Reader Laurie Kavanagh from Marietta, Georgia, writes:
"As a retired English teacher, I look for authors who can use the English language to engage, surprise and inspire me, as well as tell a good story. Love intrigue, suspense—just great, original stories that rip my heart out or intrigue me and leave me thinking about the story for days after. And I love BookPage—it is an excellent source for me to discover good writers!"
Favorite authors: Barbara Kingsolver, Toni Morrison, Chris Bohjalian, Stephanie Kallos, Karin Slaughter, John Irving, Sue Miller, Donna Tartt, Tom Robbins, Pete Dexter, Jeffrey Eugenides, Julia Glass and Haven Kimmel.
Favorite recent books: Tell the Wolves I'm Home, The Dog Stars, A Killing in the Hills, The Round House, The Prophet, Beautiful Ruins, Flight Behavior, Ghost Man, Life After Life.
This is a wide-ranging list, but if I had to try to describe Laurie's tastes in just one sentence, I'd say she's looking for thoughtful literary fiction that doesn't sacrifice plot, as well as suspense novels with strong characters and writing. Laurie sounds very well read, so we'll stick to lesser known authors who meet this criteria in the hopes of digging up something new!
Readers who like Stephanie Kallos, Haven Kimmel or Julia Glass should give Joshilyn Jackson's gods in Alabama or Sheri Holman's The Mammoth Cheese a shot. Both are accomplished, big-hearted novels full of entertaining characters and thoughtful moments. Better still, both authors have backlists to devour—and Jackson has a new book, Someone Else's Love Story, coming in November.
As for the well-written mysteries, don't miss Louise Penny’s Canadian whodunits about Chief Inspector Gamache and his homicide department in Quebec—the ninth book in the series, How The Light Gets In, will be published on August 27.
We also loved Owen Laukkanen's truly unpredictable debut, The Professionals, the first book in the Stevens and Windermere series about an FBI special agent and a Minnesota state investigator. Book #2, Criminal Enterprises, was released in March.
Laurie R. King is best known for her series starring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes, but her standalone books, like Touchstone and Keeping Watch, are terrific, smart reads that will please fans of Kate Atkinson. Plus, she has a new one, The Bones of Paris, coming in September.