Monday, May 31, 2010

Pg. 69: Stefanie Pintoff's "A Curtain Falls"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: A Curtain Falls by Stefanie Pintoff.

About the book, from the publisher:
The careers of New York City detective Simon Ziele and his former partner Captain Declan Mulvaney went in remarkably different directions after the tragic death of Ziele’s fiancée in the 1904 General Slocum ferry disaster. Although both men were earmarked for much bigger things, Ziele moved to Dobson, a small town north of the city, to escape the violence, and Mulvaney buried himself even deeper, agreeing to head up the precinct in the most crime-ridden area in the city.

Yet with all of the detectives and resources at Mulvaney’s disposal, a particularly puzzling crime compels him to look for someone he can trust absolutely. When a chorus girl is found dead on a Broadway stage dressed in the leading lady’s costume, there are no signs of violence, no cuts, no bruises—no marks at all. If pressed, the coroner would call it a suicide, but then that would make her the second girl to turn up dead in such a manner in the last few weeks. And the news of a possible serial killer would be potentially disastrous to the burgeoning theater world, not to mention the citizens of New York.

Following on the heels of Stefanie Pintoff’s acclaimed and award-winning debut, A Curtain Falls is a moody and evocative tale that follows Ziele and his partners as they scour the dark streets of early-twentieth-century New York in search of a true fiend.
Learn more about the book and author at Stefanie Pintoff's website.

Stefanie Pintoff's debut novel, In the Shadow of Gotham, won the Edgar® Award for Best First Novel and the St. Martin’s Press / Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel Award, while also earning nominations for the Agatha and RT Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

The Page 69 Test: In the Shadow of Gotham.

The Page 69 Test: A Curtain Falls.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five must-read short-story collections

Jane Ciabattari is the author of the critically acclaimed short-story collection, Stealing the Fire.

For The Daily Beast, she named five must-read short-story collections. One book on her list:
Alone With You by Marisa Silver

Former screenwriter/director Marisa Silver published her first short story in The New Yorker’s first “Debut Fiction” issue in 2001. She followed up with a collection, Babe in Paradise, and two novels, No Direction Home and The God of War, all set in Southern California and following families dealing with abandonment, economic struggles, and separation. Her new collection (eight stories, three first published in The New Yorker) showcases her uncanny ability to tap into the unsettled nature of our times.

In “Temps,” an Oklahoma transplant rooming with another temp worker in a loft in L.A. finds herself in a love triangle that happens almost at random. In the O. Henry Award-winning “The Visitor,” a VA hospital nurse’s aide acts out a vicious empathy in working a triple amputee. Other characters who find themselves in extremis—dying of cancer, recovering from suicidal depression, adjusting to life after emergency bypass surgery—somehow find the confidence to move forward into uncertainty. As the 37-year-old in “Leap” whose heart surgery changed her life puts it, “Assumptions that the earth would be there to meet her foot when she put it down, or that her body would remain upright without her expressly willing it were no longer certain, and she found herself hesitating more than she used to, as though to give the world a chance to announce its true intentions.”
Read about another book on the list.

Also see: The Page 69 Test: Marisa Silver's The God of War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Paul Tremblay & Rascal

The current featured duo at Coffee with a Canine: Paul Tremblay and Rascal.

Tremblay, on Rascal's preference for chase objects:
He doesn't like toys that squeak. If it squeaks he drops it instantly. He's clearly concerned for the well-being of the squeaking toy. In his younger days he was quite athletic and loved to chase and catch the Frisbee. He's getting older but he still has a lot of energy. Now he's retried from Frisbee chase but is satisfied with a good...[read on]
Paul Tremblay is the author of The Little Sleep and No Sleep till Wonderland. He has won acclaim for his short fiction and received two nominations for the Bram Stoker Award.

Read an excerpt from No Sleep till Wonderland and watch the video.

The Page 69 Test: The Little Sleep.

The Page 69 Test: No Sleep till Wonderland.

Learn more about the author and his work at Paul Tremblay's website and blog.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Paul Tremblay and Rascal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Angus Trumble's "The Finger: A Handbook"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: The Finger: A Handbook by Angus Trumble.

About the book, from the publisher:

In this collision between art and science, history and pop culture, the acclaimed art historian Angus Trumble examines the finger from every possible angle. His inquiries into its representation in art take us from Buddhist statues in Kyoto to the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, from cave art to Picasso’s Guernica, from Van Dyck’s and Rubens’s winning ways with gloves to the longstanding French taste for tapering digits. But Trumble also asks intriguing questions about the finger in general: How do fingers work, and why do most of us have five on each hand? Why do we bite our nails?

This witty, odd, and fascinating book is filled with diverse anecdotes about the silent language of gesture, the game of love, the spinning of balls, superstitions relating to the severed fingers of thieves, and systems of computation that were used on wharves and in shops, markets, granaries, and warehouses throughout the ancient Roman world. Side by side with historical discussions of rings and gloves and nail polish are meditations on the finger’s essential role in writing, speech, sports, crime, law, sex, worhsip, memory, scratching politely at eighteenth-century French doors (instead of crudely knocking), or merely satisfying an itch—and, of course, in the eponymous show of contempt.
Learn more about The Finger at the publisher's website and Angus Trumble's blog.

Angus Trumble is Senior Curator of Paintings and Sculpture at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut, and the author of a number of books, including A Brief History of the Smile.

The Page 99 Test: The Finger: A Handbook.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What is Robert Dugoni reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Robert Dugoni, author of the recently released Bodily Harm.

The entry opens:
Currently I am reading I, Sniper, by Stephen Hunter. I found Hunter many years ago and he is one author whose books I anticipate each year. Earl Swagger and his son, Bob Lee Swagger, are terrific characters and tough as nails. I like to read Hunter to see how he raises the suspense in his books.

