Books by Location

Authors, especially those writing a series featuring a continuing character, often feature a specific geographic location. Popular choices are Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Boston, and other large and small cities across the country. Some feature international locations such as Great Britain and southeast Asia. When travel is available, many readers like to take along a book that takes place around their destination. Make a list, far off places await.

James W. Hall

Location: (Thorn series) Florida Keys

James W. Hall

Always excited about a new Thorn story…

Sixteen of his novels feature a hardcore loner named Thorn, who makes a meager living tying bonefish flies. Thorn, and his private eye pal, Sugarman, have teamed up to thwart animal smugglers, cruise ship hijackers, rogue medical experimenters, and other assorted villains. For a man who simply wants to be left alone to contemplate the island light and sweet sea breezes of Key Largo, Thorn has been drawn into a long string of adventures to right wrongs and avenge the deaths of his friends, relatives and lovers and has taken innumerable gashes and wounds and scars in the process.

Hall’s non-fiction work includes Hot Damn! a collection of personal essays he wrote for the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel’s Sunshine Magazine, as well as some he wrote for the Washington Post and The Miami Herald.

His second non-fiction effort is Hit Lit (Random House) an analysis of twelve of the most commercially successful novels of the last century and the dozen features those books have in common.

Les Standiford

Locations: Florida and others.

Les Standiford

Les Standiford is the author of twenty-one books, including the critically acclaimed works of non-fiction, Last Train to Paradise:  Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean –a History Channel Top Ten Pick & the One Read choice of more than a dozen public library systems; Meet You in Hell:  Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick and the Bitter Partnership that Transformed America, and Washington Burning: How a Frenchman’s Vision for Our Nation’s Capital Survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading British Army–both publisher’s nominees for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Awards; The Man Who Invented Christmas:  How Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived our Holiday Spirits (a New York Times Editors Choice); Bringing Adam Home:  The Abduction that Changed America (a New York Times best-seller); and most recently, Water to the Angels: William Mulholland, His Monumental Aqueduct, and the Rise of Los Angeles, a featured alternate of the History Book Club. 

He is also the author of ten novels, including the acclaimed John Deal mystery series as well as the stand-alone thrillers Black Mountain and Spill (adapted as a feature film). 

He has received the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Frank O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program at Florida International University in Miami and was appointed holder of the Peter Meinke Chair in Creative Writing at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg for the Spring of 2016.

He and his wife Kimberly, a psychotherapist and artist, are the parents of three children, Jeremy, Hannah, and Alexander.  They live in Pinecrest, Florida, in a home built of native Florida pine and maintained by the spirit of John Deal. 

Carl Hiaasen

Locations around Florida

Carl Hiaasen was born and raised in a bizarre place called Florida, where he still lives. His books have been described as savagely funny, riotous, and cathartic. Oddly, they are beloved even by readers who’ve never set foot in the Sunshine State.

A graduate of the University of Florida, at age 23 Hiaasen joined The Miami Herald as a city-desk reporter and went on to work for the newspaper’s weekly magazine and prize-winning investigations team.

From 1985 to 2021 he wrote an opinion column, which at one time or another thrashed just about every major politician in the state – and occasionally his own bosses. One of Hiaasen’s proudest moments came when a Miami City Commissioner who was enraged by the columns introduced a resolution officially denouncing him.

Hiaasen began writing novels in the early 1980s with his good friend and fellow journalist, the late William D. Montalbano. They collaborated on three mystery thrillers – POWDER BURNTRAP LINE and A DEATH IN CHINA – which borrowed heavily from their reporting experiences. (From his website)

Robert Crais

Location – Los Angeles

Robert Crais is an American author of detective fiction. Crais began his career writing scripts for television shows such as Hill Street Blues, Cagney & Lacey, Quincy, Miami Vice and L.A. Law. His writing is influenced by Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, Robert B. Parker and John Steinbeck. Wikipedia

Ace Atkins

Location for Quinn Colson series – Mississippi

New York Times Bestselling author Ace Atkins has been nominated for every major award in crime fiction, including the Edgar three times, twice for novels about former U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson. He has written eight books in the Colson series and continued Robert B. Parker’s iconic Spenser character after Parker’s death in 2010, adding seven best-selling novels in that series. A former newspaper reporter and SEC football player, Ace also writes essays and investigative pieces for several national magazines including TimeOutside and Garden & Gun.

He lives in Oxford, Mississippi with his family, where he’s friend to many dogs and several bartenders.

