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July 15, 2005

Stephen J. Cannell

I'm one of those people who snort novels. My favorite novelists are(some living, others deceased) Tom Clancy, Desmond Bagley, Robert Ludlum, Jack Higgins(ne Harry Patterson), Leslie Charteris, John Sandford, Adelaide Manning and Cyril Coles, David Morrell, Patricia Cornwell, Larry Bond, James Clavell, Janet Evanovitch, Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, Eric Von Lustbaader, John LeCarre, Len Deighton and... Stephen J. Cannell.

Here's a genius: He's created a whole lot of successful TV series', among them The Rockford Files, The A Team, Renegade, Silk Stalkings and Hunter. He's also appeared in various guest roles, most notably as Lt. "Dutch" Dixon, the corrupt cop who framed fellow cop Reno Raines(Lorenzo Lamas) for murder and pursues him throughout the series.

I'd be derelict if I didn't mention lovely Renegade co-star  Kathleen Kinmont, just on GP.

Cannell's written a number of novels, all of which I've read and enjoyed tremendously. His books are refreshingly original and he researches his topics so that they are based in situations and details that smack of reality, and they are fluid reading, easy to read cover to cover, never a dull moment, constantly absorbing. Their genre is mostly crime/mystery.

Of all his novels to date, my favorite by far is King Con, a simultaneously amusing and riveting story about a man named Beano Bates who is the acknowledged master of the confidence game -- the Bates clan, scattered throughout the U.S., are a family of proficient con artists and in King Con, Beano brings them all into a megastakes, high-ticket con to bring down a major mobster.

Cannell provides a graphically detailed look into the dynamics of the con game, including the insiders' terminology such as "telling the tale",  the different types of cons and how they work and the book is filled with great, well defined and often amusing characters. The novel is full of pleasant surprises yet also has its share of realistic brutal violence.

Cannell has a remarkable sense of humor that manifests itself in all of his books and I have yet to read one that isn't fun to read.      

Posted by Seth at July 15, 2005 12:18 PM