Sunday Smatterings with Brilliant Sunshine

The NYT’s Marilyn Stasio rounds up new crime novels by James Lee Burke, S.J. Bolton, Michael Genelin and Fred Vargas.

Also in the Book Review is Sam Tanenhaus’s rather pained conversation with Janet Evanovich. If this is the best 6 minutes that could be mined from the whole conversation…oh dear.

Nancy Pelosi, Greta Van Susteren, Laura Lippman and Sara Paretsky are among many women opining on what Nancy Drew meant to them in Jan Hoffman’s NYT piece.

There’s a part of me that’s surprised how much Michiko Kakutani enjoyed THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE – or maybe I’m picking up on her own surprise of such? Though the book really is that good, almost because it shouldn’t work but does.

Speaking of that novel, the Daily Mail has a gigantic piece on the city of Stockholm as filtered through the fictional world Stieg Larsson created.

The Sunday Times’ Joan Smith examines recent mysteries and thrillers by Katherine Howell, Tobias Jones, Hakan Nesser, Reginald Hill, Tarquin Hall and Andrea Camilleri.

Tom and Enid Schantz have their say on recent crime fiction by Megan Abbott, Rhys Bowen and Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza, as well as the anthology HIT LIST.

Lots of crime and thriller reviews in the Guardian Review as John O’Connell takes a look at new books by George Pelecanos, John Connolly, Denise Mina and Thomas H. Cook, while Mark Lawson assesses the appeal of “expat lit” by Tobias Jones and Christobel Kent.

The Globe & Mail’s Martin Levin extols the virtues of Rennie Airth’s crime novels featuring DI John Madden, the most recent being THE DEAD OF WINTER.

Guillermo Saccomanno has won the Premio Hammett Prize for best crime novel in Spanish, but as he tells Reuters, it’s hard to find his books outside his native Argentina – and hopefully, an English-language publisher will rectify this situation for readers over here.

The Guardian’s Stuart Evers defends Fred Vargas’s latest International Dagger win because her series as a whole is groundbreaking and excellent. I agree, but still don’t think THE CHALK CIRCLE MAN – being the first in a series – measures up against more recent efforts by the other shortlisted books. But split votes are a funny thing…

The Pasadena Weekly briefly profiles Kwei Quartey, whose first novel WIFE OF THE GODS is a crime novel set in Ghana.

The Connecticut Post meets Sandra Brown, a “novelist without a niche” or a writer with success in a multitude of different genres.

Thomas Cook is profiled in the Cape Cod Times about his new novel THE FATE OF KATHERINE CARR and his unique brand of mystery with a literary edge.

Alison Janssen tells the WIsconsin State Journal why she and publisher Ben LeRoy are leaving Bleak House behind to start up Tyrus Books.

Carlo Rotella profiles Jack Vance in the NYT Magazine as one of the most underrated genre writers working these last few decades.

Nicola Keegan explains the genesis of her debut novel SWIMMING to the Daily Beast. It’s an odd book, and I still don’t quite know what to make of it, in large part because the writing is so beautiful but it didn’t quite capture the full competitive nature of the sport. I’m hoping a former Olympic champion – Janet Evans? Natalie Coughlin? Mark Tewksbury? Matt Biondi, since he’s a teacher in Hawaii now? – reviews the book for some publication soon, if only to see how the book holds up to the standards of someone who once lived and breathed the sport.

Edward Champion hosted a wide-ranging and fiery roundtable (which I contributed to) on Ellen Ruppel Shell’s must-read book CHEAP: THE HIGH PRICE OF DISCOUNT CULTURE. Newsday’s Wendy Smith also interviewed Ruppel Shell about the book.

The Romance Writers of America annual convention was held this weekend in Washington, which meant there was more national coverage than usual. Monica Hesse’s WaPo piece takes a somewhat dismissive tone, while NPR’s Scott Simon is a bit more curious about the goings-on.

No doubt a lot of agents are seeing the fruits of such labor as out of work writers turn to penning novels.

The world may be going ever faster, but Rege Behe looks for those who still make time to read.

Buck Henry is a fan of MULLIGAN STEW? That is pretty damn cool and strange.

Ben Mezrich has been under fire of late for his book about the genesis of Facebook, and defends his methods of blending fiction and nonfiction to the Boston Globe.

And finally, putting Patricia Highsmith and Michael Jackson in the same sentence seems paradoxical, but Joan Schenkar explains why this was reality – and fascinating.