I’m also reading...[read on]
Among the early praise for Bodily Harm:
Bodily Harm is as good as it gets. Another great page turner by Robert Dugoni. I couldn’t put it down.”
—Stephen J. Cannell

“With each new novel, Robert Dugoni continues to prove both his talent and his craft. His books remind me of the best of John Grisham—only better! Read him now!”
—James Rollins

“Dugoni's impressive talent is on full display here. There's plenty of bark and bite--both readers and the characters are in for a wild ride. Don't miss this one."
—Steve Berry
Learn more about the author and his work at Robert Dugoni's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Wrongful Death.

Writers Read: Robert Dugoni.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best riots in literature

For the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best riots in literature.

One book on the list:
American Pastoral by Philip Roth

Riots figure largely in American fiction (Pynchon, DeLillo) but nowhere more devastatingly than in Roth's tale of Seymour Levov's search for his bitterly disaffected daughter. As he finds her, his home town of Newark is being destroyed by race riots.
Read about another riot on Mullan's list.

American Pastoral is one of Maria Semple's six best books and one of Ward Just's five favorite novels about the pursuit of money.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: William Martin's "City of Dreams"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: City of Dreams by William Martin.

About the book, from the publisher:
“Can I interest you in saving America?”

That’s the text message Peter Fallon receives from a Wall Street bigwig. It’s not a challenge he can turn down, especially since the country is in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Hidden somewhere in New York City is a box of 1780 bonds with a face value of ten thousand dollars. The Supreme Court is about to decide if these bonds still have value. If the decision is yes, those ten thousand dollars, at five percent interest, will be worth a very pretty penny...

Peter Fallon and his girlfriend, Evangeline Carrington, must find the box—and fast. Suddenly, their race against time becomes a race through time as Peter and Evangeline track the stories of New Yorkers whose lives have been changed by the bonds… and all the while they’ll unravel the thrilling and inspiring origins of the City of Dreams.
View the City of Dreams trailer, and learn more about the book and author William Martin's website.

The Page 69 Test: City of Dreams.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Emily St. John Mandel's "The Singer’s Gun," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel.

The entry begins:
I’ve just started touring with this book, and at several events I’ve been asked about movie rights. Which haven’t sold yet. But if they do, I’ve often thought that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would make an excellent Anton.

When I was imagining what the character of Sophie looked like, I pictured...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Emily St. John Mandel's website.

The Page 69 Test: Last Night in Montreal.

Writers Read: Emily St. John Mandel.

The Page 69 Test: The Singer's Gun.

My Book, The Movie: The Singer’s Gun.

--Marshal Zeringue

Gerald Scarfe's six best books

Gerald Scarfe is one of Britain’s best-known cartoonists; his work is well-known to readers of The New Yorker.

He named his six best books for The Daily Express. One title on the list:
Solar by Ian McEwan

My wife Jane is always passing on novels she has read to me and they often tend to be McEwan’s. I love just about all the books of his I’ve read and his latest novel, which I’m reading now, is every bit as good as his previous work.
Read about another book on the list.

Alexandra Alter of the Wall Street Journal asked McEwan, "Michael Beard, your protagonist [in Solar], ends up at the center of a media storm for his comments about the differences between male and female brains. You've been slammed in the press for your comments about Islam and other subjects. Why did you decide to put your character through something similar?" Read McEwan's reply.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Richard H. Immerman's "Empire for Liberty"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Empire for Liberty: A History of American Imperialism from Benjamin Franklin to Paul Wolfowitz by Richard H. Immerman.

About the book, from the publisher:
How could the United States, a nation founded on the principles of liberty and equality, have produced Abu Ghraib, torture memos, Plamegate, and warrantless wiretaps? Did America set out to become an empire? And if so, how has it reconciled its imperialism--and in some cases, its crimes--with the idea of liberty so forcefully expressed in the Declaration of Independence? Empire for Liberty tells the story of men who used the rhetoric of liberty to further their imperial ambitions, and reveals that the quest for empire has guided the nation's architects from the very beginning--and continues to do so today.

Historian Richard Immerman paints nuanced portraits of six exceptional public figures who manifestly influenced the course of American empire: Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, William Henry Seward, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Foster Dulles, and Paul Wolfowitz. Each played a pivotal role as empire builder and, with the exception of Adams, did so without occupying the presidency. Taking readers from the founding of the republic to the Global War on Terror, Immerman shows how each individual's influence arose from a keen sensitivity to the concerns of his times; how the trajectory of American empire was relentless if not straight; and how these shrewd and powerful individuals shaped their rhetoric about liberty to suit their needs.

But as Immerman demonstrates in this timely and provocative book, liberty and empire were on a collision course. And in the Global War on Terror and the occupation of Iraq, they violently collided.
Read an excerpt from Empire for Liberty, and learn more about the book from the Princeton University Press website.

Richard H. Immerman is the Edward J. Buthusiem Family Distinguished Faculty Fellow in History and the Marvin Wachman Director of the Center for the Study of Force and Diplomacy at Temple University.

The Page 99 Test: Empire for Liberty.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pg. 69: Kate Rockland's "Falling Is Like This"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Falling Is Like This by Kate Rockland.

About the book, from the publisher:
Tabloid-writer Harper Rostov breaks up with her boyfriend only to fall into the arms of Nick Cavallaro--certified punk-rock God who is considered a genius by fans and critics alike. Harper’s newly single heart gets an overdose of chemistry from the Hitchhiker’s Revenge guitarist as she falls for his intoxicating charisma.

Over the course of a single week, Harper is swept up in their sexual energy and the allure of the band. But soon she can’t help wondering if what she thought she wanted--what she left her sweet, caring boyfriend for--is everything she’d hoped it would be. Plotted with precise timing and set against an incredibly vivid portrait of the ever-changing East Village, Falling Is Like This is a comedic and touching account of the whirlwind affair with a rock star every girl dreams about.
Learn more about the book and author at Kate Rockland's website.

Kate Rockland is a frequent contributor to the New York Times style section and has also written for Playboy, Rolling Stone, Spin, and others.

