Reading Habits of a Mystery Writer—
When I read fiction, which is almost every night, it’s in bed and I’m usually in the midst of three or four books, at once.
The first stack on the headboard is the in-progress stack. It currently includes: In the Shadow of the Master – Classic Tales by Edgar Allan Poe edited by Michael Connelly; Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz; Duma Key by Stephen King; and The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer. I fully expect to learn something from each of these great authors. Whether or not they keep me entertained is another matter.
The second stack (not including dictionaries or my Kindle) contains the next books in line, currently: The March by E. L. Doctorow; The Deep Blue Good-By – a Travis McGee novel; Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo; The Death Artist by Jonathan Santlofer. The list of in-progress and pending reads on my Kindle is too long to list here.
As far as format, I prefer mass market paperbacks for ease of reading. However, lately it’s becoming too limiting, especially when it comes to new Indie and self-published authors. I do resort to trade paperbacks and my Kindle to fill the gaps, but grudgingly.
Occasionally, a book will wear me out and I’ll put aside unfinished. Mostly, I’ll slug through to the end even when my attention wanes, in the hopes a tough read will redeem itself. Although a marginal read can sit on my headboard for quite some time gathering dust. When a book grabs me, I zip right through, favoring it over others in-progress. With this approach to reading, it’s fairly obvious when I have a winner.
For more on my library, please join me on Goodreads, Shelfari and Library Thing.
If the mood strikes you, I’d love to hear about your fiction reading habits—your faves, what and how you read.
The Meat of the Matter –
While I could go on for pages, I thought better of it, compiling short reviews of a few of faves in no particular order for this blog.
Island Ghosts – a Will Castleton Adventure by David Bain
True grit and ghosts—a great combo for a paranormal mystery. Castleton, a U.S. Marshal and reluctant psychic, forced to follow his paranormal nose—a trait he shares with ol’ Lance Underphal. This guy is something else. An exceptionally well-crafted atmospheric noir exposing a gritty little tale of violence and regret, laced with heavy weather, cursed by a rodent reporter. This great short leaves one hungry for more of Bain’s mystery stories.
Liam Mulligan, ya gotta love him! Smack dab in the middle, snooping around where he doesn’t belong, digging up all the dirt and making dangerous enemies. A twisting path of greed and corruption set in Providence, Rhode Island. A city we come to know as gritty and all too real. Engaging entertainment and an excellent first mystery novel.
Harbor Nocturne by Joseph Wambaugh
Wambaugh’s cast of misfits keeps you engaged throughout this crime novel. The master of police procedurals, he reveals the inner workings of a unique subculture in dress-blues—fascinating. It’s obvious he knows his way around. I didn’t find this sordid little tale particularly mysterious or suspenseful, but I suspect that may not have been his intent. Overall, a solid piece of work and a recommended read.
Six Scary Tales, Vol. 3 by Rayne Hall
While horror is not my genre as a mystery writer, I read damn near everything. This foreboding sextuplet of shorts is well-crafted. Its atmospheric tales of woe contain tasty little morsels of terror. From a steamy Turkish night to a chilling dive on the Pandora, riveting prose exposes engaging characters to the horror of their ways. Rayne knows her craft. So should you.
As always, my blatant self-promotion as a writer of mystery books follows:
Dark Side of Sunset Pointe – A Lance Underphal Mystery is available in e-book & paperback on Amazon.
Watch for the upcoming release of the second in the Lance Underphal Mystery series, Flight of the Tarantula Hawk. And yes it is mystery, a paranormal mystery, to be more precise.
For more on Michael Allan Scott and my work, go to michaelallanscott.com
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Michael Allan Scott and a clickable link back to this page.
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