Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Don't miss this chance to hear Deborah Nelson talk about her book The War Behind Me.
The War Behind Me (Perseus Books), which has received great reviews in the NYT, Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer, as well as elsewhere. (www.thewarbehindme.com ) It was featured on BookTV last weekend. Author Deborah Nelson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, who has worked for the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Seattle Times and Chicago Sun-Times.
The book came out of a series I did in 2006 while Washington investigative editor for the LA Times -- just before I split to teach journalism at University of Maryland. My career traces back to ASU in the 1970s, when Max Jennings, then the student newspaper adviser, persuaded me to change my major from art to journalism. I stumbled into my first investigative story while working for the State Press... Click Here to Read a Story From the NY Times
Monday, March 30, 2009
|1||THE WHOLE TRUTH, by David Baldacci. (Vision, $9.99.) An intelligence agent and a journalist team up against a warmongering defense contractor.||4|
|2||HOLD TIGHT, by Harlan Coben. (Signet, $9.99.) The aftermath of a New Jersey high school kid’s suicide.||3|
|3||BONES, by Jonathan Kellerman. (Ballantine, $9.99.) The psychologist-detective Alex Delaware is called in when women’s bodies turn up in a Los Angeles marsh.||4|
|4||PLAGUE SHIP, by Clive Cussler with Jack Du Brul. (Berkley, $9.99.) Juan Cabrillo and the crew of the Oregon must determine what happened on a cruise ship full of dead bodies.||4|
|5||THE GRAND FINALE, by Janet Evanovich. (Harper/HarperCollins, $7.99.) In this reissue of a 1988 novel, a woman grabs the attention of a hunky man when she falls out of a tree and onto his pizza.||4|
|6||LOST SOULS, by Lisa Jackson. (Zebra, $7.99.) An aspiring true-crime writer investigates the disappearance of four girls at All Saints College and begins to realize she’s being stalked herself.||4|
|7||THE APPEAL, by John Grisham. (Dell, $7.99.) Political and legal intrigue ensue when a Mississippi court rules against a company accused of dumping toxic waste. First Chapter|
These are the top 7 of the New York Times Best Sellers
Friday, March 27, 2009
Amidon, Stephen. Security ($25 Signed)
(From Karen) A small, elite, New England town is the setting for this story. Edward Inman lives comfortably, running a successful security company. But a late night alarm throws him into a mystery that will uncover new perspectives on the inhabitants of the town, its reputation, and Edward's own issues. Amidon's writing is great reading, with quirky phrases that easily blend into the story. The writing, combined with interesting characters, is a book worth reading.
Bauermeister, Erica. The School of Essential Ingredients. ($27 Signed)
I loved this book. It was so rich in food and books! (Lea)
Reminiscent of Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate, a gorgeously written novel about life, love, and the magic of food.
The School of Essential Ingredients follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her students' lives. One by one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian's food, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Brought together by the power of food and companionship, the lives of the characters mingle and intertwine, united by the revealing nature of what can be created in the kitchen.
Collin, Suzanne. Hunger Games ($18 firsts are sold out)
(From Lorri) This is one of the best stories I have ever read!
Don't miss the story of Katnissm, a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, in a post apocalyptic North America. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place. Be warned you WILL cry...
Grann, David. The Lost City of Z ($30 Signed)
A great adventure! (Will)
Colonel Percy Harrison Fawcett was the last of a breed of great British explorers who ventured into 'blank spots' on the map with little more than a machete, a compass and unwavering sense of purpose. In 1925, one of the few remaining blank spots in the world was in the Amazon. Fawcett believed the impenetrable jungle held a secret to a large, complex civilization like El Dorado, which he christened the 'City of Z'. When he and his son set out to find it, hoping to make one of the most important archeological discoveries in history, they warned that none should follow them in the event that they did not return. They vanished without a trace. For the next eighty years, hordes of explorers -- shocked that a man many deemed invincible could disappear in a land he knew better than anyone, and drawn by the centuries-old myth of El Dorado -- searched for the expedition and the city. Many died from starvation, disease, attacks by wild animals, and poisonous arrows. Others simply vanished. In The Lost City of Z, David Grann ventures into the hazardous wild world of the Amazon to retrace the footsteps of the great Colonel Fawcett and his followers, in a bracing attempt to solve one of the greatest mysteries. It is an irresistibly readable adventure story, a subtle examination of the strange and often violent encounters between Europeans and Amazonian tribes and a tale of lethal obsession.
