Among the numerous nice responses to my year-end wrap-up post was one from Sandra Scoppettone, which also posed an interesting question.
"I like and have read a number of books on your list. But, alas, once again here is another 10 best with no women on it. Couldn't you come up with one? Ray Banks says he doesn't read women. Is that true for you, too?"
No, not really. I do read female authors, but my reading does tend to be mostly males. This is probably due to the fact that I read a lot of pulps, and female authors weren't very common among the Western, mystery, and adventure stuff that I read. I had to go back and check my list to see just how many books by women writers I read in '05. The total is rather shameful: five out of 156. One of them, though, would have made my Top Twenty if I had expanded the list: the romantic suspense novel AN ANGEL IN STONE by Peggy Nicholson, published as part of Silhouette's Bombshell line. The best book by a female author that I read in '05, though, I didn't count officially because it hasn't been published yet -- my wife Livia's A PEACH OF A MURDER. There are a lot of current female authors I've meant to read, just as there are a lot of current male authors I haven't gotten around to yet. One of my favorite authors is Ellen Recknor, who writes excellent and award-winning Western novels under her own name and various pseudonymns. I also particularly enjoy the work of a couple of romance writers, Marsha Canham and Theresa Medeiros. (Medeiros' novel BREATH OF MAGIC is one of the best-constructed, and also funniest, time-travel novels I've ever read.) An area I've neglected, probably unjustly, is current hardboiled/noir by female authors. But I plan to remedy that.