Skip to main content

I Miss Some People - Sandra West Prowell

A continuing series! It has only taken me about a decade to come up with something I can just quickly and randomly write about. [Editor's Note: Hahaha... you wrote this 5 months ago...] Last time, I wrote about Troy Soos and today is an author I think about often...

Author: Sandra West Prowell
Character: P.I. Pheobe Sigel
The Work: BY EVIL MEANS (1993); THE KILLING OF MONDAY BROWN (1994); WHEN A WALLFLOWER DIES (1996)

Sandra West Prowell published with Walker and Co. Walker was a mid-tier publisher of mainly non-fiction and children's books. They did, however,  maintain a small but notable slate of mystery authors, James Sallis and Edward D. Koch among them. Much like Troy Soos, who I wrote about previously, it all ended in tears. By the end of the '90s, mid-tier publishers were staring down the barrel. Crime Fiction only made up a small percentage of Walker's output. One assumes money was reallocated or focused on their bread and butter to stem the inevitable tide and authors like Ms. West was out. We never got her fourth book, AN ACCEPTED SORROW.

My affection for Ms. Prowell and Pheobe Sigel is built on WHEN A WALLFLOWER DIES. It was the first I read, only later going back for the other two. WALLFLOWER is a haunting read. The last act sits with me to this day. It's about the cruel past, and about who we are and who we want to be and what happens when they meet with who we actually are. The book was about how we survive that moment, and how all too often we don't. WHEN A WALLFLOWER DIES is an all-timer for me. A perfect crime fiction book.

I want to write about the cruel fate of not getting the next book. The unfairness that market forces dictated a story. Those things are true and disappointing and not worth lingering over in this case. Sandra West Prowell wrote three books, only three. And they are all fastballs.

I have mentioned on a few occasions about the purge I conducted on my collection. I began that process 7 years ago. 350 plus books went out. I own MONDAY BROWN and WALLFLOWER. I will never get rid of them. To tap into the current zeitgeist [Editors Note: That will date this post almost immediatley] they spark way too much joy in me. In writing this post I looked up what it would cost to acquire BY EVIL MEANS. The current cost is ineligible given the deep meaning that all these books have.

I read to find that feeling. To find that intractable love for a book. I hope you find that. I hope to find that with the next book I read.

Current Read: House of the Rising Sun - James Lee Burke
To be Read: 24

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Very Best of Mr. Dennis Lehane

I thought this post would appear in October. Ya, know when SHUTTER ISLAND: THE MOVIE was supposed to be released. And then it wasn't. Something about Leo not being able to do 'press' for the movie. Doesn't really matter the reason, a February release date has one of those fancy Hollywood meanings: Not Good.

Look I'll be honest, I didn't connect with SHUTTER ISLAND. I loved the fifties setting, the haunted house atmosphere, and impending doom of the Hurricane. Even the set-up of the story was intriguing but how it played out just didn't work for me. Some interesting characters, a bunch of great set pieces, but the ending announces itself with an expected, thud that went nowhere.

Am I still going to the movie? Its Lehane, Scorsese, Leo, and Ruffalo of course I am. Anyway the list.

8. Prayers for Rain - 1999
The last Kenzie-Gennaro book follows our heroes as they investigate a guy who is terrorizing women into committing suicide. The book played like an episode o…

Time, Hand Wringing, and Cari Mora

My first question about the new Thomas Harris novel, CARI MORA is... Is this big news? My immediate reaction was to be only mildly excited. Despite the fact that over the last 10 years, Google has received the following searching requests from me: 'New Thomas Harris 2012,' New Thomas Harris 2016, etc. CARI MORA marks Mr. Harris's first book in 13 years. I should be pumping my fist. It was only when I read the brief synopsis did my interest tick up because I was thankful to read Mr. Harris had left his singular creation behind, at least for this book.
I think the easy answer is yes, this is undoubtedly big news. The reason why is obvious. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS is the most important Crime Thriller release of the last 30 years and I don't think there is an argument to be made against it. There may be better-written books, but no other book has the impact that LAMBS continues to have to this day. I think what complicates this question is the legacy that the book left b…

The Very Best of Mr. Michael Connelly - Part 2

My August 31 post of The Hungry Detective ranked all the non-Bosch books. This list returns to take on the larger task of Mr. Heironimous Bosch. 9 Dragons made its appearance right before the Indy B'Con, and try as I might... ok I didn't try that hard... I didn't have time to read it for inclusion in these rankings.

As a quick aside I don't want to undersell any of the books at the bottom of the list. Mr. Connelly doesn't know how to write a bad book, but in my case there have been occasions where I have not connected with his work.

13. THE NARROWS - 2004
It is because I love THE POET so much that this book is at the end of the list. When Mr. Connelly is at his best his works has the precision of a watchmaker. THE NARROWS just felt forced and not worthy of the intricacy of THE POET.

12. BLACK ICE - 1993
Second book. Third read. I thought the story was pretty flat. It has been well over a decade since I read this book, but the story of Mexican drug runners(?) did not do …