Monday, August 31, 2015

Gerard Brennan's Book Shelf

What books are currently on your nightstand? 

The Blood Dimmed Tide by Anthony Quinn, Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon (again) and I've got The Killing Season by Mason Cross lined up for the next read. 

Who is your all-time favorite novelist? 

Argh, I always find this question really hard to answer. I'm kind of promiscuous in my reading... But the first writer who comes to mind when I'm asked is the mighty Ken Bruen. 

What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves? 

Oooh, good question. My tastes are pretty conventional for a crime writer... maybe one of the more high brow ones, like my copy of The Rattle Bag, a poetry anthology edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, or something less intellectual, like Go The Fuck To Sleep by Adam Mansbach. 

Who is your favorite fictional character? 

Again, so many choices... But I'll go with Sean Duffy from Adrian McKinty's latest series of books (the most recent being Gun Street Girl). 

What book do you return to? 

It's a non-fiction choice this time (two in fact, if you'll allow me)... Patricia Highsmith's Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction and Steven Pressfield's War of Art. Usually when I'm suffering a bit of writing fatigue. I get something new from each one every time. 

Gerard Brennan's latest novel is Undercover, a Belfast cop thriller. His short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies; including three volumes of The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime and Belfast Noir. He co-edited Requiems for the Departed, a collection of crime fiction based on Irish myths which won the 2011 Spinetingler Award for best anthology. His novella, The Point, was published by Pulp Press in October 2011 and won the 2012 Spinetingler Award for best novella. His novels, Wee Rockets and Fireproof, were published as ebooks by Blasted Heath in 2012. He graduated from the MA in creative writing at Queen's University Belfast in 2012 and is currently working on a PhD.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday's Forgotten Books, August 28, 2015

Forgotten Books: The Pat Hobby Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Ed Gorman)

Losers have always interested me more than winners. There's a line from a Leonard Cohen poem "The simple life of heroes/The twisted lives of saints." I'll take the saints (though Cohen isn't talking about folks the Vatican bestows sainthood on that's for sure).

My formative years were the Fifties. The films that influenced me the most were the noirs my father took me to and such fare as The Sweet Smell of Success and A Face in the Crowd. No heroes there. The same for my preferred reading (in additon to the Gold Medals and sf)--Hemingway, James Jones, Irwin Shaw (short stories), Graham Greene and Richard Wright among others. No heroes there either. Same for theater (I was writing terrible plays early on). O'Neill, Miller, Williams. Not a hero in sight.

We call a good deal of crime fiction dark. But is it? Cops replaced cowboys and now we have Cops (or investigators of any kind) with Personal Problems and reviewers think this is some kind of dangerous fiction. Not to me.

The constraints of commercial fiction are such that you risk losing a sale if your protagoist is an outright loser. The Brits were way ahead of us Yanks. Derek Raymond has spawned two generations of daring writers. The first time I read him I was struck by how much the texture of his prose reminded me of one of my five favorite books of all time, Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell. I read fifty pages of it the other day. What with globalization the world is once again as Orwell described it in the Thirties.

The literary writer Brian Moore (who started out writing Gold Medals and Dell originals under three different names) made a brief early career out of losers. The Lucky Of Ginger Coffee, for only one example, is about a daydreamer most people love but who is ultimately a selfish man whose daydreams are destroying his wife and children. He can't accept that he's an average guy--a loserbyhis lights. And that turns him into a dark loser indeed.

F. Scott Fitzgerald's work is filled with losers. Handsome, poetic ones, yes, but losers nonetheless. Winter Dreams, as one of his best stories is called, describes the near lifelong love of a man for woman he can never have. He has great business success but he is a loser because he can never have her. The last few pages will give you chills.

Here we have The Pat Hobby Stories. They are set in the Hollywood the late Thirties and feature a once prominent screeenwriter who is reduced to virtually begging for work at the various studios that once wined and dined him. The Fitzgerald myth is so tied to the notion of Romantic Loss that we forget that he was also funnier than hell. And causitc.

