Stephen J. Cannell is an author who is best known as the creator and producer of many popular television shows including The A-Team, The Rockford Files, Hunter, Wiseguy, 21 Jump Street and Silk Stockings and The Commish. (Stephen J. Cannell Web site|Stephen J. Cannell on Wikipedia)

Books by Stephen J. Cannell that I’ve read

The Plan by Stephen J. Cannell1. The Plan (1996)

Back of the book summary: The selling of the president is an assignment that could salvage TV producer Ryan Bolt’s damaged life and career, But Bolt doesn’t know whom he truly serves. And by the time he finds out, it may be already too late…for one nation under siege.

Final Victim by Stephen J. Cannell2. Final Victim (1997)

Back of the book summary: A genius, hairless, seven-foot-tall psychopath, Leonard Land is many people wired into the cyber-subculture of Satanism and Death Metal. He is smart and cunning. He is quick, brutal and deadly. And he is everywhere. A renegade U.S. Customs agent, a brilliant and beautiful forensic psychologist and a streetwise convict master hacker are on the trail of a maniac who is methodically slaughtering innocent women — a hunt that is leading a trio of unlikely heroes across an imperiled nation….and deep into the darkest corridors of cyberspace. But there is no system the maniac cannot infiltrate, no secrets he cannot access. He knows he is being hunted…and by whom. And he’s determined to strike first — in ways too terrible to anticipate.

King Con by Stephen J. Cannell3. King Con (1998)

Back of the book summary: Raised in a world of flimflams, come-ons and con-jobs, Beano Bates has done so well he’s earned a spot on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List. But his lucky streak vanishes after a card game in which he scams a cool eighty grand from a notorious Mafia don — who retaliates by having Beano nearly beaten to death. For the first time in his legendary career, Beano wants more than a big score — he wants justice. Aided by a beautiful, no-nonsense female prosecutor and a legion of crafty cousins, all accomplished grifters, Beano, the king of the cons, puts together the ultimate swindle — a well-planned sting of strategy, skill and deception. The target is America’s most feared mob kingpin and his psychopath brother. And in this game, winner takes all!

Riding the Snake by Stephen J. Cannell4. Riding the Snake (1999)

Back of the book summary: A Beverly Hills golden boy whose glow is fading, Wheeler Cassidy, an aimless, hard-drinking womanizer, is partying toward dissipation. But after his brother’s mysterious death, Wheeler embarks on a perilous journey to find himself and the Chinese gangsters who murdered the only member of his family he ever really loved. Along the way, he teams up with Tanisha Williams, a beautiful African-American detective raised in Watts and now assigned to the LAPD Asian Crimes Task Force. The two make an unlikely pair, but together they face the violence and corruption that stretches from Hong Kong’s notorious criminal Triad to the highest reaches of the American government. It’s an international conspiracy of huge proportions that will take Wheeler and Tanisha halfway around the world and into the most dangerous adventure of their lives.

The Devil's Workshop5. The Devil’s Workshop (2000)

Back of the book summary: They told USC grad student Stacy Richardson that the death of her noted microbiologist husband was suicide, but nothing will convince her of that. Now only her own death will her from the truth. They told “Lucky” Cunningham he was doing his patriotic duty, but not about the terrible plague he was bringing home with him from the war. Now, with nothing more in his life to lose, he’s riding the rails across America — straight into the heart of a nightmare too horrifying to contemplate. White supremacist Reverend Fannon Kincaid told his hobo acolytes that one day their racial “enemies” would perish. Now he holds in his possession the unthinkable means to an unspeakable end.

The Tin Collectors by Steven J. Cannell6. The Tin Collectors (2001)

Back of the book summary: It begins with a call in the middle of the night from a woman at the mercy of her abusive husband. It ends with a split-second decision for LAPD detective Shane Scully. But the man Scully brings down is also his ex-partner, a cop with an impeccable reputation. Scully calls it self defense. His department calls it murder. And it’s touching everyone in his shadow including Chooch, a streetwise teen entrusted to his care, as well as the boy’s mother, a prostitute whose high-profile connections and killer secrets have dubbed her the Black Widow. It’s Internal Affairs prosecutor Alexa Hamilton’s job to strip the rank of bad cops. For an ice-queen tin collector with a reputation for destroying careers, Scully’s badge is her ultimate prize. But Alexa’s investigation has only unearthed the truth about the man Scully killed — his treacherous double life that masked a labyrinth of deadly corruption. Now it’s ushering the innocent into a shattering hall of mirrors where everything’s suspect, everyone’s for sale, and every chance at deliverance may be their last.

The Viking Funeral by Stephen J. Cannell7. The Viking Funeral (2002)

Back of the book summary: If detective Shane Scully’s best friend, Jody Dean, committed suicide three years ago, then who did Shane just see for one fleeting moment n the Ventura Freeway? He’s convinced it was his former colleague. Or was his mind playing tricks? Shane’s lover, Alexa Hamilton, herself a lauded LAPD officer, happens to think so. But Shane knows what he saw. And for a rogue cop with nothing left to lose, the search for Dean has become more than an investigation. It’s become an obsession. The first secret to Dean’s secret life — and suspicous death — is murder. The victim is Dean’s former commanding officer. The connection taps into a corrupt, high-level conspiracy among L.A.’s finest that will put Shane and everyone he loves in harm’s way. It will cut deep int the heart of betrayal and the meaning of friendship. And it will dare one cop already on the brink of madness to take on step further into darkness.

