Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Crider’s Tough Path

While the last year has brought painfully little good news on the U.S. national scene, it was always possible to find a modicum of hope and brief escapes from reality in the world of crime and mystery fiction. But then came this note yesterday from 76-year-old Texas author, blogger, and all-around nice guy Bill Crider:
Things could change, but I suspect this will be my final post on the blog. I met with some doctors at M.D. Anderson today, and they suggested that I enter hospice care. A few weeks, a few months is about all I have left. The blog has been a tremendous source of pleasure to me over the years, and I’ve made a lot of friends here. My only regret is that I have several unreviewed books, including Lawrence Block’s fine new anthology, Alive in Shape and Color, and Max Allan Collins’ latest collaboration with Mickey Spillane, The Last Stand, which is a collection of two novellas, “A Bullet for Satisfaction,” an early Spillane manuscript with an interesting history, and “The Last Stand,” the last thing that Spillane completed. It saddens me to think of all the great books by many writers that I’ll never read. But I’ve had a great life, and my readers have been a big part of it. Much love to you all.
As I noted last year, former English teacher Crider has prostate cancer. Chemotherapy treatments had given him the tenuous promise of keeping that disease at bay, and they allowed him to attend both this year’s Bouchercon in Toronto and the World Fantasy Convention in San Antonio. However, even modern medicine cannot cure all ills, and Crider’s post suggests he is learning that truth the hard way.

I know what an ominous thing going to a hospice can be. My wife’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer two years ago, and she was in and out of hospices for months before finally passing away. It looks as if her husband, my wife’s stepfather, is currently bound down the same road. So I have no illusions about miraculous recoveries. But if anyone deserves that sort of enviable luck right now, it’s Bill Crider.

In the short term, author-blogger Patti Abbott has suggested that contributors to her Friday “forgotten books” series devote their posts for December 15 to Crider’s plentous works of fiction. “If you would like to participate,” she writes, “either with a book review of one of his books or a remembrance, or a review of a short story ... [Y]ou can post it on my blog or your own should you have one. If you message me, I will give you my e-mail [address] to send it to. If you can get it to me a day or two before then, that would be great. Even Facebook reviews will work. All reviews are welcome.”

I hope to take part in this tribute, though at the moment I am uncertain of what approach I’ll take. What I do know is that Bill Crider has given a great deal to the crime-fiction community over the years. It’s time to give back, even if only in a small way.

READ MORE:Heartbroken for Bill Crider,” by Lee Goldberg; “Bill Crider—One of the Best,” by Kaye Barley (Meanderings and Muses); “Bill Crider,” by Robert S. Napier (The Cap’n’s Blog).


Kevin R. Tipple said...

I also know too well what hospice means. I am devastated by his post.

Rick Robinson said...

Hope you can join in. I'll be there.