My paranormal mystery Waking Up Dead was strongly influenced by other paranormal fiction, books by authors like Laurell K. Hamilton, Carrie Vaughn, Rachel Vincent, Patricia Briggs, and the like. But it also draws on a long line of mysteries with female detectives. Here are just a few of my favorites:
1. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series
One of the things I love best about this series is that the heroine, Stephanie Plum, is not some hard-boiled detective. She is, as other characters often say, a train wreck. She bumbles and she stumbles and she relies as much on luck as she does on any real detecting. She’s real and she’s funny and she is probably my favorite mystery detective ever. The first novel in this series is One For the Money.
2. Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone Alphabet Mysteries series
Grafton started this series with A is for Alibi and is now up to W is for Wasted. I find it interesting that Grafton has chosen to keep Millhone’s timeline consistent—that means that while the rest of the world is in 2013 with iPhones and the internet, Millhone is still stuck in the 80s, doing her detecting without all the gadgets she would have now!
3. Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series
Scarpetta is a medical examiner, and I love the scientific elements of these novels. Although Cornwell is adept at writing comedy, these novels tend to skew more toward thriller. Postmortem is the first of these novels.
4. Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series
This series is the basis for the television series Bones, and although the television series and the novels are very different in many ways, they are both fascinating for their look into forensic anthropology. As with Cornwell’s series, the scientific knowledge that the author brings to the books makes for fascinating—and realistic—reading. The first of these novels is Déjà Dead.
Waking Up Dead has more paranormal elements than any of these, but it’s still firmly in the mystery genre. Check it out!