Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What is Ryan Lobo reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ryan Lobo, author of Mr. Iyer Goes to War.

His entry begins:
I am currently reading several books both fiction and non-fiction.

I also just finished reading The Poetry of Derek Walcott, much of it at 2:30 AM while feeding my one month old daughter. Such powerful writing. A line struck me '..and the doors themselves, usually no wider than coffins'. I recalled a friend telling me the story of a maid who had criticized an apartment building because its stairwell was not large enough for a coffin and it struck me that...[read on]
About Mr. Iyer Goes to War, from the publisher:
A fresh, unique interpretation of Don Quixote, set in modern India.

Dispatched to a hospice center in the sacred city of Varanasi, seventy-something Lalgudi Iyer spends his days immersed in scripture, awaiting spiritual transcendence. After he suffers a concussion, he sees a vision of his past life--he is the reincarnation of the mythological warrior Bhima sent from the heavens to destroy evil.

Convinced of his need to continue his mission and revive the noble principles of Hindu mythology, Iyer embarks on an epic adventure across India with the help of his trusted companion, Bencho the undertaker. His attempts at restoring order to the world, and in the process, winning over the heart of the deeply uninterested maiden Damyanti, are hampered only by his complete detachment from sanity and the reality of contemporary India.

An inventive, ambitious interpretation of Don Quixote for our times, Mr Iyer Goes to War is a sometimes playful, sometimes profound adventure heralding a bold new voice in Indian fiction.
Visit Ryan Lobo's website.

My Book, The Movie: Mr. Iyer Goes to War.

Writers Read: Ryan Lobo.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Five dramatic books about space-faring history

Jeffrey Kluger's latest book is Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon. One of his five favorite books that make epic drama out of space-faring history, as shared at Tor.com:
The Martian by Andy Weir

True, this isn’t based in history, but it reads like it could be. There are, so the thinking goes, only a few basic plots: comedy, tragedy, rebirth, romance, voyage and return, warfare, rags to riches. But there are sub-categories too, and in the “voyage and return” column, include the tale of the castaway. The storyline is so appealing because the survival tale is magnified by the lone person’s awful solitude. It was inevitable that eventually the person who was cast away would be cast away in space—the idea was tried in the broadly awful 1964 film, Robinson Crusoe on Mars, which relied on scale and flash to achieve its execrable results. Weir’s book is the utter opposite—precise, detailed, almost pointillistic. And yet from that fine, dot-at-a-time writing comes a roaring, churning story. Weir’s writing is the literary equivalent of nuclear fuel: compact, seemingly spare, and improbably powerful.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Martian is among Elisabeth Delp's seven classic science fiction space odysseys, Alexandra Oliva's five novels that get important aspects of survival right, Jeff Somers's seven works of speculative fiction that don’t feel all that speculative and  five top sci-fi novels with plausible futuristic technology, Ernest Cline’s ten favorite SF novels, and James Mustich's five top books on visiting Mars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Alan Smale's "Eagle and Empire"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Eagle and Empire: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book III by Alan Smale.

About the book, from the publisher:
The award-winning author of Clash of Eagles and Eagle in Exile concludes his masterly alternate-history saga of the Roman invasion of North America in this stunning novel.

Roman Praetor Gaius Marcellinus came to North America as a conqueror, but after meeting with defeat at the hands of the city-state of Cahokia, he has had to forge a new destiny in this strange land. In the decade since his arrival, he has managed to broker an unstable peace between the invading Romans and a loose affiliation of Native American tribes known as the League.

But invaders from the west will shatter that peace and plunge the continent into war: The Mongol Horde has arrived and they are taking no prisoners.

As the Mongol cavalry advances across the Great Plains leaving destruction in its path, Marcellinus and his Cahokian friends must summon allies both great and small in preparation for a final showdown. Alliances will shift, foes will rise, and friends will fall as Alan Smale brings us ever closer to the dramatic final battle for the future of the North American continent.
Visit Alan Smale's website.

The Page 69 Test: Clash of Eagles.

The Page 69 Test: Eagle in Exile.

The Page 69 Test: Eagle and Empire.

--Marshal Zeringue

Paul Theroux's 6 favorite books

Paul Theroux's latest novel is Mother Land. One of his six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West

The ultimate novel of Hollywood, written by a native (and the author of the masterpiece Miss Lonelyhearts). I read this when I was young, and my admiration fueled my ambition to be a writer. It is funny, wicked, satirical, and wholly in the American grain.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Day of the Locust is on Joel Cunningham's list of nine Hollywood novels to get you in the mood for Oscar night, Amy Sohn's six favorite books list, Megan Wasson's top 5 list of books about Los Angeles, Jerome Charyn's list of the five best tales of dislocation, Jane Ciabattari's list of the five best novels on Hollywood, Jonathan Kellerman's list of the top ten LA noir novels, and Peter Conn's list of the five best novels from the Great Depression; it also appears on Jonathan Evison's list of books about the Spirit of California and John Mullan's list of ten of the best riots in literature.

Learn about Theroux's five top travel books about an intense experience of a particular place.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Christopher J. Fuller's "See It/Shoot It"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: See It/Shoot It: The Secret History of the CIA’s Lethal Drone Program by Christopher J. Fuller.

