Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top Five: Mystery And Suspense

Things have been fairly quiet around the office of late because we're in our annual "slow down." This basically means I don't order books for a couple of weeks while the new budget is hammered out. Which this year involves a lot of blood, sweat, tears, praying and general hysterics. But just because the budget is hovering around catastrophic doesn't mean our library patrons have suddenly stopped "wanting" stuff. On that front, here are the Top Five hot and in demand mystery/suspense titles of the moment:

The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly - OK Connelly is pretty much popular everywhere, but here in Southern California he's a rock star. Every time he has a new book out, our demand for it is unreal. As in Harry Potter and Twilight-mania unreal. I suspect part of this is because So. Cal. readers feel like they "discovered" Connelly first. While he's a Florida boy, he covered the crime beat for the L.A. Times for several years. This latest features characters first introduced in The Poet.

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child - Child writes good, old-fashioned thrillers. Fast-paced adventures featuring Jack Reacher, a morally ambiguous character. I think a big reason for Child's success (besides the page-turning "thing") is that he's been able to cultivate a female readership. Women read and buy more books then men. They just do. And I know more than a few women who are hopelessly hooked on Reacher.

The Associate by John Grisham - This book came out in late January, my library has a ton of copies of it, and it's still our third most requested mystery/suspense title of the moment. Whether or not you think his recent stuff is up to par with his earlier work is besides the point. Grisham has still got legs.

Wicked Prey by John Sandford - Ahh, the latest Lucas Davenport novel. This one actually sounds kind of intriguing. The Republican National Convention is rolling into town, and it's Davenport's job to make sure the grand ol' party runs smoothly. Which, of course, it doesn't.

Alex Cross's Trial by James Patterson & The Latest Co-Writer He Picked Up Off The Street - A new month must mean a new "James Patterson" novel. This is the latest in the Alex Cross saga, and is due out in late August. I don't read this series, although going by what Lil' Sis tells me, the last several have been um....not so good. Although she still says that Kiss The Girls is one of the creepiest damn books she's ever read. I'm thinking other readers must feel the same way - hence why his books still seem to do well even though he's gone down the co-writers rabbit hole.


Phyl said...

You can count me as one of those people who thinks Grisham's recent stuff has been a let down. And when I started reading The Associate I really thought the mojo was back. It reminded me alot of The Firm, only "leaner" if that makes sense. Until the end. I hated the ending of this book.

Amie Stuart said...

LOL@ New month = new Patterson!

Liza said...

I agree that The Associate was more like old-school Grisham. I also liked it, until the end. I really didn't like the ending either.

I like James Patterson, but I normally only read his Women's Murder Club books.

SarahT said...

I'm reading 'The Scarecrow' at the moment. So far, it's good. As others have said, early Grishams were good; more recent ones, not so much. I've never read anything by Lee Child but he (she?) sounds interesting. But I absolutely cannot start yet another series!

Amie Stuart said...

PS Still a sucker for Grisham though his endings aren't quite as happy as I'd like!

Wendy said...

Ooooh, I hate bad endings!

Liza: I listened to the first 3 Women's Murder Club books on audio. 1 was just OK for me, liked 2 and 3 - and then I sort of fell off the wagon.

SarahT: Lee Child is a he, and it's a pretty lengthy series. Gone Tomorrow is book 13! I listened to one of the short stories on audio, and liked it - but like you the idea of getting involved in another long-running series is too daunting to think about right now!

Lil Sis said...

Thanks for letting me know about the new Patterson - I had no idea. The last Cross book really was just not good. I thought the plot was just so unrealistic...sigh. But I'll probably keep reading just to see what happens. :)

JamiSings said...

Connelly, really? Here it seems I always get asked about the latest Dean Koontz book. But maybe that's because he lives in the city next door to mine. Plus most of his stories are set in or start in Orange County. I get a few Connelly requests - even though I try to send everyone to reference - but I mostly get Dean Koontz. (Relentless is good, BTW. Not Odd Thomas or Frankenstein good, but still good.)

I always thought Grisham sucked. The Firm is still up there with "Worse book I ever read."

Wendy said...

Lil' Sis: It comes out in late August, so you should check the library's catalog. They probably have it on order already.

Jami: One thing I've noticed about Koontz is that people ASK for him. They'll make a point of asking if we have it, when we're going to order it etc. Some authors seem to inspire readers to be more inquiring.

I've never read Grisham. Never. As much as I love mysteries, I never really got into the whole legal thriller sub genre.

JamiSings said...

Wendy, I'm curious, do you ever find people who like certain writers tend to be more polite or meaner then others? Like I noticed people who ask for Dean Koontz or Nicolas Sparks tend to be a lot nicer then people who ask for the latest Patrica Cornwell or John Grisham. Or like the other day there was a woman who wanted the latest Lee Child book and some book called Shanghai Girls - the later only available in rental - we made a special effort to save the latter for her and she was just super nasty about it. Never said thank you. Was upset she had to come down to the library to get it.

Maybe it's just me though. I seem to attract the mean ones. Still, it does seem certain types of people prefer certain writers.

Wendy said...

Jami: You know, I never really thought about it - but you might be on to something there. What personality types ask for which authors? There should be a study done on that.

I have a knack for attracting the crazies. Not just when working with the public, but also when I'm out and about in during my regular life. It's like I'm wearing a big neon sign on my forehead that says, "I'm a Librarian and I'll help crazy people!" LOL

JamiSings said...

LOL For me, Wendy, at work it's the mean people or the men who use the library computers to look at porn. Why the latter, I don't know. I'm 237 pounds and only 5' 3" tall. I don't look anything like one of their porn fantasies. Outside of work it's drunk men. And I don't even go to bars!

But yeah, it does seem like certain writers get a certain type of patron. Some of the meanest old women I know check out those Christian themed romances, for instance. (I'm still wondering why if I search "Jewish romance" I only come up with The Way We Were.) Grisham tends to get rude/brusk/mean men. Koontz and Sparks get people of all genders and age ranges who are some of the kindest people you'll ever meet. Cornwell gets the rude/mean women. Certain "scientific" texts (and I put it that way as I feel the authors are only putting forward their opinion, no real facts as I've looked through them and even a non-scientist like me can poke holes in everything they say) get the Flogging Molly fans - I'm utterly serious, boys wearing FM t-shirts check out so much crap. Older men in baseball caps and t-shirts seem to prefer Bill O'Reily. (I'm not kidding. As a clerk I see so much.) And books on how to develop fashion sense I mostly check out to girls in their late teens/early 20s and women past menopause. Very few 30-40 somethings check those out. They do check out a lot of Bobbi Brown's books though.