With the passing of Elmore Leonard in 2013, we were all reminded of his big rule on writing—try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip. Lucky for us, writer Howard Owen has mastered this skill.
And for his efforts, Mr. Owen’s novel Oregon Hill won the 2012 North American Hammett Prize. Hel-lo! If you are an avid crime stories reader, you already know that this is a Big Deal. Other American writers who have won this prestigious award are Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke, and Martin Cruz Smith, to name a few. Yes, Virginia, Richmond hasn’t been this close to crime writing royalty since Patricia Cornwell and Kay Scarpetta left town.
A sequel story, Philadelphia Quarry, was released in July 2013 and a third novel, Parker Field, is scheduled for release in June 2014.
The series is about “call it like it is” reporter Willie Mays Black, a lifelong Richmond resident, who has been demoted back to the night shift of the local newspaper. In his pursuit for truth in a town still wrestling with its un-reconciled past, Willie’s reporting holds the mirror up for folks to see how badly they’re behaving. In spite of his many flaws and bad habits—too much drinkin’, smokin’, and skirt chasin’—Willie is a man we have to love because he tells the truth no matter the consequences to himself or his beloved city.
Reading Mr. Owen’s stories is like eating Godiva chocolate. You want to read them slowly and in little pieces so that the phrases and sentences he’s cooked up savor in your memory for a long, long time. Nutritious candy for your brain and your heart, these smart, funny reads have zero calories and will fit into any New Year’s diet plan.
Learn about Mr. Owen’s other books at ww.howardowenbooks.com/
Happy reading in 2014 everyone!