Ridley Pearson has a neat trick: He writes novels with one foot firmly planted in the adult suspense-thriller genre, the other in young-reader adventure. His worldwide sales and literary awards show it's working.
The New York Times best-selling author has 16 titles in three adult-thriller series, 15 titles in four young-adult series and 10 stand-alone thrillers. That translates into his books published in 22 languages in 70 countries.
Pearson's upcoming novel, "The Risk Agent," will be the first entry in yet another thriller series. It's the Bee Book Club's choice for June.
The action is set in Shanghai, the most populous city in the world. When a Chinese national employed by an American company is kidnapped, two operatives must team to rescue him. American-educated Chinese national Grace Chu and American freelance agent John Knox soon discover there are many dangerous dimensions beneath what at first seems a straightforward case.
The novel's China setting has a real-life connection. Pearson and his family lived in Shanghai for a year in 2009-10. There, he became friends with the head of security for the U.S. Consulate and Embassy.
"So I got terrific insight into the kinds of security issues that go on in China," he said. "Seeing the way the Chinese police work, and the way the culture based on friendships and favors (interfaces) with that. Seeing the kinds of things my friend saw on a daily basis, whether he was escorting a visiting senator, or escorting homicide cops from California investigating a murder. Once we returned home, I realized, 'Wow, there's a thriller of all thrillers to be set there,' which became 'The Risk Agent.' "
Visit him at www.ridleypearson.com.
Role models not
The culture-watching website www.flavorpill.com has put up its choices for "Most Notorious Literary Party Animals." Truman Capote certainly earned a spot on the list. But Salman Rushdie? For a look, go to http://flavorwire.com/282178/the-most-notorious-literary-party-animals?all=1.
Clearing things up
So many boxes of books have stacked up here at Reading Central that the place looks like a bunker. Let's move some of them on to your reading lists:
"Bring Up the Bodies" by Hilary Mantel (Henry Holt, $28, 432 pages): Make no mistake: The sequel to "Wolf Hall," the 2009 Man Booker Prize winner, is top-tier historic literature set in Tudor times. The players are King Henry VIII; his chief minister, Thomas Cromwell; and Queen Anne Boleyn. It doesn't matter that we know the ending getting there is all the fun.
"Zombie Island" by Lori Handeland (St. Martin's, $14.99 272 pages): The living dead have been quite popular the last few years. Here, vampire William Shakespeare and his Dark Lady are marooned on an island full of zombies.
"Stein and Candle: Detective Agency" by Michael Panush (Curious Quills, $14.95, 254 pages): It's the 1950s. A former paratrooper teams with a teenage "boy genius" to form a detective agency specializing in paranormal cases. The author, a regular contributor to e-zines, lives in Sacramento and attends college in Santa Cruz.
"A Helluva High Note: Surviving Life, Love and American Idol" by Kara DioGuardi (It, $24.99, 240 pages): The former "American Idol" judge an award-winning songwriter and record producer shares her turbulent life story.
"Essential Manners for Men" by Peter Post (William Morrow, $21.99, 224 pages): It's all here, guys from hygiene and tipping to dating and social media. Post is the great-grandson of Emily Post, who pioneered the rules of etiquette.
"All There Is: Love Stories From Storycorps," compiled by Dave Isay (Penguin, $24.95, 176 pages): First- person stories from couples who have fallen in love, lost true love and reconnected with former loves.
"Fallen Leaf" by Janet Beales Kaidantzis (Lake Tahoe Historical Society, $18.50, 168 pages): If you regularly visit Lake Tahoe, this history of next-door Fallen Leaf Lake helps round out the region. The LTHS is at (530) 541-5458.
"Raised by the Stars" by Nick Thomas (McFarland, $35, 249 pages): What was it like to have Errol Flynn as your dad, or Ingrid Bergman as your mom? The author interviews 29 adult children of Hollywood stars.
"Urban Dictionary," compiled by Aaron Peckham (Andrews McMeel, $12.99, 262 pages): "The freshest street slang defined" carries hundreds of gems, such as, "Geek: Previously a four- letter word, now a six-figure salary." And: "Mouse arrest: Getting grounded from the family computer."
"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jokes," edited by Larry Getlen (Alpha, $21.95, 336 pages): A trove of 1,500 laugh-out-loud moments from 250 top comedians and writers, plus advice on how to tell your own jokes. A sample from comic Molly Anderson: "I love to scare people. This past weekend, I snuck up to the windows of each of my boyfriends' houses, dressed as a commitment."
"The Totally Awesome Book of Useless Information" by Noel Botham (Perigee, $12.95, 192 pages): Useless? Maybe "interestingly semi-significant" would be more accurate. Like: "Charlie 'Peanuts' Brown's father is a barber It took Leonardo da Vinci 12 years to paint the 'Mona Lisa's' lips The most-used letter in the alphabet is E. The least-used is Q."
MEET RIDLEY PEARSON AT BEE BOOK CLUB
Ridley Pearson will give a presentation, answer questions and autograph books for The Bee Book Club at 6 p.m. June 21 at the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 828 I St., Sacramento.
Barnes & Noble will be on site to sell "The Risk Agent" for 30 percent off the retail price. It will also sell other books by Pearson.
From June 19-21, these stores will offer a 30 percent discount on "The Risk Agent" (Putnam, $26.95, 432 pages; on sale June 19): Barnes & Noble, Avid Reader at the Tower in Sacramento, Avid Reader in Davis, Time Tested Books, Underground Books, Carol's Books, Hornet Bookstore at California State University, Sacramento, the UC Davis Bookstore and the Bookseller in Grass Valley.
Information: (916) 321-1128.