Derring-do and deadly attacks are the elements that make his books bestsellers, but there's nothing Brad Thor likes better than sitting down with a good book.

The author, a Chicago native who still lives here, has simple advice for those who aspire to write books: "You always hear, 'Write what you know.' I say, 'Write what you read.' " He parlayed his love of spy thrillers and action-filled adventure books about terror-hating American patriots into a successful writing career.

"Full Black" (Atria), his 11th novel, recently was published, and he's in the midst of a national book tour. Stops in the Chicago area include an appearance at 1 p.m. August 6 at Costco, 2746 N Clybourne Ave.; 7 p.m. August 9, at Warren Township High School in Gurnee; and 7 p.m. August 12 at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire.

In "Full Black," former Navy SEAL Scot Harvath must foil a terrorist plot to take down America's electrical grid. It features all the attributes that have made Thor the heir to Tom Clancy and Robert Ludlum: fast action, authentic details about military hardware — and hardworking heroes you can root for.