If anyone needs a little brain candy, Robert B. Parker is the man for you. I am on book 24 of who knows how many. I have read them in order and I recommend doing that. His first books are a but much. Spencer, Parker's main character is too full of himself. As the series moves along Spencer gets deeper and better. Less smack and more thought.
The last two I have read made me laugh out loud at times. My wife hates it, because then I want to read paragraphs to her.
If you want to read a book about a thug who can cook, is well read and has interesting friends, read Parker.