Ross Macdonald, along with Robert B. Parker (the Spenser novels) is the guy who got me hooked on detective fiction. I devoured all of their books, and then went on to Chandler and Hammett and Goodis. Macdonald died 28 years ago today.
People always try to put genre writers – whether they are mystery writers or science fiction writers – into another category, as if genre writers aren’t good writers in general. That there’s something lacking or something subpar in their writing that puts them in a category just below “literary” writers. T.C. Boyle has this attitude, and it’s a little sick. Read Ross Macdonald and you’ll see that.
And you might as well start at the beginning, the first Lew Archer novel, 1949’s The Moving Target. There are many more novels, as well as several short stories featuring Archer.