If you’re attuned to such information, you’ve probably already heard the news that James Crumley–the hard-nosed, soft-sided, two-fisted, open-armed author/cult icon whose novels are routinely cited by many of today’s top writers in and out of crime fiction circles–has died at age 68 in Missoula, Montana.
I once overheard an exchange between Crumley and a fan. The fan, clearly overwhelmed to be meeting Crumley in his legendary environment–a bar–thanked the man somewhat breathlessly for one of the books he’d written. “Thanks,” Crumley said, gruff yet warm. “It was just as goddamned hard to write as all the others.” Then he patted her on the back of the hand and she floated away.
If you’ve never read Crumley, look up The Last Good Kiss, or The Wrong Case, and give them a try. Tonight, I plan to sit down with Dancing Bear, which has been too far down my reading stack for too long.