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Jordan Whitt

Author/Book Recommendations...

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So I read a lot, like A LOT...sometimes I get through two or three books a day.  This means I chew through author's book lists and series like they are going out of style.  So I'm going to ask and see if I can discover some new reading material.

At the moment I am going through a UK mystery/thriller/police procedural phase and read through everything by authors such as Carol Wyer's Robyn Carter and Natalie Ward series, Angela Marsons' Kim Stone series, Cara Hunter's Adam Fawley series, and books by K.L. Slater.

So anyone else I should check out?

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I can't help with contemporary fiction as I am more of an 18th-19thC kinda gal. Have you tried the books of the original mystery-man, Wilkie Collins? 

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Picking up on mystery/thriller, I suggest  Amanda Stevens and her "The Graveyard Queen" series about cemetery restorer Amelia Gray, her relation to the life beyond, the secrets of her family plus some pretty gruesome crimes she gets involved in.

In general, I love Catherine Ryan Hyde's work and the way she portraits her characters. Very life-like and empathetic to relate to. The books aren't a series, but they share certain topics, mostly confronting a personal crisis, most of them featuring a relationship growing between the young and the old and their sights on life.

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Keeping to the themes you quote there I can recommend a series I'm reading through at the moment. A series of books about a female Deliverance Consultant, or Advisor on the Paranormal for the Diocese of Hereford. The job used to be more commonly known as an Exorcist. She works with the police predominantly, and I really enjoy the setting and characters through the series. Phil Rickman is the author, and the character's name is Merrily Watkins.

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Have you read the Travis McGee books, by John R McDonald.  They are a bit dated but still very enjoyable.  Travis is a Florida based private detective who is doing his retirement on the installment plan.  He takes on a job, then retires til he runs out of money then takes another job. His novels were written in the 1950s - 60s and so it's a bit of a time trip. All the books have a color in the title and while they do have a vague sequential flavor, each is a stand alone, and can be read in any order without being too confused.

 

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Posted (edited)

That's John D. MacDonald, and it's a crying shame he's left the party.  Travis McGee is a wonderful series character, and his stand-alone books are great too. (Special mention: The Last One Left).

The first book in the series, chronologically, is The Quick Red Fox.  I think.  However, the first four were all published in 1964 (talk about prolific!) and the first one in publication order is The Deep Blue Goodbye.  The books can be read in any order, especially the earlier ones.  My first introduction to McGee was Pale Gray for Guilt.

One of my gripes with Amazon is that you can't buy the series as Kindle ebooks for anything like a reasonable price.  They're asking hardcover prices.  Look for them at garage sales and library paperback exchange racks.

While we are on mysteries...I also like:

The "Mary Russell" series of Sherlock Holmes pastiches by Laurie King.  First one is The Beekeeper's Apprentice.  These books are better Holmes than Conan Doyle!

The "In Death" series by J.D. Robb (nom de plume of Nora Roberts).  These are police procedurals with a futuristic, sci-fi gloss.  If you don't mind techno bafflegab instead of a solid foundation under your science fiction, you'll probably get a lot of enjoyment from the characters and their interactions.  Plus, steamy sex scenes!

The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.  This is urban fantasy crossed with hardboiled detective fiction.  Harry Dresden is Chicago's only professional wizard.  He's also a down at the heels P.I.  He is always getting in huge amounts of trouble and frequently gets hit over the head.  Or in over his head, or both.  The latest book in the series, Peace Talks, is due out next month.  The first one is Storm Front.  It's definitely best to read the series in order, as there is a lot of character development and you need the back story.

Edited by Lindal Kidd
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For action type fiction, I'm a big Vince Flynn and Brad Thor fan, 15+ books by each for their main characters, perfect for binge reading.  If you'd like something a bit more unusual, check out Trevanian (Rodney William Whitaker's pen name).  Shibumi and The Main are especially good.

I read an inordinate amount of history as well.  Adrian Goldsworthy is a modern Gibbon when it comes to the Roman era, and Michael Grant covers the Greek era very well (he does some Roman as well, but not nearly as well as Goldsworthy).  If you like a bit more social commentary with your history, Mary Beard is good.  If you'd like something a bit more expansive in scope that gives some very interesting insight into how history has shaped the relationships between East and West, Silk Roads is a great read.

In the mood for binge reading fantasy?  Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series will keep you busy for a few weeks (although be prepared to be incredibly let down by the ending, since this is another case where an author died before finishing and the ending written by someone else was terrible).  Stephen R Donaldson is another good one, with extremely interesting characters  (the first Thomas Covenant trilogy and the Mordant's Need books are my favorites).

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@Jordan Whitt, I am not sure about the translation level, or even if they have been translated at all, but check Antonio Muñoz Molina, one of the best contemporary Spanish authors. Plenilunio is one of my favourite books

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Aloha Jordan. I'd recommend joining the Second Life Book Club. There is a meeting every Wednesday at noon SLT. In each meeting, a panel of authors discuss their books, the writing process, and how being an author impacts their lives. Questions can be asked by us in the audience. Here's a reading list prepared by the host, Draxtor: https://bookshop.org/shop/draxtorreads The weekly meetings of this group have been so well attended that the sim fills up, so every Wednesday the SL Book Club is also live-streamed on SL's YouTube channel! 

