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Stephen J. Cannell Books In Order

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Publication Order of Shane Scully Books

The Tin Collectors (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Viking Funeral (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Hollywood Tough (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vertical Coffin (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cold Hit (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
White Sister (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Three Shirt Deal (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
On The Grind (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Pallbearers (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Prostitutes' Ball (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Vigilante (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

About Stephen J. Cannell:

Stephen J. Cannell was a producer for American television, as well as a writer of TV show scripts and especially pilot episodes. He had a couple of acting parts in his career, on shows that he was actually writing for, and would often have meta references to his role as a TV writer – making these incidents more like cameos and less like acting parts.

He started his career by selling the script It Takes a Thief to Universal Records, which was what got him in in the door there. He then continued to write, however it was well known that his hiring pay for writing for them was drastically low. He admits that part of the reason that he accepted a pay of $600 a week for his writing duties was because he had been previously working for his father’s business where he barely even made $7000 a year. This made $600 a week seem like a fortune in comparison, and there were other perks with his writing contract with Universal that gave him the opportunity to make a lot more money down the road.

There are a number of popular television shows that were written by Stephen J. Cannell, or at the very least, were projects that Cannell contributed to quite significantly. Many of these programs are TV shows that are now very well known and often still have something of a cult following. These shows include The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, The A-Team, and 21 Jump Street. Naturally, with shows like these it is fairly obvious that Stephen J. Cannell was a very talented writer. Shows like The A-Team especially still have a strong cult following and have made many pop culture references that are prevalent even today.

It wasn’t until later on in Cannell’s career that he decided to make the switch from writing television show scripts to something a little more solipsistic: novel writing. In 1996 he wrote his very first stand alone novel, which is called The Plan. He continued to write novels that could stand alone and didn’t have a single, continuing protagonist for a number of years. Other books that he wrote during this phase include Final Victim, King Con, and Riding the Snake. These books were greeted with acclaim, but they were not the novels that truly caught the eye of the public.

The Creation of Shane Scully

No, it was when he started to write his Shane Scully series that people truly began to pay attention to the novel writing of Stephen J. Cannell. Shane Scully is a completely fictitious character, but a character that has gained a lot of traction and received a significant following from interested readers.

Shane Scully is an interesting character with a rough background. He is a Detective with the LAPD, which fits with Stephen J Cannell’s experience with writing in the past. Having written for TV shows that follow beat cops and detectives, creating a serial protagonist like Shane Scully made a lot of sense. And because of his strong background in writing these kinds of exciting thrillers, he was able to create a character that readers gladly went back to novel after novel.

The character Shane Scully was definitely rough around the edges. He grew up in an orphanage and because of that he became kind of a loner type, which again fit with the type of characterization that Stephen J. Cannell was aiming for. Shane Scully goes on to become a Detective for the LAPD where he works to solve tough cases while being an all around hard nosed cop.

As is typical in crime noir beat novels like the ones that Cannell was so famous for, Shane Scully plays by his own rules. In the series of books about him he is frequently an outside-of-the-box thinker who does what he needs to do to succeed and to catch the criminal. He plays it fast and loose, which is why his readers love him so much. Stephen J. Cannell’s fictional Detective character, Shane Scully, will be a part of crime fiction culture forever because of the stories that he wrote.

Some exciting examples of Shane Scully’s views on life include how he refers to all press as “maggots” in one particular book and shows particular contempt for them in other times as well. He also doesn’t have anything good to say about National organizations like the FBI or Homeland Security, mostly because he feels that they get in the way of his LAPD investigations and his ability to solve crimes in general.

Shane Scully Stories

1. The Tin Collectors – this is the first story in the series of Shane Scully, and it centers around the internal affairs cops looking into Scully because he killed his partner. The situation involves him being forced to kill his partner who was about to kill his wife, in a situation made only more complicated because Shane Scully was once his partner’s wife’s lover. This is a story with a lot of interesting plot twists and complications, as Shane Scully is forced to deal with internal affairs officers looking into his business and being suspicious of his every move.

2. The Viking Funeral – in the second episode of the Shane Scully series Scully discovers his boyhood best friend driving down the road, something that should be impossible since his boyhood friend is dead. Naturally, Scully sets out to prove that the man is still alive, regardless of what anyone thinks of him. In going out to learn more about what has happened to his thought-dead childhood comrade, he ends up meeting a group of undercover cops who have fallen in with the wrong side of the law and are now laundering money illegally. As with the other stories in the Shane Scully series, Scully is forced to reconcile differences with others while keeping a cool head and remembering which side of the law he actually works for. This is another complex drama about a good cop stuck in bad circumstances.

The series continues for many more episodes after this, until September 30, 2010 when Stephen J. Cannell passed away. There is a strong following for his work on the Internet, and even online communities centered around his life’s work and the character Shane Scully.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Stephen J. Cannell

One Response to “Stephen J. Cannell”

  1. Barb sehnke: 4 months ago

    I was reading James Patterson and when Intan out of his books I moved to Cannell’s. I really enjoy the Shane Scully series.


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