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June 17, 2004



I'm assuming you've seen the (not very good) movie "Stone Reader", which is about a disappeared author.


This is a great idea. There are several writers who have fallen off the planet that I wondered about. You can do a literary "Where are They Now."

A few of the biggies for me are:

1. Rob Kantner
2. Karen Kiejewski
3. Gregory McDonald


I miss William Murray. The folks at Black Orchid told me he just quit because he couldn't stand dealing with publishers any more. It's also possible he hit a giant Pick Six bet at Del Mar and decided just to play horses.

Graham Powell

How about Benjamin Schutz, who wrote the Leo Haggerty series, including the great short story "Mary, Mary, Shut The Door"? He could see the writing on the wall, so in the last book in the series, MEXICO IS FOREVER, he had Haggerty go through quite a bit.

He resurfaced a couple of years ago with a short story, "Lost And Found", which was a sequel to "Mary", but as far as I know that's all.

Jennifer Jordan

4. William Leonard Marshall

5. Kent Anderson

Byron, there is an article on what happened to Rob Kanter by Joe Konrath in the first issue of Crime Spree Magazine.

Kevin Wignall

Sarah, great idea, though a little unnerving for those of us in the game - you will email us beforehand if we're set to feature?
Also a great post on this subject, one on which I could expand at length, because I also represent another angle - how you can disappear in one country but not another. I've had so many people asking when "For the Dogs" was coming out in the UK that I've had to send out a group email explaining that the US version is available from amazon.co.uk, but that's it. What most people don't understand, and I've talked to Olen about this in the last week, is that the real work actually starts around the second and third books - that's when you have to start digging in, carving out your spot until it's invulnerable to the vagaries of the publishing world.


I can second the recommendation of "Stone Reader", and of the writers mentioned by Bryon, McDonald had a new novel out just last year. The writer I'd most like to know about is Scott Smith. To me, "A Simple Plan" (1993) was absolutely the best crime novel of the 90s, and one of the best I've ever read. Then it was made into an excellent movie by Sam Raimi. But as for Smith himself, I haven't heard a word in the eleven years since. How can someone write one book this good, then just vanish?

Jennifer Jordan

So, Kevin, what you're saying is you're a mirage?

Kevin Wignall

J, I prefer to think of myself as an oasis with a well-stocked bar and a great pianist. So there you go, I'm not a mirage, but I'm clearly delusional.


Well, I see this new feature is attracting some interest. As Jen points out, Crime Spree features a lengthy article about Kantner, and I believe a new collection of short stories will be out later this year from PointBlank Press.

Mike, I too wonder about Scott Smith, but I think he got bit by the Hollywood bug (and may or may not be directing movies, too) so that might explain things. Still, I haven't read A SIMPLE PLAN yet so this is as good an excuse as any...

Nichelle Tramble

What about Terris McMahon Grimes who wrote the series based in Sacramento, California?



I'll ask Dennis McMillan about Kent Anderson. I think he still writing.



Is it really use typing into this blog?

Olen Steinhauer

Sarah, as a nominee, the post sends shivers down my spine.

Kevin and I have been discussing this for good reason--a first novel gets some flurry of attention because it's a first. Then the second or third...well, that seems to be when some mysterious mixture of PR, reviews, simple luck, and perhaps a bit of pluck, can keep you in the public eye.

I'm interested to see what you can dredge out of the shadows from these previous attention-grabbers, maybe find some common mistake, or come to the more likely conclusion that it's just the winds of fate.

What a freakin' business. Why didn't I study medicine?


Olen said Well, probably because you are a good writer. You and Kevin just need to stick to business at hand and the audience will find you. It is important that the rest of, the reading public, but the pressure on the idiots at the Big Houses to promote and nourish you guys.

When these guys tour, get out to those readings/signing and do as I do, talk to the sales reps and ask them for contact info so that the agents and publishers get some feedback info beside the bottom line $$$$.


It's interesting to also make the distinction between authors who have disappeared intentionally and those who have simply been forgotten.

Dan Wickett

Yes, please follow up on the Kantner disappearance for those of us who don't get Crime Spree.

Being from Ben Perkins' home city of Westland, the books were a treasure to stumble upon. I met him when The Red, White and Blues was published - he did a signing in a store nearby. At that time he was complaining about not even having a paperback contrack, let alone a hardcover deal.

I know he's done some work with ISO-9000, had (and may still have) a website and a book for sale on that topic (Quality Control).


Rob Kantner

Thanks for the interest. I dropped out of book writing when I started my own consulting firm in the mid 90s. In recent years I have published several mystery shorts with Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and one of them has been anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories 2004 (which just came out). PointBlank Press has contracted to bring out a Ben Perkins short story anthology. Check my site www.RobKantner.com for further updates. Thanks!


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