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The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives
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The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives

3.72 of 5 stars 3.72  ·  rating details  ·  318 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A great recurring character in a series you love becomes an old friend. You learn about their strange quirks and their haunted pasts and root for them every time they face danger. But where do some of the most fascinating sleuths in the mystery and thriller world really come from?

What was the real-life location that inspired Michael Connelly to make Harry Bosch a Vietnam v
Hardcover, 407 pages
Published November 10th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2009)
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What an absolute delight! Twenty-two of our best English speaking mystery writers accepted Penzler's invitation to pen a short piece on his/her most celebrated detective. Do read Penzler's intro to find out why. Some of my favorites made the list but there are others I haven't read. Some of the latter made the cut with me based on their submissions, others didn't. The only entry I thought about skipping entirely turned out to be one of the most interesting--Rambo, no less. The joy of this collec ...more
Anyone who loves mystery series books will like this. Otto Penzler is not only an author and editor, but also the owner of Mysterious Bookshop in NYC. In his introduction, Mr. Penzler talks candidly about the financial problems his bookstore (as most independent bookstores) was having and how, as a promotional tool to bring clients in, he contacted authors he knew to provide small "profiles" about their signature characters.

The Lineup is the collection of the character sketches, from some of my
A great recurring character in a series you love becomes an old friend. You learn about their strange quirks and their haunted pasts and root for them every time they face danger. But where do some of the most fascinating sleuths in the mystery and thriller world really come from?

What was the real-life location that inspired Michael Connelly to make Harry Bosch a Vietnam vet tunnel rat? Why is Jack Reacher a drifter? How did a brief encounter in Botswana inspire Alexander McCall Smith to create
For mystery thriller fans alike whether it be Ken Bruen and his character, Jack Taylor or Jonathan Kellerman and his character Alex Delaware, then you will enjoy The Lineup. Edited by Otto Penzler. This book lets readers into the minds of crime writers. The authors share the back ground story about how they developed their characters, why they became authors, and even share some about their next book.

I enjoyed reading about Ken Bruen’s Jack Taylor. It made him more interesting to me and now I w
How was your favorite detective or police officer created? Learn the scoop on a variety of authors and their main series characters. I loved the chapters by Lee Child on Jack Reacher, Michael Connelly on Harry Bosch, and Colin Dexter on Inspector Morse. I learned all kinds of fascinating things. For example, did you know that as long as Dexter lives, he has a contract clause stipulating that no one but the late John Thaw may portray Inspector Morse? Everyone who enjoys mystery fiction should pic ...more
I have to say I was really excited to see this come in to my local library. So many of these authors are popular and regularly check out. This really gave me a great review of the author and how they write. I loved this collection and would love to see another collection come out. As a librarian this gave me great insight into some popular mystery authors. Highly recommend this one!
I am going to allow Mr. Penzler a little grace for the title of this book. If these are not "the world's greatest crime writers" (where are Agatha Christie, Rex Stout, Erle Stanley Gardner, etc.?) what does it matter, if you would like some insights into your favorite character, be that Spenser, Precious Ramotswe, Jack Taylor, Inspector Morse, or one of twenty others?

I enjoyed reading Alexander McCall Smith love of Sub-Sahara Africa. And, where would I find this from Colin Dexter: "I had long en
This isn't the kind of book that usually grabs my attention, but it did win a big award last year and it does have a few authors in it I like, so I figured it was worth dipping into. It appears to have had its genesis in a series of essays put out by the Mysterious Bookstore, all of which have been collected into this volume. In skimming the table of contents, I immediately took issue with the book's subtitle of "The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectiv ...more
I'll just say it flat out: I only read this to get to the Preston & Child part. I don't really like any of the other authors. Well, Jonathan Kellerman isn't bad, so I didn't mind reading his part. Most of the authors bored the crap out of me, and I was just trying to get through them. I guess it was still informative; now I know that me and Lee Child really are polar opposite people and that he means for his books to suck. I mean, for me not to like, sorry, his books suck.

To the p
This was a terrific anthology of many of the best crime and thriller writers and their best and most well known characters. Have you ever wondered how Jack Reacher got his name? Have you ever wondered where Rambo came from in development? Have you ever thought about Peter Decker and his wife Rina and how that story line came into being? Have you wondered about the authors and what transpired in their backgrounds that inspired them to create a character we can't get enough stories about? Then thi ...more
"The world's greatest crime writers tell the inside story of their greatest detectives." Otto Penzler collects pamphlets originally published by his "The Mysterious Bookshop" written by Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Faye Kellermann, Robert B. Parker, Ridley Pearson, et al.
This book is comprised of contributions from approximately 20 different crime writers answering the question, "What is the Inside Story on how your character was Created?" It has been answered in some very imaginative ways.

As with any anthology there are good and bad contributions but on balance The Lineup satisfies more more often than it disappoints. Particularly good contributions by Lee Child, Anne Perry, Alexander McCall Smith, Ian Rankin, David Morrell and fair ones from Michael Connelly,
This was an excellent way to get insight into some characters with, for example, michael connelly describing how he created Harry Bosch, Lee Child doing the same for Jack Reacher, Ian Rankin for John Rebus, etc and it also introduced me to new good authors

This looks to be quite interesting, adding new information about some of my favorite detective series by authors like Michael Connelly, Lee Child, etc.
Catherine Thompson
The title really says it all in this case. Panzler recruited many well-known crime-fiction writers to write about their most well-known characters. Some are essays on the characters; some are "interviews" between author and creation; and in a couple of cases, the pieces are short stories.

