If questioned under extreme duress (to be outlined in a future post), I'd say Joe Lansdale is my favorite writer. Is he the best I've ever read?
Not by a long shot.
Raymond Carver and John Cheever and Willa Cather and ol' Ernest pretty much own that mantle. These folks have written the most beautiful and thorough fiction I've ever read. It's about voice and pacing and content and epiphany and character and narrative. Their writing is just so consistently filled with art, craft and that special quantity of...well, narrative thrust, I suppose...that just about anything they write I can appreciate.
That said, I'll almost always choose a Stephen King novel over one of theirs if pressed. He's a great stylist in his own right and his voice only seems to mature with every passing year. It's his content, and my own attraction to the surreal, that drives a lot of my reading choices. What can I say? I actually plan my day around watching Tales From The Darkside on Chiller.
But Joe? Shoot, man! Give me a Champion Joe story any night of the week. Lansdale's voice is without parallel in the field of speculative fiction. No one writes like him. The collection on the right is so filled with blockbuster tales that I simply can't believe it hasn't made stronger ripples in the field.
Lansdale's novels are amazing. His short fiction is top shelf.
If you can get your hands on Shadows, Kith and Kin, then do it. It's amazing.