As Arnold Gingrich said shortly after Fitzgerald's death, "These stories were the last word from his last home, for much of what he felt about Hollywood and about himself permeated these stories."

And damned good stories they are, too. Not major Fitzgerald but cunning and crafty tales of bars, studios, whores of both genders, unhappy winners and drunken losers.

My favorite here is "Pat Hobby and Orson Welles." The luckless Hobby is hanging around the writer's building trying to cadge anything he can get--even a B-western--when somebody mentions Orson Welles. And Hobby almost loses it. Everywere he turns he hears about Orson Welles--newspaper, magazines, radio, movies. Orson Welles Orson Welles.

Fitzgerald uses Welles as a symbol of generational turn. Hobby and other men his age were major players in their time but now their time is gone. One studio head admits (reluctantly) to Hobby that he doesn't know what the hell all the fuss about Welles is either but dammit the young people on his staff swoon every time his name is mentioned. So this studio head and others push enormous sums of money on Welles. Hobby bitterly wonders why Welles doesn't stay in the East where he belongs---with the snobs. The West, dammit, is for common folk. (Well, except for the mansions and Rodeo Drive.)

This is a book filled with boozy grief, hilarious bitterness and a fascinating look from the inside as to what writers went through under the old studio management.

As Fitzgerald himself said, "This was not art, this was industry. (Who) you sat with at lunch was more important than what you (wrote) in your office."

A fine little collection.


George mentioned Nick Hornby's books last week so when I went into a used bookstore and found two, I bought them. This one collects Horby's column from BELIEVER MAGAZINE from 2005-2006. Hornby has one of those voices you can't resist. And he is so skilled at talking about books while also talking about his life it's a double whammy. He is everything you expect from a British writer: witty, charming, smart. In this collection he discusses books by  Marilyn Robinson, Sarah Vowell, Amanda Eyre Ward, Jesse Walter, Michael Frayn, Anthony Burgess, etc. He is never less than interesting. Never stuffy or dry. Quite an art, he's mastered. If the trick is getting you to want to read the books, he is a master. I even want to reread the ones I've read like Frayn's SPIES and Robinson's HOUSEKEEPING.

Sergio Angelini, POSTERN OF FATE, Agatha Christie
Yvette Banek, MURDER GONE MAD, Philip MacDonald
Brian Busby, TORONTO LIFE and two other entries
Bill Crider, CLEA'S MOON, Edward Wright
Scott Cupp, SPACE FOR HIRE, William F. Nolan
Martin Edwards, SEND FOR PAUL TEMPLE, Francis Durbridge
John Hegenberger, NO HARD FEELINGS, Mark Coggins
Rick Horton, Two Books by Margaret St. Clair
Jerry House, TAKEOFF, C.M. Kornbluth
Nick Jones, GOD SAVE THE MARK, Donald Westlake
George Kelle, MCBAIN'S LADIES 2, Ed McBain
Margot Kinberg, BITTER WASH ROAD, Gary Disher
Rob Kitchin, LEHRTER STATION, David Downing
B.V. Lawson, THORNE IN THE FLESH, Rhona Petrie
Steve Lewis, BY EVIL MEANS, Sandra West Prowell
Todd Mason, I CANNOT TELL A LIE EXACTLY, Mary Ladd Gavell
James Reasoner, THE PERSIAN CAT, John Flagg
Richard Robinson, DEATH AND THE DUTCH UNCLE, Patricia Moyes
Gerard Saylor, COMPLEX 90. Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, THE JULIUS CAESAR MURDER CASE, Wallace Irwin
TracyK, HOPSCOTCH, Brian Garfield
Prashant Trikannad, THE MASTER EXECUTIONER, Loren Estleman
Westlake Review, HOPSCOTCH, Brian Garfield (not a typo)
A. J. Wright, Book Covers of O.R. Cohen

Thursday, August 27, 2015

J. Kingston Pierce's Book Shelf

What books are currently on your nightstand?