P.J. Tracy

Location – Minneapolis

P. J. Tracy is a pseudonym for American mother-daughter writing team Patricia and Traci Lambrecht, winners of the Anthony, Barry, Gumshoe, and Minnesota Book Awards. Their nine novels include Monkeewrench, Live Bait, Dead Run, Snow Blind, Shoot to Thrill, and Off the Grid. Wikipedia

Sadly, Patricia passed away in December 2016, however, fortunate for fans, Traci has continued the series which continues to delight her readers. Be sure to read Traci’s reflections on her mom, included on the website.

Joe R. Lansdale

Hap and Leonard series and Stand-alones.

Locations in Texas

Champion Mojo Storyteller Joe R. Lansdale has written novels and stories in many genres, including Western, horror, science fiction, mystery, and suspense. As of 2018, he has written 45 novels and published 30 short-story collections along with many chapbooks and comic-book adaptations. He has been inducted into The Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and several of his novels have been adapted to film.

His Hap and Leonard series of ten novels, four novellas, and three short-story collections feature two friends, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, who live in the fictional town of Laborde, in East Texas, and find themselves solving a variety of often unpleasant crimes. The characters themselves are an unlikely pairing; Hap is a white, working-class laborer in his mid-forties who once protested against the war in Vietnam and spent time in federal prison rather than be drafted; Leonard is a gay, black Vietnam vet. Both of them are accomplished fighters, and the stories (told from Hap’s narrative point of view) feature a great deal of violence, profanity, and sex. Lansdale paints a picture of East Texas which is essentially “good” but blighted by racism, ignorance, urban and rural deprivation, and government corruption. Some of the subject matter is extremely dark, and includes scenes of brutal violence. These novels are also characterized by sharp humor and “wisecracking” dialogue. These books have been adapted into a TV series for the SundanceTV channel and a series of graphic novels began publication in 2017. Season 2 of the television series is based on the second Hap and Leonard novel, Mucho Mojo, and season 3, which premiered on 3/7/18, is based on the third novel, The Two-Bear Mambo. Much of Lansdale’s work has been issued and re-issued as limited editions by Subterranean Press and as trade paperbacks by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard Publications. His current new-release publisher is Mulholland Books. Lansdale also publishes with Dark Regions Press and Tachyon Publications, and with his daughter Kasey he has started a new publishing company called Pandi Press to control the re-issue and publishing of his older works.

Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is an American crime writer. The author of eighteen novels, Slaughter has sold more than 35 million copies of her books, which have been published in 37 languages.

LOCATION – GEORGIA (MAINLY ATLANTA)

Dennis Lehane

Dennis Lehane is an American author. He has published more than a dozen novels; the first several were a series of mysteries featuring a couple of protagonists and other recurring characters, including A Drink Before the War. Of these, his fourth, Gone, Baby, Gone, was adapted as a 2007 film of the same name.

In addition both Mystic River and Shutter Island were also made into feature films.

LOCATIONS – BOSTON/FLORIDA

Florida Writers

Going to Florida?

Don’t Forget to Write!

Florida. True, it is the land of retirement, sunshine, Disney, traffic, crime, and hurricanes. Let’s not forget environmental and immigration problems. What a great place to write about. Some who write Florida fiction make it to the best-seller list some don’t. Most, however, write a darn good story.

John D. McDonald’s Travis McGee set the standard for Florida crime fiction. Prominent on bookstore shelves is Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen. His quirky novels are “laugh out loud” events, even if they don’t always make it to critical acclaim at the box office (i.e. Striptease.) In memory, I have never recommended a Hiaasen book to a friend and gotten anything but terrific reactions.

The list of well known writers boiling just below superstar status is a fairly long one. On it are some of my favorites. Some would qualify as mystery writers, some, a half step away, suspense/crime. Others have simply created memorable characters, many reappearing, and all enormously engaging. Laurence Shames, Randy Wayne White, James W. Hall, Les Standiford, John Lutz, Paul Levine, Ed McBain’s “Matthew Hope” series and the unforgettable Charles Willeford, who although deceased may have been the “writers writer” in the Florida genre.

In the past several years several writers have emerged as best-selling Florida writers. Jeff Lindsay, the creator of Showtime series character, Dexter has four books to date featuring the intrepid “Dark Passenger.” James Grippando is hot and so is James O. Born.

If Key West has ever enchanted you, authors Laurence Shames and Tom Corcoran can put you there in a fashion that most tourists would surely miss. They each have casts of characters, recurring in their books, zany New York transplants, good guys and bad guys, funny guys and hard guys. Sometimes a minor character in one story becomes central in another. Throughout their work; humor, love, unusual criminals and unlikely heroes abound. It may have been Hemingway’s town once, with Shames and Corcoran, it’s a whole different trip.

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