Thursday, June 24, 2010

it's a mystery 13

In mysteries, the reader doesn’t know who the killer is until the end. In thrillers, the reader knows who the bad guy is from the beginning. The only question is how much damage he’s going to do before he gets caught. ~J. A. Jance

Crime novels have been popular in every culture everywhere in the world. The second story ever told was a murder mystery - you know, the first story ever told was Adam and Eve, a love story. The second story, Cain and Abel. ~ Rene Balcer, executive producer of Law and Order.

I think if you can create something and make something from week to week that the whole world enjoys every second of every day, it's pretty special, and sends the right message that if you commit a crime, we're gonna catch you. That's the bottom line - justice. ~Anthony E. Zuiker creator of television show CSI

Mysteries work as stories with the require beginnings, middles and ends. Those ends usually entail the bad guy getting caught and/or punished. That is the rule. If the bad guy doesn’t get it in the end, you may be dealing with literature, and that’s another kettle of fish entirely. ~ J. A. Jance

Some of my favorite mystery/thriller authors/characters:

  1. Sue Grafton - Kinsey Millhone, PI - Grafton's alphabet mystery series has gone from A to U so far, what will she do when the letters run out?
  2. Lee Child - Jack Reacher, former MP, tough guy who doesn't mess around, Reacher always gets it done.
  3. Robert Parker - Spenser PI, Jesse Stone small town police chief, Parker's death earlier this year left a finite number of great crime novels out there, would like to read them all.
  4. Janet Evanovich - Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter in the 'burg' NJ. In addition to her sometimes comedic exploits at bounty hunting, her family offers quite a few smiles as well, especially grandma!
  5. John Grisham - Former attorney turned writer, his legal thrillers are meticulous and gritty and always good to the last page.
  6. Scott Turow - Practicing lawyer and writer, more gritty courtroom legal thrillers, the latest just out - Innocent - sequel to the 1987 Presumed Innocent which I loved, looking forward to this one.
  7. J. A. Jance - Joanna Brady, Arizona county sheriff in addition to being a wife and mother, she works around the 'good old boy' network and gets the job done her way.
  8. Nevada Barr - Anna Pigeon, National Park ranger - When reading about park rangers I would expect to hear about wild animals etc, but am always surprised to find the biggest problem the rangers have is with the 2 legged kind, and Anna handles both kinds courageously.
  9. C. J. Box - Joe Pickett, Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett (like Anna Pigeon park ranger) finds more than he bargains for in the Wyoming back country and has a knack for finding trouble.
  10. Stephen White - Dr. Alan Gregory, psychologist. White uses his experience as a psychologist to create some great story lines and characters.
  11. Stuart Woods - Stone Barrington, former NYPD cop turned PI, usually has a grand adventure with the bad guys getting caught in the end.
  12. Stephen King - More thought of as a writer of horror, but there are lots of mysterious and thrilling things in a King story, always a good read.
  13. _____ looking for my next favorite author, any suggestions?

What is your favorite genre?

Do you like books that stand alone or have recurring characters, sequels, or series?

What is on your nightstand?

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. ~ Sir Richard Steele

more lists here at Thursday 13


colleen said...

How about Demmos Lehane. He wrote the novels that Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, and now Shutter Island were based on. I like his movies because they are based in the Boston area, places I know, and they always have a good twist.

Motherkitty said...

Shutter Island -- it was something to shudder for. Ugh! Love Stuart Woods' novels, Grisham, Thomas Harris!!!, Stephen King, and many more. Lovely Bones. The stack of unread on my bedside dresser grows larger each day. Never enough time in the day to get to it all. I guess reading will be on my list to do when I actually retire.

Lainee said...

Love Lee Childs and have to catch up on James Patterson. Found two new authors while traveling: Linda Castillo and Stieg Larsson. Linda Castillo was a romance novelist that has just started writting crime novels (set in Amish country Ohio) and Larsson is a Sweddish author (books have been translated from Sweddish). Both use continuing characters and fortunately I was able to start with Castillo first crime novel. Not so with Larsson, it's his fourth book (700 plus pagers)so now I have to back track. Thanks for pointing out the authors.

Kristen said...

I enjoy Lee Child and John Grisham books.

I love to figure out mystery books before the end, but I hate it when I know who did it by the first chapter.

Brenda ND said...

If you like mystery, I'd say try David Fulmer. His descriptions are so vivid, you can feel like you're there in Storyville, New Orleans. Happy TT!

The Calico Cat said...

HMMMM I like Barr & Grafton, based upon what you know about their styles/serials - who would you usggest I add to my list of 2?

I have heard good things about the first few Elizabeth George mysteries...

Have you checked out

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hmmmm---I have alot of books to read, but it seems that neither George nor I read as much these days as we used to. We do watch alot of dramas on TV --and love the character-based shows.. I like shows or books where the story continues --and the characters evolve.


Self Sagacity said...

If I ever have time to read, it's has to be finance, or success stories. Though a mystery would be so awesome, but I haven't had the courage to indulge...:-)

dot said...

I just finished Garden Lies by Eileen Goudge,
I really like books with the same characters like the James Lee Burke and James Grippando books.
Karen Slaughter (a Georgia writer) writes some really good stories with some of the same characters but they aren't for the weak at heart.
Thanks for the book reviews. I'm always looking for something to read.

sophie said...

Most on your list are some of my favorites, too.

Someone recently recommended Susan Wittig Albert's China Bayles mysteries and I went racing through them. Similar in style to Sue Grafton and Janet Evanovich.

Melzie said...

LOVE Lee Child! Did you read Stephen King's Under the Dome? Reacher gets a mention! Kris Radish is an excellent author I like to recommend.

Rose said...

Susan, you cannot imagine how many times I have looked for this particular post....I could not remember who had it. When I looked for it it was a few days later, and apparently I didn't go back far enough. So was just going back through your blog looking and found it!

Anyway, I wanted to see who you liked to read, and to suggest Tami Hoag to you...just make sure you pick up her mysteries cause she does write some romance...which I would never have believed came from the same author. I have read and like:
Alibi Man, Prior Bad Acts, Guilty as Sin, Dust to Dust, A Thin Dark Line, Ashes to Ashes and a few more.

Then I have listened to audio books by John Sandford...they really hold my interest.

Another I have both listened to and read is Tess Gerritsen...

I have listened to a couple by Steve Martini and really enjoyed them...I think I will try some for reading.

And there are more that I cannot think of right now...I noticed you like CJ Box and I really enjoy him too, so maybe you will like some of these.