The Page 69 Test: Falling Is Like This.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five American presidents in alternate history

At io9, David Daw came up with a few American presidents in alternate history. One alt-president from his list:
Charles Lindbergh

Famous aviator Charles Lindbergh was considered and courted for the Republican nomination for president through the 1930s and early '40s although he never ran. He was also widely suspected to have been anti-semitic and to have been a Nazi sympathizer. Given those facts it's little wonder that a fictional Charles Lindbergh presidency is the premise of two separate books K is for Killing, by Daniel Easterman and The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth. While Lindbergh's presidency is anti-semitic in both alternate timelines, Easterman's book has Lindbergh descend fully into fascism as his presidency, supported by the KKK, sets up Koncentration Kamps all over the United States and almost allies with Hitler in WWII.
Read about another alternate president.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Lila Dare & Marco

This weekend's featured guests at Coffee with a Canine: Lila Dare & Marco.

Dare, on how Marco joined her household:
When we lost our last dog at thirteen, a chocolate Labrador named Hawk, we waited a year and a half and did a fair amount of research before choosing Marco. We wanted a somewhat smaller dog that shed less than a Lab, and we wanted one who was smart and good with kids. We looked at Portuguese water dogs, Soft-coated wheaten terriers, and a couple of others before deciding Marco was meant to be our next family member. We got him from a breeder in Alabama. I flew out there to pick him up and he came back in a carrier that fit under the seat in front of me. The lady seated beside me was surprised and relieved to see the puppy when we de-planed; she'd been wondering why I was talking to my luggage throughout...[read on]
Author of the Southern Beauty Shop mysteries, Lila Dare was born in Georgia and has lived in Alabama, Mississippi, and Virginia.

Among the praise for her latest novel, Tressed to Kill:
"Humor, heart and a first-class who dunnit ... readers will be anxious to make the return trip to St. Elizabeth, Georgia, to check in on the adventures of the girls from Violetta's."
--Casey Daniels, author of Dead Man Talking

"Tressed to Kill sparkles... Stylish, swift-paced, and charming."
--Carolyn Hart, author of Laughed 'Til He Died

"Enticing and eccentric Southern characters combined with suspenseful tension and twists."
--Linda O. Johnston, author of Feline Fatale
Read an excerpt from Tressed to Kill, and learn more about the book and author at Lila Dare's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Lila Dare & Marco.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Sheena Iyengar's "The Art of Choosing"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The Art of Choosing by Sheena S. Iyengar.

About the book, from the publisher:

An Apple Store customer asks for the latest iPhone in black but suddenly changes his preference to white when he sees the choices others are making. A resident of a former communist country is offered a fizzy drink from a wide selection but picks at random; soda is soda, he says. Though the child knows she shouldn't press the big red button (absolutely not!), she finds her hand inching forward. A young man and woman decide to marry -- knowing that the first time they meet will be on their wedding day.

How did these people make their choices? How do any of us make ours? Choice is a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives -- but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors?

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert on choice, sets herself the Herculean task of helping us become better choosers. She asks fascinating questions: Is the desire for choice innate or created by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Ultimately, she offers unexpected and profound answers, drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research.

Here you'll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn't always go with the other. You?ll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences, from "TiVo guilt" over unwatched TV programs to confusion over health insurance plans. Perhaps most important, you'll discover how our choices -- both mundane and momentous -- are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible. This remarkable book illuminates the joys and challenges of choosing, showing us how we build our lives, one choice at a time.
Read an excerpt from The Art of Choosing, and learn more about the book and author at The Art of Choosing website.

See-Sheena Iyengar's six best books.

The Page 99 Test: The Art of Choosing.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Derek Wilson reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Derek Wilson, author of Tudor England as well as books on Hans Holbein, Francis Walsingham and Henry VIII.

His entry begins:
Most of my own reading is inevitably work-related. That doesn't mean that I don't derive pleasure from it. I enjoy my research into the highways and byways of the Tudor era. Fortunately, current writing is very rich in books on the period. Just to give you some idea of the enjoyment to be gained by fiction and non-fiction writing on 16th Century subjects here are a few titles I have read over the last couple of years:

John Guy, My Heart is my Own: John is a leading academic historian but in this biography of the 'romantic' Mary Queen of Scots he has produced a riveting study with a crisp narrative and some absolutely vital original...[read on]
About Wilson's Tudor England:
The Tudor period was a time of massive social change in England with growing cities, increasing trade, and growing stability after the chaos of the Wars of the Roses. Despite military preparations in every county, and the establishment of a new navy, the country was generally at peace, and England and Wales were becoming more closely integrated. Religious changes affected every person, with the Reformation bringing change to most corners of the country, and the dissolution of the monasteries allowing those with cash to build new estates, and removing the traditional schools and hospitals.

Derek Wilson offers insight into the world of Tudor England - revealing what it was really like to live in a period of great growth, and the difference between living in the city and the country.
Visit Derek Wilson's website.

Writers Read: Derek Wilson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pg. 69: Ryan Brown's "Play Dead"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: Play Dead by Ryan Brown.

About the book, from the publisher:
Today’s #1 New York Times bestselling thriller writers agree: Ryan Brown’s compulsively readable first novel is unbeatable—a darkly humorous, rich and pungent zombie shocker that melds our national obsession with football and the newest wave of fascination with the undead.

For the first time in Killington High School history, the Jackrabbits football team is one win away from the district championship where it will face its most vicious rival, the Elmwood Heights Badgers. On the way to the game, the Jackrabbits’s bus plunges into a river, killing every player except for bad-boy quarterback Cole Logan who is certain the crash was no accident—given that Cole himself was severely injured in a brutal attack by three ski-masked men earlier that day. Bent on payback, Cole turns to a mysterious fan skilled in black magic to resurrect his teammates. But unless the undead Jackrabbits defeat their murderous rival on the field, the team is destined for hell. In a desperate race against time, with only his coach’s clever daughter, Savannah Hickman, to assist him, Cole must lead his zombie team to victory

... in a final showdown where the stakes aren’t just life or death—but damnation or salvation. Boundlessly imaginative and thrillingly satisfying, Play Dead gives small-town Texas an electrifying jolt of the supernatural, and is unquestioningly The Zombie Novel of the Year!

