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The Lineup: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives Hardcover – November 10, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0316031936 ISBN-10: 9780316031936 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"An all-star cast produces a mostly rewarding collection." ---Kirkus --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

About the Author

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, and the editor of many mystery anthologies, including The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection, for which he won an Edgar Award. He lives in New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1 edition (November 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316031936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316031936
  • ASIN: 0316031933
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,245,624 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop ( in New York City and is regarded as the world's foremost authority on crime, mystery and suspense fiction. He founded The Mysterious Press in 1975, which he later sold to Warner Books (1989). He reacquired the imprint in 2010 and it now publishes original books as an imprint at Grove/Atlantic, and both original works and classic crime fiction through (, in partnership with Open Road Integrated Media.

Penzler is a prolific editor, and has won two Edgar Awards, for Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection in 1977 and The Lineup in 2010. The Mystery Writers of America awarded him the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 and the Raven--the group's highest non-writing award--in 2003.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"I applied my heart to know,
To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things,
To know the wickedness of folly,
Even of foolishness and madness." -- Ecclesiastes 7:25

How many people would read about Sherlock Holmes if the stories were merely clever puzzles, rather than also being fascinating studies in character, of Holmes, Watson, the criminals, and often the victims?

Occasionally, you will bump into a terrific article where an author talks candidly about the origins of his or her detective, PI, or righter of wrongs. Those experiences leave you hungry for more.

Well, you've been blessed this year. Otto Penzler has assembled a world-class cast of authors and their characters for you to explore from the authors' perspectives. In many cases, the authors wrote new fictional material featuring their detectives (often in the form of interviews) that is some of the best writing those authors have ever done in my humble opinion.

Unless you are an omnivorous consumer of crime, detective, and police fiction, chances are that some of these characters are new to you. After you read a little about the characters and their story lines, I guarantee you'll find some great new books to read. What a delight!

The profits from the book also help keep The Mysterious Bookshop in business, where I've had all of my best signings with mystery authors.

The pieces address subjects such as how the author came to write mysteries, how the character was originally conceived, where the name came from, why the character developed in the way that she or he did, and many perspectives concerning how the author thinks about the character. It's fascinating.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Koch VINE VOICE on January 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
For mystery thriller fans alike whether it be Ken Bruen and his character, Jack Taylor or Jonathan Kellerman and his character Alex Delaware, then you will enjoy The Lineup. Edited by Otto Penzler. This book lets readers into the minds of crime writers. The authors share the back ground story about how they developed their characters, why they became authors, and even share some about their next book.

I enjoyed reading about Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor. It made him more interesting to me and now I will give his books another try. It was fun learning about Michael Connelly's childhood and where he grew up. Ever wonder how Mr. Connelly came up with the name Hieronymus Bosch...well you will just have to read about it in The Lineup. There are many authors that are new to me in this book. The Lineup became like a wish list for me of authors and their books I want to read. So if you want the inside scoop on your favorite crime authors...look no further than The Lineup.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Susan Johnson VINE VOICE on January 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this book. I found it fascinating reading about different authors and their varied approaches to writing. Each author had a short story and some of them interviewed their characters, some told how the characters came to be and some expounded on the writing process. I really was interested inlearning some of the authors said their characters talked to them and directed the stories and others who said they planned their books in detail.
It was interesting to read the authors viewpoints of themselves. One of them, Jonathon Kellerman, told about what a great listener he was and how much he liked to interact with readers. I met Mr. Kellerman at a Tony Hillerman Mystery Writer Conference and he was the most closed off author I have ever met. Because I am such a book nerd, I have been to many author talks and literary conferences and I have never met anyone who seemed not to care about talking to his readers. He fixed his stare above people shoulders to avoid eye contact and told one person that he didn't care what they thought of Alex's love life. He was simply one of the rudest people I'ver ever met. I haven't picked up an Alex Delaware book since. He doesn't care about his readers, I don't care about his books.
It's just an example of how enthralling it is to read about the author's point of view.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on March 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Lineup is a crime fiction fan's dream, a compilation of twenty one essays by today's top crime writers, all dealing with the major characters they've created. Thus, readers are treated to, among others, well crafted pieces about Jack Reacher by Lee Child, Spencer by the late Robert B. Parker, Rambo by David Morrell, Tess Monaghan by Laura Lippman, Bob Lee Swagger by Stephen Hunter and Mallory by Carol O'Connell. As editor Penzler points out in his introduction, the writers take "many different and colorful approaches to telling readers previously unknown facts about their creations. There are short stories tucked into the biographies, interviews of the characters, revealing looks into the authors' lives and creative processes, and even frequent insights into the characters that came as revelations to their creators." All the essays are uniformly excellent, showing a level of engagement rarely seen in an anthology, as the essayists are writing about their brainchildren, the characters that have consumed so much of their lives, and have in turn made them commercially successful. Readers will be thrilled by the pieces about protagonists and writers they are familiar with, and conceive a desperate need to seek out works featuring the characters that they're being introduced to for the first time.
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