Browsing Tag

lee child

Celebrating Reed Farrel Coleman & INNOCENT MONSTER

Since Reed Farrel Coleman’s latest Moe Prager mystery, Innocent Monster, is coming out next week from Tyrus Books, I was asked to create a slideshow to help celebrate the launch. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Reed or his books, below is a quick intro.

I could’ve mentioned that Reed is an award-winning novelist, poet and professor of writing at Hofstra University, but I thought I’d have some fun. (You can get the real story on his website.) What I took away from meeting him at this year’s L.A. Times Festival of Books is that he’s not only a gracious, talented writer but a man with a great sense of humor.

Hope you enjoy the show.

[cincopa 10775096]

Most importantly…

With Ben LeRoy of Tyrus Books

All photos courtesy Reed Farrel Coleman’s website

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My Life as a Book 2010

Last year, I did this fun meme in which I described myself by completing sentences using only titles of books I read in 2009. It was based on something I’d seen at Reactions to Reading. I’ve finished more than 50 books this year and thought I might have enough choices to do it again, making up my own sentences this time. (I did it before reviewing my list of books so I wouldn’t tailor them to my titles.) I’d love to see your answers in the comments or on your own blog.

In high school I was: Girl in Translation (Jean Kwok)

People might be surprised I’m: Innocent (Scott Turow)

I will never be: Caught (Harlan Coben)

My fantasy job is: Messenger from Athens (Anne Zouroudi)

At the end of a long day I need: Drink the Tea (Thomas Kaufman)

I hate it when: They’re Watching (Gregg Hurwitz)

Wish I had: The Cleaner (Brett Battles)

My family reunions are: The Survivors Club (Ben Sherwood)

At a party you’d find me with: The Imperfectionists (Tom Rachman)

I’ve never been to: London Boulevard (Ken Bruen)

A happy day includes: 61 Hours (Lee Child)

Motto I live by: My Name is Memory (Ann Brashares)

On my bucket list: Love in Mid-Air (Kim Wright)

In my next life, I want to be: The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Stieg Larsson)

OK, your turn!

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Book Review: Lee Child’s 61 HOURS

After 13 books, you may think you know Jack Reacher pretty well but in 61 Hours (Delacorte, May 18), Lee Child allows small, revealing glimpses into Reacher’s psyche that might surprise you. This 14th novel is different from the rest in quite a few ways, hinting at more revelations in future installments, starting with the one coming out October 19 (two books in one year is also a change for Child).

Reacher is on a bus doing his nomad thing when it skids on ice and crashes in Bolton, South Dakota in the middle of a blizzard. The cops can’t come to the passengers’ aid right away because they have another situation on their hands—providing 24/7 protection to an important witness in an upcoming drug trial. Knowing a useful ally when they see one, the police recruit Reacher to become part of the witness’s protective detail against an unknown assassin. The case is complicated by riots at the newly installed prison and mysterious dealings in an abandoned military building just outside of town. During all this, a clock is ticking down from 61 hours to an explosive, cliff-hanging ending.

One of the reasons I love Child’s books is the rocket-speed action. Here, it slows down as Reacher spends most of the 61 hours waiting in the witness’s home for a showdown with the hitman. At first, I thought, “Come on! Knock some heads!” But as the book moves along, I realized the tradeoff is the lovely bond Reacher forms with the witness, a wise old woman who sees through his tough-guy exterior and asks him hard questions about the real reasons why he chooses a rootless life.

His relationship with the requisite Reacher babe, a woman who has his old army job as CO of the 110th Special Unit, takes on an entirely different nature than what we normally see him engage in. The CO eventually uncovers information about Reacher dating back to childhood. As she wonders, “Why was the army holding paper on a six-year-old kid?”

In the end, Reacher does kick a little ass (literally—you’ll see when you read it) after experiencing a moment of vulnerability that scared me a little (Reacher can NOT doubt himself!). This just means, though, there’s still a lot left to learn about him, a good thing in a long-running series.

Nerd verdict: Reacher is changed in Hours

Pre-order 61 Hours from Amazon
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(I get a tiny commission if you buy from Amazon.)

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Book Review: THE LINEUP

It was cold this weekend in L.A. so I wore everything I own, causing my husband to say I looked homeless, but it was good because it made me stay in. I slept, read, drank lots of coffee, watched reruns of Fantasy Island without knowing why. And I finally wrote this review of The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler.

This is a collection featuring some of crime fiction’s most successful writers—Robert B. Parker, Laura Lippman, Lee Child, Robert Crais, among others—discussing the creation of their popular characters. Michael Connelly’s revelation that a real tunnel near his childhood home inspired Harry Bosch’s tunnel-rat background is both chilling and enlightening. Crais has a funny yet poignant conversation with Elvis Cole about their mutual fears and sense of hope, and gives a glimpse of Joe Pike’s inner world (it’s green!). Carol O’Connell’s badass ‘tude reminds me I gotta pick up another Mallory book. And though I’d heard most of Jack Reacher’s origin story at Child’s signings, it retains its charm in print.

Some of the other essays aren’t as successful. A few are too earnest and one outright creeps me out (not in a good way), but this is a great intro to the crime fiction world for those of you who haven’t taken the plunge. If you’re already a junkie like me, you’ll enjoy learning more about your favorite detectives while meeting those you’re not familiar with. I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read Ken Bruen, but after experiencing his blistering, profanity-laced piece (love his description of an Irish sport called hurling as “a cross between hockey and homicide”), I will rectify that situation.

I also want a hurly.

Nerd verdict: Insightful collection from great Lineup of writers

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Bouchercon Daydreams

All week, I’ve been reading reports about Bouchercon 2009, which took place last week in Indianapolis. (To my international readers: It’s an annual mystery convention held in a different U.S. city every year where fans can hobnob with writers.) The festivities sound like a blast (check out blogger Jen Forbus‘s recap), making me really eager for next year’s B’con in San Francisco, which I plan on attending.

I was so excited, I even came up with some panels and authors I’d love to see at the 2010 convention:

  • Lee Child discussing “Maximizing the Hurt in Your Fight Sequences”
  • Sophie Littlefield on “How to Write 50,000 Words a Day and Get Buff Arms While Doing It”
  • Charlie Huston on “Who Needs Quotation Marks?”
  • Harlan Coben on “Deadly Sidekicks Can Wear Pink”
  • Sue Grafton speaking about her next challenge, “Tackling the Chinese Alphabet”
  • Gregg Hurwitz on “Writing Your First Novel at Age 12, Getting Published at 12.5”
  • James Patterson on “Whittling Down Your Chapters to Just One Comma”
  • Robert Crais and Michael Connelly demonstrating “Effective Greco-Roman Wrestling Moves to Subdue Bad Guys” (This panel will cost extra)

If you’re planning on going, which authors and panels would you like to see?

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Kick Some Ass, Get a Scholarship

England’s The Guardian reports that thriller writer Lee Child has established several scholarships named after his fictional hero Jack Reacher for students going to Sheffield University, Child’s alma mater.

I think this is the coolest thing. Not only is it incredibly generous of Child to do this, can you imagine saying “I’m going to university on a full Reacher scholarship?” Do you have to get straight As to qualify or can you just kick some bullies’ asses? Either way, you’re making the school a better place.

If you could go/could have gone to college on a scholarship named after a fictional character, who would it be? I would’ve hustled for a Wonder Woman [“I got through Ivy League via the Justice League”], James Bond [“My GPA was four-point-double 0”] or Sherlock Holmes [“Professor Moriarty from Criminology hated me”] scholarship.

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