R. KARL LARGENT WHO?
During my formative icky bug years in the early 90’s, I was in the midst of finding my muse. There were certain authors that rocked my boat while others (Stephen King, Clive Barker, Robert McGammon) just didn’t do it for me. Obscure authors attracted me, maybe, or just something about the book jackets and back blubs lured me in.
One such “new face” came from R. Karl Largent (also known as Robin Lawrence), an author that started as a mid-list icky bug writer from Indiana. Robin had worked for industry for a long time and after either quitting or retiring from that, took up writing.
I discovered him in Hastings in Altus, Oklahoma with a novel called The Lake. It rocked! Now that was good icky bug. I can’t remember all the details so many years later, but after reading a batch of Dean Koontz, this was a refreshing change. I became obsessed with finding more Largent and haunted the bookstores until I found Ancients, Black Death, Pagoda, and much later on, The Witch of Sixkill. His stories directly added to my muse as I was writing The Greenhouse. Though my story is completely different, Largent’s early novels inspired me with their monsters (icky bugs) and the heroes prevailing in the end.
Between Ancients and The Lake, he started a military thriller series which he continued until his unfortunate death from cancer in the early 2000’s. That first novel, Red Tide, featured T.C. Bogner, his ex-military hero who went around the world, saving mankind. These stories were Tom Clancy-like in nature but a lot less wordy and therefore, more enjoyable. I never finished a Clancy novel, where these books were a pure pleasure, especially since I was already familiar with Largent’s style.
This was a case of real frustration where I tried for years but could never find or get hold of Robin. There was just no info on him, or when I found the little that was out there, no contact e-mail. Finally, after much perseverance, I tracked him down to Tri-state University in Indiana where he once taught. I discovered he’d recently passed. At that time, I was able to contact his widow and had several e-mail exchanges with her. A great lady, she was very generous with her time and information.
Those of you who trolled the bookstores back in the late 80’s and all through the 90’s are sure to have run across some of Robin’s books, possibly without ever realizing it. You may have read a few of them. I’ll always remember him fondly as he was a much bigger influence on me that many of the major players out there at the time.
My hat’s off to you, Mr. Largent!