There are a couple of soon-forthcoming releases -- Art Taylor’s On the Road with Del & Louise and Mark Coggins’ No Hard Feelings -- along with several books that are currently available: Kill Me, Darling, by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins; Orient, by Christopher Bollen; Rubbernecker, by Belinda Bauer; A Pleasure and a Calling, by Phil Hogan; and Gary Krist’s Empire of Sin: A Story of Sex, Jazz, Murder, and the Battle for Modern New Orleans. But since I tend to read books in a variety of places, I should note that there’s a copy of Robert Kyle’s first P.I. Ben Gates novel, Blackmail, Inc. (1958), in my car and one of Peter Lovesey’s latest Peter Diamond mystery, Down Among the Dead Men, calling to me from my downstairs bathroom drawer.

Who is your all-time favorite novelist?

That’s an impossible call. But I can say that the authors I go back most often to reread--which means they speak to something inside me that most writers don’t--are Ross Macdonald, Larry McMurtry, Gore Vidal, Raymond Chandler, Jules Verne, Arthur C. Clarke, and E.L. Doctorow.

What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

On a Grander Scale: The Outstanding Life of Christopher Wren, by Lisa Jardine. Actually, I have two long shelves filled with books about modern and historical architecture. My father was an architect, so I developed an interest in the subject early in life. At one point I even considered becoming an architect myself … until I discovered how much algebra was involved (algebra being my least favorite subject of all time).

Who is your favorite fictional character?

This is certainly your most challenging question. I’m going to go with Nate Heller, Max Allan Collins’ Chicago-based private eye. Much of the reason has to do with Heller’s proximity to the famous and infamous characters of the 20th century. I’d love to have met Al Capone, Sally Rand, Bugsy Siegel, Bobby Kennedy, and Amelia Earhart, as Heller has over the years.

What book do you return to?

There are three novels that I’ve reread more than any others: Ross Macdonald’s Moving Target, his first Lew Archer adventure; Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, which I first bought as a teenager; and Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, a slim paperback that stunned me as a boy, and still feeds my imagination. The books I most want to reread sometime in the future are Lonesome Dove and Larry McMurtry’s sequel and prequels to that work. This time, however, I plan to enjoy those books in chronological order of their story, rather than in the order they were first published.

J. Kingston Pierce is a longtime journalist in Seattle, Washington, and editor of The Rap Sheet, a crime-fiction blog that has won the Spinetingler Award and been nominated twice for Anthony Awards. He also writes the book-design blog Killer Covers, holds forth as the lead crime-fiction blogger for Kirkus Reviews, serves as the senior editor of January Magazine, and has published more than half a dozen non-fiction books.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

What actor does everyone like--except you?

 I have to shut my mouth coming out of a theater in a film with Paul Giamatti in it. The first think someone will say is, "I loved Giamatti's performance."

I have seen Paul Giamatti in two movies this summer and in both he played the same sort of character. He's also played that part in almost every movie I have seen him in. I don't get why so many people love his acting. The only film of his I enjoyed was SIDEWAYS and that on a second viewing lost its luster. I know, I know. John Adams. Well, maybe so but what about the rest.

Who is your Paul Giamatti?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Forgotten Movies: Paula Prentiss and Richard Benjamin

Long marriages are the best. And these two have a 50 year marriage. Both starred on HE AND SHE, one of the great TV series.

Speaking on Love.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Elizabeth White's Book Shelf

What books are currently on your nightstand? 

 Doing battle with my TBR skyscraper is a never-ending process, so there’s always something interesting lurking around vying for attention. I just finished Bite Harder by Anonymous-9 (aka Elaine Ash), and the next few I have earmarked are Rumrunners by Eric Beetner, Things Half in Shadow by Alan Finn (aka Todd Ritter), and The Killing Kind by Chris Holm. 

Who is your all-time favorite novelist? 

 That’s a tough one, because there are so many authors who’ve written books that have stuck with me for one reason or another. I suppose if I go by a combination of who I both own the most books by and find endlessly re-readable, I’d have to go with Robert Crais. Really looking forward to his new one, The Promise, later this year. 