Gruley, Bryan. Starvation Lake ($ PBO Signed)
(One of Patrick's picks)
Every reader is eager for that first seductive whisper of a new voice. When it comes with a look inside a new place-like northern Michigan's Starvation Lake where the local buzz is faster than the Internet and is archived longer in the memories and hearts of its citizens-and with layered, wounded characters like Gus Carpenter, fallen hockey hero and besieged reporter, count yourself lucky. It comes with the bonus of a twist that turns Starvation Lake--the town and the book--inside out.
Hendricks, Judith Ryan. The Laws of Harmony ($15 PBO Signed)
Judy is a store favorite and her 4th novel takes us to Albuquerque, to Armonia, a commune up near Taos, and to, ironically, the small town of Harmony on Washington's San Miguel Island where Sunny lands to start some kind of new life. Her baggage is very heavy and she little trusts what skills she learned from flower children parents....
Humphreys, C.C. Vlad the Last Confession. ($31 Signed)
"trust nothing that you've heard"
This new tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved and whom he has to sacrifice. His closest comrade and traitor. And his priest, betraying the secrets of the confessional to reveal the mind of the man history would forever remember as Tepes - 'The Impaler'.
Hunt, Stephen. The Rise of the Iron Moon ($40 Signed)
(From Pat King)
But there's more to Purity Drake than meets the eye. And as Jackals girds itself for war against an army of near-indestructible beasts serving an ancient evil with a terrible secret, it soon becomes clear that the Kingdom's only hope is a strange little orphan girl and the last, desperate plan of an escaped slave from a land far, far away...
Quinn, Spencer. Dog on It (Atria $26 Signed).
(Lea) Don't miss this wonderful first novel!
Nunn, Malla. A Beautiful Place to Die ($27 Signed)
(Great book! - Barbara)
Award-winning screenwriter Malla Nunn delivers a stunning and darkly romantic crime novel set in 1950s apartheid South Africa, featuring Detective Emmanuel Cooper -- a man caught up in a time and place where racial tensions and the raw hunger for power make life very dangerous indeed.
Jerry Stahl, Jerry. Pain Killers ($25 Signed)
All of Stahl's prodigious gifts come together with Pain Killers, the hipster bard's latest novel, a tour de force of noir depravity. Former cop and addict, Manny Rupert, against his better judgment, takes an undercover job as a recovery therapist inside San Quentin prison. His assignment: to figure out the truth about the 97-year-old German convict who claims to be the notorious Nazi Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Inside the walls, he encounters a white Rastafarian convict who may or may not be an FBI agent, Jewish members of the Aryan brotherhood, and a whole cast of similar degenerates. And what's the deal with this hidden cache of WWI-era Red Cross narcotics? To say that Rupert's mettle (and sobriety) will
Stockett, Kathryn. The Help ($25 Signed)
Kathryn Stockett has crafted a beautiful story filled with love, heartache, sacrifice and triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The Help tells the story of Aibileen, Minny, Constantine, Hilly, Elizabeth and Skeeter; black maids and their white employers. The time is 1962 in Jackson, Mississippi where the racial divide is more polarizing than the Berlin Wall. The maids work for 95 cents an hour, ironing, polishing, cleaning, scrubbing, cooking, and serving. They are expected to raise the white family's children, but not fit to use their toilets. The women, grateful for the work, have learned to suppress their anger with monotone responses designed to neutralize any further interest. Three of the characters embark on an unprecedented journey because they are chafing at the restraints imposed on them by the rigid social hierarchy of the deep south.
Pick up this remarkable story and prepare to be transported back to a time in which color dictated the existence of life for all. The Help will weave its magic, with characters so fully fleshed out they jump off the page and into your heart. Possibly the best book I will read in 2009 - it resonated with me long after I regretfully turned the last page.
