Highway to the Weekend Update
Happy long weekend, everyone (which also explains why this update’s going out late, because sometimes, you really just want to sleep in on a Sunday morning, you know?)
NYTBR: Wait a minute, wasn’t Marilyn Stasio reviewing stuff just last week? Well, she’s back again, this time with her take on stuff by Robert B. Parker, John Lawton, Martha Grimes and Stuart Kaminsky. Otherwise, Douglas Coupland manages to namecheck himself in his review of Max Barry’s COMPANY; the letters in the wake of Garrison Keilor’s BHL takedown are extremely entertaining (Kitty Kelley?!); and I’m sorry, but WTF is this essay on “Great American Hockey novels” (or specifically, teh lack thereof) doing here? Before my jingoistic Canadian pride leaks out too much, all I’ll say is this: Roch Carrier. Next…
WaPo Book World: Ron Charles is perplexed — in a good way — by Justin Tussing’s debut novel; a new book explores Israel’s ongoing nuclear reactor program and what it might mean for the future; and can you write a history of happiness? Darrin McMahon aimed to do so.
G&M: Margaret Cannon’s crime column waxes rhapsodic about new releases by Robert Crais, Fred Vargas, Henning Mankell, Michael Blair, Ben Elton and Rebecca Pawel; Theodore Dalrymple explores the loss of freedom in book format; and Michelle Berry is dazzled by Linda Holeman’s storytelling skills.
Guardian Review: Maya Jaggi profiles the prolific Helen Dunmore; Steven Poole was gobsmacked by Scott Turow’s foray into war fiction; and Joanne Harris was justifiably mesmerized by Joolz Denby’s new novel, BORROWED LIGHT.
Observer: the Penguin Freud reader explores the importance of Greek mythology on the famed psychoanalyst’s work; Ian Sansom introduces a novel kind of detective in his latest novel; and Alexander McCall Smith’s latest #1 LADIES DETECTIVE AGENCY is finally out, yay!
The Times: PD James and Ruth Rendell converse about why they write mysteries; Jake Arnott delves into the enduring power of Truman Capote’s IN COLD BLOOD; Val McDermid explains how she went about writing her newest crime novel, THE GRAVE TATTOO; Toby Litt wants to throw out the Le Carre comparison and just declare Charles Cumming a damn good spy novelist; and Rachel Shteir presents an unvarnished history of the striptease.
The Scotsman: Al Guthrie gets a seriously marvellous writeup for his new deal with Polygon (including choice quotes from a certain Mr Rankin); Lee Randall thoroughly enjoys Lucy Ellmann’s latest hyper-comic novel; Kate Grimes is moved by Naomi Alderman’s depiction of Orthodox Jewish life in her debut novel DISOBEDIENCE; and Guy Dixon is a bit confused about whether John Bennett’s debut novel is for adults or kids, which was kind of the problem I had (that, and the fact that the protagonist’s voice already felt anachronistic. The sea otter thing though…amusing)
Paula Woods gives Jesse Kellerman’s SUNSTROKE a very good review in the LA Times, calling it “one of the brainier, more deeply-felt debuts in recent years.”
Oline Cogdill gives her seal of approval to two high-octane suspense novels by Dana Stabenow and Michele Martinez.
Dick Adler rounds up new mysteries for the Chicago Tribune by Michael Koryta, Elizabeth Ironside, Rebecca Pawel, Robert Ferrigno and Sara Gran (the latter two he’s not so keen on, alas.)
Les Roberts of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on the other hand, warms up much more to Gran’s book, as well as the latest by Robert Eversz and Wesley Strick. ‘
The Oregonian’s Steve Duin wishes Robert Crais would find his form already, as in his mind, THE TWO-MINUTE RULE didn’t cut it.
Alex Kava may write bestselling thrillers, but she’d rather not talk about the gory stuff over lunch, as she explains to the Associated Press. She also got into more detail about her newest novel, A PERFECT EVIL, with the Washington County Pilot-Tribune and Enterprise.
The Fort-Worth Star- Telegram talks to Mark Giminez, whose debut novel THE COLOR OF LAW was fun in an ersatz TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD kind of way, about the impetus for that book and his next (now being repped by Larry Kirshbaum, who’s shopping it as we speak.)
So why do mysteries endure and attract so many writers to the form? The South Carolina State profiles various folks like Hallie Ephron, Susan McBride, Dana Cameron and Laura Durham who give the scoop on what got them to write their books.
Why did noted intellectual Julia Kristeva try her hand at a serial killer-thriller? The Boston Globe’s Celia Wren tries to find out.
Regis Behe talks to James Swanson, the man responsible for the lively narrative account of the chase for John Wilkes Booth (aka Lincoln’s assassin.)
Robert Ferrigno was on the Hugh Hewitt show to talk about PRAYERS FOR THE ASSASSIN, and the transcript can be found here.