What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves? 

Well, I guess most people who know me probably associate my reviews and editing with crime fiction and noir, so I guess some would be surprised to learn I have a very healthy Young Adult collection, most of it in the fantasy genre such as Harry Potter and Artemis Fowl. 

Who is your favorite fictional character? 

That’d be a tossup between Snape from the Harry Potter series and Joe Pike from the Elvis Cole series—both bad boys with checkered pasts who desperately want to do the right thing…even if they sometimes go about it the wrong way. 

What book do you return to? 

There are a few I find myself rereading periodically: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, A Midnight Clear by William Wharton, LA Requiem by Robert Crais, and Watership Down by Richard Adams leap immediately to mind.

Elizabeth A. White is an editor and book reviewer who has been working with words in one fashion or another for over two decades, including obtaining a law degree. Her reviews have appeared in Spinetingler MagazineThe Savannah Morning News, The Florida Times-Union, St. Augustine Record, and Bluffton Today. When she’s not editing or reading, Elizabeth is the social media manager for musician Bruce Kulick (Grand Funk Railroad, KISS), a position she’s held since 1997. You can catch up with Elizabeth at her website:

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday's Forgotten Books, August 21, 2015

 Looking For Mr. Goodbar, Judith Rossner (Ed Gorman)

When Looking For Mrs. Goodbar was published in 1975 it was such a sensational hit that I put off reading because I assumed it would be not much more than trendy titillation. When I finally got to it I was stunned by how fine a writer Judith Rossner was and how truly her novel reflected the times.

Based on a particularly ugly murder in New York City, Rossner offers us the life of one Theresa Dunn, a lower class but good looking Irish Catholic teacher much respected by her colleagues and much pursued by the men she finds in the singles bars she haunts looking for sex and a release from her self-loathing and depression, the by-product (she has always thought) of polio that left her with a warped spine. Even though surgery corrected the spine, it did not correct her image of herself as as a freak, especially when she contrasts herself with her glamorous sister.

To me this is one of the most important novels of the 70s, the so-called "me" decade. Theresa has always sought out men she believes can rescue her in some way--from the bastard professor she had an affair with as a student to the numerous hot shots of various kinds (Madison Avenue, theater) she meets on her nightly excursions. Her illusion is the illusion of the decade, as Rossner suggests, that the freedom so many people enjoy is a spiritual prison. Waiting in the wings was AIDs of course.

Then comes the time when she meets the drifter who will kill her the very night he meets her. Rossner, both here and in all of her novels, demonstrates that serious literature can find mass appeal when the story is as powerful as this one. An overplayed movie version appeared soon after publication of the book but its ham-handedness destroyed the subtle and ironic truths of Rossner's brilliant novel.

ANYA, Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
I heard a story this week about a romance novel, which nearly won the top Romance Writers of America award for a story in which an inmate in a concentration camp has an affair with the commandant and goes on to live with him after the war. I find this shocking. You can't even compare this instance to prisoners who have relationships with prison guards because these were completely innocent people. Any relationship would have to be considered rape. So to give this guard redemption by having her forgive and marry him is deplorable.

So that gave me pause: what novel about the camps touched me? There was a period in my life where this period dominated my reading.

And that would be ANYA, written in the seventies, and republished in 2004 by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer. Anya comes from a rich and privileged background and the book lays our her prewar experiences, her years in a camp, her survival and eventually her life in New York. The writing is sharp, unsentimental and poignant. Highly recommended.

