Jonathan Kellerman and the Alex Delaware Novels

I can't even remember how many Alex Delaware Novels I have read.  I do know that I used to read them one right after the other until I couldn't keep them straight.  I once tried writing down the titles of each book I read, but even then the plot lines and stories would not stay in my head more than a few days.  Jonathan Kellerman is a clinical psychologist and a master of the detective mystery. His character, Alex Delaware, is a child psychologist who is called in as a consultant to assist LAPD Detective Milo Sturgis in solving especially vicious crimes. There are nearly 30 Alex Delaware novels. I can only guarantee that you will not be disappointed in the suspense. I am currently reading Compulsion,which is the 22nd Alex Delaware novel, published in 2008.  His latest release is Mystery, published in 2011, and the next book in the series is entitled Victims, (Feb, 2012) 

Michael Connelly and LA Crime

Michael Connelly
Michael Connelly started his journalism career reporting and investigating crime in South Florida.  He moved on to the Los Angeles Times, again covering crime.  With such a background it seemed natural that the aspiring novelist would write about big city crime. Connelly's first novel featured LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch (Harry). The novel, The Black Echo, was based, in part, on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles. It was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America.

Connelly has followed that up with 18 more novels, including The Lincoln Lawyer, which was made into a film starring Matthew McConaughey as Mick Haller. I was prepared to not like the movie, but in reality I liked it a lot. I imagine there will be more.

I have been reading Harry Bosch novels on my Kindle and have not been able to put them down.  I started with The Black Echo, because it was first, and followed that up with Black Ice.  I see that the next Harry Bosch novel is entitled The Drop and it publishes November 28, 2011. The Drop can be pre-ordered on Amazon.

Michael Connelly has become one of my favorite crime novelists (along with James Lee Burke, of course).

Tess Gerritsen, Rizzoli and Isles

My first exposure to Rizzoli and Isles was the TNT series starring Angie Harmon.  She was the reason I tuned in but the stories and characters kept me around for season two.  Between seasons I found Tess Gerritsen on Amazon and downloaded several Rizzoli and Isles novels to my Kindle.  Now I am a TOTAL FAN!

(My wife downloaded the Kindle App to her Blackberry and now she is reading Gerritsen as well.)

The Surgeon (2001) introduced Detective Jane Rizzoli, and The Apprentice (2002) introduced Medical Examiner Dr. Maura Isles.  Since then there have been seven novels featuring Rizzoli and Isles, with the 2011 publication of The Silent Girl, being the most recent as of this writing.

Gerritsen had written previous successful books, the most notable was The Bone Garden (2007) which is set in 1830's Boston.  However, none of her previous work found the large audience of the Rizzoli and Isles novels. Interestingly, I think, Jane Rizzoli was not the primary character in the first novel, but with the TV series, and Angie Harmon, Rizzoli has now become the focus of the television program, while Dr. Maura Isles is still the main character in the novels.

Arturo Perez-Reverte and Captain Diego Alatriste

Arturo Perez-Reverte
The year is 1625, in Spain, and Diego Alatriste, a Madrid swordsman-for-hire, is in hot water. Spanish author Arturo Perez-Reverte captures the place and time so vividly, it is almost visual.

I'd never heard of Captain Alatriste prior to seeing it in a used book store about a year ago.  I just started reading it a few days ago and am already hooked on Alatriste.  Today, I finished the book and downloaded the second in the Captain Alatriste series, entitled Purity of Blood, to my Kindle.  The third novel is The Sun over Breda.

Translated, expertly, from the original Spanish, this series of swashbuckling novels set in the 17th Century now totals six novels in all, with the most recent just released in the USA in September of 2010. The 4th, 5th and 6th novels in the series are:  The King's Gold, The Cavalier in the Yellow Doublet, and Pirates of the Levant (2010).

I'm pretty new at reading authors other than English and American, but with this introduction to Reverte, I believe that I will investigate some other famous authors who write in a language other than English.  There is so much that we miss by reading only in English.

So many books to read, adventures to imagine, stories to share.  I hope you enjoy Captain Alatriste.

James Lee Burke of New Orleans and Montana

I first heard about James Lee Burke in a newspaper article mentioning that he would be appearing at our local Montana Festival of the Book, here in Missoula.  Then I noticed that he lived just across the Bitterroot River from me, outside of town.

I purchased one of his novels that was set in the Bitterroot Valley, and was immediately HOOKED!  I next read one of his Dave Robicheaux novels set in New Orleans.  Wow!  Hooked again!

Burke has published 29 novels and I have read 23 of them.  He won Edgar Awards as the best mystery novel for Black Cherry Blues and for Cimarron Rose I have a couple of recent releases on my Kindle right now, including Crusader's Cross, The Glass Rainbow, and Pegasus Descending.

He has three series of detective novels, each centered around a separate protagonist.  I think most anyone could enjoy dipping into a Burke novel.  They are beautifully descriptive, although the violence can be graphic.  I have found that I am usually wrong when I guess how one of his novels will turn out.  Good Stuff.

Look for novels about Dave Robicheaux, Billy Bob Holland, and Hackberry Holland.  All are very entertaining, but the Robicheau novels feature the more complex plots and the most complete story line, including other family members.

Of the novels set in Montana, I especially enjoyed Bitterroot and In the Moon of Red Ponies.

Sue Grafton, Kinsey Millhone and the Alphabet Detective Series

"T" is for Trespass.  "U" is for Undertow.  And is all began with "A" is for Alibi.

Sue Grafton
Sue Grafton's detective heroine is Kinsey Millhone, and her private investigator stories take place in and around the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California, which is based on the city of Santa Barbara, where Grafton lives, in nearby Montecito.