The Comeback Story of the Season...
Read an excerpt from Play Dead, and learn more about the book and author at Ryan Brown's website.

The Page 69 Test: Play Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten troubled males in fiction

Tony Parsons' new novel is Men From The Boys, the final installment of his Harry Silver trilogy, which began with Man and Boy that was then followed by Man and Wife.

For the Guardian he named his top ten troubled males in fiction.

One troubled male on the list:
Holden Caulfield in The Catcher in The Rye by JD Salinger

Holden is the original crazy, mixed-up kid and anyone who can recall the agonies and ecstasies and endless yearning of adolescence will see themselves in him. But you have to read him at 16. Come to Holden later, and it's like trying to hula-hoop for the first time when you are 40. You just can't get it.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Catcher In The Rye
appears on Dan Rhodes' top ten list of short books and Sarah Ebner's top 25 list of boarding school books; it is one of Sophie Thompson's six best books. Upon rereading, the novel disappointed Khaled Hosseini, Mary Gordon, and Laura Lippman.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Patricia Morrisroe's "Wide Awake"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Wide Awake: A Memoir of Insomnia by Patricia Morrisroe.

About the book, from the publisher:
A fourth-generation insomniac, Patricia Morrisroe decided that the only way she’d ever conquer her lifelong sleep disorder was by becoming an expert on the subject. So, armed with half a century of personal experience and a journalist’s curiosity, she set off to explore one of life’s greatest mysteries: sleep. Wide Awake is the eye-opening account of Morrisroe’s quest—a compelling memoir that blends science, culture, and business to tell the story of why she—and forty million other Americans—can’t sleep at night.

Over the course of three years of research and reporting, Morrisroe talks to sleep doctors, drug makers, psychiatrists, anthropologists, hypnotherapists, “wake experts,” mattress salesmen, a magician, an astronaut, and even a reindeer herder. She spends an uncomfortable night wired up in a sleep lab. She tries “sleep restriction” and “brain music therapy.” She buys a high-end sound machine, custom-made ear plugs, and a “quiet” house in the country to escape her noisy neighbors in the city. She attends a continuing medical education course in Las Vegas, where she discovers that doctors are among the most sleep-deprived people in the country. She travels to Sonoma, California, where she attends a Dream Ball costumed as her “dream self.” To fulfill a childhood fantasy, she celebrates Christmas Eve two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, in the famed Icehotel tossing and turning on an ice bed. Finally, after traveling the globe, she finds the answer to her insomnia right around the corner from her apartment in New York City.

A mesmerizing mix of personal insight, science and social observation, Wide Awake examines the role of sleep in our increasingly hyperactive culture. For the millions who suffer from sleepless nights and hazy caffeine-filled days, this humorous, thought-provoking and ultimately hopeful book is an essential bedtime companion. It does, however, come with a warning: Reading it will promote wakefulness.
Read an excerpt from Wide Awake, and learn more about the book and author at Patricia Morrisroe's website.

The Page 99 Test: Wide Awake.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What is Jeremy Robinson reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Jeremy Robinson, a bestselling novelist whose books include The Didymus Contingency, Raising the Past, Antarktos Rising, Pulse and Instinct.

His entry begins:
I’m eight chapters into Mammoth by John Varley. It was recommended to me by a fan who mentioned the premise of the book is uncannily similar to my novel, Raising the Past. So far, he’s right. Both books start with the excavation of a mammoth from the frozen tundra in Nunavut, a northern region of Canada. In both books, a human is discovered with the mammoth. In both books the humans are found with futuristic objects. But I think that’s where the stories head in different directions—Raising the Past to aliens and Mammoth to time travel. I can’t say for certain yet, but I think the time machine in Mammoth might be a wrist watch, which would then be uncannily similar to...[read on]
Among the early praise for Instinct:
"If you like thrillers original, unpredictable and chock-full of action, you are going to love Jeremy Robinson's Chess Team. INSTINCT riveted me to my chair."
--Stephen Coonts, NY Times bestselling author of The Disciple and Deep Black: Arctic Gold

"Robinson’s slam-bang second Chess Team thriller [is a] a wildly inventive yarn that reads as well on the page as it would play on a computer screen."
--Publishers Weekly

"Intense and full of riveting plot twists, it is Robinson’s best book yet, and it should secure a place for the Chess Team on the A-list of thriller fans who like the over-the-top style of James Rollins and Matthew Reilly."
Watch the Instinct trailer, and learn more about the book and author at Jeremy Robinson's website.

My Book, the Movie: Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: Instinct.

Writers Read: Jeremy Robinson.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Dani & Eytan Kollin's "The Unincorporated War"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Unincorporated War by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Kollin brothers introduced their future world, and central character Justin Cord, in The Unincorporated Man. Justin created a revolution in that book, and is now exiled from Earth to the outer planets, where he is an heroic figure.

The corporate society which is headquartered on Earth and rules Venus, Mars, and the Orbital colonies, wants to destroy Justin and reclaim hegemony over the rebellious outer planets. The first interplanetary civil war begins as the military fleet of Earth attacks. Filled with battles, betrayals, and triumphs, The Unincorporated War is a full-scale space opera that catapults the focus of the earlier novel up and out into the solar system. Justin remains both a logical and passionate fighter for the principles that motivate him, and remains the most dangerous man alive.
Learn more about the book and authors at Dani Kollin's blog and The Unincorporated Man website.

The Page 69 Test: The Unincorporated War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven presidents' favorite books

The Huffington Post's Jessie Kunhardt pulled together a list of favorite books of eleven U.S. presidents.

One president and book on the list:
Theodore Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt was first and foremost an outdoorsman, so his love for Audubon's "Birds of America" comes as no surprise. Roosevelt also had a passion for Alfred Mahan's "Influence of Sea Power Upon History," a history of naval warfare that he used to justify maintaining a strong U.S. Navy, and which he not only read but also wrote a book review for.
Read about another presidential favorite book.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Christine Stansell's "The Feminist Promise"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The Feminist Promise: 1792 to the Present by Christine Stansell.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this sweeping, definitive volume, Christine Stansell, one of the leading historians of her generation, tells the story of one of the great democratic movements of our times.

