Everybody has heroes. Baseball players, soldiers, fictional characters on TV and in movies. Hell, even actors (hear that, Humphrey Bogart?).
Writers have heroes too, and not just Ernest Fucking Hemingway. Denis Johnson? Annie Proulx? Sure.
I have a few. Michel Tournier, Trevanian, Patrick O’Brian and John D. MacDonald. But one of the greatest is Robert Stone, who negotiated the fine line between socio-political thriller and adventure story with astounding ease. He wrote about Vietnam, drug dealers, South American countries, the CIA, religious fanatics, Carlos the Jackal… everything. He wrote about places, about New York and South America and San Francisco. He wrote with wit and eloquence and tremendous power. He wrote about Americans.
The motherfucker could write.
Here’s a great Paris Review article about Robert Stone. If you have never read him, you might well want to. He’s not writing any more because he’s dead. It’s a damn shame.