I listen to 100+ books each year via Audible.com. Listening to books these days is NOT what it was years ago. Everything is digital MP3 files thru iTunes to your smart phone. I find the convenience of “listening” while I multi-task thru my day overrides traditional “reading”. It does take a few days to get used to it and it may NOT be for you… but these author recommends work for readers or listeners.
I am now a Bluetooth-guy. All my headsets/earphones are “wireless” which eliminates the cords and wires. The cost of Bluetooth is not that much more than the “old fashioned ones”. I pay under $30 for mine.
Authors are like Barbecue and Bond Girls. We all have OUR favorites. These are mine. Check’em out. You might like’em too. And the only joy comparable to the latest story by one of the following is discovering a new Favorite!
BobLee’s Favorite Authors…..
I hesitate to tag C.J. Box as “my #1 favorite” but I will to encourage you to check him out. His hero in a 10-book series is Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett. Joe is not a former SEAL / spec ops commando. Joe is just a Game Warden, husband, father who has a strong sense of Dudley Do-Right. His sidekick – Nate Romanowski (aka “The Master Falconer”) is a stone-cold killer. Together they fight crooks, stoopid bureaucrats and injustice wherever they find it. ….. I’ve never recommended CJ / Joe to anyone that did not enjoy them.
John D MacDonald
Everyone loves “Travis McGee” or there’s something seriously wrong with you. Think Magnum PI w/ Tom Selleck living on a houseboat (“The Busted Flush”) at Bahia Mar in South Florida. Travis is always saving damsels in distress then they leave and another one takes their place. Every Travis book has a color in the title. Travis McGee is “iconic” in the independent renaissance man “fixer”/ PI genre similar to Robert Parker’s “Spenser”. 18-20 books in the series. Every guy “wants to be Travis”. Every gal “wants to meet Travis”. MacDonald died in 1986 so there will be no more Travis McGee. The ideal “beach book”.
“Reacher” a/k/a Jack Reacher has become the #1 iconic figure in current crime / mystery fiction. You cannot read that genre without getting to know “Reacher”. There is no literary character quite like “Reacher – The ultimate Lone Wolf”. WARNING: There is violence wherever Reacher goes and he is always going.
I met Dirk Pitt and the NUMA staff over 20 years ago. This is Indiana Jones-type stuff. Dirk is a modern day Doc Savage / Jack Armstrong from pulp fiction of the 30s. Its over-the-top adventures with James Bond-type villains. Cussler has co-authored several other similar series that I enjoy especially The Oregon Files and Isaac Bell.
“Myron Bolitar” is a former Duke BBall star turned sports agent turned crimefighter. I picture Myron as “a Jim Spanarkle”. Coben no longer writes about Myron and Win and Little Pochahontas but his 8-10 Myron stories are all available. The “Duke thing” simply gives it a special touch. Myron is a strong “good guy” hero but the real fun is his associates especially “Win”. ……. I’ve never found any group of series characters I enjoy like this bunch.
His hero is Bob Lee Swagger a/k/a “Bob The Nailer” !!! Duh! Swagger is a “Rambo” combat veteran (super sniper) who just wants to be left alone in his Idaho ranch…. but Noooooo! Danger keeps calling and Bob always answers. Hunter has action-adventure yarns about Bob Lee and about his father – Earl. He has let Bob Lee age in the series so the most recent books have an older Bob Lee. Bob Lee and Reacher are a lot alike.
The consummate Western writer (along with Zane Grey) known for his “cowboy stories” but my FAVORITE LITERARY CHARACTER is L’amour’s Barnabas Sackett set in Very Early America around Lost Colony era. Barnabas leaves England for The New World with adventures versus pirates, brigands and “native Americans” (!!). There are 5-6 books that trace Barnabas’ sons / grandsons in their adventures. He is just a special brand of heroic character who overcomes all sorts of perils and perseveres. Barnabas’ death is as memorable as Gus McRae’s in Lonesome Dove. Definitely has to be read in series order.
Preston & Childs
One of my latest finds. Special Agent Aloysius Pendergast in a 14 book series. Pendergast is a combo of Sherlock Holmes / Dirk Pitt / Van Helsing. Lots of scary, supernatural bad guys “in the sewers of New York” and “swamps of Louisiana”……. probably not for everyone but I really like Pendergast. Again, somewhat “formula”.
His “Joe DeMarco” is a “fixer” for a powerful Congressman (very Teddy Kennedy-ish!). These are political thrillers but quite non-partisan. All the pols are crooked sumbitches. Joe is a regular guy, not a former SEAL. He has friends with unique talents he calls on. Joe’s dad was a mafia hit-man.
Tim Dorsey / Carl Hiaasen
I include these two together because their books are so similar. Over-the-top oddball eccentrics in South Florida. “Serge Storms” is Dorsey’s “lovable serial killer” in one series. Hiaasen is more well-known. I recommend trying both.
Stumbled across McCammon a year or so ago. He is best known as a horror writer – Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, etc which I don’t care for….. BUT he has a five book series about Matthew Corbett – “America’s First Detective” set in the very early 1700s. I love the historical setting and Corbett’s adventures. Mandatory to read these in proper order. …. I did enjoy his werewolf story about a British spy/werewolf in Nazi Germany during WW2.
A Clive Cusser / James Rollins – type. Over-the-top adventures to save the world from mega-villains. Reilly has a short series featuring Call-Sign Scarecrow that I really enjoy. Very much predictable “formula” stories but so what?
Ian Fleming lives on with Ted Bell and his hero Alex Hawke. The Bond similarities are numerous. If you like the urbane British Bond-thing, you will like Sir Alex Hawke and his international derring-do with super-villains.
DeMille’s “Gold Coast” featuring John Sutter is one of my 2-3 all-time favorite stories. The sequel – Gate House – is almost as good. DeMille’s John Corey stories are FBI guy versus diabolical Islamo-terrorist genre.
Vince Flynn, Ben Coes, Brad Thor
I include these three together because their heroes are so similar. Mitch Rapp – Dewey Andreas – Scott Harvath. If you enjoy one you will likely enjoy them all. “Mitch” is almost on Reacher’s level of reader popularity. Mitch / Dewey / Scott are all super-soldiers / spec ops guys who have “issues” with bureaucrats (and bureaucrats have issues with them!). These guys do NOT play well with others…. especially Islamo-terrorists.