Quiller, I think this was totally the way to go. I'm going to pull down a copy when I get some time. I'm not a fiction guy, but I read the first few pages and am already intrigued enough to want to finish it.....
Who are some authors that have influenced you? (Ricky doesn't count....)
I read everything from Shakespeare to Chaucer to Orwell, Huxley, and scores more before I ever got through 10th grade. Popular fiction included a lot of the old Gold Medal Books from Fawcett, or the various New American Library thrillers going out at that time.
No one series influenced me more than others, since I got different things from different writers. Donald E. Westlake (under the pen name of Richard Stark) wrote a brilliant crime series about the ultimate amoral criminal, Parker. Three movies have already been made from "The Hunter," the first in that series. Also under the Stark name was a spin-off series about one of Parker's frequent partners, part-time actor Alan Grofeld. Under the Westlake name he penned so many other smash hit novels that I can safely say he was a model for sheer output and manuscript organization.
Another series involved contract CIA agent Joe Gall, by the hilariously pen-named Philip Atlee (a play on real-life CIA agent Atlee Phillips). Gall was popular at the same time as the Bond series, only far more realistic. Espionage writers of note included Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, John le Carre, Len Deighton, and a ton of espionage nonfiction at both the popular and university-library research level.
More recently, Michigan writers Elmore Leonard (TV's "Justified") and Loren D. Estelman ("Whiskey River" trilogy, particularly, and the fine Amos Walker mysteries). Or John Dunning's excellent antiquarian book mysteries with Cliff Janeway. (I've met both Estelman and Dunning, but doubt I'll meet Leonard, who's usually somewhere else when I get into Detroit).
Aside from that I'm drawing a blank. I mean, I read two or more books a day as a kid, tapering off recently for obvious reasons. Mixed in there were the Bronte sisters, Thackeray, Shelley and Stoker, and the usual run of Chaucer, Swinburne and other doom-'n'-gloom poets of the 1800s. (Teenaged angst, I have no doubt.)
I wrote the above before seeing WT's comment regarding Ricky at war with the world. I didn't pick up on Ricky being any MORE obnoxious than he USUALLY is.
That drinking game will wreck a whole bunch of us. Taxed is evil for suggesting it.