Fiction Review

Wrecked with the Holy Ghost

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I couldn’t resist. In the recent New York Times‘ “Scene of the Crime”, Marilyn Stasio reviews books by two authors who will be at The Poisoned Pen in the next couple weeks. https://nyti.ms/2CrP6Pc

John Sandford will be here on Tuesday, October 9 at 7 PM, joining Lou Berney, author of November Road. Sandford’s Holy Ghost is a Virgil Flowers novel, reviewed by Stasio. If you order a signed copy of Holy Ghost through the Poisoned Pen, it comes with a special postcard that fits the storyline. It says “Wardell Holland for Mayor”, along with a few of his campaign slogans. http://bit.ly/2Rs6cRn

Joe Ide, author of Wrecked, the latest IQ novel, will join Wallace Stroby, author of Some Die Nameless, on Monday, October 15 at 7 PM. You can order a signed copy of Wrecked through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2NXfw1n

You’ll always want to check the Web Store for books, signed or unsigned. https://store.poisonedpen.com/

2018 Finalists for Scotiabank Giller Prize

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The Scotiabank Giller Prize is a literary prize given to a Canadian author of a novel or short story collection published in English in the previous year. The 2018 finalists had books published in 2017. The finalists are below.

Scotiabank

Although you can order copies of all of the finalists through the Web Store, https://store.poisonedpen.com/ , the Poisoned Pen has signed copies of Patrick DeWitt’s French Exithttp://bit.ly/2QrgCzo

Congratulations to all of the finalists.

Reavis Z. Wortham & the Red River Mysteries

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Reavis

Most of us would guess by looking at Reavis Z. Wortham’s photo that his Red River mysteries take place in Texas or the Southwest. We’d be right with the Texas guess. Wortham is a Poisoned Pen Press author whose seventh Red River mystery, Gold Dust, came out in September. You can order copies of Wortham’s books, including a signed copy of Gold Dust, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2yinlUS

Gold Dust

Michael Barson recently discussed Gold Dust and Wortham’s writing career with the author for BookReporter.com. You can find Reavis Z. Wortham’s introduction to the latest mystery, and the discussion under Author Talk. http://bit.ly/2OaQprY

Lou Berney, In the Hot Seat

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October 9 is release date for Lou Berney’s November Road. There’s been all kinds of buzz about this title. It’s one of the most talked about novels of the fall. Berney won the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, and Macavity Awards for The Long and Faraway Gone. He’ll be at the Poisoned Pen on the 9th, along with John Sandford, author of Holy Ghost. You can meet both authors at 7 PM that evening. If you can’t make it, you can order a signed copy of November Road through the Web Store.  http://bit.ly/2DeTAtJ

NovemberRoad_FINAL COVER

 

Don’t spoil November Road for yourself, but you might want to check out Bill Sheehan’s review in The Washington Post. (Hint: he loves it.)  https://wapo.st/2ICpmjv

I jumped at the chance to interview Lou Berney. Here are his answers to the questions from “In the Hot Seat”.

Berney Lou Author Photo_NEW

Lou, would you introduce yourself to readers?

I’m the author of four novels, all from William Morrow, one of which – The Long and Faraway Gone – won the Edgar Award. I’ve also worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood but my true love is fiction. My wife and I live now in Oklahoma City, my hometown, where I teach in the low-residency MFA program at Oklahoma City University.

Tell us about your latest novel, November Road, without spoilers?

November Road is a thriller and a love story set right after the Kennedy assassination in 1963. It’s about a big-city mafia lieutenant named Frank Guidry who realizes he knows too much about what happened in Dallas and has to go on the run for his life. At the same time the other main character, Charlotte Roy, a woman stuck in a small town and married to an alcoholic husband, takes her two young daughters and goes on the run from her life. The two characters end up meeting on the road and…let’s just say that things get complicated (and dangerous).

 

Why do you think authors want to write novels with the Kennedy assassination as a pivotal event?

It was such a seismic event in American history, something that really changed the way people thought about the country, the future, themselves.

Do you consider Frank Guidry and your character Shake Bouchon from Gutshot Straight and Whiplash River to be heroes or antiheroes? Why?