Sergio Angelini, THE LAST POLICEMAN, Ben Winters
Mark Baker, MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, Agatha Christie
Yvette Banek, THE DOORS OF SLEEP, Thurman Warriner
Bill Crider, BLONDES DIE YOUNG, Bill Peters
Scott Cupp, ANNIVERSARY DAY, Krysten Katheryn Rusch
Curt Evans, Pepik Books
John Hegenberger, BULLET FOR A STAR,  Suart Kaminsky
Rick Horton, THE VANISHING POINT, Coningsby Dawson
Jerry House, TEXAS GUNSLINGER, Murray Leinster
Nick Jones, A HIVE OF GLASS, P. M. Hubbard
George Kelley, THE SINISTER SHADOW, Kenneth Robeson
Margot Kinberg, SENECA FALLS INHERITANCE, Maria Grace Montfredo
Rob Kitchin, DEADLOCK, Sara Paretsky
B.V. Lawson, THE SAINT IN EUROPE, Leslie Charteris
Evan Lewis,  WESTERN TOY GUNS by Jim Schleyer -and- CAP GUNS by James L. Dundas
Steve Lewis, THE MYSTERY OF THE DEAD POLICE, Philip Macdonald
Todd Mason, NIGHT'S BLACK AGENTS, Fritz Leiber
Graham Powell, THE CLAVERTON AFFAIR, John Rhode
James Reasoner, Three Television Books, Lee Goldberg
Richard Robinson, CRACKDOWN, Val McDermid
Gerard Saylor, ON DANGEROUS GROUND, ed. Ed Gorman et al.
Kevin Tipple, TEQUILLA SUNRISE, Michael Bracken
TracyK, CHARITY, Len Deighton
Westlake Review, GANGWAY, Donald Westlake

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Benoit Lelievre's Book Shelf

What books are currently on your nightstand? 
Right now, I have three piled up. Repo Shark, by Cody Goodfellow, Disintegration, by Richard Thomas and the NBA Coach Playbook, because I’m a giant hoops nerd and I’m preparing for next season by reading about Xs and Os.

Who is your all-time favorite novelist? 

 It’s a trickier question than it seems. Right now, it’s between Dennis Lehane and James Ellroy. I would’ve told you Lehane no doubt a couple years ago, but the more I evolve as a reader, the more I gravitate towards Ellroy. I love his ruthlessness and his moral ambiguity. He’s a writer or great ambition and integrity.
What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves? 
There are less and less of those, because I’m selling so many books. Whenever I move or my bookshelf overflows, I weed out the books I deem unnecessary and I keep only the ones closest to my heart.
I suppose it would be one of the strange books my mother offered me. We read for fundamentally different reasons, but she has a hard time understanding that. One Christmas she offered me a self-help book written by a feminist psychologist called Seeking the Self and the Other, because she heard it was great on TV. It would be that book. I read the damn thing!
Who is your favorite fictional character? 
It’s a great question. There are so many great ones. The character I had a huge narrative crush on in recent years is Boyd Crowder, from the television series Justified. He was the embodiment of the devil to me: smart, manipulative, violent, consumed by his own darkness, yet I couldn’t help but to root for him. I love character that force you to take a moral stance about them.

What book do you return to?
Because of my reviewing duties, I don’t have a lot of time to go over books more than once. I’m not complaining or anything, it’s a choice I’ve made, but it’s one of the consequences of it. Although I’ve recently read Love and Other Wounds, by Jordan Harper, which has several stories in it that were in his previous collection American Death Songs. It was a wonderful experience going over these fantastic stories once more and being able to focus on Harper’s magnificent prose. 

 Benoît Lelièvre is a pop culture blogger and author living in Montreal, Canada. You can read him 5 days a week at:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Favorite Covers

Don't get me wrong, I loved Leonard Cohen's original version. But this one by Jeff Buckley is terrific.

What are one or two of your favorite covers?

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A tidbit from Women Crime Writers from the 1940s and 1950s, edited by Sarah Weinman

Nick Cave and His Sound Suits

Nick Cave and his amazing, astounding sound suits have been all over the city this summer, but especially at Cranbrook Art Academy (where he got his MFA). Share a minute with me.


Although this is probably not my favorite Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn movie, I like the theme. A number of young people seem to have this notion today. The clip above lays out the idea. Katharine Hepburn plays the sister, who understands Cary better than his fiance. Directed by George Cukor, this one does not have the antics of a films like BRINGING UP BABY or THE PHILADELPHIA STORY and it much too talky. But seeing them together always works for me.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Storyboard for Kevin's Movie

Be sure to notice his surprise at what he sees by his glasses flying off his head. And the 9999 views he sees on the website. It's a different world. Penguins and computers--who knew.

