Ridley Pearson

Recommended reading from the author of The Risk Agent and Peter and the Starcatchers.



Whether writing gripping thrillers for adults or soaring adventures for younger audiences, Ridley Pearson brings startling plot twists and vivid characters to the page. In his new novel The Risk Agent, a forensic accountant and a private investigator search for two hostages in Shanghai before time runs out. But who's behind the brazen crime. This week, Pearson points us to three favorites, including an American classic and a dynamic new voice in YA fiction.


Books by Ridley Pearson



To Kill a Mockingbird

By Harper Lee


"Before you groan, hear me out. This is a book I recently used to teach creative writing in China, an experience that inspired my writing my own thriller, The Risk Agent. In To Kill a Mockingbird you have: children at risk, a crime and a trial, enormous social issues of poverty and injustice that remain a part of any society today, mystery/suspense, heartwarming family drama, and some memorable characters. All in a package that is so superbly written I routinely reread this book at least once a year. It never, ever, grows old."



A World Lit Only by Fire

By William Manchester


"This nonfiction book about the Middle Ages began (as I understand it) with the author's desire to write about Magellan. It ended up that Magellan only occupies about the final 80 pages. Instead, we enter the forest in the Dark Ages and shiver and starve and wander into a township where the Catholic Church is arriving to sell a "free pass" into heaven. It is compelling from start to finish."




By Marie Lu


"I was asked to review this first novel for a major publication and came away a fan. Ms. Lu's YA entry is in the crowded post-apocalyptic genre. But she serves up rapid fire action, rich and unusual characters, and all in a setting of a nearly destroyed Los Angeles. Marie Lu is someone to keep your eye on."

April 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.