And They’re Doing the Atomic Bomb

Radiant Angel
Nelson DeMille

It’s not everyday a prime example of publishing practice and authorial obsession drops into my lap. Maybe it’s just Long Island luck.

Our author is an old friend, reared in the same town as me. Nelson DeMille‘s books are my guilty pleasure and the most pleasurable ones are set on Long Island. Only a Continue reading

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Some Son of a Bitch Would Die

The Black Box
Michael Connelly

My newly identified problem with crime fiction may start right here.

Even as I wrote that sentence I realized it wasn’t fair. There’s another candidate in the running, but I’m nowhere near feeling certain about it. In this case, though, I know my exasperation led me to set the book aside for Continue reading

That Vigilante Man

Dead Silence
Randy Wayne White

What happens when the character you originally liked wears out his welcome?

That question has been on my mind lately as I’ve found myself struggling with, of all things, crime fiction. And while I’m not sure if I’m hitting the same wall with every writer who’s giving me trouble, I am sure that the Continue reading

Bring Your Lawyer

Rumpole Rests his Case
John Mortimer

Most readers, I imagine, turn to the printed word for escape, relaxation, fun.

Me? I’m up to my ears in newspaper columns, academic papers and social science. It’s not as though I don’t enjoy a good yarn and a belly laugh, though. Continue reading

Your Momma’s Gone Away

S is for Silence
Sue Grafton

Editors, I think, are a lot like brand managers. At least the ones striving for commercial success. I don’t envy them that job. Soap doesn’t push back or have an ego that needs tending to.

It also has to be easier to maintain consistency with soap.

Successful mystery writers generate franchises. That Continue reading

Be Fire Next Time

Wildfire
Nelson DeMille

wild_fireWhat should we make of best-selling books bearing¬† cautionary author’s notes?

Under other circumstances I might not be diverted to pondering such a question. But the 45th President of the United States was sworn in the other day and he pledged to “unite the civilized world” in removing “radical Islamic Continue reading

Solitary Man

One Shot
Lee Child

one_shotI don’t always interact with the popular culture on a timely basis. This year, though, I find myself hiding in best-selling books. I seem to do that every winter but this year, with the extra time I’ve gained from a career interruption, it seems the only thing I’m capable of.

Off to the library I went, intent on stocking up on the light stuff. Among my haul was a new, for me,¬† writer. That makes me clueless since Amazon says he’s the #17 author based Continue reading