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.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Although Water for Elephants is an historical novel, and a romance, there is sufficient "mystery" in the novel that I choose to include it on this website.

It is in my library, and is one of the best books I've read during the past five years.  The author, Sara Gruen, was a technical writer who tried her hand as a novelist during National Novel Writing Month (

At the center of this story is the elephant, Rosie, and Jacob, a former medical student who now looks after the animals in a traveling circus.  Jacob falls for Marlena, the star performer, who is married to a nasty man, August, who is Rosie's nemesis.

The book has been made into a movie starring Robert Pattinson (Twilight guy), and Reese Witherspoon.

Sara Gruen (prounced Groo' en) also wrote and published Riding Lessons (2004), Flying Changes (2005), and Ape House (2010).

Stieg Larsson Hottest Novelist right now

The Three Millennium novels by Stieg Larsson, all published after his death, are the hottest novels on the market.

The movies, in Swedish language, are a hit as well.  I've seen all three, but only after reading the three novels.

I can tell you that the movies are INTENSE!  Even knowing what is going to happen...the films are really good.

Millennium refers to the name of the fictional magazine that the main male character, Mikael Blomkvist, owns and operates in a partnership with other contributing characters.  But the main protagonist is Lisbeth Salander, who must be the best female character developed in decades!

Don't allow yourself to be thrown off by the Swedish words and names in the books.  Blomkvist is pronounced as "Bloomquist."  The story and characters all fall into place, once you get going into the first book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  The books form one continuous story, with the second novel, The Girl Who Played With Fire, picking up immediately where the first book ended.  This is also true of the third novel, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

Of the three movies, Hornet's Nest is the hardest to follow and keep my interest.  If you haven't read the three books, you will NOT understand what is going on in the Hornet's Nest movie.

I highly recommend these three novels for lovers of mystery and murder! (or lovers of murder mysteries)

I've always been a big reader

I used to stay home from school, playing sick, in order to finish a book I was up reading all night. Some of my favorites from my youth were the James Bond novels by Ian Fleming, and the Shell Scott detective stories by Richard Prather.

Now I am 64 years old, and both these authors names and their main characters are still recalled from memory with no reference to any of my books.

I once donated 1200 pounds of books to a local library because I was moving away and just couldn't handle them all. That was over twenty years ago. I have again built up a sizable library. Many of these books are mysteries, and I will be reviewing some of my favorites for you.