This week’s Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish is Top Ten All Time Favourite Authors. No doubt as soon as I click on publish I will want to make changes, but at this precise moment in time this is my list.
1. Jim Thompson – author of hard-boiled pulp fiction classics The Killer Inside Me, The Grifters, and my personal favourite, Pop. 1280. Lean writing, low-life characters, unreliable narrators and, in the case of Savage Night, a farm on which vaginas are grown. What’s not to love.
2. Patricia Highsmith – creator of my favourite fictional character, the talented sociopath, Tom Ripley. She preferred the company of animals to people and once attended a cocktail party carrying a huge handbag containing a head of lettuce and one hundred snails – her companions for the evening.
3. James M. Cain – Cain penned noir classics The Postman Always Rings Twice, Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity – source of my favourite quote, Do I laugh now or wait ’til it gets funny?
4. Jo Nesbo – okay, The Bat was pretty ropey, but considering how good the rest of the Harry Hole books are, I can forgive him. Almost. To be honest, the white shark scene still irks. The Snowman, now there’s a crime thriller that really delivers. The tension nearly killed me. Nesbo also wrote Headhunters, the tight plotting and spare style of which reminded me of the next author on my list…
5. Ira Levin – probably best known for Rosemary’s Baby, Levin also wrote The Stepford Wives, The Boys From Brazil and dystopian classic This Perfect Day. Talking of dystopian classics…
6. John Wyndham – The Day of the Triffids, The Midwich Cuckoos, The Chrysalids… enough said.
7. Robert Louis Stevenson – son of a Scottish lighthouse engineer and creator of iconic fictional characters Long John Silver and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Also the author of one of my favourite short stories, The Bottle Imp.
8. Agatha Christie – entertaining on so many levels. The aitch-dropping working classes, the heroine who thanks the hero for slapping her when she gets a little hysterical, the excitement when the local butcher has a delivery of horse-meat… there is also the brilliant plotting, the classic denouements and the chilling nastiness of the poison pen letter in The Moving Finger.
9. Damon Runyon – Nathan Detroit, Benny Southstreet, Big Jule – the gamblers, hustlers, and gangsters of prohibition era Broadway served up with vernacular aplomb.
10. Chuck Palahniuk – if the only thing he had ever written was Guts, Chuck would still be on the list. Luckily Chuck brought us more, so much more. But I’m not allowed to talk about it.