Marshal Zeringue's Book Shelf

 What books are currently on your nightstand?

Recently read but not yet put away: Wallace Stroby's The Devil's Share, Elizabeth Wein's Code Name Verity, Rebecca Makkai's The Hundred-Year House, Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust; currently reading: Ted Kosmatka's The Flicker Men; next up: Gene Kerrigan’s The Rage.

Who is your all-time favorite novelist?


What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Just this week I was surprised to run across Susie Boyt's My Judy Garland Life in my collection. Not (I thought) my kind of book at all; for starters, I care nothing about Judy Garland's life or her followers' obsession. And yet I was utterly enchanted by Boyt's gem of a mini-memoir.

Who is your favorite fictional character?

Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie.

What book do you return to?

I love to re-read. The books I've read the most times are probably Anna Karenina, Penelope Fitzgerald's The Blue Flower, The Iliad, and every Elmore Leonard novel.

Marshall Zeringue is the host of many online sites that present writers to the public. These include Page 69 test; The Book, The Movie, and Writers Read.

He is a writer-producer at Darkbloomz Productions and the author of Running Down A Dream, The Last Mardi Gras, Hadji Murat, and other screenplays.

His stage-plays include George and Charlotte and The Single Guy.

Friday, August 14, 2015



We haven't done one of these in a while. So I am suggesting we review Ed McBain books for Friday, October 2nd. Jeff Meyerson thought it was time and I agreed. Of course, any books reviewed are fine. But let's especially honor one of the most prolific writers of the 20th century.

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, August 14, 2015

ALEX, Pierre LeMaitre

This is the second in a series of three novels about PC Camille Verhoeven, of the Paris police,who  returns to work after recovering (somewhat) from a personal tragedy. His first case concerns, Alex, a young woman who has been kidnapped from the Paris streets. A second POV, Alex' makes it clear what has happened. She is suspended in a crate where she cannot sit, lie down or stand. It is up to Camille to figure out where she is, who she is and save her.

There were more twists in this book than any I can remember. And every one of them worked! Just when it seems like the case was solved, there's another turn in the road. This is a violent book and not for the faint-hearted. And despite my late life pledge not to read more than one book in a series, this one might change my mind. Highly recommended. (And it won its author the International Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of 2013. Not forgotten but perhaps not known to you.

From 2008

BABY MOLL, John Farris (reviewed by Ed Gorman)

John Farris was my generation's first literary rock star. When his novel Harrison High was published it quickly became controversial because of its honest depiction of life among American teenagers. This was 1959. America still believed that if teens weren't exactly like Ricky and David Nelson they certainly weren't like Elvis. Given the fact that many of these teens would be in the streets protesting the Viet Nam war only a few years later, you can see how badly books such as Pat Boone's Twixt twelve and Twenty misjudged them.

The paperback edition became a companion to Peyton Place, published a few years earlier, both Great Reads and both purveyors of unpopular truths.

Mr. Farris, now famous, was all of twenty-three when the book was published. But he was no beginner. Born in 1936 he could already claim the following novels in print:

* The Corpse Next Door (Graphic Books, 1956) (as John Farris)
* The Body on the Beach (Bouregy & Curl, 1957, hc) (as Steve Brackeen)
* Baby Moll (Crest, 1958, pb) (as Steve Brackeen)
* Danger in My Blood (Crest, 1958, pb) (as Steve Brackeen)

He was writing and publishing before he could legally buy beer.

Hard Case Crime has now given us a chance to look at some of Farris' early work with Baby Moll appearing this month. And fine work it is.

"Six years after quitting the Florida Mob, Peter Mallory is about to be dragged back in.

