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January 9, 2012 7:47 PM   Subscribe

My father is beginning to have difficulty following books that have multiple plot-lines or too many characters. Can you recommend some books he might enjoy?

In particular, he has problems with complex storytelling (multiple simultaneous plots, stories told from the viewpoints of multiple characters, non-linear timelines, etc.), characters referred to by different names in different contexts, and just having too many characters to keep track of. Length isn't too much of an issue, just the complexity.

He generally sticks to the mystery/thriller type, but he also likes some Christian/inspirational type books.
He's recently enjoyed Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag because he could "keep track of what's going on." He's also picked up Agatha Christie again, and is enjoying those.

Other authors he's enjoyed in the past:
John Grisham
Tom Clancy
Mary/Carol Higgins Clark
Robert Ludlum/Robin Cook/Dean Koontz/Michael Crichton
Perri O'Shaughnessy

Recommendations for specific books, series, or authors all are welcome.
posted by yuwtze to Writing & Language (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My mom has liked books by Nevada Barr,which are murder mysteries set in American national parks (and which also give interesting background information and descriptions of the parks themselves).
posted by daisystomper at 7:55 PM on January 9, 2012

My mom LOVES James Patterson. She has similar tastes as your dad.
posted by two lights above the sea at 7:56 PM on January 9, 2012

If the unusual Swedish names don't derail him, he might enjoy Henning Mankell's Wallander mystery series.
posted by elizeh at 7:59 PM on January 9, 2012

The early Walldner books are straight-forward, but sometime around Sidetracked, they starting doing that thing where long stretches of the book are from the POV of the bad guy (when did that become such a trend, by the way?).

Jodi Picoult comes to mind. If your dad is interested in true crime, Joseph Wambaugh has a straight-forward style (in fact, true crime in general tends to be written in a less twist-y, plot-y way).
posted by Ideal Impulse at 9:08 PM on January 9, 2012

Jeffrey Archer
posted by backwards guitar at 9:39 PM on January 9, 2012

I was just reading Sherlock Holmes (Hound of the Baskervilles) and noticed that Conan Doyle makes it very easy to follow the plot and the ratiocination. Maybe because it was originally serialized? Anyway, there are lots of reminders about who people are and so on.

You might also look for short stories by his favorite authors. I am not sure which of the ones you listed specifically have any. Ruth Rendell writes a mean short story.
posted by BibiRose at 10:31 PM on January 9, 2012

I came in to say Agatha Christie, and I'll second Jeffrey Archer, if he's interested in politics/political intrigue. The plots are steady but do tend to be long-ranging. Check whether they're set in America or England--some of his books heavily involve the British political system, that may be no problem or could be confusing.

Greg Iles also writes good thrillers in the John Grisham mode. I haven't read any in a while but I think they are pretty linear; maybe a little more violent than Grisham. He might also like Randy Wayne White's novels about a marine biologist solving mysteries in Florida. They're fun.
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:08 PM on January 9, 2012

Lee Childs.
posted by nicwolff at 11:33 PM on January 9, 2012

Yeah, I came in here to suggest Lee Child's Jack Reacher series. They're my guilty pleasure thriller/mystery books.

The books revolve around the main character, a huge* former military policeman called Reacher who goes round solving problems. There generally aren't that many characters (usually him, his love interest, a victim or two, a few villains, and maybe a friendly neighbourhood cop or soldier).

Oh dear, that makes them sound terrible. But they're fun, fast paced, have lots of interesting details about weapons and military life, and aren't not too complex.

*They've casted Tom Cruise for the film, which is just an utter travesty. But not important here...
posted by badmoonrising at 12:29 AM on January 10, 2012

If he likes Agatha Christie, he may like Sarah Caudwell. Also, Walter Mosley writes pretty straightforward mysteries.
posted by bluefly at 6:33 AM on January 10, 2012

For Mosley, you should look for books from the Easy Rawlins' series. That's his main detective.
posted by bluefly at 6:35 AM on January 10, 2012

The Aubrey-Maturin series - there's some espionage stuff but basically you follow two main characters all the way through.
posted by Coobeastie at 9:51 AM on January 10, 2012

I'll bet he'd enjoy Martha Grimes' Richard Jury mysteries. Each is named after an English pub and the same three or four characters make it easy to follow - mostly British gents. They're pretty good mysteries, too.
posted by aryma at 8:12 PM on January 12, 2012

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