I have consistently noticed customers looking upset when they realize they will not be able to make it to a signing held at the store. Granted, this is a bad thing but, on the bright side they can still get their book(s) signed. In my experience, people are amazed that we do this. We allow you to leave your book with us and we will get it signed for you. We will actually go a couple steps further than that.
If you are aware of an event coming up...say Diana Gabaldon's release of her latest novel in the Outlander series, but, can't make it to the event...You can call us ahead of time (those of you that know this can skip this post...) and have us reserve a copy of the book.
Yes, it is a first edition. Yes, it will be signed. Yes, we can have the author inscribe it to you. All you will have to do is call us, or even send an email.
In addition, if you would like a Mylar cover on the book we will do it for no additional charge.
Oh, and yes, this costs you nothing. It is no more expensive than buying the book at list price anywhere else.
So check the calendar at http://www.poisonedpen.com/event-calendar/events.html. Scroll down the page and see if there is someone coming to town that you would like a signed book from.
We firmly believe that a signed, first-edition book can bring a book-lover a bit of joy. It is a treat to know the author dwelled on a page of your book, if for only a moment. This small addition, in actuality is not only meaningful and long lasting but a service we provide for those that choose to shop with us, and we are happy to do it.
Although, if you work here, it's a challenge to pick and choose or you can spend an entire paycheck pretty quick.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Foul play was always suspected in the disappearance twenty years ago of two young holidaymakers in the area. Now a young boy out playing has confirmed this grim truth. Their remains‚ discovered with those of a fresh victim‚ send the town into shock.
Local detective Patrik Hedstrom‚ expecting a baby with his girlfriend Erica‚ can only imagine what it is like to lose a child. When a second young girl goes missing‚ Hedstrom′s attention focuses on the Hults‚ a feuding clan of misfits‚ relgious fanatics and criminals. The suspect list is long but time is short − which of this family′s dark secrets will provide the vital clue?The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl ($27 Signed)
In his most enthralling novel yet, the critically acclaimed author Matthew Pearl reopens one of literary history’s greatest mysteries. The Last Dickens is a tale filled with the dazzling twists and turns, the unerring period details, and the meticulous research that thrilled readers of the bestsellers The Dante Club and The Poe Shadow.
Boston, 1870. When news of Charles Dickens’s untimely death reaches the office of his struggling American publisher, Fields & Osgood, partner James Osgood sends his trusted clerk Daniel Sand to await the arrival of Dickens’s unfinished novel. But when Daniel’s body is discovered by the docks and the manuscript is nowhere to be found, Osgood must embark on a transatlantic quest to unearth the novel that he hopes will save his venerable business and reveal Daniel’s killer.
Danger and intrigue abound on the journey to England, for which Osgood has chosen Rebecca Sand, Daniel’s older sister, to assist him. As they attempt to uncover Dickens’s final mystery, Osgood and Rebecca find themselves racing the clock through a dangerous web of literary lions and drug dealers, sadistic thugs and blue bloods, and competing members of Dickens’s inner circle. They soon realize that understanding Dickens’s lost ending is a matter of life and death, and the hidden key to stopping a murderous mastermind.
Monday, March 23, 2009
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
If you like Harry Potter you should try this magical YA series featuring Clary and The Shadowhunters, a race of Nephilim created by the Angel Raziel to protect mankind.
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collin.
The story of Katniss a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, in a post apocalyptic North America. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When her sister is chosen by lottery, Katniss steps up to go in her place. Be warned you WILL cry…
"Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow is what a person would get if they crossed Indiana Jones with a little bit of fantasy! It is a very quick read that ends with the reader wanting the second book, as soon as they finish the first one! I am definitely looking forward to the second book in this series." - from Ari
Another beautiful crafted YA tale is Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner.
Fear of magic runs deep in Liza's small town. Sensibly all things Faerie are immediately stamped out upon discovery. So when 15 rear old Liza finds that she has the ability to see—into the past, into the future— she has no choice but to flee before she too is killed. ..
And lastly a delightful tale not to missed is Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar.
