Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The thriller writing community is a pretty helpful bunch. We blurb each other, trade advice, volunteer our time, buy each other drinks, and often pimp each other when new projects come out.

If you're looking for some stuff to read, I highly recommend the following:

PALE IMMORTAL by Anne Frasier. Anne writers damn good thrillers. Here's a video to give you an idea of what the book is about.

THEY by David Morrell. It's an Amazon short, and it may be the best 49 cents you'll spend this year.

PRESSURE by Jeff Strand. This is the scariest book of the summer. It will freak you out, guaranteed.

THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK by Mark Terry. A great technothriller. It combines the deadly science of Robin Cook and the machismo of Tom Clancy.

DON'T BE AFRAID by Rebecca Drake. A terrific debut by a terrific new author. Fans of Anne Frasier will enjoy this book as well, and you should all be fans of Frasier.

CONFESSIONS OF SUPER MOM by Melanie Lynne Hauser. Too cheap to buy hardcover? This delightful debut is now available in trade paper. If you enjoy super heroes, chick lit, or humor, pick this up---I really enjoyed it.

THE FINAL STORM by Wayne Thomas Batson. Wonderful YA fantasy that combines Paolini with CS Lewis. My son loves these books.

THE PRESSURE OF DARKNESS by Harry Shannon. I loved this book. It's a killer mix of Lee Child heroism and James Bond villainy.

JAMES BOND IN THE 21st CENTURY by Glen Yeffeth. Speaking of Bond, here's a smart collection of essays about everyone's favorite secret agent, including one by yours truly. I analyze the value of Bond's favorite gadgets, and cram more jokes into 2000 words than humanly possible.

THE HARROWING by Alex Sokoloff. A creepy ghost story about some teens playing with forces they don't understand. You'll throw away your Ouija Board once you start reading.

SACRED COWS by Karen E. Olson. A very fun and exceedingly clever debut, now in paperback.

THE PERFECT FAKE by Barbara Parker. A terrific stand-alone mystery about forgery, with some fun thrills and a dash of romance.

JAMAICA ME DEAD by Bob Morris. Big laughs for the small budget. Morris is funny, and so are his books. This is his second, now in paperback. If you like Hiaasen or Dorsey or me, pick this up.

STILL RIVER by Harry Hunsicker and KILLER SWELL by Jeff Shelby. These two tied for best mystery debut of 2005. Both are now available in paperback. Pick them up, then pick up their new hardcovers NEXT TIME YOU DIE and WICKED BREAK. Good stuff.

If you don't read James O. Born, well, you should. Start with WALKING MONEY.

Plus, Tess Gerritsen has a new one, THE MEPHISTO CLUB, but I haven't read it yet because it isn't available until next week. How much do I want to read this? On my 500 bookstore tour, I begged no less than 300 booksellers for an Advance Reading copy. No one would give me one. I even offered several of them cash. Guess I'll have to wait until the 12th of this month.

And finally, if you're looking to become a romance writer, and like your romances spicy, pick up THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO WRITING EROTIC ROMANCE by Alison Kent. Is it good? Let's just say that Alison has a staggering four titles currently available for pre-order on Amazon. Four titles coming out in the next five months! Eat your heart out, Nora Roberts.

I'm curious to get some of your recommendations. Who should I be reading?


anne frasier said...

thanks so much for the pimpin', joe!!!

JA Konrath said...

It's easy to pimp something you believe in. :)

Anonymous said...

Okay, that video is The Coolest!!! I have told a couple already published friends to make use of YouTube to get more buzz on their book and what Anne Frasier posted certainly creates Interest! Wow!

I'm also digging the use of "soundtracks" for background music on audio books.

But back to Anne's use of the visual media, why not have video sell books instead of us having books get turned into video/film. I didn't write that right, but I hope you know what I'm trying to say - something like use video to sell Reading.

Scott said...

Using video to sell books may be cost prohibitive, but using audio a la Podcasting to generate interest in a storyteller's works is likely to be more successful. There are several Podcast author's out there that have incredible stories that deserve to see print. Scott Sigler, J.C. Hutchins and Patrick McLean are all phenomenal storytellers who are putting their works out there for free to generate interest in their stories.

Using podcasts to put out a supplemental story for series characters are a bonus that can be done cheaply and with free distribution that may generate more readers who want more and more of that character.

Jeff said...

Welcome to the Pale Immortal blog party, Joe. :)

James Goodman said...

Oh, there are some titles in that list I haven't seen yet. I'll have to check them out. Thanks for that...

As for recommendations, I'm thoroughly enjoying Deep Blue by David Niall Wilson. I think it would be worth your time to check it out.

David J. Montgomery said...

When do you have the time to read all those books? I can't even read that mauch!

Speaking of Tess Gerritsen's new book (which is excellent, by the way)... The publisher guarded those ARCs so fiercely that even I couldn't get one. And I reviewed her last book in the Sun-Times.

