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

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3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  353 Ratings  ·  65 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
...more
ebook, 406 pages
Published November 10th 2009 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,183)
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judy
Jan 02, 2010 judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
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
Steve
Nov 10, 2009 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Wrighty
Mar 04, 2010 Wrighty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Cheryl
Jan 17, 2010 Cheryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jonelle
Mar 01, 2010 Jonelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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
Bobbi
Mar 14, 2012 Bobbi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-read, mystery
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!
HBalikov
Jan 09, 2014 HBalikov rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Tony
Aug 27, 2010 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Correen
Mar 28, 2016 Correen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great idea, some authors write about themselves and a bit about their protagonists, some interview their protagonists in an empty chair format, some talk about the characters in relation to others that appear in the books. They generally talk about what they wanted in the personage. It is interesting but most authors are white men who write about heavy violence. There a few women and at least one person of color. One significant author was Alexander McCall Smith who generally does not write abou ...more
Ubiquitousbastard
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 them...no, sorry, his books suck.

To the p
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James Adams
Jul 08, 2016 James Adams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting collection of essays and/or stories regarding many popular mystery/suspense characters. For me, the essays generally work better than the stories, as I find the creative genesis of a character to be more interesting than their fictional background, the exception, of course, being Spenser. Duh.
I enjoy this book greatly. Every piece is fascinating, and several introduced me to characters I now enjoy (this is my second time reading the entirety, though I have read many of
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Sandy
Apr 28, 2015 Sandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, mystery
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
Michael Holbrook
Interesting take on how some famous authors created their nearly-as-famous characters. An (at times) interesting peek behind the curtains. Sometimes ego filled, often informative, and usually entertaining. I'd give it 3.5 if I could. Oh, and the intro, is wonderfully entertaining!
Ed
Nov 28, 2014 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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.
Corny
Dec 27, 2009 Corny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
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Scott
Feb 14, 2015 Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Alan
Aug 06, 2014 Alan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Jennifer
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
Viktor
Aug 02, 2015 Viktor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Tuxlie

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

Joanne
Feb 18, 2010 Joanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, mystery
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
Marc
it was interesting to see how some of the greatest crime writers developed their characters.
Joe z
Jun 14, 2016 Joe z rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not so impressive. Reading works from those authors are far more interesting.
Bibliobabe
ok - some short stories, some article type entries that authors use to talk about how their main character was developed. really enjoyed child/reacher and preston/rhyme
Sandra
May 26, 2015 Sandra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 12, 2010 Mike Violano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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
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