My newest bookshelf now displays some of my oldest books. Sitting reading some of these in my teens helped infuse me with the writing bug. I am a multi-genre reader but started with horror novels. Two authors, Stephen King and Graham Masterton, kept me entertained with a torch under the bed covers for hours. Salem’s Lot still reverberates strongly with me today. The story of a small town, its secrets laid bare, its inhabitants slowly succumbing to an unspeakable evil. This novel really showcases Kings writing style – his complex characters and riveting storylines. A far scarier story, however, was Charnel House, by Graham Masterton, a story of possession that gave me nightmares and taught me always to beware of door knockers!
More in the way of ‘comfort’ reading are the Robert Crais, Elvis Cole, novels, the best of which for me is the outstanding L.A Requiem. By turns funny, gritty and exciting, it really captures and combines the ever-changing moods of its main characters and the city of Los Angeles, offering everything from glittering loneliness to the eternal promise of unrestrained hope.
One of my favourite fictional characters, Agent Pendergast, appears in a long series of novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. There are many good ones, but The Cabinet of Curiosities is a good showcase – creepy, disturbing and entertaining, the enigmatic and endearing character of Pendergast really shines through in his one.
Being an action/adventure writer I enjoy all aspects of the genre but, for out and out escapism, I love a good Clive Cussler like Inca Gold. Always reliable, diverting and engaging, Cussler writes fast-paced thrillers where technology meets wit and overcooked heroism but usually manages to be entertaining. His history as a writer and enjoyable stories remind me not to listen to the critics – try it out for yourself.