“Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “A sheer pleasure.” – Tana French. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville. “The effortless cool of Elmore Leonard at his peak.” – Ray Banks. “A fine writer at the top of his game.” – Lee Child.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yep, It’s The Latest ‘Dear Genre’ Letter

Given the way the global economy is going – not so much a downward spiral as a lemming-like suicidal plunge – we’ll all be reading and writing by the flicker of animal-fat tallow candles in caves this time next year. Well, everyone except those writing genre fiction, apparently. Quoth the Sacramento Bee:
The editors at Forbes magazine know a thing or two about great wealth, if only from reporting on it. The magazine, which bills itself as “the Capitalist Tool”, recently compiled its annual “World’s Best Paid Authors” list. Those making the most dough between June 2007 and June 2008 – via book sales, advances and movie deals – were:
• J.K. Rowling, $300 million
• James Patterson, $50 million
• Stephen King, $45 million
• Tom Clancy, $35 million
• Danielle Steel, $30 million
• John Grisham and Dean Koontz, tied at $25 million
• Ken Follett, $20 million
• Janet Evanovich, $17 million
• Nicholas Sparks, $16 million
  Funnily enough, I’ve only read two of the authors on that list, and one was so bad I had to stop reading after my brain shrivelled up and made a desperate dive for freedom through my left ear. The Big Question: Who’s the worst writer on that list? Over to you, people …

19 comments:

Gerard Brennan said...

From that list, I've only read Stephen King and Dean Koontz, but both of those I've read extensively. Both have written some amazing stuff, both have written some clunkers, in my opinion. King's probably my favourite of the two, but by no means would I deem Koontz as the worst on the list.

Based, very unfairly and unprofessionally, on the couple of passages I've read of her prose, I'd maybe award that position to J.K. But like I say, that's not very fair. For all I know Grisham and Clancy both suck more than Dysons, but I've never been tempted to pick up one of their bricklike paperbacks at Tesco. I'll be interested in other opinions on this one, though.

gb

adrian mckinty said...

I'll tell you the hottest is:

JK Rowling. Maybe it's just me, but that's a handsome woman. I'd play Quidditch with her anytime and my broomstick can really fly.

Danielle Steele's not bad either and her daughter Victoria is a supermodel. If you're looking for husband number 10 or a creepy bigamous son in law give me a call baby.

John Grishman is an attractive southern gentleman. Talk to me in those sweet honeyed tones and I'll join your confederacy Mr G...

Keith Rawson said...

James Patterson.
It absolutely amazes me that this guy (Or guys and gals, let's face facts, he's become a house name.)sells any books at all. Yes, Patterson is the McDonald's of fiction. Not exactly good, and slightly bland and tasteless.

marco said...

I liked Stephen King in high school,but after a while his books began repeating too much.
Of Koontz I've only read a novel which started out as a supernatural thriller but revealed itself in the end a devious plot by sadistic communists.
I've read a few of the others,thanks to a monthly charity used books sale.
Rowling is not that bad;Grisham has the blue-eyed southern gentleman thing going for him;the worst of the lot for me is Tom Clancy,then Follett and Patterson.

...

Adrian,your wife was probably right in sending the possums.

Ciao,
Marco

Corey Wilde said...

Far and away, Patterson has to be the worst. He's the only good argument for burning books.

Declan Burke said...

Don't know if I'd go so far as burning his books, Corey, but Patterson was the one alright ... What kills me about his books is that he's the writer people are most likely to try if they haven't read crime fic before, and they'll very probably say, "Yep, I knew it was crap all along."

I used to love Stephen King, although the last novel I read was It, at least until I read The Colorado Kid ... which was so-so.

Adrian? Either stop taking the drugs, or start taking some.

Cheers, Dec

Rafe McGregor said...

Talking of well-paid authors, anyone know what happened to Dan Brown? After successfully holding on to his "Da Vinci Code" millions in court he seems to have made his own desperate dive to freedom...

Bob said...

James Patterson by a country mile. Of the others I'd give Janet Evanovich a plug - cuz no one else has. One of the very few writers who has successfully merged humour and crime (yes Mr. B you can include yourself in that category too!)

Bob

Colin said...

That's B for Bateman, obviously.

Dana King said...

I've never read any Danielle Steele, but if there is a force for goodness in the universe, then she can't be a worse writer than James Patterson, et al.

Conduit said...

Hmm. I hesitate to type this as I don't like to slag off other authors, you never know when it'll come back to bite you, but...

I'll confess I quite liked a couple of Patterson's early Alex Cross novels, in a sort of Thomas Harris Lite way. But then, encouraged be getting those books from the library, I went and spent my own money on something called Hide and Seek. I couldn't believe how bad it was. Really, it stinks like my bum crack. Here's just one aspect of its awfulness: The bad guy is footballer who plays for the USA's national side. He is tipped over the edge into psychopathy by missing a goal for the USA in the World Cup final. That's right, AMERICA in the WORLD CUP FINAL. Dear God...

Bob said...

Oh...absolutely, of course. B for Burke never crossed my mind!!

Declan Burke said...

Oi, Bateman - bugger off to your own blog, squire. I don't get that many blummin' compliments as it is ...

adrian mckinty said...

Stephen King - now there's a dreamboat, tell me again how you bested Stanley Kubrick in a battle of wits while I rub lotion into your gimpy back. Never mind Salem's Lot, McKinty got a lot - if you know what I mean.

seanag said...

Because I think we are all at this point desperate to erase the last poster's perhaps feverish vision of Stephen King from our minds, I will just second the Evanovich compliment above. I think she has a rare comic gift--there are actually people who are eager to get a glimpse of Trenton, New Jersey because of her. And yes, Mr. Burke, you do very successfully blend comedy and crime, although yours is a decidedly different brand of humor.

No hard feelings, Mr. Bateman. I love your books too.

critical mick said...

Grisham's "The Street Lawyer" has got to be one of the worst novels ever written. Lawyers should henceforth be forbidden from watching "Yo MTV Raps," lest any more of them consider themselves qualified to write a novel about "tha streets."

bookwitch said...

I've not even heard of the last two on the list, but I'm a fan of JKR. And in my youth I quite liked Danielle Steel. I thought James Patterson lets other people do the writing, so he's not really real, is he?

Anonymous said...

Patterson for the win, I actually hurled one of his books across a room once in a fit of outrage. For god's sake it was about children who could fly and lay eggs, but not science fiction.
Arlene

Uiscebot said...

James patterson isnt that bad. That one with the soldiers from the american civil war help the dick solve a racist murder was ok. Dean Koontz stinks though. Stinks worse than a farts fart. I listened to you and M Halpins podcast by the way. Fascinating stuff. I really enjoyed it.