 

 

I think they’re both characters who start out as antiheroes and then are faced with the possibility of becoming something more, something better, than that. With November Road, I was never sure what path Frank would take until he actually took it.

You’ve sent your lead characters on road trips to Las Vegas several times. Why Las Vegas?

That’s a good question. I don’t know! All I can say is that, for me, Vegas fit the story each time. I will say I’ve always been fascinated by Vegas in the 1960s. It was such a glamorous, swinging place, but also one with some dark, hidden sides. For a novelist, what’s not to love about that?

Will you write another adventure for Shake? What kind of freedom do you have when you write a standalone versus a series book?

I’ve already written another adventure for Shake, Double Barrel Bluff, but it might be a couple of years before it’s released. I loved writing the Shake novels, but standalones are much more up my alley, I’ve discovered. There’s the freedom to do anything you want, to start from scratch, to write new rules and then break them if you want. All bets are off, and I find that very exciting.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m about a hundred pages into a psychological thriller about marriage.

Are you still writing screenplays?

I haven’t written a screenplay in a while, but I’ve got a couple of limited-series TV ideas I’d really like to explore. There’s so much great TV now and there are creative possibilities that didn’t exist five or ten years ago.

A personal question. Where do you like to take visitors when they come to Oklahoma City?

When someone comes to visit, I like to take them to one of my favorite pho restaurants (there are many). Oklahoma City has some of the best Vietnamese food in the country. And if it’s basketball season, I’ll take them to a Thunder game, which is always fun.

What’s on your TBR (To Be Read) pile?

My TBR pile is huge and teetering, but I’ll tell you a few of the writers I’m really looking forward to reading next: Lisa Unger, Kate Atkinson, Sheena Kamal, Ace Atkins, Kellye Garrett, Jeff Abbott, Hilary Davidson, Lyndsay Faye.

What author do you feel has been underappreciated?

Ivy Pochoda’s novel Wonder Valley was nominated for an L.A. Times Book Award, but I think she should have been nominated for – and won – all the awards. She’s an amazing novelist.

You can check out Lou Berney’s website at https://www.louberney.com/

 

The Hollow of Fear, “A Cut Above the Rest”

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In The Austin Chronicle, Rosalind Faires calls Sherry Thomas’ latest Lady Sherlock mystery, The Hollow of Fear, “A cut above the rest”. Here’s Faires’ entire review. http://bit.ly/2OylfKC

Hollow of Fear

On Saturday, October 6 at 2 PM, you can meet Sherry Thomas and celebrate publication of The Hollow of Fear with a Holmesian-themed Victorian tea. If you can’t make it to the Poisoned Pen event, you can still order Thomas’ books, including signed copies of The Hollow of Fear, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2RoAyUY

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Here’s praise for Sherry Thomas’ Lady Sherlock mysteries.

“Loaded with suspense…a riveting and absorbing read…a beautifully written novel; you’ll savor the unraveling of the mystery and the brilliance of its heroine.”—NPR.org

 “Clever historical details and a top-shelf mystery add to the winning appeal of this first volume in the ‘Lady Sherlock’ series. A must-read for fans of historical mysteries.”—Library Journal (starred review)

 “Readers of Victorian fiction, romance, and detective stories will each find something to draw them in.”

Kirkus Reviews

 “Well researched, well plotted, well written. Thank you, Sherry Thomas.”—Suspense Magazine

“Thomas’s use of language, the way she uses gender reversal to conceal revelations, and the intricacies of her plotting mean that I will rediscover more things to relish in A Study in Scarlet Women each time I reread it.”—NPR.com

“A completely new, brilliantly conceived take on the iconic detective…a plot worthy of the master at his best.”Booklist

*****

And, here’s the summary of Thomas’ new book, The Hollow of Fear.

Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, returns in the Victorian-set mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of A Conspiracy in Belgravia and A Study in Scarlet Women, an NPR Best Book of 2016.

Under the cover of “Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective,” Charlotte Holmes puts her extraordinary powers of deduction to good use. Aided by the capable Mrs. Watson, Charlotte draws those in need to her and makes it her business to know what other people don’t.

Moriarty’s shadow looms large. First, Charlotte’s half brother disappears. Then, Lady Ingram, the estranged wife of Charlotte’s close friend Lord Ingram, turns up dead on his estate. And all signs point to Lord Ingram as the murderer.