It's not easy being a member of the royal Thane or growing up in the MacRinnalck clan. It's so challenging in fact, that in a fit of rage, angst filled 17-year-old Kalix MacRinnalck almost kills her father and is forced to flee her ancestral home in Scotland. She finds herself on the mean streets of London flopping in abandoned buildings and alleys nursing a laudanum habit, her only comfort. That is until two misfit humans show up, and to Kalix's surprise, offer her home and friendship..
Thursday, March 19, 2009
DRACULA. A name of horror, depravity and the darkest sensuality.
Yet the real Dracula was just as alluring, just as terrifying, his story not of a monster but of a man and a contradiction. For the one they called 'The Devil's Son' was both tyrant and lawgiver, crusader and mass slaughterer, torturer and hero, lover and murderer.
His tale is told by those who knew him best. The only woman he ever loved and whom he has to sacrifice. His closest comrade and traitor. And his priest, betraying the secrets of the confessional to reveal the mind of the man history would forever remember as Tepes - 'The Impaler'.
But Vlad's actions defy such labels. His extraordinary life burns with passion, taking him from his years as hostage to the Turk, through torture, battle, triumph and betrayal, ultimately to a last crusade - there perhaps, beneath the twin banners of the Dragon and the Cross, to find redemption for his innumerable sins.
Vlad: The Last Confession spins legend and facts and together into a monumental novel of blood, love and terror. This is the true story of Dracula as it has never been told before.
Visit the official website here
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
April IndieNext Pick Murder in the Latin Quarter is #1 on San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller List!
Murder in the Latin Quarter | Cara Black (Author) | Soho Press / Soho Crime | 9781569475416 | $24.00 | Trade Cloth
Cara Black continues to rock the Bay Area! Murder in the Latin Quarter will be reviewed in USA TODAY on March 19! Watch for an Entertainment Weekly review March 20, the New York Times Book Review will run March 22. The San Francisco Chronicle has already given their rave! Cara will be interviewed this May as part of NPR/Morning Edition’s “Crime in the City” series while she is in Paris.
“The ninth mystery in Cara Black’s irresistible series set in Paris . . . might well be the book we’ve been waiting for. Aimée Leduc, Black’s adorably punkish sleuth, is in her element . . . one of this colorful series’ most scenic itineraries.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review (March 22, 2009)
“Yes, Cara Black fans, Aimée Leduc is back. This is the ninth of Black's novels about the chic, indomitable Parisian detective, and it has all the elements Black's readers have come to cherish: an engaging protagonist with a likable sidekick (her diminutive partner, René Friant), cops who hinder more than they help, villains with murky motives, grisly crimes and, above all, the unique Parisian atmosphere . . . . Black gives substance to her detective stories . . . by underlying them with real-world references. . . . where she's most skillful is at evoking the sights, sounds and scents of the Paris that Black, who lives in San Francisco, clearly cherishes. . . . Black creates rich, plausible characters, giving them individuality and depth. . . . Touches like that, which betray an intimate understanding of where her characters come from, are what lift Black's fiction above the routine of the genre she practices so well.”—San Francisco Chronicle (March 15, 2009)
Early Praise for Cara’s newest (her ninth) book, Murder in the Latin Quarter:
“Black at her peak, with rich historical background and a vivid sense of place supporting her compelling narrative.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“As in the earlier entries in the series, Cara Black effectively weds an exciting mystery plot with what amounts to a tour of a particular Paris quartier, in this case one of its oldest - the 5ème Arrondissement, the Latin Quarter.”—Reviewing the Evidence
Cara was also featured on the Largehearted Boy blog, where she shared her personal soundtrack to her Aimée Leduc novels. Check out the feature here.
Visit the author’s website: www.carablack.com
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
"Here, with a sweet eye for detail and in a tone of genial longing, Barich's miscellany of the Irish grogosphere voices a reluctant farewell to the old Ireland, as the new Ireland hastily enters the great global mall culture beyond the seas."-Richard Ford
Black, Benjamin. Christine Falls ($14).
