Richard Martin Stern (March 17, 1915 in Fresno, California – October 31, 2001 in Santa Fe, New Mexico) was an American novelist. Stern began his writing career in the 1950s with mystery tales of private investigators, winning a 1959 Edgar Award for Best First Novel, for The Bright Road to Fear.
He was most notable for his 1973 novel The Tower, in which a fire engulfs a new metal-and-glass frame skyrise. Stern was inspired to write the novel by the construction of the World Trade Center in New York City. Warner Brothers bought the rights to the novel shortly after its publication for roughly $400,000, and Stern's book eventually became the movie The Towering Inferno, directed by Irwin Allen and John Guillermin and featuring an all-star cast. With an fourteen million dollar budget, the film went on to earn over a hundred million at the American box office.
Stern was known for his "brainy, digressive," novels, mainly mysteries and disaster-related suspense. He died on October 31, 2001 after prolonged illness. He was 86.