Sure the characters and stories can take up a special place in your life but what I love best are the authors.
I read quite a bit and sometimes I'm compelled to contact the author. I even have a letter, in a drawer, from the man himself; Elmore Leonard. Yup, I wrote him and he wrote back.
Mostly contact is via email or this blog.
Frank Zafiro and I have corresponded a few times over the years. Not long ago he emailed me asking if I'd read Waist Deep yet. When was the last time you've had an author contact YOU?
Well, I dug the book up, I have a kindle copy, and started to get into it. However I had to put the book aside twice in order to cope with work.
But that's the test of a good book; can you put it down and get back into it days or weeks later? If you can you know you have a connection. This book was like that.
Every time I read something by Zafiro I wonder why I don't read more of his stuff. The answer is that there is so much stuff out there that I want to discover that I can't stay in one place for any large block of time. You know it's true because I blog about books as I read them; I'm all over the map.
But what about Waist Deep?
It was excellent. Zafiro has such a wonderful, deeply damaged character in Stefan Kopriva that I'm always wondering if his character will just curl up in the fetal position and give up on life. I really enjoy seeing how he keeps himself motivated and moving forward.
Clocking in at 263 pages this book is right in the sweet spot for mystery fiction. I love the old stuff from the paperback area of the 50's and 60's where authors were "writers"; guys who bashed away at a typewriter all day long to make a living.
Zafiro is that kind of writer, think Mickey Spillane if you want a comparison to the kind of writer I think Zafiro is. Hell, his output alone should tell you that this guy is writing as a career. He's also one of the lucky ones who's just loving it too.
Perhaps his years on the Spokane PD has taught him him to write with the notion of getting to the point. I love this. I don't need 200 pages of exposition to make me feel good about buying a book. I need a good story that kicks me in the ribs.
Waist Deep kicked me hard. I have two daughters who are about the same age as Kris Sinderling, the subject of this story, so perhaps I could relate to her dad who hires Kopriva to find the missing teen.