The topic on my mind right now is Martin Cruz Smith, whose latest novel (Stalin's Ghost) was just released. He rates a lot of respect in my weekly writers' group. Three of us had read his work and recommended him repeatedly to the others for several years. Two of them finally got around to reading some of his work in the last few months and both have raved about him--see comments on the C.S. Harris blog. (I thought Charles Gramlich had a Martin Cruz Smith entry on his blog, too, but after skimming several months of his entries I can't find it. I guess I was confusing his comments during our meetings with blog commentary.)
Anyway, if you haven't yet read Martin Cruz Smith, try one of his books. I recommend you start with Gorky Park. I've decided to re-read some of his books myself, starting with Gorky Park. I love the character of Arkady Renko; I'm a sucker for a noble hero who fights against overwhelming odds. C.S. Harris' one-sentence analysis of his character in her blog entry (see link above) is spot-on:
[O]ne of the most fascinating aspects of Arkady’s character is that as much as he hates totalitarianism and bureaucracy and coercion, he genuinely believes in all that is good and noble about the pure communist philosophy.
I Googled Martin Cruz Smith and came up with some items of interest. Apparently he's not a cyber-wise author--the only "official website" for him is an amateurish and out-of-date page on Literati.net. However, I found other pieces of interest:
- Wikipedia's article on him shows he's written under five names, including his best-known one, and had at least 16 books published before GORKY PARK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Cruz_Smith.
- His newest book was just released--Stalin's Ghost, #6 in the Arkady Renko series. You can read an excerpt here: http://www.bookreporter.com/reviews2/0743276728-excerpt.asp.
- For a discussion of his writing process, you might enjoy reading this interview of him, done a decade ago when his novel Rose was being released: http://www.salon.com/weekly/interview960520.html.
Here are other interviews of him:
- http://www.bookpage.com/0411bp/martin_cruz_smith.html (in conjunction with release of Wolves Eat Dogs);
- http://wiredforbooks.org/martincruzsmith/ (written commentary interspersed with links to three audio interviews, done in connection with releases of Stallion Gate, Polar Star, and Red Square);
- http://www.bookreporter.com/authors/au-smith-martin-cruz.asp (regarding December 6--an interesting discussion of why he decided to set a book in pre-WWII Japan, and his difficulties writing about a culture that was difficult for him to get into).
He's one of America's best living writers, in my opinion.