Fortunately, I was finally able to get a finished copy a few weeks early so I could read it and review it. But I practically had to promise 'em my next kid to get one.

That is the definition of a woman in demand.

Anonymous said...

What David said - it couldn't happen to a nicer gal!

Mark Terry said...

"The Devil's Pitchfork. A great technothriller. It combines the deadly science of Robin Cook and the machismo of Tom Clancy."

Another great blurb from Joe Konrath. Thanks for the mention Joe. I appreciate it.

And don't forget: It's got one hell of a cover!

If you haven't read the Solomon Versus Lord novels by Paul Levine, that would be my big recommendation. The latest is "Kill All The Lawyers."

Mark Terry

r2 said...

One of my faves this summer is SHAKEDOWN by Charlie Stella. Stella finds the poetry and humor in everyday thugtalk. Great writing. Great plot. A great read.

Anonymous said...

I finished reading Anne's book yesterday. And this idea of the book launch and web crawl are such great ideas, not to mention just plain fun to be part of. You can't beat something like that for a great marketing tool.

Anonymous said...

Who should you be reading? I'd recommend Daniel Woodrell. More than one critic has called him a cross between Elmore Leonard and William Faulkner and I think that's as good a description as you'll ever get. His characters are hillbilly Ozarkers, the speed is breakneck with no sacrifice of depth, and his use of language is astonishingly original. I discovered him when Sarah Weinman picked his new novel, Winter's Bone, as a pick of the week.


angie said...

Yay! Another blog on the pale immortal pimp-o-rama! Hmm, are we witnessing the birth of a new book marketing tool? I hope so. This has been a lot of fun.

Jude Hardin said...

I recently discovered Andrew Vachss through a friend's recommendation. I'm reading Pain Management right now. One word: Awesome.

Tami Klockau said...

Wow, Joe's joining the party too! Nice...you sure have a posse of pimps anne! woohoo...bring on the next blog!

Shesawriter said...

What a great pimp you are! Nice blog too. :-)


r2 said...

Jude, everything Vachss writes is hardboiled heaven.

He's really worth checking out.

r2 said...

And let us not forget Barry Eisler. THE LAST ASSASSIN is first on my list.

Bailey Stewart said...

Love all of this pimpin'. Anne's on to something and Pale Immortal was awesome.

I've always enjoyed Thomas H. Cook - my favorite being Instruments of Night

Jude Hardin said...

r2: I'm a long-time fan of John D. MacDonald's Travis Magee. I'll always love Travis, but Vachss' Burke is just THE SHIT. My friend (who has twenty or so novels published from a major player), told me my writing reminded her of Vachss'. I didn't know what a compliment it was until I started reading him. I am so flattered and humbled at the same time.

Maybe the way you felt when you started looking at Evanovich, Joe.

r2 said...

JUDE--When I was 13 I read A NIGHTMARE IN PINK. I was stunned. That was the coolest, sexiest book I could ever imagine. THE GREEN RIPPER is still the ballsiest book ever, in my opinion. So yes, Travis McGee is the Gold Standard for me, too.

BTW: Dean Koontz is a big fan of John D. MacDonald.

Have you ever heard the legend about BLACK BORDER FOR McGEE, the supposedly lost Travis McGee novel?

JA Konrath said...

Some of my favorite thrillers of all time include:

The Green Ripper by John D. MacDonald

Shella by Andrew Vachss

Instruments of Night by Thomas Cook

Blackburn by Bradley Denton

Fuzz by Ed McBain

The Judas Goat by Robert Parker

Mama's Boy by Charles King

Into the Fire by David Wiltse

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Hush by Anne Frasier

A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava

Killer Instinct By Robert Walker

Butcher's Moon by Richard Stark

Among others

Jude Hardin said...

I haven't heard about that one, r2. Please share it with us. Or, if the story's too long or whatever, email me. I'd love to hear about it!

Jude Hardin said...

Joe: The Judas Goat is next up in my TBR pile. I'm looking even more forward to it now that you mentioned it.

r2 said...

Here is the legend of A BLACK BORDER FOR MCGEE.

The Travis McGee series got to be very popular in the 70s, a real moneymaker. Supposedly, John D. McDonald had a manuscript in which McGee gets killed, “written” by McGee’s sidekick Dr. Meyer (since the Travis McGee novels were written in the first person, it would have probably been a logistical nightmare to have McGee write about his own death). McDonald used the manuscript as leverage whenever he was negotiating with publishers. “Hey, if I don’t get paid enough, I can easily kill off the franchise.”

McDonald’s family denies the manuscript’s existence. However, in the October 15, 1979 TIME magazine review of THE GREEN RIPPER, McDonald himself talks about having the manuscript locked away in a filing cabinet. Hmmmm.

Maybe Joe ought to write THE LAST COCKTAIL or KILLER MARTINI or something like that to use when he’s negotiating his next deal.

Jude Hardin said...

How about Tequila Shooter for the leverage title. Those things'll definitely kill ya.

