My ten favorite mysteries/thrillers…at the moment anyway. You see, this list can change depending on what’s happening in the world, whether I’m inspired by a gutsy author, a marvelous writing technique, or a compelling story line. So, here they are, by publication date:
Trent’s Last Case by E.C. Bentley, 1911
Considered the first modern mystery novel, it features a bungling journalist and a surprise killer. I allude to it in my own debut, Stalking Susan, because my fictional heroine has a collection of classic first-of-their-kind novels and her own investigation mimics that of Philip Trent.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, 1939
I stayed up all night reading this book while a teen. The perfect crime. If you don’t mind all the characters ending up dead.
Mystery of the Haunted Pool by Phyllis A. Whitney, 1960
I grew up on a corn and cattle farm that’s been in my family for 130 years. Highlight of my childhood: waiting for the bookmobile to bring me a new Phyllis A. Whitney book. I read this young adult classic and gazed into our rural pond hoping to see a face looking back at me.
The Samson Series by Len Deighton, 1983-1996
Nine books about the escapades of master spy Fiona Samson and her husband, Bernard. Relive the good old days of cold war. Is it cheating to count this set as one?
The Eight by Katherine Neville, 1988
I marveled in this rich, complex blend of history, adventure, and suspense. Two worlds amidst a chess game. It was unlike anything I’d ever read before. The Da Vinci Code of its era.
Shining Through by Susan Issacs, 1988
The best of romantic suspense. Heroine pines for hero. Then discovers he’s not heroic. Battling Nazis, she finds true love.
Rules of Prey by John Sandford, 1989
Wow. Just wow. I was inspired when the author, a Minnesota journalist, turned novelist. If he could do it, perhaps I should try. Lately though, I’ve been wondering what would happen if my heroine, Riley Spartz, met his hero, Lucas Davenport?
Final Jeopardy by Linda Fairstein, 1994
Alex Cooper is one of my favorite protagonists. Lately though, I’ve come to the conclusion that she and Mike Chapman simply must sleep together if this series is to grow. But perhaps the goal is consistency, not growth. Hmm.
Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich, 1996
Stephanie Plum and Granda Mazar, one of the best comic sidekicks ever invented, prowl a funeral home. LOL.
Term Limits by Vince Flynn, 1998
More than the actual story itself, I’m in awe of the story behind it. An amazing debut of an author selling his book out of his car trunk and turning it into an international sensation. (But later, when he kills Anna…I’m plenty mad.)
Julie Kramer is a freelance network news producer. She formerly ran WCCO-TV’s nationally award-winning investigative unit in Minneapolis. Her debut thriller Stalking Susan, won the Minnesota Book Award and the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best First Mystery, was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and is also a finalist for the Anthony Award. She lives with her family in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Visit juliekramerbooks.com for videos and more.