Four crime fiction authors talk about writers who don't write crime fiction

Ace Atkins, Michael Koryta, Steph Post and Lori Roy on their favorite authors who write something other than mysteries.
Published November 8 2018

We asked four favorite crime fiction writers who will appear at the Times Festival of Reading on Nov. 17 one question: Who is your favorite author who does not write crime fiction, and why?

Ace Atkins’ most recent novel in his Quinn Colson series is The Sinners. His latest in the Robert B. Parker Spenser series is Old Black Magic.

Charles Portis! It’s one thing to be profound, but profound and funny is absolute talent. True Grit and Norwood are laugh-out-loud funny and two of the best novels I’ve ever read.

Michael Koryta’s 13th novel is the chilling bestseller How It Happened.

Stewart O’Nan is always the first name to my mind, but of late Beth Macy (Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America) is sneaking in there. She’s writing narrative nonfiction about incredibly complex and important issues but grounding the stories in the human heart. The world is both big and small in her work, and that’s easy to say but hard to do. She trusts her characters and trusts their stories in a way I envy as a writer. She allows humanity to be messy, and she understands that intentions and results are rarely as tidily boxed as we’d like to make them.

Steph Post's Florida noir novels include Lightwood and Walk in the Fire.

Michael Ondaatje — absolutely. His novels have blended the lines between poetry and prose in a startling way. I read The English Patient back in high school and it absolutely opened my eyes as to what a writer could be and do.

Double Edgar Award winner Lori Roy’s most recent book is The Disappearing.

Oh that’s tough — I have several. Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides) is top of my list. Flannery O’Connor, Toni Morrison, I’d say those are my top three. I guess Pat Conroy if you’re only looking for one. He writes with such poetry about the South and his characters and yet is also able to weave a compelling and page-turning plot. A few of my books feature Woodford whiskey, as it was his favorite.

Contact Colette Bancroft at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.