Probably everyone in the free world (and beyond) has heard of The Thorn Birds. You may or may not be as familiar with the author, Colleen McCullough. She is, in a word, awesome. Allow me to share a small tidbit of Ms. McCullough's history. She was born in Canada, but her family moved frequently before eventually settling in Australia. A ravenous reader, Ms. McCullough worked as a teacher, librarian, and journalist before beginning her training in medical school. An allergy to surgical soap kept her from becoming a medical doctor, so she focused her studies on nueroscience. It was while Ms. McCollough was researching and teaching in the Nuerology Department at Yale Medical School that she wrote her first two books, including The Thorn Birds. She was then able to devote herself completely to writing (hooray for us) and moved to Norfolk Island where she met and married a man almost fifteen years her junior. More recently, she underwent and survived major brain surgery. It's worth repeating -- Colleen McCullough is awesome.
I've read about half of her published works, but what I'm really into is her Carmine Delmonico series. The first book, On/Off, is simply the best pyschological thriller/mystery that I've ever read. The two novels that follow - Too Many Murders and Naked Cruelty - are equally unpredictable and engrossing. If you haven't already, run to the library and check them out.