Lawrence Sanders may be dead, but his popular McNally series lives on, now written by Vincent Lardo. Like Woods, Sanders wrote a range of titles, from the serious to the more commercial. Intricate plots, filled with twists and betrayals, series and non-series characters, and provocative story lines generally characterized his writing. Although the McNally titles are narrated in the first person, and humor plays more of a role, these Florida-based investigative adventures, set amongst the moneyed class, might appeal especially to fans of the Stone Barrington series. Archy McNally, playboy sleuth, first appears in McNally's Secret.
Jeffrey Archer, who also has written a diverse range of Thrillers from the serious to the commercial, might be another possibility, as, like Woods, he is a storyteller who relates fascinating tales, peopled with likable characters, who come to a satisfying end. International intrigue and double-dealing fill his page-turning novels, but he also includes a glimpse of the rich and powerful, as does Woods. In the classic Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, Archer explores a personal experience with wit and style, as his hero seeks revenge for having been defrauded of more than half a million dollars.
Another author of intricate, page turning, international Thrillers is Sidney Sheldon, who also filled his adventures with beautiful people placed in difficult situations. Revenge figures prominently, and it is not always achieved by legal means, another characteristic shared by Woods' novels. Try The Other Side of Midnight to sample his timeless popularity.
Screenwriter Stephen J. Cannell's novels possess a similar cinematic appeal -- fast pacing, characters who could be on the screen, action scenes, and revenge. While the plots may be more complex than those of Woods, the characters -- particularly series character LA police detective Shane Scully -- will certainly appeal. Try The Tin Collectors, the first featuring Scully.
Not all of James Patterson's titles are obvious matches for a Woods fan, unless the reader does not mind more graphic violence and sex. However, a recent series, begun with 1st to Die, offers several appeal similarities: fast-pacing, details of wealthy lifestyles, series characters, and complicated plots. These stories generally feature fewer gory details, and the breezy pace should certainly appeal.
Joyce Saricks is the Literature and Audio Services Coordinator for the Downers Grove Public Library in Downers Grove, Illinois, and the author of Readers’ Advisory Guide to Genre Fiction (ALA, 2001).
Last Edited on: 3/22/08 7:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1