An essay on The Hunter by Duane Swierczynski, plus 100 thrillers

Duane Swierczynski (or, as I like to call him, “Coach K”) is the author of, amongst many others, The Wheelman, a most excellent Parker homage–I’ve been meaning to give it a proper writeup for some time now, but I can’t find my (inscribed!) copy in order to deliver the reread and writeup it deserves. Writeup or no writeup, you ought to check it out.

He has recently contributed a fond essay on The Hunter to Thrillers: 100 Must Reads, edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner. And, if you’d like to read it, you may. Just go to his always-fun Secret Dead Blog to find out how.

Now, this whole Thrillers book looks mighty interesting. Some of the selections are just plain…bizarre. Either the definition of thriller used is quite expansive, or the writers involved make some remarkably strong cases in defense of the inclusion of certain books I’ve never thought of as thrillers (and I’ve read a lot more of these than I would have suspected based upon the title). And good for them! Keeps things interesting.

But Doc Savage: The Man of Bronze? The novelization of King Kong? I don’t remember King Kong being deathless literature (although the movie is one of my top-five favorites), and The Man of Bronze isn’t even nearly the best of the Doc Savage novels. I don’t consider either to be a thriller, and I don’t think Tarzan of the Apes (a book I adore) is a thriller, either.

Actually, now that I think about it, The Man of Bronze probably counts as a thriller. Not going to convince me on King Kong or Tarzan of the Apes, though. King Solomon’s Mines is a maybe.

At this point you ask me, So what’s your definition of “thriller,” Trent? Oops. I don’t have one. Maybe I ought to get one before ranting. Or maybe I ought to get the book and see what the esteemed contributors have to say. Looks like a fun, infuriating read; one that will add several volumes to the massive “to be read” stack that already threatens to topple off my nightstand and crush me to a pulp in my sleep.

Had they asked me to contribute (with Richard Stark already covered), my quirky pick would probably have been Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir’s Chinese Puzzle. That, or an adventure of The Spider.

Getting sort-of back to the topic at hand, this isn’t the first time Parker has made an appearance in one of these “Must Read” essay collections. Slayground was featured in 100 Must-Read Books for Men (I don’t know if the titles are related), which I covered here (and still have not purchased or read–damn economy!).

Anyway, enjoy Coach K’s Swierczynski’s essay, and go read The Wheelman if you haven’t already.