"Stalked by a vicious killer and losing his hold on power, Mallory’s old boss needs help—the kind of help only a man like Mallory can provide. But behind the walls of the fenced-in island compound he once called home, Mallory is about to find himself surrounded by beautiful women, by temptation, and by danger—and one wrong step could trigger a bloodbath."

If you have any doubt about Farris' writing skills open the book and read the first chapter. It is both lyrical and ominous, an unlikely combination in a paperback crime novel. This establishes the way Farris even then managed to take some of the familiar tropes of genre fiction and make them entirely his own.

The set-up itself is unique. Mallory called back to save the life of a boss he despises but a man he owes his life. The boss got him off the bottle.

The story, as it plays out, is also all Farris'. While parts of the first act brought Peter Rabe to mind Farris takes the gangster novel in a different direction. Given the relationship of the people on the island the book becomes almost Gothic in its entanglements and ambience.

Farris of course went on to write numerous bestsellers, a number of them staples of modern dark suspense and horror, but even here, early on, he was a cunning storyteller fascinated by the perplexity and perversity of the human soul. A good deal of his horror will live for generations to come. He is a true master.

Sergio Angelini, THE MAN IN LOWER TEN, Mary Robert Rinehart
Joe Barone, LAZARUS, Morris West
Les Blatt, Suggestions for acquiring a Classic Crime background
Casual Debis, MIDNIGHT FRIGHT, A collection of ghost stories
Bill Crider, THE CASE OF THE NERVOUS NUDE, Jonathan Craig
Scott Cupp, THE SINISTER SHADOW, Ken Robeson
Martin Edwards, THE DOCUMENTS IN THE CASE, Martin Edwards
Curt Evans, AN OLD LADY DIES, Anthony Gilbert
John Hegenberger, THE LOST CONCERTO, Helaine Mario
Rick Horton, THE MAID OF MAIDEN LANE, Amerlia Barr
Jerry House, THE SIRENS WAKE, Lord Dunsay
George Kelley, RETIEF: EMISSARY TO THE STARS, Keith Laumer
Margot Kinberg, MASSACRE  POND, Paul Doiron
B.V. Lawson, A BLEEDING OF INNOCENTS, Jo Bannister
Even Lewis. DECOY, Cleve F. Adams
Steve Lewis/Dan Stumpf, THE LAW AND JAKE WADE, Marv Albert
Todd Mason, YESTERDAY'S TOMORROWS edited by Frederik Pohl (Berkley, 1982) and, essentially, EDITORS edited by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford (Toby Press, 2001)
J.F. Norris, A TASTE FOR HONEY, H.F. Heard
Matt Paust, A CRY OF SHADOWS, Ed Gorman
James Reasoner, THE HELL-BENT KID, Charles O. Locke
Richard Robinson, FALCONER AND THE FACE OF GOD, Ian Morson
Gerard Saylor, THE DRUMMER, Anthony Neil Smith; SIERRA, Richard Wheeler
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, TERROR IS MY TRADE, Stephen Marlowe
Westlake Review, Comfort Station, by J. Morgan Cunningham (aka Donald E. Westlake)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Beverly's Book Shelf

What books are currently on your nightstand? 

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. I’m reading it slowly because of the complex structure.

Roger Hobbs’s  Vanishing Games, which is the sequel to Ghostman, one of the best heist/murder/mystery books ever.

Who is your all-time favorite novelist?

Pat Conroy.  Prince of Tides is a modern masterpiece
Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible
John Steinbeck’s East of Eden—These are three books I re-read every few years.

What book might we be surprised to find on your shelves?—

The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes. This is one of the best non-fictions books I’ve ever read.

Who is your favorite fictional character? 

Lee in East of Eden

What book do you return to?

East of Eden. There is a thought provoking concept of good, evil, and free will that infuses this book.

***I’m just referring to modern fiction. 

Beverly writes and talks about crime fiction at my new local library in Huntington Woods.  She was the first person I met in my new community because she and her husband, Richard, walk by my house on their morning jaunt every day. She was also nice enough to invite us to her yearly 4th of July party and her talk at the library. What brings people closer than a love of books!