“Wish List: A Donovan Creed Novel” by John Locke, “Raylan” by Elmore Leonard, and “All I Did Was Shoot My Man” by Walter Mosley

For years, self-published authors have been treated with disdain. The industry referred to them as “vanity authors” and said they weren’t real, published authors for one simple reason. They weren’t any good.

Perhaps that was true—then—but with the explosion of e-readers, it isn’t true anymore. Innovative, aggressive authors can now take their work directly to market without help from fancy big-city publishing firms.

Meet John Locke, New York Times bestselling author, and the only self-published author to sell more than 1 MILLION Kindle books. As of December 24th he was the 8th bestselling author on Kindle having sold more than 1,720,000 books. And that’s only his Kindle sales. His titles are also available on the other big e-book platforms.

Every eBook he’s written has become a best seller. Without, until now, an actual, printed on paper book.

Wish List

“Wish List: A Donovan Creed Novel” by John Locke. (John Locke Books $4.99, 215 pages, paperback.) www.donovancreed.com.

Locke’s goal is simple, to entertain a reader and make them forget their troubles for a little while at a bargain price. (Note the $4.99 cover price!)

If the low price scares you, Grit-Lit is here to tell you the books are great. While they don’t fit a specific mold, if you were to combine Robert Parker’s Spenser novels with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, you’d have something kinda, sorta like Locke’s Donovan Creed books. Light hearted books with a dangerous hero, Donovan Creed a former CIA assassin with a weakness for very easy women. The action is fast, the dialogue is smart and sexy. The stories are filled with quirky characters and clever surprises.

Raylan: A Novel

“Raylan” by Elmore Leonard. (William Morrow $26.99, 263 pages, hard cover.) www.elmoreleonard.com

The latest TV show to go viral in the Grit-Lit household is “Justified.” Set in rural Kentucky “Justified” is based on an Elmore Leonard short story by. Now, in a rare twist, a short story begat a hit TV series which begat a novel, “Raylan.”

Raylan Givens is a Stetson wearing, fast drawing US Marshall who always shoots to kill. A former miner who escaped to Miami, only to be sent back to Kentucky by a Marshall service hoping to cure or at least bury his trigger happy ways, Raylan juggles dozens of cases from stolen body parts to violent, high dollar marijuana growing operations.

Leonard is famous for prose that often omits “proper usage.” His style puts more emphasis on accelerating the pace than it does on complete sentences and pronouns. His dialog accurately reflects real life conversations. Meaning conversations that aren’t linear, may not be logical and (like many conversation in real life) might relate more to a previous discussion or a forthcoming one than the sentences that came directly before.

Many readers find an adjustment is required. It took this reviewer awhile to get into the flow.

Fascinating characters, complex stories and a writing style that you’ll either love or maybe barely tolerate.

All I Did Was Shoot My Man"

“All I Did Was Shoot My Man” by Walter Mosley. (Riverhead Books, $29.95, 304 pages, hard back.) www.waltermosley.com

Mosley’s written 34 books. His latest series featuring Leonid McGill is ever more engaging than his outstanding Easy Rawlins books.

Zella comes home to find her man in bed with her friend. She doesn’t remember shooting him, but she doesn’t deny it either. Believing Zella is innocent, Leonid investigates. But the more he works the more complicated his life becomes. His son moves in with an ex-prostitute girlfriend. His wife drinks too much. And his youngest son is trying to get him to give up his own law bending ways.

Mosley’s characters are diverse, colorful and engaging. More than just shoot ‘em ups, Mosley’s work delves deeper into bigger stories with more emotional impact. “All” is an excellent thriller, but it is also the story of one man’s attempt to stay connected to his family.

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