James Patterson Hits the Million Mark in Kindle Book Sales

James Patterson recently hit the million mark in number of Kindle books sold.  He is the second author to do so.  The other author is Stieg Larsson, the author of the Millenium Trilogy.  The trilogy beginning with the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has been a huge hit internationally.  I thought the book was good, but a little wordy.  As a computer geek, I must say I was quite impressed with Lisbeth Salander’s hacking skills.  The impressive thing about Larsson is that he only wrote three books that were all published after his death.  James Patterson has written sixty-five and counting.

Patterson is best known for his Alex Cross series.  I’ve read a few of them and thought they were good.  The latest, Cross Fire, will be released on November 15.  My favorite series is the Women’s Murder Club series.  The newest book in that series is the 9th Judgment. Lindsay Boxer, a member of the San Francisco Police is the protagonist.  She and three other friends, a journalist, a lawyer and a medical examiner all work together to solve some rather sinister murder cases.  I like the camaraderie and laid back writing style in this series.  Somehow that seems to take the edge off the gruesomeness of the murder cases.  There is also a bit of romance and humor involved.

Patterson also writes a number of stand alone books including The Postcard Killers, Private and Don’t Blink.  I didn’t realize how many books he’s been able to publish this year alone.  From the publishing dates, it looks like he releases a new book every two months.  That is impressive considering most authors can publish one about once or twice a year.

He also has written a few books that completely out of character for him in terms of plot and character.  Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas and Sam’s Letters to Jennifer were more what you would expect from Nicolas Sparks than James Patterson.  He deviates from his writing even more with a golf theme in Miracle on the 17th Green.  It is a quick, inspirational read and has great reviews.  So there is something for everyone.

The murders in Patterson’s books are extremely gruesome.  I wouldn’t recommend reading them while you’re home alone at night.  Some of the murder plots are a bit over the top and unrealistic so I try to tell myself that and it helps.

John Sandford Thrillers – Kindle Edition

A friend recommended that I review John Sandford, writer of popular thrillers such as Bad Blood and Storm Prey.  This is good timing to write about thrillers with it being Halloween and all.  The hardback version of his latest books are almost three times as much as the Kindle version. So by going with the Kindle or Kindle DX version, you will be getting a really good deal.

Bad Blood is the fourth book that features Virgil Flowers, a Minnesota Criminal Bureau agent.  Bob Tripp “accidentally” murders Jacob Flood by hitting him in the head with a T-ball bat.  I cracked up when I read about that.  How can you get killed by a T-ball bat?  The plot twists when Virgil Flowers and Sheriff Lee Coakley, investigate the crime after Tripp is found hanging in his jail cell.  There is evidence of a romantic spark between Coakley and Flowers, but the primary focus of the book is the investigation.  They investigate Jim Crocker, the deputy on duty when Tripp kills himself.

The pair uncover a multitude of murders and sexual abuse cases that implicate both a strange church and within the police force.  Amazing how one simple murder case has led to a chain of much more sinister criminal activities.

The reviews of Bad Blood are great overall.  Many of the reviewers said that this is the best book in the Virgil Flowers series.  Other books in this series that are worth checking out are: Rough Country, Heat Lightning and Dark of the Moon.

Sandford’s Storm Prey features the investigation of a robbery turned murder that is investigated by Minnesota Bureau of Investigation Lucas Davenport.  A group of idiots try to rob a pharmacy so they can turn around and sell the drugs for a large sum.  The robbery turns into a murder when they accidentally kill the pharmacist. So, like Bad Blood, the bad guys are really dumb and the good guys have brains.

The plot also involves Lucas’s wife who at the time of the robbery was in the middle of operating on a set of conjoined twins.  The gang associated with the robbery attempt to take her life as well as their own members.

So Storm Prey has a similar “one simple murder case sets off a chain reaction” type plot that Bad Blood does.  One reviewer describes the Davenport series as “a marathon rather than a sprint.”  The series describes the investigation in detail without it being a “hold your breath, don’t know what’s next” type thing.  Virgil Flowers makes an appearance and there are referrals to the series’ earlier and much darker novels.

The reviews were good overall.  Some mentioned that Sandford’s book is a bit repetitive plot wise.  I guess this is a common occurrence with any author.  As you read more and more of their books, you can really see what structure they use.  That can come off as nice and familiar, or boring.

The Kindle version of Storm Prey is pretty expensive.  If you want something cheaper, check out his earlier novels in the Davenport series such as Wicked Prey or Invisible Prey.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine for Kindle

You can get the Kindle and Kindle DX version of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine for $2.99, which is the same as the print edition.  There are 10 issues a year, with two issues coming out as double issues.  There has been some debate about the prices being higher on the Kindle version than on the print edition. Dell Magazines, the publisher, explained in a review that in terms of yearly subscriptions the prices come out to be the same.

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine was founded in 1956, and is the second oldest mystery short story magazine in existence, according to the short history synopsis on the magazine’s website.  Some notable authors for AHMM include Martin Limon, Jane K. Cleland, Loren Estelman and other well known and emerging writers.

One particular author that you might recognize, Dorothy L. Sayers, has contributed to AHMM.  She recently published Whose Body? (Lord Peter Wimsey), and it is available for just 99 cents on the Kindle.

Each issue contains original articles that range from short stories to novellas.  The mystery, crime  and suspense genres are all pretty well covered.  Each issue also features regularly occurring columns: “Books & Printed,” a book review column, “Reel Crime,” a movie and television column, puzzles, contests and  “Mystery Classic”, a story from the genre’s past.

This month’s issue covers several interesting topics.  One topic centers around the effects of crime on the victim’s family.  Within this topic, two of the stories deal with how crime has affected children left behind.  Another set of articles address the complexities of the criminal justice system in the United States and around the world.  The magazine’s website has excerpts on the latest issues and information about other fun awards and events going on.

Overall, the reviews of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine were really good with the exception of the price tag.  The magazine reads like a digest, and is similar in size to the Kindle 2, so the transition from the print to Kindle should be a smooth one.  The Kindle saves a lot of space and makes the magazine a lot more portable.