I don't often go on tilt, as my boys say, but once in awhile, I get frustrated with the book industry. Case in point: A conference I once loved posted their line up of "star authors." There wasn't a single woman in the bunch! When I asked why, they told me, "Oops. We couldn't come up with any women's names who would be big draws, especially since we usually feature thriller writers."
They must be drinking their own Kool-Aid, something spiked with testosterone, because my bookshelves are full of thrilling reads by fantastic women writers.
1. Heather Graham -- I just finished Let the Dead Sleep. Graham is a writing masterclass on the page. This book has it all: a slightly paranormal twist; a fantastic New Orleans setting done right; strong female protagonist; and interesting secondary characters. Oh, and did I mention a rollicking plot?
2. Meg Gardiner -- Her newest book The Shadow Tracer combines a couple of fascinating female protagonists with a glorious panorama of a setting and adds a current topic (fanatic religious sects) in a fast paced adventure that I couldn't put down. And yeah, I consider Meg a friend. She's fantastic.
3. Kathy Reichs -- Somehow I missed Deadly Decisions, so I picked up a copy and I'm having trouble tearing myself away. I always learn so much from Reichs, and she's as impressive in person as she is on paper. Her entire Temperance Brennan series makes for chilling, thrilling, and thought-provoking reading.
4. Lori Armstrong -- Her "Mercy Gunderson" series is superb, and a great example of how a character can grow and change as a series progresses. Mercy's backstory makes her a compelling character.
Here are a few other reasons I value these authors--
1. They didn't choose to write under a pseudonym. Yup, they are women and they don't care who knows it. Got to admire that!
2. They don't indulge in gratuitous violence/perversion toward women in their books. Too many "thriller" authors take the low road by indulging all their blackest, most foul imaginings and frankly, scare the bejeebers out of me. These talented authors stay within the bounds of good taste while offering great reads.
3. Their female protagonists are appropriately strong and weak, rather than super humans.
4. Nobody immediately has sex with the first man who wanders across her path. Honestly, I've had it with books by men where the male protag beds every woman on every page. I mean, REALLY?
Here's the thing: Most women buy hardback books for their husbands/boyfriends to read. Why not buck the trend as exhibited by the-conference-that-shall-not-be-named? Why not buy a hardback by one of these fine women authors and hand it to the guy in your life...
After you read it, of course.
To make it easier on your wallet, I'll send one lucky commenter a copy of Let the Dead Sleep. Just tell me who your favorite female thriller writer is!