Richard North Patterson is a writer with a cause. Lots of causes, actually. He graduated from Case Western Reserve Law School in 1971 and served as both an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Ohio and the liaison for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to the Watergate Special Prosecutor. He is currently chairman of the National Governing Board for Common Cause (whatever that is) and has served on the boards of advocacy groups dealing with issues ranging from gun violence to reproductive rights.
Patterson started writing at 29 and his first book, The Lasko Tangent, won the 1980 Edgar Allan Poe Award in the "Best First Mystery Novel (American)" category. His most recent novel, Exile, was the subject of one of our Book of the Week reviews.
Aftertaste: I find sex scenes written by men to be fundamentally embarrassing, but if that's not a problem for you....
Availability: Everywhere. Seriously. You could probably pick up one of this dude's books at your local gas station.