6 Degrees of Separation

Here’s my entry in Kate’s 6 Degrees of Separation Meme from her blog, Books Are My Favourite and Best. Here’s how it works:

Books can be linked in obvious ways – for example, books by the same authors, from the same era or genre, or books with similar themes or settings. Or, you may choose to link them in more personal or esoteric ways: books you read on the same holiday, books given to you by a particular friend, books that remind you of a particular time in your life, or books you read for an online challenge.


The great thing about this meme is that each participant can make their own rules. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the ones next to them in the chain. . .

Cover: Under the Lake

This month we begin with the book we ended last month’s chain with. For me, that was Under the Lake (1987) by Stuart Woods. I remember it as the spookiest book I’d ever read when I discovered it back in 1996.

1. Another book by Stuart Woods that I enjoyed is his first novel, Chiefs (1981), based on a family story. This novel became the first in the Will Lee series.

2. I next started reading Stuart Woods’s series featuring former NYPD detective now turned lawyer Stone Barrington. I began with the first novel in this series, New York Dead (1991). I read several more of the books in the series but eventually stopped because the stories became progressively more and more outlandish and just plain silly. 

3. Another series I gave up on is Patricia Cornwell’s books featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta. I quit that series after book #9, 1998’s Point of Origin. I don’t have to like fictional characters, but as Kay Scarpetta became more shrill and self-centered, the story lines also became more improbable. 

4. One fictional series that I enjoyed is Stephen White’s novels featuring clinical psychologist Alan Gregory. I discovered that series back in the early days of audiobooks, called books on tape back then because they came by mail in a boxed set of several cassettes. I listened to the first eight books but then lost touch with the series as technology changed and books on cassettes transitioned to audiobooks for download. But finding book #9, The Program (2008), recently on sale as an ebook reminded me of this excellent series. Now I have books 10-16 to look forward to.

5. I had a similar experience with Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series. Like Alan Gregory, Alex Delaware is a clinical psychologist. And as with the Alan Gregory series, I discovered the Alex Delaware series back in those heady days of books on cassette. I’ve read about nine of these books, but, as the series is now up to book #35, I have a lot more to look forward to. I have #10, The Web, on my Kindle now.

6. Yet another mystery series I need to catch up on is Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie books. My book group back in St. Louis read the first book in this series, Case Histories (2004), back in the day and loved it. The recent publication of the fifth Brodie book, Big Sky, reminded me that I need to read the other three before tackling this latest installment.

So there we have it, a series of series for 6 Degrees of Separation. So many books, so little time . . .

© 2019 by Mary Daniels Brown

Patricia Cornwell, James Patterson, Norman Mailer, J.K. Rowling, Robert Galbraith, Horace Walpole

Guns, gay marriage and a real-life murder: The private life of thriller writer Patricia Cornwell

Patricia Cornwell’s insecurities are rooted in a life story that reads like an over-ripe work of fiction. Married to neuroscientist Staci Gruber Cornwell is more grounded these days

The Henry Ford of Books

The planet’s best-selling author since 2001, James Patterson has more than 300 million copies of his books in print, an army of co-writers, several TV deals in the works, and an estimated income of $90 million last year alone. But where’s the respect? Exploring the contradictions of this one-man publishing conglomerate, Todd S. Purdum learns how Patterson’s childhood and advertising career made him the ultimate storyteller.

The Great American Novel Buried in Norman Mailer’s Letters

Village Voice. Perhaps no writer of his time endured such keen conflict between his personal voice and his literary voice, and that conflict is at the center of “Selected Letters of Norman Mailer,” edited by J. Michael Lennon (who is also the author of a biography of Mailer, “A Double Life”).

J.K. Rowling’s Galbraith books coming to TV

Good news!

The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) are coming to BBC One.

Harry Potter author Rowling’s crime novels are being adapted as a series, with filming expected to start in 2015.

The Castle of Otranto: The creepy tale that launched gothic fiction

Tragic tales of doomed romance and supernatural horror, often set in baroque castles, have thrilled readers for centuries. But many modern-day fans of gothic literature may not be familiar with the 18th Century novel that inspired the genre, writes Peter Ray Allison.

Quite a good introduction to Gothic literature from the BBC News Magazine. The illustrative photos are especially worth a good look.