A reminder of the Edgar nominated first mystery from Booker Prize winner John Banville. 1950s Dublin pathologist Quirke follows the corpse of a mysterious woman into the heart of a conspiracy among the city's high Catholic society. Atmospheric, dark, haunting, and slightly exotic. Follow Quirke into The Silver Swan ($14) case.
Bowen, Rhys. In a Gilded Cage (St Martins $25 Signed March 24 hosted by Patrick, our Irishman).
New Molly in paperback: Tell Me Pretty Maiden ($6.99).
Bruen, Ken. The Guards ($14).
The first Jack Taylor novel begins as the Galway cop, stinging from his unceremonious ouster from the Garda Siochana and drinking it better, aspires to become Ireland's best private eye, no mean feat in a country "with a history so full of betrayal and espionage, it discourages any profession so closely related to informing." But in truth Jack is teetering on the brink of his life's sharpest edges, his memories of the past cutting deep, his prospects shallow. Then a dazzling woman walks into the bar with a strange request and a rumor about Jack's talent for finding things.... Brilliant. For other Bruens: email Patrick@poisonedpen.com.
Delaney, Frank. Shannon (Random $26).
A rousing tale of forbidden love, civil war, horrible death and other things Irish. Ireland-born novelist Delaney never met a turning point in the Emerald Isle's history that he didn't like. With this entry in his ongoing epic cycle of novels, he turns to a big one: the bloody strife that accompanied the birth of the Irish Free State in 1922 and '23. American priest Robert Shannon lands on Ireland's shore just as the bullets start flying, and bad luck for him: A former chaplain serving with the U.S. Marines in France during World War I, he suffers from a textbook case of shell shock... Morbid irritability being an Irish specialty, Shannon fits right in with the village folk he is called to serve... how Shannon manages to keep from cracking up in his war-torn adopted country [as he travels along the River Shannon] makes for a fine adventure in storytelling. A well-crafted, satisfying work of historical fiction, as are all of Delaney's novels; respectful of the facts while not cowed by them, and full of life," says Kirkus.
Greeley, Andrew M. Irish Tweed (Forge $25).
Nuala Anne McGrail and her daughter have taken up karate to fight off schoolyard bullies who are harassing the family, while their incredibly shy nanny, Julie, is courted by a new fellow. Dermot pores over a memoir of a famine refugee whose family died of a mysterious fever, looking for clues into the illness' real cause. New in paperback: Irish Tiger ($7.99).
Hughes, Declan. The Color of Blood; Wrong Kind of Blood ($7.99
Two modern-day Dublin PI novels-our hero has come home from a stint in LA-that work well alongside the Benjamin Blacks. Hughes has won the Shamus Award and a FMC Pick for his work.
McGilloway, Brian. Bleed a River Deep (Macmillan $32 Signed April-sorry!).
When a controversial American senator is attacked during the opening of a Donegal gold mine, Garda Inspector Benedict Devlin is blamed for a lapse in security. The shooting of an illegal immigrant in Belfast the same day leads Devlin to a vicious people-smuggling ring operating in the city. Then Leon Bradley, the young environmentalist who attacked the senator, is found murdered near the site of the mine. Devlin questions the group of itinerant travelers who have gathered around a nearby river hoping to strike gold themselves, and soon is becomes clear to Devlin that the mine is a front for something far more sinister.
The St Patrick's Day Murder ($6.99 reissue).
Not many people in Tinker's Cove, Maine, knew Old Dan Malone. The grizzled barkeep's social circle was limited to the rough-hewn lobstermen and other assorted toughs that frequented his bar, a derelict main street dive called, appropriately, the Bilge. But when his body is found bobbing in the town's icy harbor, Lucy Stone, ace reporter for the Pennysaver newspaper, makes getting to know more about Old Dan a priority. And apparently, there's lots to learn.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wild Sorrow by Sandi Ault
Jamaica Wild puts in a steller performance in this title. After stumbling on a dead body, she uncovers a nasty piece of history when Native American children were taken from their homes to be Americanized, but not in the spiritual way the religious leaders stated. Her investigation is relentless, but never without the respect and reverence for the culture of the area. Such considerations require patience, and sometimes a bit of violence, but it pays off in the end. She applies that same respect and reverence to a wounded cougar and two cubs she fights to save. One gets a very clear sense of place in this story which easily compliments the characters and story line.
