Welcome to my semi-annual newsletter.


Strike Price (book 2) is contracted with L&L Dreamspell. Publication is estimated for early 2013. Once the date firms, I will be back in touch.

Again, here’s a preview: In Strike Price, up-by-the bootstraps executive Lynn Dayton and Cherokee elder Jesse Drum must call on their fragile trust of one another, the newest forms of data analysis, the old code of the Cherokee syllabary, and their own physical daring to stop saboteurs’ attack on a trillion-dollar oil target.

I have begun work on book 3, possible title to be revealed later. And book 1, 13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy (Lynn Dayton Thriller #1), continues to sell well. It is a launching point for talks I give about writing and energy economics. Last semester, 13 Days was used as a text for an introductory chemical engineering class at the University of Tulsa.

Clara Mizenko and I have redesigned the lastarksbooks.com website to highlight the chronology of the books and my three short stories.


I’m excited to announce that one of my critique partners, Gary Vineyard, has had his first book published by Stone Thread Publishing. The Grave on Peckerwood Hill, a western mystery, is a cross between Elmore Leonard and Cormac McCarthy, filled with memorable characters and great, laconic wit. I recommend it.

During the last six months I read thirty-four books. Two—Wild, a memoir by Cheryl Strayed and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, which I reread—will be featured in upcoming events for the Friends of the Dallas Public Library. Wild reminded me of camping and kayaking in Alaska last summer. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates that the best science fiction remains prescient and insightful.

In April and May I read a trio of noir books described in a Wall Street Journal column; my favorite was Violent Saturday, by W. L. Heath.

I’ve found myself drawn into the bleak, poetic landscapes of Nobel Prize winner Herta Müller. Her latest about Russian prisoners of war during World War II, The Hunger Angel, is gripping.

Jamie Freveletti, has written three superb action-rich thrillers—Running from the Devil; Running Dark; and The Ninth Day—featuring an ultramarathon runner/chemist as protagonist. I heard Lee Child speak at the same New York Thrillerfest conference as Freveletti, one at which I was also a panelist. I’m a new convert to Child’s storytelling in The Hard Way.

I’ve read many books by Joe Finder and Tom Rob Smith and so enjoyed Buried Alive and The Secret Speech, respectively.

As a thriller author, I appreciate reading authors who put care and energy into their research. Alex Berenson leads the pack with his time spent in Afghanistan for his latest book, The Shadow Patrol. It centers on the what-if of rogue US snipers. Dallas readers, look for the courageous Oak Cliff character.

A German author, Ferdinand von Schirach, was recommended to me, and I now recommend him to you. Von Schirach writes about true crime in a straightforward, sympathetic manner that kept me turning pages late into the night. His very readable books are simply named: Crime, and Guilt: Stories.

A few chapters into Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn I understood why this book has been at or near the top of the bestseller lists for so many months. I can’t say much without giving away the story, but the plotting is stellar, and the main character will stay with you for a long time.

Swamplandia! is proof that the best books are about family. Karen Russell nails her Florida setting and the story of a family trying to put itself together again.


In the last six months I reviewed Permian Basin (West Texas) oil producers, the South Texas Eagle Ford oil and gas play, and coal companies at Starks Energy Economics (SEE). The free quarterly update for the third quarter focused on the fact that low gas prices in the first six months of 2012 led to cleaner air, since natural gas was switched in for coal at many electric utilities.

Until next time, or the pub date for STRIKE PRICE
L. A. Starks

Fiction (in story order) by L. A. Starks

13 Days: The Pythagoras Conspiracy (Lynn Dayton Thriller #1), by L. A. Starks

  • Print ISBN 978-1-933285-45-0, published by Brown Books Publishing Group, May 2006.
  • E-book ISBN 978-1-60318-357-4, published by L&L Dreamspell, October 2010. Available from Kindle, Nook, multi-format Fictionwise (twelve e-reader platforms including the popular ePub standard), Overdrive for libraries, Kobo, and OmniLit.

Short Stories on Amazon Kindle

  • Robert and Thérèse Guillard: Choices” involves an alternate subplot for 13 DAYS’ Parisian antagonist and how it feels to fly in a wingsuit. 2007. ASIN: B003NE6D74.
  • A Time for Eating Wild Onions” introduces two key characters in the second book. The tragedy that befalls them profoundly shapes the next generation. 2007. ASIN: B003NE6DGA

Gumbo Filé,” in Dreamspell Nightmares anthology, edited by Lisa René Smith

  • Print ISBN 978-1-60318-150-1, published by L&L Dreamspell, October 2010.
  • E-book ISBN 978-1-60318-151-8, published by L&L Dreamspell, October 2010. Available from Kindle, Nook, multi-format Fictionwise (twelve e-reader platforms including the popular ePub standard), Overdrive for libraries, Kobo, and OmniLit.