If you're wondering why I'm numbering the novels I've read, it's because I vowed to read 24 this year, going along with the idea that a writer must read. Since I've read six in two months, even while taking two MBA classes, I don't think I'll have any trouble. Of course, that might explain my grades.
The latest is Flat Crazy by Ben Rehder. I discovered him by doing a Google search on "humourous" and "mystery." Ben's a good writer, I like his style. I've discovered, though, that the mystery genre is rather wide reaching. Flat Crazy, and, I'm assuming, the rest of his novels, isn't a mystery so much as a crime story. No complaints, I love 'em all. We know who the killer is right away. The challenge is for a rural police force and a game warden, John Marlin, our protagonist, to figure out who the killer is. In Blanco County, Texas, which is chock full of rednecks and poachers, the list can be pretty extensive.
I picked up this book because it's the direction I'm going with my writing. Like Ben, I love the outdoors and I love a good mystery. Combining the two only seems natural (pun intended). Ben does a good job of bringing us into the world of what many would consider "lower class," men who live for a few weeks in the fall, or early winter in Texas' case, to chase whitetail deer. It's a fun story, the characters, especially Red and Billy Don, are a hoot. I wish he'd developed John Marlin more for those of us who didn't start with the first book in the series. The tough game warden is everything a hero/detective should be.
Of course, I have issues as well. Like too many secular novelists now, Ben uses a huge amount of sexual inuendo and foul language. It definately doesn't pass the "would I let my kid read this?" test. That's too bad, because I think he's got the talent to make it good without all that. I mean really, he wrote in a number of scenes involving dwarf Chinese porn stars (in action) just to get a stolen deer mount into the hands of the cops. It was unecessary--funny, but I still think he could have done better.
Like I said, Ben's a good writer and the story is entertaining. I'll be reading the first in the series soon.
By the way, I am an official member of Mystery Writers of America now. We'll see how that works out. The folks on the mail loop have been great already. I'm staying with ACFW as well. Can't have too many connections, you know.