I was first introduced to Erik Vance when he was interviewed about his book by Steve Mirsky on a "Science Talk" podcast on Scientific American Online in November. That interview motivated me to borrow a volume from the library. It is quite a find.
Few would call Jodi Picoult a literary author, that is a Nobel- or Pulitzer-quality writer. She does not experiment with the art form, but primarily writes straightforward novels about social issues many are still puzzling over or up in arms about, long after publication.