A Few Mystery Writers Popular Today

The mystery genre has long been a favorite story form for readers. Authors such as Arthur Conan Doyle with his famous Sherlock Holmes stories and Agatha Christie’s many mysteries still entertain readers today. Mystery stories can be broken down into more than a dozen types that appeal to different readers. The Whodunit is the traditional or classic mystery which contains the significant elements of a puzzle. The reader follows the clues just as the detective does, trying to figure out what happened. Agatha Christie was the expert at the Cozy mystery. The murder in this type often happens off-page and the reader never has to experience the more violent or bloody aspects of the crime. The focus is more on solving the crime itself. The Hard-Boiled mystery bends more towards the realistic crime, taking it to the streets, often with a detective who is harder and has difficult personal, internal struggles to deal with in addition to solving the crime. The True Crime mystery deals with a real crime, examining the motives of real people involved in events such as the death of Marilyn Monroe or the Jack the Ripper murders. Whatever your taste, you can find a mystery story to suit.

Here are a few popular mystery authors of today.

Michael Connelly

Connelly was a Pulitzer Prize nominated crime reporter before he became a bestselling crime fiction author. Connelly began writing his first novel, basing the story around a true crime that had occured in Los Angeles and his main character, LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch, has become a fan favorite. Connelly has won nearly every major award given to mystery writers and his books have been translated into 39 languages.

Patricia Cornwell

Cornwell’s Dr. Kay Scarpetta series carries readers deep into the story by providing extremely realistic forensic-science investigations into the crimes. Her books have sold more than 100 million copies and were influential in the development of a number of popular TV series such as CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Janet Evanovich

Janet Evanovich’s series of contemporary mysteries features Stephanie Plum, a unique character. Plum was a lingerie seller from Trenton, New Jersey who lost her job and became a bounty hunter to make ends meet. Evanovich’s first novels were successful in the romance category before she realized she was more interested in writing action sequences than the sex scenes. Inventing the Stephanie Plum character, Evanovich’s last seventeen novels have debut at #1 on the NY Times Best Sellers list.

Sue Grafton

Sue Grafton is best known as the author of the ‘alphabet series’ or the ‘alphabet novels’…A Is for Alibi…B Is for Burglar…C Is for Corpse. The series features private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. Although Grafton is the daughter of detective novelist C. W. Grafton, she says the strongest influence on her crime novels was author Ross Macdonald. Prior to success with her mystery series, Grafton was a successful television screenwriter.

A Few Thriller Writers Popular Today

The thriller genre covers a lot of ground and mixes with other genres as well as drawing a wide range of heightened  feelings from a reader. Excitement, suspense, surprise, anticipation and anxiety are just a part of the roller coaster ride a good thriller can give a reader. Usually the plot in a thriller is villain-driven and the reader is aware of what he or she plans to do and can see the roadblocks put in front of the protagonist. On the other hand, in a mystery, the reader is kept in the dark and given clues to solve the central problem along with the protagonist. Some thrillers will meld the two but a thriller is usually larger in scope, i.e. the entire world is at peril in a thriller.

James Patterson

Patterson is a prolific author who writes in a number of genres. His thriller books include the Alex Cross Series, the Private Series, NYPD Red and standalone thrillers like Invisible. An interesting note: Patterson was turned down by twenty-six publishers before his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number was published.

David Baldacci

Baldacci published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996 and has been a force and a perennial bestseller in the thriller genre to date. His thriller books include the Will Robie series, the John Puller series, the Amos Decker character as well as the series featuring Sean King and Michelle Maxwell, former Secret Service agents turned private investigators.

Tess Gerritsen

Gerritsen’s first novels were romantic thrillers with the first being Call After Midnight published by Harlequin Intrigue in 1987. She branched out to medical thrillers with Harvest, Life Support, Bloodstream and then Gravity. Switching to crime thrillers with The Surgeon, Gerritsen introduced the character Jane Rizzoli, who became the central focus of ten following novels, paired with medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. The books inspired the Rizzoli & Isles television series.

Dean Koontz

Koontz is another prolific author who combines his suspense thrillers with elements of mystery, science fiction, horror and fantasy. It’s understandable he would mix these elements since his first novel, Star Quest in 1968 was in the science fiction genre. Koontz went on to write over a dozen science fiction novels before branching out. In the 1970s he began writing suspense and horror fiction.

An interesting note: Koontz wrote under these pen names early in his career: Aaron Wolfe, Brian Coffey, David Axton, Deanna Dwyer, John Hill, K.R. Dwyer, Leigh Nichols, Anthony North, Owen West, Richard Paige.