For more than two centuries, the ranks of feminists have included dreamy idealists and conscientious reformers, erotic rebels and angry housewives, dazzling writers, shrewd political strategists, and thwarted workingwomen. Well-known leaders are sketched from new angles by Stansell, with her bracing eye for character: Mary Wollstonecraft, the passionate English writer who in 1792 published the first full-scale argument for the rights of women; Elizabeth Cady Stanton, brilliant and fearless; the imperious, quarrelsome Betty Friedan. But figures from other contexts, too, appear in an unforgettable new light, including Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who in the 1970s led a revolution in the constitutional interpretations of women’s rights, and Toni Morrison, whose bittersweet prose gave voice to the modern black female experience.

Stansell accounts for the failures of feminism as well as the successes. She notes significant moments in the struggle for gender equality, such as the emergence in the early 1900s of the dashing “New Woman”; the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women the right to vote; the post–World War II collapse of suburban neo-Victorianism; and the radical feminism of the 1960s—all of which led to vast changes in American culture and society. The Feminist Promise dramatically updates our understanding of feminism, taking the story through the age of Reagan and into the era of international feminist movements that have swept the globe. Stansell provocatively insists that the fight for women’s rights in developing countries “cannot be separated from democracy’s survival.”

A soaring work unprecedented in scope, historical depth, and literary appeal, The Feminist Promise is bound to become an authoritative source on this essential subject for decades to come on. At once a work of scholarship, political observation, and personal reflection, it is a book that speaks to the demands and challenges—individual, national, and international—of the twenty-first century.
Read an excerpt from The Feminist Promise, and learn more about the book at the publisher's website.

The Page 99 Test: The Feminist Promise.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Scott and Kristy Pratt & their pack.

Today's feature at Coffee with a Canine: Scott and Kristy Pratt & their pack.

Scott Pratt, on how they were all united:
I "rescued" Rio from a bad situation when he was four months old. He and I have been tight ever since. Pedro came along a year later as a Mother's Day gift from my kids to Kristy. Two years after that, Nacho was an impulse buy by my mother-in-law. She got him home and discovered her standard poodles didn't like him. So she asked if we'd take him. We did. Chico, the teacup, appeared last year after my mother visited from Michigan. She had a teacup, and Kristy fell in love. Next thing I knew, we had one, too.[read on]
Among the praise for Scott Pratt's writing:
"Think Harlan Coben meets John Grisham."
--Jason Starr, award winning author of The Follower

"Scott Turow and Grisham on meth."
--Ken Bruen, Shamus Award-winning author of The Guards
The Page 69 Test: An Innocent Client.

The Page 69 Test: Injustice For All.

Learn more about the books and author at Scott Pratt's website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Scott and Kristy Pratt & their pack.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pg. 69: Richard Hawke's "House of Secrets"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: House of Secrets by Richard Hawke.

About the book, from the publisher:
Senator Andrew Foster has it all: charm to spare, a loving wife, a beautiful daughter, and a fast-track career that will surely land him one day in the White House. And with the sudden resignation of the vice president, that track may have gotten a lot faster.

But there’s a problem.

There are people who know that Andy Foster’s charm can get the better of him, and they have bugged the Shelter Island bungalow where he is enjoying a midnight tryst with a beautiful campaign adviser. But all hell breaks loose when a man carrying an iron pipe comes crashing through the bedroom’s sliding glass door. Within seconds, the young woman lies bloodied, dead on the sheets, and Foster has fled in panic.

And it’s all on tape.

As momentum builds for Foster’s likely selection as the next vice president, the senator’s only hope of keeping his involvement with the murdered woman secret is to locate his blackmailers. But even they don’t have their hands on the devastating images. The man they used for the job has turned the tables and is blackmailing them.

All the while, Foster’s personal life is collapsing. His wife, Christine, senses that something is terribly wrong. Unhappy about their daughter’s living in a political fishbowl, Christine is also worried that she and her husband have drifted away from each other. Little does she know that power-hungry politicians and brutal gangsters are ready to rip her family utterly apart.

From the rarefied halls of Washington to the briny boardwalks of Brighton Beach, Richard Hawke pulls back the curtain to reveal what is taking place inside the hearts and minds of the powerful people we read about every day in the news. With House of Secrets, Hawke has delivered a pulse-pounding thriller that ignites the fatal mixture of politics, arrogance, and lust.
Read an excerpt from House of Secrets, and learn more about the book and author at Richard Hawke's website.

Richard Hawke is the author of Speak of the Devil and Cold Day in Hell. He lives and writes in New York City.

The Page 99 Test: Cold Day in Hell.

The Page 69 Test: House of Secrets.

--Marshal Zeringue

5 books that can save the world

Lucas Wittmann, the Books Editor at The Daily Beast, argues that the books nominated for this year's Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism "demonstrated the important role that insightful, incisive, and well-researched books still play in helping us understand our complicated, messy world." One of the nominated books and why Wittmann thinks it is worth reading:
Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty
by Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman

If you thought oil was hard to grasp, try figuring out the amazing economic, political, geographic, and scientific complexities around solving world hunger. Then read Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman’s powerful book to realize that it’s actually quite simple: there’s enough to go around. They take the simple yet astounding story of why America ships beans to Africa instead of having Africans produce their own beans to illustrate the perverse system of dependency that our agricultural policies sustain. Hard to imagine such a hard, challenging subject being made as riveting as it is in this damning account of how misguided so many of our international aid and hunger policies are.
Read Wittmann's take on another nominated book.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Gabriel Cohen's "The Ninth Step"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: The Ninth Step by Gabriel Cohen.

