Sadly, the heyday of the pulp detective novel, with its lurid covers and purple prose, is over. In its place, however, is a new breed of crime fiction. Writers such as Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke and T. Jefferson Parker (who sets much of his work in Orange County) have elevated the genre above its pulpy roots, maintaining the gripping thrills but adding a little bit of sheen to the presentation. Hell, most of their books even enjoy a hardcover printing! Robert Crais is one of the best of these modern crime novelists. With a writing career stretching more than 20 years, Crais' popularity continues to rise as more fans discover his trademark blend of wit and action. In person, Crais is an amusing, gracious figure with a lot of fascinating stories about the creative process. See him celebrate the release of his latest book, Chasing Darkness , this Sunday.
Sun., July 6, 1 p.m., 2008