Sunday, July 29, 2012

Open Season by C. J. Box

Today I read Open Season by C. J. Box.

Box won the 20  Edgar Award for his novel Blue Heaven.  Open Season was Box's debut novel.  Its protagonist is Joe Pickett, a game warden in Wyoming.

It is not just an exceptional first novel.  It's a great thriller.

"Open season explores an honorable man's love of family and the unflinching measures such a man is willing to take to protect them.  Riveting suspense mingles with flashes of cynical back-county humor . . . " -- Margaret Maron

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What's in a Name

My work-in-progress', Bon Secour's, original protagonist, now antagonist, is named Matt Frazier.

After reading more books in the suspense and thriller genres and thinking about it, I am beginning to wonder if I need a more distinctive name.

Maybe a first name that is usually heard as a last name.  I don't know.  I've been amping up Matt's character so that he won't be a boring 'everyman'.  Do I need to work on his name?

Caught by Harlan Coben

Today I finished reading Caught by Harlan Coben.

I skipped the London Olympics opening ceremony to savor this 2011 Edgar Award nominee.

My wife  DVR'd the ceremony and I was able to thoroughly enjoy an excellent read.  After the ceremony, she showed me the highlights.  I really enjoyed the Chariots of Fire segment.  And the cauldron was cool.

I've commented before about being amazed at the twists and turns in a Coben plot. He must outline.  These twisty plots couldn't come from "pantsing".

I can imagine Coben sitting down and outlining a simple suspense plot.  Then, saying to himself  'now how can I hide that'.  It's wonderful in the truest sense.  As in I wonder how he does it so well.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Quiet Game by Greg Iles

Today I finished reading The Quiet Game by Greg Iles.

The inside book jacket for Ace Atkin's The Lost Ones contained this review quote by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  "Lee Child's Jack Reacher and Greg Iles' Penn Cage will find a kindred spirit in U.S. Army Ranger Quinn Colson."

I love Reacher and Quinn Colson is a wonderful new discovery for me.  I didn't know anything about Penn Cage.  So I marched down to my Gulf Shores library and checked out The Quiet Game.  If you haven't read it.  Do.

The story is set in Natchez, Mississippi, a wonderfully Southern town.  I've been to Natchez several times and toured antebellum mansions and enjoyed it's hospitality.

One of the things that constantly amazes me is the number of excellent writers who are waiting for me to discover them.  Greg Iles is a New York Times bestselling author and I had never heard of him.   Now I have and I'm going to be reading more of his books.  He's great.

And the review excerpt was correct.  I really liked Penn Cage.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Litigators by John Grisham

Today I read The Litigators by John Grisham.

It's a typical Grisham read.  A great story, some humor, some insight into things legal.  And a very enjoyable reading experience.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

1222 by Anne Holt

Today I read 1222  by Anne Holt.

1222 was a 2012 Edgar Award nominee.

Anne Holt is a Norwegian crime writer of the highest order. Her protagonist, Hanne Wilhelmsen, is an ex-police investigator now confined to a wheel chair.

The story is a locked-room mystery set in an isolated hotel in Norway where guests stranded during a monumental snowstorm start turning up dead.

Locked-room mysteries are not my usual preference.  I read this one because of the Edgar Award nomination.  I'm glad I did.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Lost Ones by Ace Atkins

Today I read The Lost Ones  by Ace Atkins.

I enjoyed his first Quinn Colson novel, The Ranger, so much I couldn't wait to read The Lost Ones.

Atkins' fictional Tibbehah County, Mississippi setting is so very much like the North Louisiana and Alabama counties where I've lived.   Pine forests, and farms.  Populated with the same good ole boys I've known for so long.  Seems like home.

And I loved the subtle humor and home spun wisdom in this story.  Sounded like home too.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

61 Hours by Lee Child

Today I finished reading 61 Hours by Lee Child.

This was the 14th Jack Reacher novel and the 14th Lee Child novel I've read.  You know from previous posts that I am a huge Jack Reacher fan.  This is one of his best.  It received the Steel Dagger Award and NPR listeners rated it #54 in their list of Top 100 Killer Thrillers.

When studying how to increase tension in a thriller, one of the often praised but seldom actually seen methods is the ticking clock.  61 Hours is all about the clock.  As the 61 hours count down, the reader never knows what is going to happen at the 61 hour mark.  Most chapters end with a reference to how many hours are left.  And each time you can feel the tension ratchet up a little more.  You want to know what is going to happen at the 61 hour mark.

A great read.  Don't miss it.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

God Save the Mark by Donald E. Westlake

Today I finished reading God Save the Mark, A Novel of Crime and Confusion by Donald E. Westlake.

God Save the Mark won the 1968 Edgar Award for best novel.  And I read it as a part of my effort to read all of the Edgar Award winning novels.

This edition was the first of three per year reprints per year of out of print Edgar Award winning novels undertaken by Otto Penzler, proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop.  In the introduction to God Save the Mark, Mr. Penzler describes the comic nature of Westlake's stories.  It's a good story but I think the definition of humor must have changed since 1968 or else I'm having another grumpy day.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Gone by Mo Hayder

Today I finished reading Gone by Mo Hayder.

Gone received the 2012 Edgar Award for best novel.

Ms. Hayder is a British author and sometimes the British police nomenclature threw me.  But once I got to the Hook I was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed being reeled in.  It is a wonderful read with enough twists and turns to turn me green with envy.

You will enjoy this book.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Inside Story by Dara Marks

Today I finished reading Inside Story: The Power of the Transformational Arc  by Dara Marks.

I give this book five stars.  Absolutely the best how to write book I've read.  This was my third read through.  And was done in preparation for revising my work in process, Bon Secour.

If you're interested in being a better writer or screen writer, you need to read this book.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais

Today I finished reading L.A. Requiem by Robert Crais.

L.A. Requiem was nominated for the 1999 Hammett Prize and the 2000 Edgar Award.  I read it as a part of my learn to write by reading program.

This is an Elvis Cole / Joe Pike series novel.  I first encountered this pair of private eyes in The Monkey's Raincoat.  I didn't jump on the Cole/Pike bandwagon then but I'm solidly there now.

Crais delivers a superb read.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Ranger by Ace Atkins

Today I finished reading The Ranger by Ace Atkins.

A few years back I ran across a magazine article listing 100 things you should do before you die.  Some I've done like drive a pick up truck.  Some I haven't like playing cards with someone named Doc.  The list needed to include reading a book by someone named Ace.  'Cause Ace Atkins is 'the bomb.'

I discovered Ace Atkins when The Ranger was nominated for the 2012 Edgar Award.  While Ace didn't win, he certainly deserved the nomination.

Ace Atkins has been chosen by the Parker family to continue Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels.  And after reading The Ranger I can understand why.  He is an outstanding writer.  This was my first Ace Atkins novel but I can tell you for sure it won't be my last.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Today I finished reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

This book is #71 on the National Public Radio Listener's Top 100 'Killer Thrillers' list.

I had never heard of Zafon and would not have read this book if it had not been on the NPR list.  And that would have been my loss.  This is a well written, intriguing story.  I recommend it to all.