About the book, from the publisher:
Brooklyn South homicide detective Jack Leightner is at home enjoying a quiet day off when a stranger appears at his door and completely overturns his understanding of his own past. The following day, what looks like a mundane killing in a Brooklyn deli takes a bizarre turn when a crew of Homeland Security agents suddenly show up wearing anti-radiation gear. Soon Jack is embroiled in two dangerous and far-reaching investigations: a hunt for the Pakistani-American deli killer, who may be a member of a terrorist cell planning a new attack on New York, and an inquiry into his own family’s history on the Mafia-dominated waterfront of Red Hook in the 1960s.

At the same time, Jack is trying to figure out if he can forgive his former love Michelle. Throw in a couple of incredible (and true stories) that transport the reader to the Gulf of Aden in the age of modern pirates and to New York Harbor back in 1943, and you have the ingredients for a fascinating and thrilling new crime novel from Edgar Award finalist Gabriel Cohen.
Learn more about the author and his work at Gabriel Cohen's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Graving Dock.

My Book, The Movie: Red Hook.

The Page 99 Test: The Ninth Step.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ilie Ruby's "The Language of Trees," the movie

Now showing at My Book, The Movie: The Language of Trees by Ilie Ruby.

The entry begins:
The Language of Trees is a mystery-love story filled with restless spirits, both living and not. Woven with magical realism and Seneca Indian folklore, the story takes place in the sprawling lake region of Canandaigua, NY, once the site of battles that were fought there, now the site of battles of a different kind—those of love, forgiveness, and addiction. As the story goes, a little boy, Luke Ellis, disappears in the lake on a rainy night, and neither of his sisters, Melanie or Maya, can explain it though they were with him. The mystery is never solved. Over a decade later, Melanie, now a teenager, goes missing, leaving her infant son. Townspeople isolated by years of secrets and old lovers separated by guilt and grief come together in the frantic search to save her, only to discover a world where nature and the spiritual realm intertwine, nothing is as it seems, and the past refuses to stay where it belongs.

Frantic that the past is repeating itself, Grant Shongo, a Seneca healer, who has turned his back on his legacy, and the woman who left him years ago, his childhood love, Echo O’Connell, find themselves drawn into the search with the help of a restless spirit. Echo has returned after all this time to put the past to rest with a secret of her own.

My characters are ordinary folks who have fallen prey to tragedy and adversity, but who are capable of extraordinary things when put to the test. They are rarely beautiful, uncommonly wise, though this doesn’t stop anyone from falling in love with them, nor does it stop them from making very human choices—some that could wreck a life. They have let true loves slip away, they have let themselves become isolated by fear, they have made excuses for themselves—until this moment when everyone is called to action to prevent the past from repeating itself and bring Melanie Ellis home. I like the idea that one of my main characters, Leila Ellis, forgoes her usual raggedy attire and in a definitive act of dignity and self-preservation dons her once-worn suit and high heels before getting in the car to drive the streets of Canandaigua all night looking for her runaway teenage daughter. I love the idea that Melanie, her daughter, has just gotten herself clean for a cause: her infant son, and though she has not lost her edge or her temptation, she will do anything she can to be strong for him, even it means doing the hardest thing of all: forgiving herself for what happened to her brother all those years ago.

Here’s the cast of characters, and those I imagine would play them:

Joseph O’Connell: a former priest, wisdom keeper of the story, who maintains his belief in the goodness of the human spirit though he’s been given every reason not to. Let Morgan Freeman play him. What...[read on]
Visit Ilie Ruby's website, blog, and Facebook page.

Writers Read: Ilie Ruby.

The Page 69 Test: The Language of Trees.

My Book, The Movie: The Language of Trees.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 24, 2010

What is Dani Kollin reading?

The current feature contributor at Writer's Read: Dani Kollin, co-author (with his brother Eytan) of The Unincorporated Man and The Unincorporated War.

His entry begins:
Little Women by Louise May Alcott

Strangely enough this is a book that has been read by almost every American woman (currently past the age of 35) and nary a man. I'm not kidding. Ask ten women in the given age range if they've read it and you'll find that most, at one time, have. Ask any man and you'll find that not only have they not read it but most have never even heard of it! Now I'm not reading it to get in with post 35 sorority. I'm reading it as research. Eytan and I are writing a book that is very female centric and we wanted to get into zeitgeist of what makes women tick. The answer, of course, will not be found in the reading of a single book but my oh my does it begin to open some doors. In fact a few nights ago I got into a heated discussion with a woman about a particular scene as her husband stared at me dumbfounded. Suffice to say, I do take issue with Ms Alcott's writing style which I find too liberal with the use of...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Unincorporated War:
"The Kollins’ masterful command of multiple plot threads, characters, and the motifs of grand-scale space opera make for a breathtaking sequel."
Admirers of the debut book in the trilogy include:
"This is a bright, stimulating work that deserves a wide readership."
--Gregory Benford, 3 x Nebula award winner, author of Beyond Human: Living with Robots and Cyborgs

"Reminiscent of Heinlein--a good, old-fashioned, enormously appealing SF yarn. Bravo!"
--Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winner, author of Wake
Visit Dani Kollin's blog and The Unincorporated Man website.

Writers Read: Dani Kollin (April 2009).

Writer's Read: Dani Kollin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Emily St. John Mandel's "The Singer's Gun"

Today's feature at the Page 69 Test: The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel.

About the book, from the publisher:
Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and his first career is a partnership venture with his cousin Aria selling forged passports and social security cards to illegal aliens. Anton longs for a less questionable way of living in the world and by his late twenties has reinvented himself as a successful middle manager. Then a routine security check suggests that things are not quite what they appear. And Aria begins blackmailing him to do one last job for her. But the seemingly simple job proves to have profound and unexpected repercussions.

As Anton’s carefully constructed life begins to disintegrate around him, he’s forced to choose between loyalty to his family and his desires for a different kind of life. When everyone is willing to use someone else to escape the past, it is up to Anton, on the island of Ischia, to face the ghosts that travel close behind him.

