Bully for the Weekend Update

Obligatory BSP: the newest “Dark Passages” column at the LA Times has a decidedly comics-centric feel, with a twist: instead of crime writers crossing over into comic book territory, I look at the reverse effect as done by Warren Ellis and Mike Carey (and the in-between with Max Allan Collins, who’s written for practically every possible medium there is.)
NYTBR**: Tim O’Brien offers a Renko retrospective; Liesl Schillinger looks for commonalities in the work of Tessa Hadley; Steven Torres reminisces about his exterminator father in the Bronx; and Stephen Metcalf wonders about the powers of persuasion of right-wing folk.

WaPo Book World: Jennifer Howard examines a new book extolling the virtues of purity; More literal histories of cleanliness gets Jabari Asim’s attention; Ron Charles is completely charmed by Sophie Gee’s recreation of Alexander Pope’s world; and Richard Lipez’s mystery column focuses on recent releases by Karin Fossum, Al Guthrie, Stella Rimington, Sabina Murray and Timothy Hallinan.

LA Times: Brooklyn Ed is not so keen on Matt Ruff’s new novel; Dizzyhead Ed’s review of William Gibson’s latest will be difficult to top; and Emily Barton pores over a new biography of the legendary Mata Hari.

G&M: Daryl Whetter offers a steroid-free roundup of cycling-related books; Margaret Atwood’s adaptation of THE PENELOPIAD into a play is deemed “a constantly rewarding performance”; and Margaret Cannon’s crime column features the latest by Karin Slaughter, Michael Koryta, Lee Vance, Peter James, Jill Cullner, Anthony Flacco, Lynda LaPlante and Charles McCarry.

Guardian Review: Jenny Turner wonders why the nostalgia boom is so strong for boy & girl primers; Catherine Taylor reviews a spate of first novels; Mike Ripley bids R.D. Wingfield a touching farewell; and Michael Holroyd wishes authors would acknowledge in as few words as possible.

Observer: 50 years after its initial publication, Sean O’Hagan wonders how ON THE ROAD would be received today; Tim Adams marvels at the power of David Peace’s voice as applied to post-WWII Japan; Viv Groskop delights in Nicci Gerrard’s depiction of twisted friendship; and new crime novels by Arnaldur Indridason, Karin Fossum, Bernhard Schlink, Joan Smith and WF Hermans get the review treatment from Peter Guttridge.

The Times: David Peace explains the impetus for TOKYO YEAR ZERO, his first novel set in the city where he lives; Norman Stone extols the virtues of leaving Britain behind; and Peter Wayne salutes new works arising from writers in prison.

The Scotsman: Stuart Kelly declares that Hari Kunzru should be on the Booker shortlist for his third novel; Andrea Mullaney calls for Ruth Rendell to retire Wexford already; and Tom Adair devours TOKYO YEAR ZERO almost whole.
The Rest**:

David Thomas, aka Tom Cain, writes up his Harrogate experiences, day-by-day, in the Telegraph. Mark Timlin also offers up a roundup of the festival proceedings for the Independent on Sunday.

Also in the Telegraph, Helen Brown talks to Nick Stone about his newest novel, KING OF SWORDS. And do check out the author photo. It’s damn classic.

Still in the Telegraph, Susanna Yager reviews new books by Simon Beckett and Dan Fesperman (whose THE AMATEUR SPY won’t be out in the US till March)

The Denver Post’s Leslie Doran has good things to say about C.J. Box’s latest Joe Picket novel, FREE FIRE.

William Gibson talks up SPOOK COUNTRY with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Regis Behe.

The Staten Island Advocate has a good time with J.F. Englert’s DOG ABOUT TOWN, a book that shouldn’t work (a dog protagonist aping Sherlock Holmes?) but does.

And finally, Number 755. Get ready for asterisk fervor!