Runaway Heart8. Runaway Heart (2003)

Back of the book summary: Behind the impenetrable walls of a black-op government laboratory, a top-secret weapon is being developed — a genetically engineered animal with superhuman strength and speed. It thinks. It obeys. It kills without conscience. Lost-cause attorney Herman Stockmire and his daughter Susan are passionate advocates against corporate Goliaths. When one of their employees is literally torn limb from limb by one of the government’s experimental prototypes, Herman knows he’s onto something big. Hired to dig deeper into the employee’s  death, jaded PI Jack Wirta is a man with little left to lose. Armed with nothing more than determination, Herman, Susan and Jack plunge headlong into harm’s way, stumbling upon a nightmare beyond all imagining.

Hollywood Tough by Stephen J. Cannell9. Hollywood Tough (2003)

Back of the book review: A star-studded Malibu party is the last place Detective Shane Scully expects to find a small-time hustler he once busted. But Nicky Marcello’s now a producer with a whole new set of friends….and problems. His favorite starlet has vanished into the abyss of drugs and prostitution, and he needs Scully’s help to find her. When she turns up brutally murdered, Scully and his new wife — and boss — Alexa take their cue to find her killer by infiltrating the private hells of the Hollywood hills. The new LAPD Chief puts his job on the line by authorizing a bizarre and costly sting. Scully passes himself off as a high-rolling film producer, where he soon discovers the starlet’s ties to a New Jersey mob family. He also uncovers a conspiracy between life-and-death power brokers and desperate wiseguys that runs deeper — and darker — than he ever imagined. Plunged into the crazy Hollywood jungle, where egos spin wildly out of control and murder doesn’t just happen on the silver screen, Scully knows he’s going to have to rely on his own instincts for survival if he wants to save his family and his career….and make it out of the deadly game alive.

Vertical Coffin by Stephen J. Cannell10. Vertical Coffin (2004)

Back of the book summary: It begins with a bang — a routine search warrant and patrolman Emo Rojas is blown away. The shooter is a wannabe cop with an illegal arsenal. But he’s not the only one making the LAPD’s Enemies List: ATF agents may have known Rojas was walking into a trap. Nowthe LAPD wants revenge. A clandestine war between the two agencies has begun, and it’s already claimed two more victims, an ATF member and an L.A. sheriff, both taken out by snipers. The investigation into the murders is handed to homicide investigator Shane Scully, an honorable man now isolated between two hostile armies. As the payback from Rojas’s death escalates, Scully and his wife — and boss — Alexa are swept up in a political firestorm that’s burning everyone it touches. With time runing out, and no one to trust, Scully is putting his career, his life, and the lives of everyone he loves on the line. But crossing it is the only way he can get to the truth.

Cold Hit by Stephen J. Cannell11. Cold Hit (2005)

Back of the book summary: Shane Scully has found his footing while his partner is going down in flames and a serial murderer rattles L.A. Each corpse has been mysteriously defiled. Then, in the middle of the hunt, Scully gets an idea that may cost him his life. Scully suspects that someone with inside information has neatly “hidden” one murder inside this messy serial killer case. His copycat theory ignites a crossfire between LAPD and the Feds. Now Scully knows he has a ten-year-old cop-killing to clear, while two street-smart detectives lead him inot a secret world of international espionage and a powerful counter-terrorism chief from the top of the U.S. government warns him away. To do his job, Scully must risk everything — unraveling the mystery of a Cold War act of betrayal, a brutal street crime, and a killer just waiting to hit again.

Mini book review: Like just about every kid who grew up during the 1980’s, I was a fan of the A-Team. Along with Riptide. And 21 Jump Street. And Hunter. All of those TV series were created by Stephen J. Cannell. And one day in the book store, I recognized his name and decided to buy one of his books, The Plan. Like his TV shows, I got a kick out of his first novel. Whether it is TV or a book, the guy can flat out write. And his characters are always great, not to mention the fact that they always have the perfect name. For example, Cold Hit is the fifth book in the series featuring L.A. detective Shane Scully. From that name alone, you can tell he is a rugged, bad ass and it doesn’t surprise you that he is married to a smoking hottie — who happens to be his boss at the LAPD. In Cold Hit, Cannell combines the detective novel, which he does so well in the Scully series, with the espionage novel, which he does so well in a couple of non-Scully novels. (My favorite non-Scully book is King Con, which features a bunch of gypsy con men who cross the mafia.) The mob is also featured in Cold Hit, but this time it is the ruthless Russian mafia. And some equally as ruthless FBI and DHS agents. Not much else can said about the book without giving things away. Other than just like his TV shows and his first 10 novels, I laughed, I was engrossed and I totally enjoyed Cold Hit.

Books by Stephen J. Cannell on my reading list

12. White Sister (2006)

13. At First Sight (2008)

14. Three Shirt Deal (2008)

15. On The Grind (2009)

16. The Pallbearers (2010)

17. The Prostitute’s Ball (2010)