Crais began his career as a scriptwriter for television programs like Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Quincy, Miami Vice, and L.A. Law. Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker, and John Steinbeck have all affected his work. Crais has received various honors for his crime books. He is a two-time Edgar Award winner and a three-time Anthony Award nominee.
His crime novels are set in Hollywood and focus on former FBI agents who now work as private investigators. Each book in the series features a different protagonist who gets involved in cases that link them to other parts of the world. The stories are based on actual events or investigations that Crais participated in or was given access to during his time at the FBI.
His characters are often inspired by real people: Tony Hill from Born on the Fourth of July is based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ; former FBI agent Joe Rizzo from I, Joe DiMaggio: My Life is Based on a True Story is said to be a tribute to Joltin' Joe DiMaggio; and LAPD Detective Harry Callahan from The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a parody of Chester "Ace" Parker, an actual Los Angeles police officer who died in the line of duty in 1925.
Although they are set in America, the novels will always be considered foreign because they are written in the first person by an American investigator who lives in California.
Crutcher did not begin writing until he was 35 years old, but he now cannot fathom his life without it. He strives to represent life as he sees it in his novels by blending comedy and serious events. His work is characterized by its fast-paced action and colorful language.
Crutcher claims to have written his first novel when he was 14 years old. However, since that time he has only published one book, so it can be assumed that these earlier works were simply drafts of later books that he finished publishing.
He finally broke through with his first bestseller at the age of 35, which made him one of the youngest authors to ever do so. Since then he's had many more hits, with some of his books becoming classics within their genre. His novels are often based on true stories, but they always have a significant amount of fiction added to them as well.
Some critics have labeled him as a literary chameleon due to his ability to write different genres so well. This has helped him to connect with several different types of readers across America and around the world.
He lives in Tennessee with his wife and two children. They don't know who their characters are yet!
Those of us who encountered Crichton in 1990 discovered an already broad and remarkably rich collection of technothrillers, historical adventures, and even a touch of fantasy. Crichton was an author who wrote whatever piqued his interest, unlike today's concentration on an author staying in one lane and developing a distinct brand. His first novel, "The Terminal Man", was published in 1974 when he was only 23 years old.
He started out as a medical reporter for several newspapers including an internship at the New York Journal-American. He then moved to Washington, D.C., to work for The Baltimore Sun where he covered the health issues surrounding oil pollution and other hazardous waste problems. These experiences helped him develop his own stories about doctors and scientists who battle diseases with little support from government agencies.
Crichton has said that he decided to write novels after reading some articles by James Clavell about the Far East during the time period of Japan's modernization. This inspired him to write a story about a doctor living in Hong Kong who comes into conflict with Japanese police over the treatment of a patient. The book was called "The Terminal Man" and it was published in 1971. It wasn't until many years later that Crichton would publish his first full-length novel.
After publishing his first book, Crichton decided to move to California so he could live near the ocean and explore its effects on animals and humans.