Thanks for the MacDonald antecdote, r2.

David J. Montgomery said...

I've never seen the allure of Vachss' Burke series, although I only tried a couple of the later ones, which people tell me aren't as good. I did enjoy The Getaway Man, though, as a modest little crime novel.

Jude Hardin said...

The Vachss novel I'm reading now was published in 2001 and I'm in love with it. Can't wait to try some of his earlier stuff if it's even better.

Burke is a badass (who loves kids), and the prose is stellar. There's your allure.

David J. Montgomery said...

I think there's your allure, Jude. But each to his own.

Joe, you might try Sean Doolittle's new one, The Cleanup. I think you'll enjoy it. It's quite good.

Jude Hardin said...

I've heard Sean Doolittle is very good, though I haven't read him yet.

BTW, the title of this post is "Peerfest." I thought we were supposed to be recommending authors we like, not shooting down ones we don't. There are plenty of authors I don't care for, but I won't publicly bash them. Why? Because, exactly right, to each his/her own. And, as authors trying to find our way, we're all in this together.

r2 said...

I would also like to pimp Ron Tierney's work. His Deets Shanahan mysteries, which come out once every year or two, are like a visit from an old friend.

r2 said...

Joe, I'm surprised your all-time thriller list didn't include anything by the Godfather of all thriller writers: Edgar Allen Poe.

A CASK OF AMONTILLADO is one of the creepiest things ever written.

And, besides, the dude had the morals of Jerry Lee Lewis and the appetites of Keith Richards in the 70s.
He gave the writing profession a permanent black eye and for that all writers should do a shooter in his honor every once in awhile.

JA Konrath said...

My favorite Poe is Pit and the Pendulum.

Jude Hardin said...

I recently read a wonderful little reference book for writers called *Novelist's Boot Camp* by Todd A. Stone. Stone mentions a lot of authors in the course of his narrative, many of them classic and many on recent bestsellers lists. Here's one that caught my eye:

"The opposition needs to be larger than life. For example, in J.A. Konrath's first Jack Daniels mystery, *Whiskey Sour*, no ordinary serial murderer would do. Instead, there's a grotesquely violent, brilliant sadist known only as the Gingerbread Man."

Congrats, Joe! You're quickly becoming an example for those of us who want to learn how to do it right.

Jeff Strand said...

Blackburn by Bradley Denton...

YES!!! Definitely one of my all-time favorites!

David J. Montgomery said...

I didn't "publicly bash" anyone, but you're right, Jude, it probably wasn't the appropriate place for the comment. If anyone else was bothered by it as well, you all have my apologies.

Jude Hardin said...

I apologize too, David. Sometimes I get a little over-zealous about authors I really like.


David J. Montgomery said...

The new Michael Connelly book is great, but I don't suppose anyone needed to be told that.

And Karen E. Olson has a sequel to her excellent debut (a Gumshoe Award nominee). I haven't read it yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Who's book should you read that's missing from your list?

Well, mine, of course.

You can read the first chapter for free on my website, Joe (and anyone else, too).


Which is really my point here--a free chapter one is another good promotional tool. I certainly didn't invent the teaser, but I think it works well in the Internet environment. Especially if the chapter is relatively short for an easy online read.

On the one hand, it can hook the reader and make them want to read the rest of the book (duh!). On the other hand, though, it gives them an idea of whether or not they'll like the story or writing style. If they don't think they will and thus don't buy the book, yeah, I guess you lose a sale, but you also lose an unhappy reader and a likely negative review...which, if I was paying attention in Physics 104 at UC at Konrath, travels at twice the velocity and four times the distance as a good review...

I also wanted to agree with the discussion group point. You don't have to be a daily contributor, but if the only time the members of that little community (or big community--SMFS has over 1200 members) is when you do a promotional fly-by, it's not going to have the same impact.

Anyhow, I don't usually respond to these posts but I follow this blog closely. Thanks for the voice of experience, Joe. At times, I am learning things I never knew and at others, I am getting validation that what I'm doing works for someone at a higher plane of success (which is a better plane than the one with all the snakes on it).

Clay said...

Just to throw a name out there, I've lately become a fan of Jonathon King. I really enjoy his Max Freeman novels.

James Aach said...

I'd be curious what you think of this techno-thriller: http://RadDecision.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the thanks for pimpin', Joe!

I love Anne Frasier, so thanks for the comparison.

I love Thomas Cook and Lee Child, as well, and I'll add Patricia Highsmith's "Strangers on a Train" to the list of classics.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations! I've added these to my Fall reading list. Woo Hoo!

"Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?"


Spy Scribbler said...

Allison Kent's Idiot's Guide to Erotica is really fantastic. One of the best writing books that I've seen in a while.

I'm droolin' over lots of these books!

WayneThomasBatson said...

Hey, Joe! Thanks for mentioning The Door Within books. Tell your son that I'll give him a signed copy of my next book if you'll give me my silverware back. ;-)