With Scotland Yard closing in, Charlotte goes under disguise to seek out the truth. But uncovering the truth could mean getting too close to Lord Ingram–and a number of malevolent forces…

Joe Ide, in The New York Times & The Poisoned Pen

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Joe Ide has become a favorite at The Poisoned Pen. He’s appeared at the bookstore several times for both of his previous “IQ” crime novels. He’ll be back on Monday, October 15 at 7 PM, joined by Wallace Stroby. Ide will be at the store to discuss his third book in the series, Wrecked. If you can’t make, you can order his earlier books and a signed copy of Wrecked through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2NXfw1n

Wrecked

Before you read the summary of the book, you might be interested in Gal Beckerman’s profile of Joe Ide. It recently ran in The New York Times with the headline, “Raised in South Central, Joe Ide Expands the Territory of L.A. Noir.” https://nyti.ms/2NOtWky

Here’s the summary of Wrecked, which is due out October 9.

In this outrageous novel from Joe Ide, “the best thing to happen to mystery writing in a very long time” (New York Times), the case of a young artist’s missing mother sets IQ on a collision course with his own Moriarty.
Isaiah Quintabe–IQ for short–has never been more successful, or felt more alone. A series of high-profile wins in his hometown of East Long Beach have made him so notorious that he can hardly go to the corner store without being recognized. Dodson, once his sidekick, is now his full-fledged partner, hell-bent on giving IQ’s PI business some real legitimacy: a Facebook page, and IQ’s promise to stop accepting Christmas sweaters and carpet cleanings in exchange for PI services.
So when a young painter approaches IQ for help tracking down her missing mother, it’s not just the case Isaiah’s looking for, but the human connection. And when his new confidant turns out to be connected to a dangerous paramilitary operation, IQ falls victim to a threat even a genius can’t see coming.
Waiting for Isaiah around every corner is Seb, the Oxford-educated African gangster who was responsible for the death of his brother, Marcus. Only, this time, Isaiah’s not alone. Joined by a new love interest and his familiar band of accomplices, IQ is back–and the adventures are better than ever.

Hot Book of the Week – The Infinite Blacktop

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Sara Gran brings back her series detective, Claire DeWitt, in the current Hot Book of the Week at the Poisoned Pen, The Infinite Blacktop. Gran will be at the Pen on Monday, October 8 at 7 PM, joining Amy Stewart, author of Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit. You can order Gran’s books, including signed copies of The Infinite Blacktop, through the Web Store. http://bit.ly/2y3C85x. You might want to order copies of Stewart’s books as well. http://bit.ly/2P34aWe

InfiniteBlacktop

Here’s the description of The Infinite Blacktop.

The “delicious and addictive” (Salon) Claire DeWitt series returns with a thrilling, noirish knockout of a novel that follows three separate narratives starring the self-proclaimed “world’s greatest detective.” As Cara Hoffman, author of Running, says, this “is a hard-boiled, existential masterpiece.” 

Claire DeWitt, the world’s best private detective, wakes up one dark night in an ambulance in Oakland: someone has just tried to murder her. But she’s not dead. Not yet.

More sure of herself than of the police, Claire follows the clues on a 52-hour odyssey through shimmering Las Vegas and the shabby surrounding desert to find out who wants her dead. But in order to save herself, Claire will have to revisit her own complicated past as she navigates the present: a past of childhood obsessions, rival detectives, lost friends, and mysteries mostly—but not always—solved.

Three intertwining stories illuminate three eras of Claire’s life: her early years as an ambitious girl detective in Brooklyn (before it was gentrified), which ended when her best friend and partner in crime-solving disappeared; a case of an unexplained death in the art world of late-1990s Los Angeles, when, devastated by the demise of her mentor in New Orleans, Claire was forced to start again; and her current quest to save her own life from a determined assassin.

As the connections between the stories come into focus, the truth becomes clear. But Claire, battered and bruised, will never quit her search for the answer to the biggest mystery of all: how can anyone survive in a world so clearly designed to break our hearts?

*****

If you’re not familiar with Sara Gran’s series, check out Maureen Corrigan’s review in The Washington Posthttps://wapo.st/2RhrMYQ