The Gold Medal Ribbon Weekend Update

Another month, another column, and this time I look at new books by Michael Connelly, Sujata Massey, Tasha Alexander, Reginald Hill and Arnaldur Indridason — all of which I liked to varying degrees.

As for the rest of the review world? Here goes….

NYTBR: The town of Tulia, Texas is the subject of a horrifying account about corruption, injustice and wrongful convictions;  Jessica Hendra tells her side of the story with regards to her relationship with her father, Tony; and Douglas Wolk looks at new fiction and thrillers by Danny Leigh, Pavel Hak, Tracy Quan, Edward Falco and Aaron Hamburger.

WaPo Book World: Ron Charles is enthralled by Octavia Butler’s retelling of Draculan myths; Charles Burns’ long awaited graphic novel is a compelling litany of teenage horror and despair, according to Ben Schwartz; and those complex criteria for getting into college? It all stems from the Big Three’s desire to keep ‘undesirables’ (read: Jews) out, as a new book describes in fascinating detail.

G&M: Brian Brett totally shoots down any prospect of plausibility in Juris Jurjevics’ debut Arctic thriller; Stephen Doucet examines how we all ended up in this gas crisis and having to pay ridiculous money to fill ‘er up; Golda Fried compares and contrasts Kristina Gersh with Ruth Andrew Ellenson’s anthology of Jewish-themed essays, and guess which one comes up short; and Margaret Cannon’s crime fiction column looks at the latest by John Brady, Robert B. Parker, Lisa Appignanesi, Magdalen Nabb, Serge Joncour and Dave Carpenter.

Guardian Review: It’s chock full of crime fiction this weekend, what with Chris Petit’s review of Pierre Frei’s BERLIN, Helena Kennedy’s praise of Reggie Nadelson’s RED HOOK, Jessica Mann’s serious liking of PD James’ THE LIGHTHOUSE, and Maxim Jakubowski’s roundup of new books by Michael Connelly, Stephen King and Chuck Hogan. Also, an edited transcript of the speech Orhan Pamuk gave to accept a prize at the Frankfurt Book Fair is available, and Juliet Sutcliffe is clearly in the anti-MFA camp.

The Observer: Simon Louvish explores the serious side of Mae West to great effect, according to Philip French; Adam Mars-Jones is awfully perplexed by a new collection of William Boyd’s journalism; and Carl Wilkinson wishes that most people would just give good poetry a chance.

The Times: Douglas Kennedy wishes that Michel Houellebecq hadn’t just produced a clone of earlier novels; Jeremy Mercer explains how browsing in a Parisian bookstore brought a father and daughter back together again; Peter Millar explains the appeal of Martina Cole to so many Britons, but isn’t as successful explaining Andy McNab (who can blame him?)

The Scotsman: David Robinson is fairly astounded by Jamie Byng’s nerve in launching the Myths series in so many countries at the same time; Nick Rennison’s biography of Sherlock Holmes — yup, a biography of a fictional character — proves entertaining but frustrating; and remember Unotchit? Well, Margaret Atwood’s company is preparing to reveal the prototype of LongPen around London Book Fair time. Book signing by remote…oh joy.

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill splits her review ink between good reviews for Zoe Sharp’s FIRST DROP and Dylan Schaffer’s I RIGHT THE WRONGS.

Dick Adler returns with lots of column inches for the Chicago Tribune, looking at new releases by David Morrell, Tony Broadbent, Sujata Massey, Duane Swierczynski, Simon Levack, Jon Evans, as well as some interesting new rereleases like the first Honey West novel. That I must get…

Meanwhile, Hallie Ephron’s Boston Globe column looks at Michael Connelly’s legal thriller as well as new stuff from Gary Braver and Chris Grabenstein.

Also in the Globe, Katherine Powers tries to keep from sniffing at the genre even as she declares her love for Leslie Klinger’s latest volume of the ANNOTATED SHERLOCK HOLMES.

Not that you were necessarily looking for yet another review of THE COLORADO KID, but Newsday’s Charles Taylor is firmly in the “loved it” camp.

Ian Rankin reveals to the Sunday Herald what the plot of the next Rebus novel will be: a mystery set during this year’s G8 Summit — with a bruising encounter with George Bush involved, too.

Margaret Atwood talks to Boyd Tonkin at the Independent about why she chose to retell the story of Penelope — and uncover the mystery of those 12 hanged maids! I must say, I wasn’t expecting the book to be so much fun to read, but I also forgot Atwood has a wicked sense of humor.

David Margolic chats with Regis Behe at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about why one simple boxing match between Joe Louis and Max Schmeling really wasn’t so simple after all.

It’s all about marketing, as this great piece by Chicago Sun-Times editor Henry Kisor reveals when talking about page counts, thick vs. thin paper, and reaching Christmas buyers. Meanwhile, the president and publisher of the Sun-Times was really glad he gave Scott Turow’s ORDINARY HEROES another chance, because he really loved it after all.

And finally, I somehow managed to miss this, but some friends said how cool it was to smell the Manhattan air, for once.