Authors who can do no wrong

Jasper Fforde, after seven novels, has yet to let me down.

And I’ve yet to read a Robertson Davies book I didn’t like.

I was going to put him on my list, but I’ve only read three.

While we’re talking about Canadian authors, I’ll add Margaret Laurence as a never-fail. She really appeals to me now that I’m a certain age.

I’m going to go with Larry Niven & Spider Robinson.

Diana Wynne Jones. She’s not hugely prolific, though, for her career length. The only doubtful one is Wilkin’s Tooth, which was written early on. At the time (the early 70’s), ‘problem’ novels were practically the only things that could get published. It’s a pretty good story and a clever undermining of the genre and worth reading several times, but it’s not her very best work. Still, if Wilkin’s Tooth is your worst book, you’re doing pretty dang well.

Christopher Moore has me falling over laughing every time.
silenus is right about Ringo, Flint, Weber, and RAH.

For me, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.

Well, actually Adams did do something wrong, he died too young.

I used to try to be a completist. Then I read, I think, one of the latter Niven/Pournelle collaborations.

For me, the list of authors I’ve got who have never left me in the lurch with what I’d call a bad read includes:
Tim Powers (I’ve even read his first two novels. Just try finding Forsake the Sky. It’s not good, but I’ve finished worse books.)
Timothy Zahn (Though I’ve stayed away from his second Star Wars trilogy…)
Eric Flint
Farley Mowat
Jane Lindskold (Again, there have been books of hers that were less good, but she’s still a consistently good read.)
Patricia Wrede
Dianna Wynne Jones (Yes, I’m riding dangermom’s coattails - probably the safest place to be, though.)
and (gulping to steel himself for the shitstorm) Nora Roberts. I am not thrilled with her fascination with things magical, nor am I particularly fond of her J.D. Robb SF-murder romances, but that’s got more to do with how I respond to her handling of those genre, rather than the readability of the books.

And I have to admit that I’m looking at some of the authors others have posted and just shake my head. It’s going to be a subjective listing.

Thomas Harris, though he is among the least prolific writers ever, producing 4 books in 25 years. Looking him up for this post, I see he came out with a 5th in 2006.

Actually, maybe he’s so good BECAUSE he not prolific. He wrote Black Sunday, Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal (which was far better than the movie version), and Hannibal Rising in 2006 – which I will find and read soon.

Also, I would read anything by James Ellroy, though I’ve not loved everything he’s written.

Clive Barker. His short stories, his novelettes, his full blown multi-book sagas. They are wonderful to me.

Iain Banks and Tim Powers. Especially Tim Powers.

Patricia McKillip. Reading her books, particularly her later works, is like watching a complex mosaic being created from gold and silver wires and precious gemstones. Even her earlier work is beautifully written, if somewhat less lush.

Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiaasen have yet to let me down. I’ve even read Hiaasen’s children’s books *Hoot * and *Flush * and very much enjoyed them. I get excited when I see something new has come out by either of these authors.

Am I the first to say Cecil Adams?

In keeping with what others have already said, I think it gets harder to maintain a consistent level of quality the more prolific a writer is. I’ve never read a disappointing book by Trevanian, but I’ve only read a couple (has he written more than a half-dozen?) On the other hand, because of Lucifer’s Hammer, Footfall and others*, I hold Larry Niven to a much higher standard than (for instance) Spider Robinson. I like Spider’s work a lot, but I think of it as “less important” somehow.

While recognising that I don’t hold all authors to the same standard, I have yet to be disappointed by Tim Dorsey, GM Ford or Harlan Coben.

I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by George P. Pellecanos and Walter Mosely (except Blue Light, WTF was that supposed to be?)

My most recent addition is Richard K. Morgan. I’ve read four of the five books he’s written and so far they’ve all been great, renewing my appreciation for a genre (s.f.) that I was ready to give up on.
*I know these were both co-authored with Jerry Pournelle. I’m just lazy and didn’t want to go look for better examples.

ETA: And Christopher Moore can do no wrong (especially after signing my copy of A Dirty Job with “No Kitty”).

Yeah, if you count the two books he wrote as Nicholas Seare. Did he have any other pen names? I don’t know.

Shibumi, Eiger Sanction, Loo Sanction, Summer of Katya, Incident at Twenty Mile, a collection of short stories, and the two Seare books – I think that’s it.

Jack Vance, although I haven’t read any of his whodunnits. His SF/fantasy books are without reproach, IMHO.

Michael Pollan, so far so good. (Botany of Desire, Omnivore’s Dilemma)

Even a bad Dean Koontz is like cotton candy to me.

Richard Matheson is batting 1000.

I’m not aware of the guy that wrote Calvin & Hobbes ever missing a swing. Not sure if he counts, but dang, that was a great strip.

George R R Martin, though I’ve only read the big four and not the early works.

Preston and Child have always been entertaining, but mostly in their collaborative works. Their individual novels are not nearly as good.

James Clavell, though Gai-jin severely needed a squad of editors.

Although I expect people to disagree with me I’ll say Frank Miller. And even though I found his autobiography dry I’ve also enjoyed everything by Steve Martin (of SNL fame), even though his sample size is rather small.

If they ceased publishing **Charles Bukowski’s ** original poems posthumously then I could vote for him as well. Unfortunately, they didn’t.

I’ve not read too much Matheson, but what I read (and seen–Twilight Zone) is so brilliant.

Also, Ira Levin. Not so prolific, but I loved all his books. (Even Son of Rosemary–disagreed with the way he handled it, but I did think it was well written.)