Emily St. John Mandel follows up her electric debut with a spellbinding novel of international crime, false identities, the depths and limits of family ties, and the often confusing bonds of love. Taut with suspense, beautifully imagined, full of unexpected corners, desperate choices, betrayals and halftruths with deadly consequences, The Singer’s Gun explores the dangerous territory between one’s moral compass and the heart’s desire.
Learn more about the book and author at Emily St. John Mandel's website.

The Page 69 Test: Last Night in Montreal.

Writers Read: Emily St. John Mandel.

The Page 69 Test: The Singer's Gun.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten of the best towers in literature

For the Guardian, John Mullan named ten of the best towers in literature.

One title on the list:
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson

David Balfour is sent by nasty uncle Ebenezer up the high tower in the House of Shaws without a candle. The stairs are pitch dark and our hero has to feel his way up them. As he nears the top, a sudden flash of summer lightning reveals that they end in mid-air.
Read about another work on the list.

Kidnapped also appears on Mullan's lists of ten of the best misers in literature and ten of the best shipwrecks.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jed Z. Buchwald & Diane Greco Josefowicz's "The Zodiac of Paris"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: The Zodiac of Paris: How an Improbable Controversy over an Ancient Egyptian Artifact Provoked a Modern Debate between Religion and Science by Jed Z. Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Dendera zodiac--an ancient bas-relief temple ceiling adorned with mysterious symbols of the stars and planets--was first discovered by the French during Napoleon's campaign in Egypt, and quickly provoked a controversy between scientists and theologians. Brought to Paris in 1821 and ultimately installed in the Louvre, where it can still be seen today, the zodiac appeared to depict the nighttime sky from a time predating the Biblical creation, and therefore cast doubt on religious truth. The Zodiac of Paris tells the story of this incredible archeological find and its unlikely role in the fierce disputes over science and faith in Napoleonic and Restoration France.

The book unfolds against the turbulence of the French Revolution, Napoleon's breathtaking rise and fall, and the restoration of the Bourbons to the throne. Drawing on newspapers, journals, diaries, pamphlets, and other documentary evidence, Jed Buchwald and Diane Greco Josefowicz show how scientists and intellectuals seized upon the zodiac to discredit Christianity, and how this drew furious responses from conservatives and sparked debates about the merits of scientific calculation as a source of knowledge about the past. The ideological battles would rage until the thoroughly antireligious Jean-François Champollion unlocked the secrets of Egyptian hieroglyphs--and of the zodiac itself. Champollion would prove the religious reactionaries right, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Zodiac of Paris brings Napoleonic and Restoration France vividly to life, revealing the lengths to which scientists, intellectuals, theologians, and conservatives went to use the ancient past for modern purposes.
Read an excerpt from The Zodiac of Paris, and learn more about the book at the Princeton University Press website.

Jed Z. Buchwald is the Doris and Henry Dreyfuss Professor of History at the California Institute of Technology. His books include The Creation of Scientific Effects: Heinrich Hertz and Electric Waves. Diane Greco Josefowicz teaches in the writing program at Boston University.

The Page 99 Test: The Zodiac of Paris.

--Marshal Zeringue

Coffee with a canine: Kris Neri & Annabelle

Today's featured couple at Coffee with a Canine: Kris Neri and Annabelle.

Neri, on how they were united:
My husband and I had lost two old dogs within six months of each other, and we were devastated. But we had also recently opened a new business -- The Well Red Coyote bookstore in Sedona, Arizona -- and we weren't sure whether we would have enough time to devote to a new pet. But we were dog-lonely, and our cat, Philly, who has only lived with dogs, not cats, was, too. But we also had no employees at the time, and we worked every day, so we couldn't even take time off together to go to the shelter to look for a dog, only separately. We'd been visiting the shelter separately for a few days, but neither of us really felt we connected with any of the dogs, and choosing a companion was something we felt we should do together. There was just a short window of time after the Sedona Humane Society shelter opened, before our store did. One day, before the store opened, we went back together for a quick look. They've built quite an elaborate animal shelter there now, but when we went in search of a new friend, it was a more humble affair, with runs visible from the parking lot. When we pulled into the lot, a sweet little face that we hadn't seen on any of our other visits, just connected with us. Apparently, someone had abandoned a six-month-old cocker spaniel outside of the shelter during the night. Unfortunately, several other people also wanted to adopt her, including a shelter employee. The woman in charge told us...[read on]
Among the praise for Revenge for Old Times' Sake:
"Wacky, witty, wise and wonderful. With the show-biz savvy, funny and punny Kris Neri as producer and director, readers will laugh their way through non-stop action, zany characters and a madcap plot worthy of the silver screen. (The secret? This is a smart, solid and well-written mystery--that reveals a lot of heart.)"
--Hank Phillippi Ryan Agatha-winning author of Prime Time

“Vanity, celebrity, murder, and fabulous shoes! Revenge for Old Times' Sake has all this and more. Kris Neri’s cool-under-pressure protagonist and her witty narrative voice are the reasons this series is an award winner. The clever plot twists and vivid characters bring to mind what might result from the unholy coupling of Mel Brooks and Janet Evanovich. But I’ll take Tracy Eaton over Stephanie Plum any day of the week.”
--Bill Fitzhugh, author of Pest Control and Highway 61 Resurfaced

“A witty glimpse at insider Hollywood with a spunky, no-nonsense heroine, the movie-star mother from hell and cast of big egos. A fun and fast-paced read.”
--Rhys Bowen, author of Her Royal Spyness, Molly Murphy and Evan Evans mysteries
Kris Neri's latest book,
Revenge for Old Times' Sake, is the third book in her Agatha, Anthony, Macavity Award-nominated Tracy Eaton mystery series. She's also recently published High Crimes on the Magical Plane, a Lefty Award nominee and the first book in a new paranormal series.

Visit Kris Neri's website and The Well Red Coyote bookstore website.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Kris Neri and Annabelle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pg. 69: Jeremy Robinson's "Instinct"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: Instinct by Jeremy Robinson.

