Monday, January 29, 2018

C.M. Wendelboe

C. M. Wendelboe is the author of the Spirit Road Mysteries (Penguin). During his thirty-eight-year career in law enforcement, he served successful stints as a sheriff’s deputy, police chief, policy adviser, and supervisor for several agencies. He was a patrol supervisor when he retired to pursue his true vocation as a fiction writer.

Wendelboe's latest contemporary mystery is Hunting the Five Point Killer.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
Whenever I get hung up on characterization, I often go back to school. My instructors that I fall back on are Craig Johnson and Charles Dickens. A contemporary writer, Johnson’s characters are vivid, and they literally come alive for readers. In his latest book, The Western Star, Johnson’s main character, Walt Longmire, steps out of element when he rides a train, and in so doing, winds up right in the middle of a murder. Longmire’s strong role adds much depth to the story.

And Dickens. As difficult as some of Dickens’ books were to read, he was a master (in my opinion) of strong characterization. As I’m re-reading Great Expectations for the umpteenth time, it teaches me how to flesh out secondary characters. No one reading that classic can forget Joe Gargery, Pip’s brother-in-law, who is more like a father to Joe. Dickens wove Joe’s empathy and unwavering devotion to Pip throughout the book. Strong character!

And Louis L’Amour. Normally one thinks about L’Amour as a writer of traditional westerns. But he had written a number of seafaring and adventure books. And a Sci-Fi novel. I am reading (for the second time in as many months) The Haunted Mesa—not because I forgot how the story evolved—but because I cannot put my literary thumb on just why it is such a fascinating read. I’ll try to dissect the book several times this year, but am not optimistic that I’ll decipher its draw on me any more than the first time I read it thirty years ago.
Visit C. M. Wendelboe's website.

The Page 69 Test: Hunting the Five Point Killer.

--Marshal Zeringue