The April Fool Weekend Update

Today’s theme is best embodied by the fact that I’ve been cleaning for Passover just before getting out of town for said holiday. Redundant? Masochistic? Somewhere in between? Ponder that while you read this interview of me by Steve “Noir Writer” Allan along with these links:

NYTBR: Caroline Weber spotlights the unusual life of Nancy Cunard, now immortalized in book format; Michael Crichton might not seem the best fit to review Jerome Groopman’s treatise on How Doctors Think, but Crichton does have the letters MD after his name; Natalie Moore is captivated by Keith Dixon’s taut noir tale; and Jeremy McCarter explains why Thornton Wilder should be remembered for way more than OUR TOWN (case in point: I’d heard of him for “The Matchmaker,” which ended up the showtune spectacle HELLO, DOLLY!)

WaPo Book World: Jonathan Yardley goes back in time to the Great Depression, when baseball was golden; Elizabeth Hand finds Arthur Phillips has the Victorian chiller down cold; and Ron Charles is a big fan of Michael Gruber’s brand of literary thriller.

LA Times: Walter Mosley talks about sex with Maria Russo; Scott Timberg interviews Brian Selznick on his graphics-heavy preteen novel; Amy Wilentz is staunchly in the boomer camp as she enjoys Christopher Buckley’s latest satire; David Ulin delights in a new biography of Branch Rickey; and Sven Birkerts wishes A.M. Homes had opened herself up more in her new memoir.

G&M: Ian McEwan grudgingly accepts the spotlight accompanying his new novel and revelation of a long-lost brother; Caroline Roe gets carried along with Ariana Franklin’s storytelling talents; Emily Pohl-Weary reviews the latest teen mystery series on the block; and Joan Thomas’s review of Lionel Shriver’s novel fascinates me because I really can’t help but think there’s a tad bit of green accompanying the piece – either jealousy or the whiff of first-novel syndrome.

Guardian Review: Toby Litt is highly impressed with Rupert Thomson’s latest devastatingly minimalist novel; Philip Oltermann explores what’s on the mobile library shelf; and Matthew Lewin reviews new thrillers by Michael Marshall, David Morrell, Robert Daley & Lee Child. On the last part, well, um, the whole point is that Reacher is “too damn perfect to be even halfway believable.” Ever heard of escapism, Mr. Lewin?

Observer: Hephzibah Anderson has only praise for Erica Wagner’s debut novel; Joshua Ferris’s first novel is getting just as rapturous a reaction in the UK as it has here; and Andrew Stephen is chilled by a new biography of Donald Rumsfeld.

The Times: And it’s all about Ian McEwan and his new novella, ON CHESIL BEACH, given a great review by both Peter Kemp and Jane Schilling; Ray Kluun may be a philandering bastard, but his memoir is a major bestseller in Holland and about to launch in Britain; Tom Cox likes him some author websites; John Freeman talks with Daniel Mendelsohn on memoir, family and the Holocaust; and Rupert Thomson offers hosannas to the oeuvre of James Salter.

The Scotsman: Ian Rankin reveals he’s finished with the first draft of the final Rebus novel; Douglas Galbraith’s new novel of Henry Ford is ambitious but unwieldy, discovers Tim Cornwell; Tom Adair is bowled over by Erica Wagner’s long-awaited novel SEIZURE; and Andrena Mullaney has contrasting views of new novels by Allan Guthrie and Ray Banks.

The Rest:

The Albuquerque Tribune looks at the still-popular trend of religious mysteries by the likes of David & Aimee Thurlo, Julia Spencer-Fleming and Margaret Coel.

Instead of reviewing Jonathan Santlofer’s latest, Eddie Muller farms it out to forensic artist Amy Nelder, which is kind of brilliant.

Tom & Enid Schantz review 3 traditional offerings from M.C. Beaton, Rhys Bowen and Susan Dunlap.

Susanna Yager reviews two forensic-themed crime novels by Beverly Connor & Kathryn Fox.

Kit Reed has kind words for Susan Hill’s first foray into crime fiction, finally available in the United States.

Ridgewood’s Man of Mystery, Harlan Coben, talks about his newest book with the North Jersey Record.

Vanda Symon is doing her best to put New Zealand-based crime fiction on the map, finds Kim Knight.

Frank Wilson is taken with the unusual quality of Guilio Leoni’s mystery novel THE MOSAIC CRIMES. Also at the Inquirer, David Hiltbrand has his say about Joel Rose’s THE BLACKEST BIRD and David Montgomery explains his appreciation for WHAT THE DEAD KNOW in greater detail.

The Sydney Morning Herald’s Susan Wyndham looks at mixed reactions to a new literary award for “positive portrayals” of women.

Andrew Stephens interviews Chip Kidd at the Age, focusing more on his novels and less on his book design.

The Independent’s Boyd Tonkin meets up with Marina Lewycka to discuss her brand-new novel, TWO CARAVANS.

John Freeman chats with Lionel Shriver about motherly love, parallel lives and whether short stories are given short shrift.

And finally, this is the stupidest doping controversy ever, overshadowing a positively eye-popping quest. I mean, Thorpe’s retirement had been rumored for months before he announced it last November, and it looked as if he’d even stopped trying to train for competition around the time this alleged positive test came up (never mind that he’d been suffering from glandular fever for quite a while.) L’Equipe really do like to be a bunch of good-for-nothing muckrakers…