Sep 18, 2008

The Desert

So I’m not going to try and say a lot. James Crumley is gone. Laura Lippman has posted an interview she did with Jim for Crimespree a few years back on her Memory Project. To say that one of my favorite moments in the history of our magazine was having the finished copy with Jim on the cover in my hands is understatement. There are tributes coming in at an amazing rate and if you visit Sarah Weinman’s blog you’ll find them.

As a writer Crumley was and will remain brilliant. His writing has inspired many to take the step into our genre and there are more who’ve read him and stepped up their game. Will it sound particularly odd if I say he may have inspired readers even more. His canon of work is far too small and some may have failed to find it but if you have you’ll understand my point. There are many writers out there who have great works just waiting to be read. And when you find them it’s like discovering the best secret in the world. But you need to trust yourself to look first. Crumley’s THE LAST GOOD KISS gave me that trust to look. I’m still looking for the next THE LAST GOOD KISS. I’ve found a lot of great books, but somehow doubt there’ll ever be another reading experience quite like Crumley. In his uniqueness lies his genius.

The first time we met I was giddy. He forgave my fawning and started a conversation. The second time we met I was introduced to the lovely Martha. My moments with the pair were too fleeting. My memories of the pair larger than life. And I know I’m not alone. I cannot name all the folks I’ve seen introduce themselves to Crumley and each and every time he met somebody new, his eyes began to twinkle, his tongue began to sharpen and the stories began to flow. Our hero was just a dude from Texas. With a story for every occasion. A Gentleman for all time. For all of us, today is a very long day and a little piece of all of our tomorrows is now missing.

For those nearest and dearest to Mr. Crumley , I can only say…. Hell I’m not a writer, but my heart goes out to all.

(this picture was taken by Ali Karim at Bouchercon 2003; Ken Bruen, James Crumley and John Connolly)

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