Security by Stephen Amidon
A small, elite, New England town is the setting for this story. Edward Inman lives comfortably, running a successful security company. But a late night alarm throws him into a mystery that will uncover new perspectives on the inhabitants of the town, its reputation, and Edward's own issues. Amidon's writing is great reading, with quirky phrases that easily blend into the story. The writing, combined with interesting characters, is a book worth reading.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Here is the result of the 2009 awards for THE LEFTY: Best humorous mystery, THE BRUCE ALEXANDER MEMORIAL HISTORICAL MYSTERY: A historical mystery, covering events before 1950 and the HAWAII FIVE-0: or Law enforcement, police procedural.
THE BRUCE ALEXANDER MEMORIAL HISTORICAL MYSTERY
Tasha Alexander: A Fatal Waltz (HarperCollins)
Rhys Bowen: A Royal Pain (Berkley Prime Crime)
Rhys Bowen: Tell Me Pretty Maiden (St. Martin's)
Laurie R. King: Touchstone (Bantam)
winner: Kelli Stanley: Nox Dormienda, A Long Night For Sleeping (Five Star)
Baron Birtcher: Angels Fall (Iota)
Kate Flora: The Angel of Knowlton Park (Five Star)
Asa Larsson: The Black Path (Delta)
G.M. Malliet: Death of a Cozy Writer (Midnight Ink)
winner: Neil S. Plakcy: Mahu Fire (Alyson Books)
Karin Slaughter: Fractured (Delacorte)
Donna Andrews: Six Geese a-Slaying (St. Martin's)
Jeffrey Cohen: It Happened One Knife (Berkley Prime Crime)
Sue Ann Jaffarian: Thugs and Kisses (Midnight Ink)
N.M. Kelby: Murder at the Bad Girl's Bar and Grill (Shaye Areheart Books/Random House Group)
Rita Lakin: Getting Old is To Die For (Dell/Bantam)
winner: Tim Maleeny: Greasing the Pinata (Poisoned Pen Press) yea!
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I can't stop reading books on writing, there is something about them that seems to go so much more into depth about the people in writing and that gives each book more substance. Readers beware though, for (as musicians know well) once you think analytically about the conventions used to write, it's hard to stop, even when you want to just enjoy your favorite author's latest release.
One overreaching idea within his book is to show how fiction changed from Shakespeare to the modern thriller. One factor that has changed between the two is the way in which internal dialogue went from being directed to an audience, to directing it to the reader. The soliloquy from Shakespearean times was often directed to God(s) or the audience, whereas now, the reader takes the position of God, the character someone we look into.
So many ideas crammed into this little book provides hours of contemplative thought on what we’ve read and what we will read. How Fiction Works inspires the reader to think about writing themselves, and question how they’ve written.How does a phrase, sentence, convey important meaning? What does one even start with when describing a scene? I’ve come to feel like I did when I first confronted playing music professionally(eg. well); it’s really difficult.
We will find that most mysteries that enter the store here are full of dialogue in quotation marks. Much of the character’s dialogue is referenced as “he/she said” but, that is not the only way to do things. There is a much more subtle way to do it. A much more convincing way to bring the reader into the writer’s characters and it lies not so much in verbosity but in deception of a sort.
Wood’s following example conveys the idea:
He looked over at his wife. “She looks so unhappy,” he thought, “almost sick.” He wondered what to say.
The first example is direct, or quoted speech, combined with the character’s reported or indirect speech. The old-fashioned notion of a character’s thought as a speech made to himself, a kind of internal address.
He looked over at his wife. She looked so unhappy, he thought, almost sick. He wondered what to say.
This is reported or indirect speech, the internal speech of the husband reported by the author, and flagged as such. It is the most recognizable, the most habitual, of all the codes of standard realist narrative.
He looked at his wife. Yes, she was tiresomely unhappy again, almost sick. What the hell should he say?
