Sunday, April 12, 2009

What book or author has you hooked?

I have a new addiction. It's right up there with chocolate and audio books. And if I don't get my daily fix, I get irritable and cranky. Okay, so I admit it--out loud. I am addicted to Lisa Scottoline novels. There, I've said it.

I have a fifty minute commute to and from work each day. To break up the monotony, I started listening to audio books. After having heard Lisa Scottoline speak at the New Jersey RWA conference last October, I bought one of her books on CD--Mistaken Identity. I was immediately hooked. I moved on to The Vendetta Defense, then Moment of Truth. Now I'm listening to Dead Ringer. I absolutely cannot stop. I could more easily put down the Godiva. Seriously.

I started to think like a writer, analyzing what it is about Ms. Scottoline's writing that grabs me by the throat and holds me to the end. While it may be an unflattering metaphor, I concluded that her books are like a high-class buffet (if there is such a thing). In each book, I am greeted by three-dimensional characters that are fully developed--you love them, or you hate them--but they're as real as they can be--solid meat and potatoes. There is an art, I think, to creating characters the reader can so deeply sympathize with that they have to know what's going to happen next (which explains sitting in my carport for twenty-six minutes with the engine running.) I can't wait to see how Bennie Rosato is going to get out of her current mess. There is also an art to finding just the right blend of tension and humor. It's like whipping up the perfect cheesecake, light but with a consistency that holds it together. (Okay, I see a developing theme here, so I'll stop with the food references. It's making me hungry.)

Granted, with audio books, the narrator has a lot to do with how the book comes across to the reader. Barbara Rosenblat is brilliant in her performances. She actually convinces me that six different people are narrating the book.

So, what book or author has you hooked, and why?



Infogypsy said...

I think we talked about Lisa Scottoline a year or two back in our Yahoo group - Priscille, as I recall, liked her, and I'd just discovered her book - either Dead Ringer or Moment of Truth. I thought she was particularly good, although like all authors, I read one and get hooked, but pretty soon I find myself critiquing every author's work and falling away from them. I hate the editing disease since it ruins most books for me. It's something a professor I know warned me about when I started writing. I'm going to go back and try the audiobooks and see if I can get past the written word fix that way.

Other authors? The same problem - I used to love many and coming back to them a year or two later, find myself editing them. The only exceptions are Linda Howard (no wait, I even edit hers, but she's so great at telling a compelling story, I can get past it), Tami Hoag who just keeps getting better and better and then Jane Austen and Agatha Christie, of course. I never edit them.

judi writing as Lynn Romaine - Long Run Home due out 09/18/09.

Lisa Scottoline said...

Dear Linda! Wow! OMG! I am so honored by this post! Thank you so much! I am happy to be your high-class buffet, and so grateful that you like my books. I do think that characterization really matters and I spend lots of tme on it, obsessing - even more than food, so we have that in common, as well. So thanks so much, and now I'm addicted to this blog!!! Much love, L
PS And thanks to Judi, too.

Anonymous said...


The last series I read was Ciara Gold's SF stories. I could not put them down till I finished (both Celestial Dragon and Noble Sacrifice). Now let me advice everyone, I know Ciara, and yes, she is a friend, but I still luv her stories and I will read everyone she writes.

Michael Davis