Missouri author Glenn Cook is the author of several very respectable contemporary fantasy novels, including the 'Black Company' books, the 'Starfishers' books, and the 'Dark War' trilogy, as well as several standalone novels. He is also the author of the less respectable (but even more dear to my heart) 'Garrett P.I.' books, a series of fantasy/sci-fi/detective novels that features lots of cheesy hardboiled dialogue and sex with deadly mafia women and hot alien babes.
Note: Apparently, the 'Starfishers' books are dedicated to Richard Wagner.
Other Recommendations: The Vlad Taltos novels, by Steven Brust