Letters to the Editor 

Author, author!

Regarding your cover story ("The guy who isn't Elmore Leonard," Oct. 29), not only is Loren Estleman a superb writer, he is a captivating raconteur and, in a business full of nice people, he is one of the very nicest — a generous, down-to-earth, good-humored man, and one of the world's most civilized human beings.

That none of his mysteries has received an Edgar or been adapted for film speaks volumes about the myopic mentality of Hollywood and the Mystery Writers of America awards committee.

He is an honor to Michigan and to literature. —Javan Kienzle, Detroit

Noir roots

What I enjoyed most about Odell Waller's story on Loren Estleman was the latter's acknowledgement of those who came before him — especially Raymond Chandler. Indeed, every Amos Walker mystery I've read has echoed and amplified this observation from The Simple Art of Murder: "Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor. He talks as the man of his age talks, that is, with rude wit, a lively sense of the grotesque, a disgust for sham, and a contempt for pettiness." In a world of gimmicky gumshoes and Da Vinci Code dicks, it's refreshing to know that someone is still doing it right. —Robert del Valle, Royal Oak

Loose groove

Larry Gabriel's recent Stir it Up column ("Get loose," Oct. 22) regarding a Barack Obama presidency was honest, insightful, thought-provoking and entertaining. And, on a lighter note, I appreciated the reference to the 1971 Diana Ross TV special with guest Bill Cosby. I still have the soundtrack (on vinyl). —Steve Holsey, Detroit

Network error?

I'm writing regarding Jack Lessenberry's short piece "Down with networks" (near the end of "Counting the days," Oct. 29).

So Jack Lessenberry is participating in social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, even though he doesn't know "how any of this is supposed to be useful to anyone."

Relatively few people are using social media so it's too early to know its real value. Many marketing gurus have already found a way to monetize their online networks. Others use Facebook to draw crowds to live events and LinkedIn to gain testimonials for an impending job interview. I've written plenty of "third-party" testimonials on LinkedIn to help people in my network get new customers and grow their business.

Innovation often has to achieve critical mass before it achieves full value and becomes duly appreciated. The fax machine wasn't useful until enough people had fax machines. Metcalfe's Law states that the value or power of a network increases in proportion to the square of the number of people in the network.

Michigan is in for more tough times. Its citizens need to stay connected the best we can. Hang in there, Jack. —Michael Angelo Caruso, Royal Oak

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