This is free indirect speech or style: the husband’s internal speech or thought has been freed of its authorial flagging; no “he said to himself” or “he wondered’ or “he thought”
The narrative seems to float away from the novelist and take on the properties of the character, who now seems to “own” the words. The writer is free to inflect the reported thought, to bend it around the character’s own words. We are close to stream of consciousness, and that is the direction free indirect style takes in the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries."
-James Wood How Fiction Works
Aside from the two general ideas I’ve touched on here there are many, many more in How Fiction Works. Wood has done for me what I can’t seem to do for myself; inspire an approach to classical works by equipping the reader with knowledge enough to see them for what they were meant to be…and maybe even finish them.
You can listen to Wood speaking on his new book at:
You can also buy it from The Poisoned Pen by clicking on the following this link.
Monday, March 9, 2009
Don't miss the Festival of the Book.
March 14-15, 2009
on the University of Arizona campus.
Tucson is hosting the first annual (at least we hope) Festival of the Book.
The Tucson Festival of Book is sponsored by the Arizona Daily Star and hosted and
organized by the University of Arizona. Net proceeds will promote literacy in Southern
Arizona through the Tucson Festival of Books Foundation, a 501c (3) nonprofit organization.
Best Author Discovery (Debut)
- Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith (Grand Central)
- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson (Knopf)
- Mudbound, by Hillary Jordan (Algonquin)
- The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, by David Wroblewski (Ecco)
- The Story of Forgetting, by Stefan Merrill Block (Random House)
- White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga (Free Press)
Best Indie Buzz Book (Fiction)
- City of Thieves, by David Benioff (Viking)
- The Given Day, by Dennis Lehane (Morrow)
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (Dial)
- Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill (Pantheon)
- People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)
- Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf)
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
The series in order: Cocaine Blues; Flying Too High; Murder on the Ballarat Train; Death on the Victoria Docks; The Green Mill Murder; Blood and Circuses; Ruddy Gore; Urn Burial; Raisins and Almonds; Death Before Wicket; Away with the Fairies; Murder in Montparnasse; The Castlemaine Murders; Queen of the Flowers ($15 each, see below); Death by Water ($25). An an illustrated celebratiion of Phryne with three all new stories and deletable recipes: A Question of Death ($35). Next: Murder on a Midsummer Night ($25 June).
New in paperback: Queen of the Flowers ($15). What better place for the maven of fashion and elegance than the flower festival of St. Kilda's? All Phryne Fisher needs to do is buy dresses, drink cocktails, and dine lavishly. Or so she thinks....When one of Phryne's flower maidens vanishes, Phryne must put aside her flower crown to investigate. However, the case doesn't become serious until Phryne's darling adopted daughter Ruth goes missing. Phryne must confront elephants, brothel-life, and an old lover in an effort to save Ruth and her flower maiden before it is too late.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Pain Killers by Jerry Stahl
All of Stahl’s prodigious gifts come together with Pain Killers, the hipster bard’s latest novel, a tour de force of noir depravity. Former cop and addict, Manny Rupert, against his better judgment, takes an undercover job as a recovery therapist inside San Quentin prison. His assignment: to figure out the truth about the 97-year-old German convict who claims to be the notorious Nazi Angel of Death, Dr. Josef Mengele. Inside the walls, he encounters a white Rastafarian convict who may or may not be an FBI agent, Jewish members of the Aryan brotherhood, and a whole cast of similar degenerates. And what’s the deal with this hidden cache of WWI-era Red Cross narcotics? To say that Rupert’s mettle (and sobriety) will be severely tested is an understatement. Don’t miss this one.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Mavis St. Paul had been a rich man’s mistress. Now she was a corpse. And every cop in New York City was hunting for the two-bit punk accused of putting a knife in her.
But the punk was innocent. He’d been set up to take the fall by some cutie who was too clever by half. My job? Find that cutie—before the cutie found me. The Cutie (Hard Case Crime $6.99) is the MWA Grandmaster's very first novel—published under the title he meant for it to have rather than the one it got: The Mercenaries.
Donald E. Westlake passed away last New Year's Eve. He wrote wonderful books under the name Richard Stark as well as, like other career writers of his generation (e.g., Lawrence Block), other pseudonyms. He will be much missed.