Bryce Heckman was born in Midland, TX and grew up in Houston. Before earning a creative writing degree from Colorado Christian University in 2013, he studied exercise science at The University of Alabama and film at The University of Texas. His short fiction has appeared in Flash Fiction Online, Mystery Magazine, and Tales to Terrify, among other places (see Published Works for a complete listing). Currently, he lives with his amazing wife and daughter in Houston. Follow him on Twitter @BHeckmanWriter.
Literary Influences: Stephen King, Haruki Murakami, Philip K. Dick, Ray Bradbury, Joe Hill, Michael Connelly, John D. MacDonald, Ian Fleming, Tobias Wolff, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Michael Chabon.
Favorite Books & Why:
- The Holy Bible – The Bible is filled with interesting stories, and for me, nuggets of wisdom and truth. Despite being a collection of more than sixty books written over a 1500-year span, it maintains a singular vision and message. For me, it’s a source of love, hope, and inspiration. I get to read about broken people who had the same struggles we still have today, and about people who found redemption despite horrible choices they made. Good triumphs over evil. Justice is and will be served. It doesn’t shy away from the more unsavory aspects of life, either. These elements would thrill many readers of crime fiction. The Bible has also had an eternal impact on my life. It is more than my life manual–it’s the receiving end of a spiritual telephone.
- The Stand, by Stephen King – This epic story kept me turning pages as a teen with joy, wonder, and fear. King has a way of creating complex and realistic characters by using the right background detail or internal thought that really speaks to me. He pushes characters to their limits, crafting powerful moments with emotional resonance. And let’s not forget King’s voice, that narrator sitting around the campfire, telling us what we’re afraid to know–what we need to know.
- The Wild Sheep Chase, by Haruki Murakami – What I like most about Murakami’s work is the journey of living with his characters, sharing meals and drinks with them in an un-real world made real, then arriving at the end a new person. Also, the simplicity and musicality of his prose is unmatched. He could describe a rusty toilet and I’d still be under his trance. The Wild Sheep Chase was modeled after a Raymond Chandler novel, and it was the first book I read that combined literary magic realism with a mystery/thriller. Much of his work follows this format and is crime-adjacent.
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson – This dark story takes place on a brilliant and snowy, made-up island. It features a dueling POV and tackles real-world issues like sexual abuse and journalism while also being one of the most interesting and entertaining stories I’ve ever read. It’s just a lot of fun to be with such unique characters as they solve puzzles, encounter romantic entanglements, and try to survive their hostile worlds.
- The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum – Its combination of espionage, assassins, mystery, and romance, all while the main character is on-the-run and dealing with amnesia, just doesn’t get any more exciting. Like the great Russian novels, it infuses French and other languages into the story, giving it a cultured richness. My love of spy fiction began here.
Honorable Mentions (in no particular order): The Odyssey, by Homer. 1984, by George Orwell. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. Wonder Boys, by Michael Chabon. Kafka on the Shore, 1Q84, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, by Haruki Murakami. Bag of Bones, The Shining, It, and Rose Madder, by Stephen King. The Lord of the Rings series, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. The James Bond series, by Ian Fleming. The Travis McGee series, by John D. MacDonald. The Harry Bosch series, by Michael Connelly. The Reacher series, by Lee Child.
Favorite Short Stories & Why: Coming Soon!