Richard Martin Stern

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This article is about the American writer. For other people named Richard Stern, see Richard Stern (disambiguation).

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,[1] mainly mysteries and disaster-related suspense. He died on October 31, 2001 after prolonged illness. He was 86.[2]


Johnny Ortiz Mysteries[edit]

  • Murder in the Walls (1971)
  • You Don't Need an Enemy (1972)
  • Death in the Snow (1973)
  • Tsunami (1988) - not a Johnny Ortiz mystery, but a stand-alone novel
  • Tangled Murders (1989)
  • Missing Man (1990)
  • Interloper (1990)

Other novels[edit]

  • The Bright Road to Fear (1958)
  • Suspense: Four Short Novels (1959)
  • The Search for Tabitha Carr (1960)
  • These Unlikely Deeds (1961)
  • High Hazard (1962)
  • Cry Havoc (1963)
  • Right Hand Opposite (1964)
  • I Hide, We Seek (1965)
  • The Kessler Legacy (1967)
  • Merry Go Round (1969)
  • Brood of Eagles (1969)
  • Manuscript for Murder (1970)
  • Stanfield Harvest (1972)
  • The Tower (1973) (one of two books used to create the film The Towering Inferno)
  • Power (1974)
  • Snowbound Six (1977)
  • Flood (1979)
  • The Big Bridge (1982)
  • Wildfire (1985)


  1. ^ Fishman, Boris (17 July 2015). "World of OUr Authors". New York Times. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  2. ^ New York Times, November 14, 2001