So, while it’s a sadness whenever someone loses a favorite author, I wasn’t too concerned when it came to finding my sweetie a different hardcover on Christmas. He also enjoyed the Spenser and Virgil Cole novels by Robert B. Parker, so I thought I’d stuff his stocking with those (so to speak)…except that Mr. Parker happened to make his exit shortly after the loss of Mr. Francis, and now my guy had lost two of his go-to writers. Actually, he’d lost three of his favorites because Donald E. Westlake had left the mortal coil a couple of years before Francis and Parker were gone.
Do not ask Glynn about Don Westlake. He is sad to this minute that he can’t go onto Amazon and download a new story by the guy.
But, as for my holiday shopping, I was still feeling okay. In regards to gifting purposes only, I knew the amazing Elmore Leonard was still in place and doing stellar work. I was a little nervous, perhaps, and wondered why Glynn couldn’t have picked a favorite YOUNGER writer, perhaps someone closer to his own age, but I still planned to swipe my plastic at B & N when it came time to give a present. (An aside: Whenever I’m watching a movie with the Good Witch and a title card announces PRESENT DAY, she claps her hands and says, “We’re getting a present! What do you think it will be?” Now I say it, too. The present is usually a not very good movie. So silly.)
Until…well, Mr. Leonard celebrated 87 years, a good run by anyone’s account, but then he was gone. So in 2015, I had no easy to find, most likely satisfying, hardcover gift to offer my partner. Book-giving had become kind of a tradition by then, and I wasn’t in the mood to let it go. So I hinted around and Glynn pretended he didn’t notice where I was going with my questioning. He told me that maybe he should start reading Lawrence Block, again because he loved the writer’s Burglar series. That was the good news. Unfortunately, Block had quit writing that particular series in 2004 and, naturally, all of the existing stories were already on our bookshelves.
Except Glynn was wrong, as I discovered when I went over to LawrenceBlock.com. In 2013, Block brought his Burglar back in a collector’s edition, and that version never made it to our local bookstore. As Block mentioned on a blog post, “The true first edition was this signed-and-numbered hardcover, with Manny Schongut’s painting mounted on its gold-stamped dark green leather cover”, but classy stuff like this carries a hefty price tag. That is, it carried a hefty price tag in 2013. Two years later, LB needed to make room for new inventory and he offered a Christmas special on the book.
I took advantage of the offer. Glynn loved his gift.
Meanwhile, wandering through the various nooks of LB's website, I found some interesting tidbits about Mr. Block. He self-published the last Burglar novel, the one I bought, apparently for the fun of it. That’s one reason the book’s publication escaped Glynn’s radar. LB appears to enjoy the self-pubbed world, he’s doing more and more publishing under his own label, and that’s such a bold, fun move for a successful, best-selling writer. He writes a blog, at least as often as I do, he offers a newsletter, he has his own eBay store, he’s producing the German translations of one of his series, he's doing audio books, he's on Facebook, he has a YouTube channel…and he’s 77 years old.
A superstar, indeed. Now, if LB will just get his tush in gear and write and publish another Burglar novel before 12/25/16, I’ll be in good shape.