I've spent some time in Santa Barbara and in Montecito.  A more beautiful setting I could not imagine.  Grafton's novels have covered the period from 1983 to 1987, but have actually been written over the past twenty-seven years.  "U" is for Undertow is on my "waiting to be read" bookshelf right now.  She plans to write until the letter "Z" is for Zero, and then end the series.   Kinsey Millhone is a likable character, divorced and somewhat frustrated with her love life, but content to share her life with friends, including a fascinating 80-plus year-old man who is her landlord. (One of my favorite characters in her books.)

If you've never read the Alphabet series featuring Kinsey Millhone, I would recommend beginning with "A" is for Alibi and read them in order.  "B" is for Burglar, "C" is for Corpse, and so on.  The stories have continuity within the context of Kinsey Millhone's life, and if you start by reading the recent novels you will have deprived yourself of MOST of the back story that makes her character so interesting.

C.J. Box, The Joe Pickett Author

For the past eleven years, since 2001, C.J. Box has been writing the Joe Pickett series, about a Wyoming Game Warden.  C. J. Box is a Wyoming native and current resident.

There have been eleven Joe Pickett novels, among them, Open Season (2001), Nowhere to Run (2010), and Cold Wind (March 2011).

His novel Blue Heaven, which is not a Joe Pickett novel, won the Edgar Award as Best Mystery Novel of 2008.

He also has a C.J. Box website

Lincoln Child, Serial Horror

Three of Lincoln Child's best collaborations with Douglas Preston are, in my opinion, Gideon's Sword, Relic, Riptide, and  Still Life With Crows.

Lincoln Child
With Preston, Child has co-authored TEN novels featuring FBI serial killer hunter Aloysius Pendergast.  I was first introduced to this series when I read Still Life With Crows, which I still consider one of their best works.

I am not certain whether Lincoln Child is the better writer of the two, but something in the chemistry between their respective styles has really clicked in, and the work they produce together is the best work of either author that I have read.  And they do create the most wonderfully interesting characters.  Of course, that is just this reader's opinion.

Douglas Preston,Techno-Thriller Man

I've long enjoyed the Douglas Preston novels.  Here is one author who can immediately capture your attention and hold it.  Never mind that the novels are often longer than some other authors write, this is an exciting way to spend a lazy summer weekend.  The Codex, Tyrannosaur Canyon, and Blasphemy are linked by the Broadbent family characters and introduces Wyman Ford, a retired CIA analyst who is now in the process of becoming a monk.  In 2010 Preston published Impact, a novel that continues the Wyman Ford character's adventures.

Although Douglas Preston has enjoyed some success as an individual author, his collaborations with author Lincoln Child has resulted in greater visibility and popularity.

Stephen King, Master of Mystery

Stephen King has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Mason Award from the Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He will be presented the award at a ceremony on September 23, 2011 and will be speaking and/or reading for approximately 30-45 minutes.

I could never count the hundreds of hours of pure terror that I have "enjoyed" reading Stephen King novels, as well as watching the movie adaptations, of which The Shining is my favorite.

I did read his book about writing a few years ago, appropriately entitled "On Writing" and learned, unexpectedly, that he did not meet with immediate success in his writing endeavors.  He, too, endured the hurt of rejection letters.

His total contributions to the world of mystery writing has yet to be determined.  He is still at it, and still engaging with his readers, still "misleading" us down the path, still keeping us on the edge of our seats.

His latest novel is Full Dark, No Stars, published in November, 2010.


James Patterson, Prolific and Popular

James Patterson has written so many books a list would occupy a full typewritten page.  He has had 63 New York Times Best Sellers.  That is a record.

The Amazon Author Page for James Patterson (as of February 2011) lists 172 items!

Of all his various subjects, or protagonists, I most enjoy the Alex Cross series.  His most recent Alex Cross novel is entitled Cross Fire and it was published in November 2010.  Another, published the year before, entitled I, Alex Cross is also very popular.

In January 2011, he published Tick Tock, a Michael Bennett (New York detective) novel, co-written with Michael Ledwidge.  Patterson has collaborated on several novels with other authors.  Frankly, I think his work is weakened when he shares the writing credit.

Another of Patterson's series is the Women's Murder Club, which was also a short-lived television series.  The books have been more popular than the TV show. I think there are about ten of these, which are set in San Francisco

Patterson is also a favorite among young readers, and his Witch and Wizard series launch was a huge success.

A couple of his older works, Kiss the Girls, (Movie stars Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd), Pop Goes the Weasel and Along Came a Spider, remain popular, at least partially due to the popularity of the movies of the same name.

James Patterson is the most popular mystery writer of all time, with book sales of over 180 MILLION, grossing over Three BILLION dollars!

Dan Brown, Mystery Writing Excellence

Not only does Dan Brown write really good mysteries, he writes commercially SUCCESSFUL mysteries that have also found an audience on the big screen.

His most famous effort is The Da Vinci Code.  Two of his other novels are Angels and Demons and The Lost Symbol.  All of these involve "secret" or hidden symbolism, whether that of the Roman Catholic church or the Freemasons, or The Templars.  His main character is Robert Langdon, "symbologist" from Harvard University.
Although these were very successful, they were also a controversial mix of facts, history, conjecture and fiction. In other words, all the traits of a great read.

I found two of Dan Brown's other novels to be Really good, attention-getters, edge of the seat, thrillers.  They are Deception Point and Digital Fortress.  I encourage fans of the mystery genre to check out reviews of all the Dan Brown novels.  And, of course, I am providing links to the Amazon Dan Brown Page. Enjoy.



Incidentally, there are two authors named Dan Brown.  The novel Race the Pale Horse was written by the less-well-known Dan Brown.