There are so many books in my to-be-read pile that they constitute a nightstand all on their own. In fact, they do surround my nightstand on three sides, which isn’t much fun when I slam my foot into them if I get out of bed in the middle of the night! My cat, Marlowe, certainly enjoys knocking them over from time to time.

One of my biggest fears as a writer is to become stale, which is why I always like to vary who and what I read. Variety keeps my fiction fresh with new ideas and inspiration. The book I’m currently reading is Playing To The Edge by Michael V. Hayden, former head of the NSA and the CIA. The subject matter fits in nicely with the cyber-intelligence plots I write about in my novels Sympathy For The Devil and A Murder Of Crows. Hayden also takes the dry toast of technology and makes it read like a novel. No matter your opinion on the War on Terror, American military activities in the Middle East or the topic of government surveillance in our daily lives, this book is worth the time if you’re curious about the subject.

If spies and terrorism aren’t your thing, don’t worry. I have plenty of other books on my pile you might like. Poisonous by Allison Brennan is the third book in her Max Revere series and it looks like she has another hit on her hands.

Eric Beetner’s Run For The Money is the next one after Allison’s book. Eric is one of the best, most prolific writers working today. I don’t know how he can continue to write in the same genre, but always find a way to make each story feel as fresh as ever. If this book doesn’t appeal to you, check out his other titles. One is bound to grab your interest. He’s written dozens. I’m not exaggerating. He’s that good.

Jon McGoran’s Deadout is next on the pile. For me, he ranks right up there with Crichton when it comes to blending scientific plot points with good old fashioned story telling. He’s getting a lot of attention recently and for good reason.

Jenny Milchman’s As Night Falls came out last year, but I hope to get to it this summer. She has a knack for subtly building suspense while telling a captivating story. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Scott Adlerberg’s Jungle Horses is another one that’s been on my pile for a while that I’m looking forward to reading. He’s an astute student of the frailties of the human condition and his stories always have one or two surprises in his work that really pay off.

There are so many other books in the pile that I’d spend the rest of the day listing them all. Some of them are by talented folks like Todd Robinson, Hillary Davidson, Rob Hart, Dave White and Reed Farrell Coleman to name only a few.