Established author: Mr. William Goldman
When I was in high school I picked up a battered copy of Marathon Man at a used book store. It looks like this:
I use the present tense because I still own it, along with every other book William Goldman has written (Yes, I am absurdly proud of my collection.). The books run the spectrum of genre. Some examples: No Way to Treat a Lady (Thriller/Suspense), The Princess Bride (Fantasy), The Temple of Gold (classic coming-of-age), Boys and Girls Together (sprawling character-driven epic), Magic (Horror), and yeah, he also wrote the greatest modern western, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Talk about versatility!
There is a common thread through all his work: the incredibly engaging plots are always character-driven. Think about Babe in excruciating pain as his Nazi dentist torturer drills into his mouth sans anesthesia and asks, "Is it safe?" or Butch and Sundance moaning "Who are those guys?" as the horsemen of modernity nip at their heels. Perfection, no?
A writer could learn a lot from a William Goldman book. I know this one has.
Debut I can't wait to read: A Kate Lowry Mystery: The Haunting of Pemberly Brown by Lisa and Laura Roecker.
Full disclosure: I've already read a version of this book and I've got to tell you, it's as stylish as a pair of oversized black sunglasses and a string of gleaming white pearls.
I was a HUGE Nancy Drew fan in grammar school. I devoured every book. So when Lisa & Laura originally described Kate as a modern Nancy Drew, I thought, ooooh-kaaay...
But Kate takes up that mantle with verve and a big ironic wink. The mystery at the center of the book kept me on my toes, but Kate's humor and courage won my heart.
So I guess this is a book I'm dying to see on the shelves. And I will. In 2011!