Bibliophiles are diverse with their reading consumption, but everyone has a genre. When going to the book store is there a certain section you start in? Do you always go down the same aisles looking for that new enticing read? These habitats maybe clue you in on your favorite genre. Thinking back, was there a specific book or story that turned mandatory reading into a passion? Did you pick up The Hobbit because you enjoyed the stubbornness of Dwarves, but only to discover how much you love fantasy adventure? Finding your genre is a different experience for everyone and the reason behind your infatuation varies from reader to reader.
In college, I was an avid comic bookreader and collector. Anything Image published I picked up and devoured. The owner of the store noticed my love for non-super hero comics, so he recommended a series called Criminal by Ed Brubaker. He explained that if you love crime movies, good dialogue, and antiheroes it’s a must read. So, I picked up a few of the newest issues and left feeling confident with my purchase. Who knew that these books would change my reading life forever.
As soon as I got home I opened up the first issue. It was amazing! The protagonist was flawed, the art was gritty, and it left you begging for more. I was so enamored with these books that I even read the author’s notes at the end which discussed what he was reading, watching, and books that were coming out soon. One of his recommendations was the newest book by Ken Bruen, Once Were Cops.
Brubaker discussed his love for Bruen and that London Boulevard was just adapted into a screen play. Collin Farrell was playing the lead and I love me some Farrell. His performance was great in In Bruges. The fact that Brubaker gave heavy praise for Bruen and that Farrell was going to play one of his characters got me interested in checking out this Irish fellow.
The next day I went to my local library and picked up a copy. Once I got home I made myself a drink and sat down with some Bruen. I did not get up from that couch until the book was finished. Bruen’s dialogue had me hooked. It was full of venom and packed a punch. The characters would go back and forth with one another and then would spout meaningful quotes from crime fiction greats, like Chandler and Hammet. I was in love, I had never read anything like this before. After reading Once Where Cops, I felt like I had a newfound addiction. I needed my Bruen fix and I needed it now!
Returned to the Library the next day, checked out all of the stand alone Bruen books that were available. I even went to Amazon to purchase the first four novels of the Jack Taylor series. I finally had my stash of Bruen, and it was time to ingest more of this literary drug.
Bruen lead me down the rabbit hole of crime fiction. In almost all of his books he quotes other crime authors, which gave me a perfect idea of what to read next. My wallet became light from all the nearby used bookstores. I bought old and new copies of Chandler, Hammet, Rankin, Cain, McBain, Coleman, Block, Parker, and many more.
I told everyone about my new found obsession with Bruen and crime fiction. Most of them had heard of the classic crime writers, but not one of them had heard of the Irish writer Ken Bruen. I even talked to my Nana about Bruen and eventually lent her a few of his books.
My Nana is a voracious reader. She would go to the Library once a week and check out at least four books and would have them returned by her next visit. I knew she read a lot, but I did not know what she read or what authors she enjoyed. After she heard me gush over my new author crush Ken, she grabbed a notebook and showed me authors that she enjoyed and had a similar style to Bruen. My jaw hit the floor when I found out my Nana was a HUGE crime fiction/thriller fan. We spent over an hour going through her notebook discussing different authors that we both enjoyed and which books were our favorites.
I’ll never forget this day because a couple months later my Nana passed. I now have her author book and add to it with my own favorites. There are some authors she listed that I have not read, but I plan on trying them all.
Who knew that reading a comic book would send me down a rabbit hole of discovering my favorite author, a love for a genre I never really read, and a memorable experience with a family member that is no longer with us. I’m curious what sparked the passion for your favorite genre. Let me know in the comments below.
If you love crime/thriller novels do yourself a favor and check out Ken Bruen. You might also want to pick up some Guinness and Jameson because it definitely makes you crave a shot with a pint of the black.