Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Auto-Buy Authors, Chapter 2

This is one of my favorite types of posts to write because of the research involved. I rolled my desk chair out to the living room, sat down, and with pen and notepad in hand, I rolled back and forth in front of my bookshelves. I would stop, take a book off the shelf, leaf through its pages, smile, put the book back on the shelf, scribble a note, and move on.

Some of you may not be familiar with the term I'm using. What is an auto-buy author?  An auto-buy author is the best of the best; someone whose books you love so much that when you hear a new title has been released, you buy it without even reading a synopsis of the story.

I didn't accumulate over 6,000 books by having only a handful of auto-buy authors. No, I have several, and I posted my first list in July 2012. Once again I've been selective with my choices. There are several authors whose writing I love, but they may not be auto-buys-- especially if they write multiple series. Of all the examples of multiple-series-writing authors I can think of, I have to admit that there's always at least one that I don't particularly care for. Does that bother me? Not at all. I think it's great that these authors have so much to say and so many different ways of saying it. The larger the audience, the more chance these talented writers will be able to continue to entertain me with the series that I do enjoy.

Are you ready for Chapter 2? I hope so, because here it comes!

Martin Walker at The Poisoned Pen
I was shopping through the pages of one of my favorite "book procurement sites" (Book Outlet) when I came across a book titled Bruno, Chief of Police, and thus began my love affair with a policeman in a small French village and his creator, Martin Walker.

Martin Walker brings to life this small village in southern France as well as its inhabitants, its customs, its food, and its wine. The relationships between the villagers are pitch perfect. Everyone knows the foibles and virtues of everyone else, and for the most part they've learned how to get along with each other for the good of their community. I've learned the various seasonal traditions in the ways of food and gatherings of friends and families. This series is the complete package for mystery-loving armchair travelers, and I can't get enough. A few words of warning: You'll be hungry during and after reading a Bruno, Chief of Police mystery, and... Do not stand between me and the newest Martin Walker novel!

Julia Spencer-Fleming at The Poisoned Pen
I'd been shying away from Julia Spencer-Fleming's series set in New York state and featuring the Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne for an entire decade. Why? Because of all the awards and hype the first book, In the Bleak Midwinter, received. That's always been a part of my make-up: when everyone starts raving about something, I take a step back and keep doing my own thing.

However, due to writing posts in which I kept tripping over this author's name while doing research, I figured it was time to see what all the hype was about. I could kick myself for waiting so long. Clare and Russ are the heart and soul of this series, and reading about these two good people who always try to do the right thing is a joy. This series is a must for mystery readers who think characterization is the absolute best part of a book.

Kate Ellis
British author Kate Ellis has written two series, and I love them both. One series is set in South Devon, England, and features Detective Sergeant Wesley Peterson and Detective Inspector Gerry Heffernan. Wesley's best friend just happens to be an archaeologist, and Ellis does a superb job of combining an old mystery with a new one in each book in the series.

In her Detective Inspector Joe Plantagenet series set in Eborby in North Yorkshire, England, Ellis uses the history of the place to a wonderful, gothic effect.

Both series have strong casts, absorbing mysteries, a keen eye for history, and an excellent sense of place. I've been a fan for so long that I can't even remember when or how I first learned about the author!

Zoë Ferraris
When Finding Nouf was released, I started hearing all sorts of good things about it. I read a synopsis of the book and thought it sounded like something I'd enjoy, so I put it on my wish list... where it languished so long that I actually read the second book in the series first. I fell head over heels for City of Veils, immediately got my hands on a copy of Finding Nouf, and Zoë Ferraris instantly became an Auto-Buy Author.

This is another series that's perfect for mystery-loving armchair travelers. Ferraris opens the curtains on Saudi Arabia, a country that is very much a mystery to most of the non-Muslim world.  We learn of the country and its customs through a variety of characters: non-Muslim Westerners, both male and female, who are completely unfamiliar with the place; a young Muslim woman who wants more from her life than is prescribed by the teachings of the religious leaders of her country; and Muslim men, both traditional and non-traditional.

Zoë Ferraris's writing is beautiful and absorbing-- and I want to read everything she writes!

Todd Borg
I came late to the Todd Borg fan club, but at least I arrived.  His (so far) eleven book series featuring private investigator Owen McKenna and his harlequin Great Dane, Spot, became an instant favorite when I read book nine, Tahoe Hijack.

Borg writes high octane plots like nobody's business, and he makes you fall in love with the Lake Tahoe area. If that's all he did, he'd be a very good writer. What makes him an Auto-Buy author for me are Owen and Spot-- two of the best characters going. Borg's thrillers have plots that grab you by the throat, throw you in a Formula One racecar with no brakes, and send you down a steep mountain road... but they also have tons of heart and soul. You get to know the characters. You get to care about them. You just can't beat a combination like that.

Thus endeth chapter two of my Auto-Buy authors. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Are any of the authors new to you? Inquiring minds need to know!


  1. Cathy - I love your choices! And I agree that Walker, Spencer-Fleming and Ferraris are extremely talented. I'm not yet familiar with Borg, but your recommendation's good enough for me to try his work.

  2. I read one Todd Borg novel a few years ago but never got back to him despite my love of Great Danes. Thanks for reminding me. Loved the one I read.

    1. I'm happy to have reminded you, Barbara! I always think of you when I read one of Todd's books.

  3. My auto-buy authors are in a different genre than yours, Cathy -- but I'm very tempted to investigate your choices.

    1. I have been known to read in your preferred genre, Marty, so you should've left us with a name or two! On the other hand, I'm happy that I intrigued you enough with mine that you want to check them out. :-)


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