Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Which Of Your Books Is Your Favorite

I'm in the process of relocating my web site, which is going to take a little while. In the meantime, I'll put any announcements regarding my new book, A PERILOUS CONCEPTION, into these weekly blog posts.

My author copies for APC arrived this past week, and as always, I smiled as I looked at the lovely dust jacket the Poisoned Pen folks designed for the book. Some things never get old.

* * *

People often ask me which of my books is my favorite, then add, "I bet it's like asking which of your kids is your favorite."

Well, sort of. I like at least some things in all my books, and I don't dislike any of them. But no way can I select a favorite.

THE MUSIC BOX MURDERS, as my first mystery novel, will always be special on that basis alone. And its successor, SCAMMING THE BIRDMAN, a caper, not only was great fun to write, but Dick Lochte's comment in the LA Times - "Donald Westlake is the reigning master of this type of fiction. Karp isn't quite in his league, but his ending is one that's worthy of Westlake and then some." - was damn sweet icing on the cake. The third in the Music Box Series, THE MIDNIGHT SPECIAL, was satisfying, in that I felt I took a good step forward in exploring the disabilities and anxieties a person inevitably encounters in the process of growing old.

My medical-ethics standalone, FIRST, DO NO HARM, got the best reviews and sold more copies than any of my books. Hard not to love a success like that. But even more pleasing was the fact that I'd finally written a story I'd been incubating since I was a young boy, and had been working on for some twenty years.

The books in my ragtime historical trilogy were thoroughly enjoyable to research and write, allowing me as they did to enter a subculture new to me, and to play with the ideas of birth, aging, death, and renaissance, both literally and metaphorically. As a group and individually, I'm very happy with the way they turned out.

And now we come to the one book I can exclude, where the analogy of books to children breaks down entirely. Who ever turns thumbs-down or even thumbs-neutral on their newborn baby? But a current release is never a contender for favorite. It always seems full of sharp, jagged edges that could make me bleed if I were to expose myself to them. I've learned, though, to give a new book a little time. With distance, and the intervention of a newer story, the nasty points in a book smooth out, and I come to think, well, maybe it's not so bad after all. Let a year or two pass, then ask me how I like A PERILOUS CONCEPTION. But for now, I'll leave the covers closed and just admire the lovely dust jacket.

No comments: