1. CloudAtlas by David Mitchell
2. Life of Pi - soon to be a movie
3. Headhunters by Jo Nesbo. More of a thriller than a mystery novel. Nesbo is from Norway.
4. Something by Orson Scott Card - a scifi north carolina writer.
5. How about a play? something from August Wilson or Sam Shepard. I heard God of Carnage by Reza was a recent broadway hit - about a loss of a child.
6. Something by Seth Grahram-Smith. He does those monster mash-ups with a classic like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I have not read him yet.