
and realizes he doesn’t know who he is.
What ensues is an exploration of New York City over 24 hours
or an examination of one person’s entire life. It works on both
2) SONS by Evan Hunter
Following three generations of sons from the ages of 17 to 20,
From the grandfather during the First World War, the father,
World War 2, and the son, Vietnam.
3) SEE THEM DIE by Ed McBain.
A Sunday morning in the 87th Precinct’s version of Spanish
Harlem on a day when more than one person will die.
4) DOLL by Ed McBain
I bought my first hardcover 87th Precinct in the Port Authority bus terminal,
on my way home from Fort Dix, New Jersey.
And started reading it on New Year’s Eve on the bus ride
back to Rhode Island. 40 pages in, travelling through the dark
Connecticut countryside, I was in tears, cursing Evan for taking
a character I loved away from me.
5) THE HUMAN COMEDY by William Saroyan
Following the lives of a small town, and a family surviving
during World War II.
6) I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson. Matheson’s seminal work on how
Vampires can come to be, and how myths and legends are established.
The book has influenced people from George Romero to the Walking Dead.
Lousy films (supposdedly adaptations) keep getting made from it.
7) PALE GRAY FOR GUILT by John D. MacDonald
There has to be a Travis McGee novel in there somewhere. MacDonald
writes about friendship, loyalty, guilt, Florida, honor. I’m choosing one
But I will never forget what the title A TAN AND SANDY SILENCE means. Or BRIGHT ORANGE FOR THE SHROUD..
8) WANDA HICKEY’S NIGHT OF GOLDEN MEMORIES by Jean Shepherd.
No one did this kind of thing better than Jean Shepherd. Nostalgia and
Story-telling, whether he told them in book form or on the radio.
9) DR NO by Ian Fleming
No one wrote a better spy thriller than Fleming in this time period.
Just read the centipede crawling up Bond’s body. Or the Kraken sucking
blood from Bond’s torn knee cap.
10) SCHISM by Bill Granger
As a Washington DC reporter Granger knew how government agencies
worked globally. The power structures of state, religion, agencies vying
with each other, all with their own agendas. The incredible thing about
Granger was his skill to take this cynical world view and ruthlessly thrust romanticism
Into the midst of the November Man novels. And make it succeed!
And just a couple more:
THE TIN ROOF BLOWDOWN by James Lee Burke
PAGAN BABIES by Elmore Leonard
CINNAMON KISS by Walter Mosley
The kid from Rhode Island would never believe he would have a
Evan Hunter aka Ed McBain
on the back cover of one of his books.
It came as I was convalescing from a heart attack.
Evan did not know that.
I could-a not been around to see it.