The Houston Chronicle has a nice spread on Hard Case Crime today. Front page of the Zest magazine, and two pages inside. As a sidebar on another page, there's a little article on me. Here it is.
The man with a taste for the hard-boiledBy LOUIS B. PARKS
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
ALVIN -- Mystery writer and vintage paperback collector Bill Crider has a recurring dream.
"I'm driving in some small town, and there's this little out-of-the-way bookstore. I go in, and there it is, full of these old books."
Carlos Javier Sanchez : ChronicleAlvin resident Bill Crider has written more than fifty books about different detectives.
But anyone who reads noir crime thrillers knows that dreams usually become nightmares in the final chapter.
"The bad part is," Crider says, "I can't read the titles."
Crider's suburban home is like the dream bookstore -- floor-to-ceiling with thousands of vintage paperback books.
"My wife Judy is a saint, believe me," he says.
Crider, 63, has a definite taste for the era of bad blondes, big guns and tough guys.
"I got interested in the writers who wrote (crime) paperback originals, like Jim Thompson, Harry Whittington, Gil Brewer, Charles Williams, Donald Hamilton -- particularly the (Fawcett) Gold Medal books, the Ace Double books. I have all of those."
Since the mid-1980s, the retired English professor has published more than 50 novels (see www.billcrider.com). Many are mysteries -- though not the hard-boiled style he collects -- under his own name, including a dozen about modern Texas sheriff Dan Rhodes. This summer brought Dead Soldiers featuring Carl Burns, an English professor at a small Texas college.
Crider also writes under pen and house names and does Willard Scott's weatherman mysteries, as the TV star freely admits. Crider's wife is his copy reader and occasional collaborator.
But book collecting is his passion. His essay on his first love, paperback originals, is at www.allanguthrie.co.uk/bcpbo.htm.
"There are a lot of reasons I like them," Crider says. "They're short. Most writers in this vein are really good storytellers. They get in, tell the story; it moves fast. They do a good job with the characters in a short space."
Crider used to haunt used bookstores looking for rare paperbacks. Now he buys most over the Internet, especially at eBay.com and abebooks.com.
"It's gotten so easy," he says. "And the books have gotten much more expensive. The Jim Thompson books I got for a dime are worth a couple of hundred bucks now."
Not that he'd ever sell them.