Thursday, August 31, 2006

Recommended Non-Paranormal Books

I've been meaning to start this list of nonparanormal books I like for quite a while and I kept forgetting. In the realm of fiction, I mostly read paranormals (vampires, witch, psychic, some shapeshifter, some urban fantasy), or psychological thrillers. I'm also a pushover for books with interesting, bad-boy male characters. I especially love series with lots of books in them. Anyway, here are a few of the nonparanormal authors/books I like:

Jonathan Kellerman (Alex Delaware series)
Alex Delaware, Ph.D., is a psychologist living in L.A. He manages to befriend a beefy, behemoth of a gay police lieutenant and worms his way into helping with various murder investigations. Alex has a hard time with relationships. He seems to be a commitment-phobe. Most of these books are excellent stories, and through the course of the series, Alex finally begins to grow up (I think he's in his 40s in the book) and asks some deep questions. Kellerman focuses on character development more than the tedious details of the outer stuff. Good books.

Stephen White (Alan Gregory series)
Like Alex Delaware above, Alan Gregory is a psychologist working in Boulder, CO (my home town). The author lives in Denver, but he used to live in Boulder, so quirky Boulder comes off as one of the main characters of the book. Also like Delaware, Alan Gregory manages to befriend a policeman and get involved in cases. I like these books a lot and at the same time I get annoyed by Alan's anal, stick-up-the-butt approach to psychotherapy. He's definitely old-school. But, I still get each new book as it's released. Alan also shares Alex's relationship problems. Alan also seems to be somewhat anorexic. But the stories are clever and the mysteries interesting.

Keith Ablow (Frank Clevenger series)
These books are psychological, but slightly different from the ones above. Frank Clevenger is a severely addicted, screwed up forensic psychiatrist. He is an expert on serial killers and he gets called into all kinds of grisly, interesting mysteries. He also has a screwed up adopted teenage son, and a profound inability to keep any kind of mature relationship going. But he's so flawed, so human, that you just have to root for him.

Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series)
I wrote about these books quite a while ago in a blog post. I said that I hadn't paid any attention to them because, every once in a while, I'd pick one up in a store, read the back page blurb, and put it back down again. It sounded like another Sopranos-type deal and I really wasn't interested in reading about women-hating idiots in New Jersey. I did eventually get the first book at the library and thought it was clever and cute. Stephanie herself isn't very interesting, but the cast of supporting characters is great. But I was having a conversation with a writer friend about why I can't seem to write one heroine-one hero books and she said I'd probably like the Stephanie Plum books because there were two hot guys. What? Two guys? For some reason, I just thought it was a standard romance thing between Stephanie and the cop. I'm sure the cop is hunky, but he didn't ring my chimes. Cops just don't. I'd never have picked up another of the books if my friend hadn't mentioned that Dangerous, Bad Boy Ranger would take a larger role as the books progressed. Hmmm. Well, let me reconsider. So, now I'm hooked. Not because of Stephanie or the other characters (they're cute, but they do the same things in every book), but because of Ranger. Superhero Ranger. Brooding, mysterious Batman Ranger. Oh, yeah.