Written by Dr. Richard Mabry, MD
When you think about relaxing reading for the summer, I doubt that a mystery, thriller, or suspense novel is what comes to mind. Matter of fact, I had that same hesitancy. Some of the books classified in that fashion, even those that were Christian or “inspirational” (to use the newer terminology), were either too graphic or too suspenseful for me. Someone, I can’t recall who, said that if you don’t like the books that are out there, write what you’d like to read. So that’s what I did.
Some of my colleagues write what I call “sleep with the lights on” books. I still recall reading Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians. I was alone in the Bachelor Officers’ Quarters at Lajes Field in the Azores, 2000 miles from home, awaiting the arrival of my family. Many of the other rooms on the floor were unoccupied, and it was deathly quiet. I hadn’t become accustomed to the time change yet, so I decided to read the paperback I’d picked up at the Base Exchange earlier in the day. It held my attention so well that I read it straight through, finishing at four AM. I slept with the light on for the balance of the night. It made an impression on me—a negative one.
I write what I like to call “sleep with the lights off” fiction. Oh, sure. There’s action and drama between the covers, but never enough to make the reader put the book away and say, “I can’t read this tonight.” Matter of fact, the complaint I most often get is that they pick up the book with the intention of reading a little before bedtime, and can’t put it down. But when they do, they turn off the lights. That’s the kind of fiction I write.
This is why I included my last three novels--Fatal Trauma, Miracle Drug, and Medical Judgment—in the list of books I think are right for vacation reading. I hope you like them. And when you finish, I think you’ll be able to sleep with the lights off.
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