About the book, from the publisher:
The high adventure of James Rollins combines with the gripping suspense of Scott Sigler in this second installment in the Chess Team Series

A genetic disease known as Brugada Syndrome kills its victims without warning, without symptom. When the President of the United States falls victim to a weaponized and contagious strain of the disease, the Chess Team—King, Queen, Rook, Knight and Bishop—are assigned to protect Sara Fogg, a CDC detective, as she journeys to the source of the new strain: the Annamite Mountains in Vietnam. Surrounded by Vietnam War era landmines, harsh terrain and more than one military force not happy about the return of American boots to the Ho Chi Minh trail, the fight for survival becomes a grueling battle in the humid jungle.

Pursued by VPLA Death Volunteers, Vietnam’s Special Forces unit, the team’s flight through a maze of archaic ruins reveals an ancient secret...a primal secret that may stop the disease from sweeping the globe—even as it threatens both the mission and their lives.
Watch the Instinct trailer, and learn more about the book and author at Jeremy Robinson's website.

My Book, the Movie: Instinct.

The Page 69 Test: Instinct.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Beth Greenfield's "Ten Minutes from Home"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Ten Minutes from Home: A Memoir by Beth Greenfield.

About the book, from the publisher:
Ten Minutes from Home is the poignant account of how a suburban New Jersey family struggles to come together after being shattered by tragedy.

In this searing, sparely written, and surprisingly wry memoir, Beth Greenfield shares what happens in 1982 when, as a twelve-year-old, she survives a drunk-driving accident that kills her younger brother Adam and best friend Kristin. As the benign concerns of adolescence are re­placed by crushing guilt and grief, Beth searches for hope and support in some likely and not-so-likely places (General Hospital, a kindly rabbi, the bottom of a keg), eventually discovering that while life is fragile, love doesn’t have to be.

Ten Minutes from Home exquisitely captures both the heartache of lost innocence and the solace of strength and survival.
Read an excerpt from Ten Minutes from Home, and learn more about the book and author at Beth Greenfield's website.

The Page 99 Test: Ten Minutes from Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

John Waters' six favorite books

John Waters is the writer/director of the films Hairspray, Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Cecil B. Demented.

His new book is Role Models.

Waters told The Week magazine about his six favorite books. One title on the list:
The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell

This harrowing, repulsive, and witty thousand-page, gay–Nazi–Final Solution novel may have won the two top French literary prizes, but here in America it was panned by the critics. Of course, the French were right. Not since the Marquis de Sade’s 120 Days of Sodom has there been such an explosive literary shocker. And there’s a 39-hour audiobook version available, too. Just imagine that recording session!
Read about another book on Waters' list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pg. 99: Robert Pippin's "Hollywood Westerns and American Myth"

Today's feature at the Page 99 Test: Hollywood Westerns and American Myth: The Importance of Howard Hawks and John Ford for Political Philosophy by Robert B. Pippin.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this pathbreaking book one of America’s most distinguished philosophers brilliantly explores the status and authority of law and the nature of political allegiance through close readings of three classic Hollywood Westerns: Howard Hawks’ Red River and John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and The Searchers.

Robert Pippin treats these films as sophisticated mythic accounts of a key moment in American history: its “second founding,” or the western expansion. His central question concerns how these films explore classical problems in political psychology, especially how the virtues of a commercial republic gained some hold on individuals at a time when the heroic and martial virtues were so important. Westerns, Pippin shows, raise central questions about the difference between private violence and revenge and the state’s claim to a legitimate monopoly on violence, and they show how these claims come to be experienced and accepted or rejected.

Pippin’s account of the best Hollywood Westerns brings this genre into the center of the tradition of political thought, and his readings raise questions about political psychology and the political passions that have been neglected in contemporary political thought in favor of a limited concern with the question of legitimacy.
The Page 99 Test: Hollywood Westerns and American Myth.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Emily St. John Mandel reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Emily St. John Mandel, author of Last Night in Montreal and The Singer's Gun.

Her entry begins:
I'm presently reading Something Red, by Jennifer Gilmore. I picked it up partly because it looked really interesting, and partly because Jennifer and I follow one another on Twitter and Facebook. There's a certain obligation when someone you know writes a book—I know a lot of authors at this point, which is frankly kind of an expensive proposition—but as it happens, I love this book so far and I'm glad that I bought it. I'm not very far in, because I got through the first couple of chapters and then I forgot it when I went on tour, but I'm looking...[read on]
Among the early praise for The Singer's Gun:
"A gripping, thoughtful meditation on work, family, and the consequences of major life choices."

"In this intricate novel, her second after Last Night in Montreal, Mandel underscores the notion that everything in life comes with a price tag, and sometimes that cost is remarkably high. ... An intriguing and suspenseful read that will appeal to those who like mysteries."
--Library Journal

"The Singer's Gun is a nail-biting thriller overflowing with high-stakes issues such as blackmail, theft, fraud and human trafficking. In Mandel's hands, these acts are transmuted into a morally nebulous gray zone, in which the complexities of life fail to be easily captured in terms of black and white, right and wrong. ... This is a turbulent and diverting read that manages to both entertain and prompt valuable contemplation of its stickier issues."

... [T]he characters desperately seek and reach for that one true nugget that will transform them from mere husks in the grip of a larger fate into free-standing human beings. Some will, some will not, and whatever answers they wish for will be couched in permanent suspension, never definitive one way or another. The beauty of the novel is that its key truths are those the reader arrives at on his or her own, without the help of a straight-line narrative or a dominating perspective. Instead, Mandel feeds off of our need to make connections, even when the pattern they form doesn't really exist. We start with anxiety and end with it, thrumming in the background for us to listen in -- or ignore, at both cost and reward."
--Sarah Weinman, Los Angeles Times
Emily St. John Mandel was born on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

Last Night in Montreal was recently released in paperback. Last Night in Montreal was a June 2009 Indie Next pick and is a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2009 Book of the Year. The Singer's Gun, is #1 on the Indie Next List for May 2010.

Learn more about the author and her work at Emily St. John Mandel's website.

The Page 69 Test: Last Night in Montreal.

Writers Read: Emily St. John Mandel.

--Marshal Zeringue