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21 minutes ago, Waiomao said:

Aloha Jordan. I'd recommend joining the Second Life Book Club. There is a meeting every Wednesday at noon SLT. In each meeting, a panel of authors discuss their books, the writing process, and how being an author impacts their lives. Questions can be asked by us in the audience. Here's a reading list prepared by the host, Draxtor: https://bookshop.org/shop/draxtorreads The weekly meetings of this group have been so well attended that the sim fills up, so every Wednesday the SL Book Club is also live-streamed on SL's YouTube channel! 

Thank you for posting about that club @Waiomao!!! I never heard of it and it sounds great

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19 minutes ago, Moondira said:

Hey, it's spelled GAWD.

Hick ! 

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I am definitely checking out these recommendations.  And was reminded to check if there is a new "In Death" book out yet.  I do enjoy that series!

Bigger books just have me reading more.  I love a challenge :)

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Latest one is #50, "Golden in Death".  Upcoming:  "Shadows in Death", Sept 2020.  "Faithless in Death", Feb 2021.

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Moving to non-series books for a moment...

Two of my all time favorite writers.

1.  Dean Koontz.  While Koontz writes series ("Nameless", "Jane Hawke", "Odd Thomas") I think he does a better job with stand-alones.  His books are a unique mix of humor, horror, mystery, suspense, science fiction, magic, and religion.  Two of his best are "Watchers" and "Phantoms".

2.  Peter S. Beagle.  Not nearly prolific enough to suit me, Beagle produces carefully crafted jewels of fantasy.  Favorites are "A Fine and Private Place", "The Last Unicorn", "The Innkeeper's Song", and "Tamsin".

And, while thinking about Beagle, I just now realized that another writer prepared me for him.  If you've never read any James Thurber, look up his twisted little fairly tale, "The Thirteen Clocks".

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I wish I had time to read just 1 book a day.

I recently read The Iron Axe by Steven Harper . Was a good read.... Would love to see a movie/series about it.

 

 

 

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Another excellent series, and all too short:  The Johannes Cabal books by Jonathan L. Howard.  I would call these "black humor" except that they are too lighthearted.  They feature a completely amoral protagonist, Johannes Cabal.  He is coldly logical and will do absolutely anything if it will help him achieve his goal: bringing the woman he loved back to life.

Even though he is amoral, vicious, a murderer, a thief, once or twice sold his soul to the Devil, left his own brother to the mercies of a vampire, and probably steals candy from children and tortures small kittens for amusement, you'll be irresistibly drawn to this ultimate anti-hero.

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9 hours ago, Lindal Kidd said:

"The Last Unicorn",

❤️ read that over and over and over as a kid

Another author I recently re-discovered is Frances Hodgson Burnett. She did more than kids books, and some of them are quite dark and intense. Her collected works are free on kindle last I looked.

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Where on earth do you get the time to read books? 😵

I type all day so my fave author must be... me.. lol 🙄☺️

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And another pair of writers who are wonderful to read, for different reasons.

Ursula K. LeGuin.  She may be best known for her science fiction works such as The Left Hand of Darkness, but to my mind her best work is the Earthsea Trilogy (A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, and The Farthest Shore).  She has written other books in the Earthsea cycle, but I think these first three are by far the best, and are perfect examples of high fantasy, or what LeGuin herself calls "The Language of the Night" (capitalized because this is also the title of her nonfiction work on the writing of fantasy.)  If you pick up Wizard, you will not put it down until you've read it...twice.  And then, if you have kids, you'll read it to them aloud.  Sparrowhawk and the School of Wizardry on Roke Island are WAY better than Harry Potter and Hogwarts.

Lois McMaster Bujold.  Here is a writer who is a master of both science fiction and fantasy.  In SF, she's mainly known for her Miles Vorkosigan space operas.  There are several ways to read the Miles books, but I suggest beginning with "Shards of Honor".  Bujold's characters come fully and believably to life.  The science may be a leeetle sketchy, but in most cases the bafflegab is kept to a minimum.  When she writes fantasy, the workings of magic or gods is at least as well reasoned and self-consistent as the science in a good SF story, and the characters are just as engaging as Miles and his companions and relatives.  I am particularly fond of her "World of the Five Gods".  In these stories, she explores the question of "what would it be like if we KNEW the gods were real, but they were as invisible and (normally) as physically inaccessible as the gods of the mundane world?"  Begin with "The Curse of Chalion".  If you take your magic straight, without religion, try "The Spirit Ring" or The Sharing Knife series.

 

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1 hour ago, Maryanne Solo said:

Where on earth do you get the time to read books? 😵

I read at work when I am between clients (often have 10 or 15 mins to kill) and when I go to bed.  I have horrendous insomnia and read till I finally nod off - usually around 6am. 

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On 6/7/2020 at 5:05 PM, Lindal Kidd said:

The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher.

I found this also on TV (I love the books), but apparently there was only 1 season.

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