Wednesday, October 26, 2022



I'm sure John Grisham, Michael Connelly and James Patterson read very little of their bags and bags of fan mail. Maybe they have someone on their staff who does it for them, then sends out form responses. I don't know, and I'm sure I'll never have that problem.

 But for me, it is a treat when someone takes time after reading one of my books or the column I write for the American Bar Association, and drops me a note saying, "I liked your book," or something to that effect.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from an American lawyer living in Brussels, Belgium. He had just read my latest novel, "Last Train to Stratton."

As I read, I was flabbergasted. It left me nearly speechless, which those who know me appreciate as being a rarity. It meant that all my effort in writing the book had truly touched someone. 

After considering this for a while, I finally decided to share it.  

Dear Stephen:

I am really at a loss for words. I just finished “Last Train to Stratton.”  In fact, I could hardly finish it because I did not want it to end.  I may just have to turn around and read it again (although I have already read several of my favorite passages again, especially Emma’s continual search for the “shadow of a unicorn”).  I can see that this novel came from your heart, and I have to believe some of it was drawn from some of your own experiences or at least background.

I do not wish to become maudlin nor over-effusive, but I just loved your writing style. The characters came to life for me and I became invested in them. I could even sort of (hazily) see them in my mind’s eye (despite the fact you never really described much of their physical characteristics). And although I could basically figure out what happened to Katie, you handled that plotting so so well. The interspersing of near-past and “present” was extremely well done, as were the real news clippings from your and my youth (1974-1976), most of which I actually recalled. 

I could go on and on praising you, but all I will now say is:

1) This was literally one of the very best books I have ever read; and

2) I plan to order around 10 more copies to give out as Christmas gifts this year.

Thank you so much for giving me such pleasure.

Sincerely,  . . .