The book was nominated for (and won? I can't remember) an Edgar award a few years ago, which is when it made it to my "want to read" list. Mostly entertaining, the essays provide an entree into some characters/a
Steve Scott
A fun book that turned me on to some great authors.

I plan on getting the best of each and giving a crack at their work. I've already done that with a few, and the books are great.
I'm a sucker for genre and series guides, and editor Otto Penzler previously edited one my favorite books of that type, Detectionary. The Lineup chapters are each written by the author of a well known crime fiction series character (I personally think David Morrell is there only because of name recognition and that is not a comment on the quality of his writing). It is interesting to read about the creative process, and how the characters were created. Some of the writers chose to introduce read ...more
I enjoy reading about my favorite leading characters from the mystery series that I read. I read the chapters first for the series I read and later went back to read about other characters I am not familiar with. I now have a list of new authors to try. There were a couple of chapters that I didn't finish because I didn't like the writer's style and now I know I wouldn't want to read one of their books. Very interesting because each author wrote their chapter however they wanted. Some were stori ...more
Interesting compilation of writers telling us the why's and wherefore's of their characters.
Not essential, and I skipped a few chapters, but well worth your time.
Aug 12, 2015 Tuxlie added it
Shelves: crime

The most venerated and bestselling authors in the mystery world reveal how they created their most beloved serial characters.

I didn't read all of these entries, since I'm not familiar with some of the authors, but I did glance at them all and I very much enjoyed the essays I did read. Alexander McCall Smith, as one might expect, is wry and charming about mysteries in general and his Botswanan mysteries in particular. John Lescroart is wittily self-deprecating as he explains how he eventually realized that he was not going to write the Great American Novel, but he was writing very good mystery novels. Laura Lippman doe ...more
A delightful insight into the authors and their main literary characters!
Janet Richards
I didn't finish every story in the book - I focused on my favorite writers/characters. I will keep it on my Kindle because as I try out new writers - I will read more of the book.

I loved hearing the backstory of the characters - some very creatively written! I also loved the creative way the book came together - basically as a promotion for vising an independent bookshop owned by Otto Penzler. Smart idea - and we all get to benefit by learning more about our favorite hero/heroines.
Heather Truckenmiller
I really wanted to love this book. I was looking forward to finding lots of new mystery writes to read, and there are one or two I do look forward to checking out... but mainly I found this to be a rather tedious read. Many of the authors used a question and answer format for their chapter, and the bios of all the authors started to run together by chapter 5. It reminded me a lot of reading a really long magazine, more than a book, and I have never been much of a magazine reader.
Catherine Woodman
The idea of having authors talk about their characters (murder mystery authors have th unique situation of having multiple books with the same protagonist)--it seems great, but in actuality, there is alot of variability in the quality and how enjoyable it is to read about. I enjoyed the ones that talked more about the evolution of the character over time, and what the aithor hoped for from the character.
Mike Violano
Really enjoyable look into modern fiction cops and detectives and how their authors' developed their characters and backstories.
Personal favorites include Harry Bosch, Agent Pendergast, Jack Reacher and John Rebus and I discovered a few characters and authors that I'd like to spend time with.
One missing detective in the lineup is Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti.
I loved this book. It was the perfect lunch time reading. Even though I didn't know all the characters being profiled I loved the little insights into the authors and their process. I think I added several series to my TBR list based on the introductions in this book.

Buy this for the character/author you already love. Read it for all the rest.
Jul 20, 2013 Ann rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers
Mystery fans and aspiring mystery writers should read this one! It's a great collection. Some of the characters were unfamiliar, so I stuck with the ones I knew. I read the sections for Laura Lippman, Jeffrey Deaver, Robert B. Parker, Alexander McCall Smith, and the team of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. Loved every bit of it.

Started this last night. The origin of the book is a story in itself. I've made it through 3 authors - 2 I know and 2 I don't. So far, it's a treat! Recommended for any mystery junkies :)
Finished. Lots of fun. Found I could digest only 2 authors at a time. And there are a couple of authors I haven't read yet that I'll now try.
Aug 02, 2013 Johnvano is currently reading it
I especially appreciate that the first two profiled authors were late-bloomers. The first didn't publish a novel until he was about 40, and Lee Child worked in television, then started writing his first at age 39--publishing it as recently as 1997. That's encouraging for a guy like me trying to get a first book ready for the marketplace.
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
This was a very entertaining collection of biographies. The breadth of different detectives and the style of the bios was wonderful.

Also, it also gave me ideas for new books to read. I had never thought of reading the Judith Kellerman books, for example. It is a lot of fun and I recommend it to any mystery series fan.
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Otto Penzler is an editor of mystery fiction in the United States, and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, where he lives.

Otto Penzler founded The Mysteriour Press in 1975 and was the publisher of The Armchair Detective, the Edgar-winning quarterly journal devoted to the study of mystery and suspense fiction, for seventeen years.

Penzler has won two Edgar Awards, for The Encycl
More about Otto Penzler...
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