The Martin Luther King Weekend Update

NYTBR: William Vollmann shows exactly how to write a good critical review with his take on Anthony Swofford’s debut novel; Marilyn Stasio focuses her mystery attention upon Theresa Schwegel, Marcus Sakey, Charles Todd & Martha Grimes; Liesl Schillinger puts Martin Amis’s THE HOUSE OF MEETINGS in career perspective; and Henry Alford serves up a particularly terrible essay on literary musicals or something.

WaPo Book World: Thomas Mallon offers his take on Martin Amis’s new novel; Anita Shreve is mesmerized by Michael Lowenthal’s fabulous CHARITY GIRL; and Jonathan Yardley ponders the celebrity culture that produces addicts of fame.

G&M: Guy Gavriel Kay has a new novel – and surprise surprise, it’s a contemporary set in Provence; Scott Turow uses Saddam Hussein’s execution as a springboard to talk of state killings;  and Margaret Cannon reviews new crime efforts by Jeffery Deaver, Theresa Schwegel, Gilbert Adair, Greg Iles, Karen Dudley, Catherine Hunter and Rick Gadziola.

Guardian Review: Zadie Smith expounds on why failure is crucial for a writer’s continued growth; Jonathan Raban welcomes the return of the Paris Review’s interviews with authors; Booker shortlisted Edward St. Aubyn may finally get the recognition many believe his work deserves; and Laura Wilson reviews new crime offerings from Boris Akunin, Linda Fairstein, Andrea Camilleri and Mari Jungstedt.

Observer: A new book by Marybeth Hamilton chronicles the birth of the blues, much to Caspar Llewellyn Smith’s delight; if you want to know what London in the 19th Century was like, read Jerry White’s book; and Robert McCrum analyzes the Iraq Study Group Report.

The Times: Peter Millar compares Tess Gerritsen with Dan Brown, and the former comes off a hell of a lot better; Joan Smith passes judgment on a pair of Erast Fandorin novellas collected together; Ben MacIntyre has the goods on a cracking new spy story; and Rod Liddle wonders if contemporary fiction has lost its power (me, I say he’s looking at the wrong books.)

The Scotsman: Allan Massie applauds Fred Vargas’s brilliance, even if she isn’t the most plausible crime writer around; David Robinson feasts upon the delights of the Paris Review interviews; and Stuart Kelly talks with Gordon Dahlquist, whose mammoth debut THE GLASS BOOKS OF THE DREAM-EATERS looks to have a decidedly more positive critical reception in the UK.

The Rest:

Dick Adler’s Chicago Tribune column, with reviews of the latest by Marcus Sakey, Sean Chercover and Theresa Schwegel, has a distinctly local feel. He also covers new releases by Megan Abbott, Qiu Xiaolong, S.J. Rozan and Ed Gorman.

Oline Cogdill looks at the newest thriller by Florida resident James Grippando.

David Montgomery reviews John Lescroart’s new thriller THE SUSPECT for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Adam Woog’s Seattle Times crime column has a decidedly historical bent, reviewing new books by Deanna Raybourn, Boris Akunin, Andrew Martin  and Robert Randisi. 

Thomas Harris gets a lifetime achievement award
from the Horror Writers Association. Yes, it’s deserved, but I still feel odd about it. That’s what inferior work will do to a formerly great novelist.

The Independent’s Jonathan Gibbs thinks Christopher Goffard’s debut SNITCH JACKET owes a bit too much to the Leonard/Hiaasen camp. Whatever, because I still want to read this book ASAP. The paper also has Mark Timlin’s newest crime fiction column, where he reviews the latest by David Baldacci, Nelson DeMile, Paul Ferris & Reg McKay and Matthew Klein.

Happy 25th anniversary, Women’s Book Festival in Long Beach.

Genevieve Swart meets Fiona MacIntosh, Australia’s queen of fantasy fiction.

The Rap Sheet has the scoop on why with five months to the conference, the folks organizing this year’s Bloody Words in Victoria has cancelled thte event.

Linda Pendleton, widow of noted pulp fiction author Don Pendleton, has a lengthy interview with Richard S. Prather, the creater of the bestselling Shell Scott PI novels. (Link via.)

And finally, what did Colson Whitehead eat last week? New York Magazine finds out, and gets details.