I love buffets. There is always a variety to select from at a buffet. You can sample several things from the buffet and determine which items you like and which ones you want seconds on. I discovered a book that is like a buffet – a buffet of Texas sleuths. The title of the book is Lone Star Sleuths – An Anthology of Texas Crime Fiction.
This book is a buffet in several ways. First it is a buffet by the way it is organized. Instead of having entrees together, vegetable dishes together, desserts together, etc. , it has divisions by the Texas regions the writing takes place in. These groupings include: El Paso and West Texas; Austin and the Hill country; Houston and the Gulf Coast; Dallas, Fort Worth, and the Panhandle; San Antonio and South Texas; Small Town Texas; and (not a region) End of The Road. The selections in each of the sections give you the feeling of the area.
It is also a buffet in the sense it gives you a taste of the style of the represented writers. These are not complete stories. They are only a piece of the story. They give you a taste of the author and you can decide which authors you want to read more from.
The selection also introduces you to the sleuths. You learn a little about them – their backgrounds, their jobs, their personalities. This is another factor that helps you decide which sleuths you want to read more about.
I was familiar with and have read some of these authors/sleuths represented in this book. I have enjoyed reading Susan Wittig Albert’s China Bayles (a herb shop owner); Ben Rehder’s John Marlin (a game warden); Rick Riordin’s Tres Navarre (a part time professor); and Bill Crider’s Dan Rhodes (a sheriff in Blacklin County).
I discovered a few more author and sleuths in this collection I want to read more about. Some I have heard about before but have not read before. For example, I have heard about Kinky Friedman before. The book had a small excerpt from one of his books in it and I thought it was a good enough sample that I want to read more from him. I was introduced to some writers (and their sleuths) I have not heard or read from yet that I also intend to read more of. Some of these include: Nevada Barr’s Anna Pigeon (a park ranger); Jeff Abbott’s Jordan Poteet (a librarian); Paula Boyd’s Joleen Boyd (a newspaper writer); and D.R. Meridith’s Charles Timothy Matthews ( a sheriff).
There are several other of these authors I would like to read more from – given the time. This book has given me an introduction to what I like best – Texas Authors, Texas Sleuths, and mysteries in Texas locations. It is not hard to see my interest in reading Texas literature.
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