With all this self-absorption I’ve been going through since the Edgar nomination, I thought it would be good to point to some things other have done, things that have stayed with me. I want to start with a rolicking rollercoaster of a thriller called

Beneath a Panamanian Moon

As some of you might suspect, I ran across this treat because I’d bumped into Mr Terrenoire through this site and his own. Since I’m a slow reader who’s too distracted by his own writing and the television, it took me a while to get to the adventures of John Harper. I’m glad I finally did.

When I started getting into spy fiction, I thought the only way to go about it was the Le Carre way—that is, with heft. It’s a bleak world, and let’s not pretend anything different. Then, in recent years, I ran across Len Deighton, whose Harry Palmer stories (in both film and fiction) were a laugh riot. I remember reading The Ipcress File and Funeral in Berlin, wondering, “How the hell does he do that? How does he mix the danger with the hoots?”

I ask the same questions here, because David Terrenoire is clearly Len Deighton’s heir, with less recipes but more music and ass-kicking. And just as many laughs.

I could swim every day, and I worked out with weights, and even did a little kickboxing with a few of the Washington wives, but jogging was as enjoyable as being run over by a bus full of Promise Keepers. I didn’t like it.