The Okay Computer Weekend Update

Glory be, there are a lot of Mac users and admirers in the mystery community. No surprise, and thanks to all for the suggestions, but it looks as if my laptop-buying days will be delayed a while yet, thank goodness.

As for current freelance follies, I reviewed Lionel Shriver’s THE POST-BIRTHDAY WORLD and Pam Jenoff’s THE KOMMANDANT’S GIRL for the Philadelphia City Paper this week. Jen Miller, David Montgomery, and cover boy Edward Pettit, writing a great piece on near-forgotten Victorian novelist George Lippard, feature in those pages, too.

NYTBR: Clive James has his chance to explore the contradictory life and art of Leni Riefenstahl; Kathryn Harrison makes the lazy mistake of generalizing about genre in reviewing Benjamin Black’s “debut”; Alex Kuczynski talking about virginity is a very, very strange thing to read; Erica Wagner wonders about the new vogue for historical novels and pastiche in the age of cell phones and technology; and Rachel Donadio goes hunting for rare books with a most peculiar book dealer. 

WaPo Book World: Frances Talafierro applauds Jodi Picoult’s “absorbing and expertly made” novel of a school shooting aftermath; Ron Charles has his say about a first novel exploring all sides of the Yellowcake definition; and Michael Dirda ponders the nature of identity as a result of reading Valentin Groebner’s ruminations on the topic.

LA Times: The theme is Jamestown’s 400th anniversary, as Scott Timberg talks with Matthew Sharpe as part of a trend piece on apocalyptic fiction, Jim Ruland reviews Sharpe’s novel and Jon Meacham examines two new books on the settlement; Susan Salter Reynolds is agog at Steven Hall’s dizzying talent for prose and structure; and Charles McNulty has his say on a Library of America edition of Thornton Wilder’s plays.

G&M: Conrad Black may be going to trial but that didn’t stop him from pre-recording TV and radio interviews for his upcoming Richard Nixon bio; Camille Paglia ponders the relationship between gender and power; Charles Foran gets acquainted with John Banville’s criminal pseudonym; not only did Zsuzsi Gartner review Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, she called the Complaint Line, too; and Margaret Cannon reviews new crime fiction by Joe Hill, Deborah Crombie, Andrew Wilson, David Hewson, Hakan Nesser & Richard Rohmer.

Guardian Review: Ian McEwan’s new novel ON CHESIL BEACH is excerpted; Jackie Kay shines a light on the UK’s history of slavery; James Campbell argues for the reputation of George Gissing; and Laura Wilson rounds up new crime novels by Charlie Owen, Mark Mills, Jean-Patrick Manchette and Don Winslow.

Observer: Kate Kellaway tackles the difficult of being a first-time novelist; Robert McCrum gets to know James Salter and his work that much more; and Rupert Thomson’s new novel gets a fantastic review, which means I’m going to have to get it way in advance of its US release.

The Times: Alice Fordham enters the chaotic fray of the Wiki-novel; Magnus Linklaters wonders about the relevancy of a long-running series; Ian McEwan reveals the ghosts that haunt him and his writing; and Peter Millar gets a bad case of deja vu with Michael Byrnes’ THE SACRED BONES.

The Scotsman: Marina Lewycka talks about writing a follow-up to her smash hit debut novel; Stuart Kelly isn’t all that impressed with Ian McEwan’s latest; and Allan Guthrie may write tough crime fiction but he’s a softy at heart.

The Rest:

Oline Cogdill enjoys Randy Wayne White’s latest outing and has good words to say about Minette Walters’ most recent crime novel. Also in the Sun-Sentinel, Chauncey Mabe has his say on new crime fiction by Val McDermid and Benjamin Black.

David Montgomery’s crime fiction column for the Chicago Sun-Times reviews the latest by Laura Lippman, Robert B. Parker, Robert Crais, T. Jefferson Parker & Philip Hawley. Also, Carlo Wolff has his say about Ariana Franklin’s “medieval CSI” thriller.

David Cotner explains in the SF Chronicle why Natsuo Kirino’s exploration of the female mind disturbs so greatly – and leads to compelling fiction. David Thayer does the same for the Philadelphia Inquirer, as does Charles Taylor for Newsday.

Dorman Shindler compares Russell Hill’s pulp-infused ROBBIE’S WIFE to James M. Cain and the movie BODY HEAT.

Susanna Yager is very much impressed with the crime efforts of Don Winslow and Tana French.

KTUU talks with Mike Doogan about his Alaska-based mystery series, and why the State Capitol might see a dead body there in fiction.

Regis Behe chats with Robert Crais about Joe Pike as star and crime fiction past and present. Crais is also interviewed at greater length at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

James Hall chats with the Arizona Daily Star about his longrunning series, his love of Miami and his next pursuits.

The Boston Globe’s Anna Mundow questions Mo Hayder about where her work falls on the crime/horror spectrum, writing scary and her next projects. Also in the paper, Clea Simon raves about Michael Gruber’s new standalone thriller and Hallie Ephron’s crime column returns this weekend, looking at new releases by Terri Persons, Susan Isaacs and Cara Black.

Sarah Hopkins explains to the Sydney Morning Herald how visits with prison inmates informed her debut novel, THE CRIMES OF BILLY FISH.