I remarked in a review for somebody or other not too long ago that I thought I was out of step with the field, and I feel that way more every day. With very few exceptions, the crime fiction that makes the best-seller lists and even the books that sell the best at mystery bookstores are of types I don’t care for at all, or at least nearly as much as I do others.

   The bestsellers are more often than not slick, superficial, and padded in my estimation, and the most popular ones seem to be the literary equivalent of slasher movies. And if you took lawyers, thrillers, serial killers, and cozies off the mystery bookstore shelves you wouldn’t have enough books left for a good yard sale, and two-thirds of those would be historicals — and while I like the category, they’re getting to be a glut on the market.

   Trash proliferates, while many of my favorite series sell just enough to keep being published, and often make it to paperback late or never; e. g., Bill Crider’s Dan Rhodes, John Riggs’ Garth Ryland, Jonathan Ross’s George Rogers, John Malcom’s Tim Simpson, Jill McGown’s Lloyd & Hill, Jon Cleary’s Scobie Malone, Michael Bowen’s Richard Michaelson, Eric Wright’s Charlie Salter, Les Roberts’ Milan Jacovich, John Brady’s Matt Minogue, Michael Collins’ Dan Fortune, Stuart Kaminsky’s Porfiry Rostnikov, David M. Pierce’s V Daniel, James Sallis’ Lew Griffin, and a bunch of et cetera‘s.

   It just seems like anything between big/bloody and cute/ frothy doesn’t have too much of a chance any more. Oh well, hell, at least I’m better off than [some of you]  — nobody even writes classic detective stories any more.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #22, November 1995