About the book, from the publisher:
An illuminating study tracing the evolution of drone technology and counterterrorism policy from the Reagan to the Obama administrations

This eye-opening study uncovers the history of the most important instrument of U.S. counterterrorism today: the armed drone. It reveals that, contrary to popular belief, the CIA’s covert drone program is not a product of 9/11. Rather, it is the result of U.S. counterterrorism practices extending back to an influential group of policy makers in the Reagan administration.

Tracing the evolution of counterterrorism policy and drone technology from the fallout of Iran-Contra and the CIA’s “Eagle Program” prototype in the mid-1980s to the emergence of al-Qaeda, Fuller shows how George W. Bush and Obama built upon or discarded strategies from the Reagan and Clinton eras as they responded to changes in the partisan environment, the perceived level of threat, and technological advances. Examining a range of counterterrorism strategies, he reveals why the CIA’s drones became the United States’ preferred tool for pursuing the decades-old goal of preemptively targeting anti-American terrorists around the world.
Learn more about See It/Shoot It at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: See It/Shoot It.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 22, 2017

Six top YA stories about life-changing summers

At the BN Teen blog Natalie Zutter tagged six YA books about life-changing summers, including:
Just One Day, by Gayle Forman

Forman’s swooningly romantic Just One Day throws type-A traveler Allyson Healey a curveball on her first European trip, in the form of relaxed, confident actor Willem De Ruiter. When they meet at a performance of Twelfth Night in Paris, he offers to show her the city…and she abandons her carefully planned trip to say yes. But then he disappears the next day, the final day of her three-week trip. He’s already changed her, but it’s the next few months that truly form her into a new person, as she grapples with who he was and what their day together meant to her.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Helene Stapinski reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Helene Stapinski, author of Murder In Matera: A True Story of Passion, Family, and Forgiveness in Southern Italy.

Her entry begins:
I'm about a quarter of the way through The Sellout by Paul Beatty, a social satire about an African American man's unorthodox upbringing and his appeal before the Supreme Court after his attempt to reintroduce slavery to a Los Angeles neighborhood.

The book is simultaneously incredibly sad and laugh out loud funny, no easy feat. I have a problem with self-serious, pretentious writers who are afraid -- or maybe are just incapable -- of making people laugh. You can tell a moving story and still manage to entertain your reader. Beatty, so far, has managed to tell a painful, contemporary tale, while using wicked, biting humor. His...[read on]
About Murder In Matera, from the publisher:
A writer goes deep into the heart of Italy to unravel a century-old family mystery in this spellbinding memoir that blends the suspenseful twists of Making a Murderer and the emotional insight of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels.

Since childhood, Helene Stapinski heard lurid tales about her great-great-grandmother, Vita. In Southern Italy, she was a loose woman who had murdered someone. Immigrating to America with three children, she lost one along the way. Helene’s youthful obsession with Vita deepened as she grew up, eventually propelling the journalist to Italy, where, with her own children in tow, she pursued the story, determined to set the record straight.

Finding answers would take Helene ten years and numerous trips to Basilicata, the rural "instep" of Italy’s boot—a mountainous land rife with criminals, superstitions, old-world customs, and desperate poverty. Though false leads sent her down blind alleys, Helene’s dogged search, aided by a few lucky—even miraculous—breaks and a group of colorful local characters, led her to the truth.

Yes, the family tales she’d heard were true: There had been a murder in Helene’s family, a killing that roiled 1870s Italy. But the identities of the killer and victim weren’t who she thought they were. In revisiting events that happened more than a century before, Helene came to another stunning realization—she wasn’t who she thought she was, either.

Weaving Helene’s own story of discovery with the tragic tale of Vita’s life, Murder in Matera is a literary whodunit and a moving tale of self-discovery that brings into focus a long ago tragedy in a little-known region remarkable for its stunning sunny beauty and dark buried secrets.
Visit Helene Stapinski's website.

Writers Read: Helene Stapinski.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wendy Webb's "The End of Temperance Dare," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The End of Temperance Dare by Wendy Webb.

The entry begins:
Oh, this is fun. I imagine how my characters look when I’m writing my books, sometimes imagining real life actors. So here goes, for the main characters from The End of Temperance Dare.

Miss Penny: Maggie Smith
Miss Penny is the departing director of Cliffside Manor, daughter of Chester Dare, the philanthropist who build Cliffside as a tuberculosis sanatorium back in the day and turned it into a retreat for artists and writers when TB was cured. She hires Eleanor and sets in motion the events of the story.

Eleanor (Norrie): Sandra Bullock or...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Wendy Webb's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Tale of Halcyon Crane.

My Book, The Movie: The End of Temperance Dare.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Lucinda Riley's "The Shadow Sister"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley.

About The Shadow Sister, from the publisher:
Star D'Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father - the elusive billionaire, named Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted by him from the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to their true heritage, but Star - the most enigmatic of the sisters - is hesitant to step out of the safety of the close relationship she shares with her sister CeCe. In desperation, she decides to follow the first clue she has been left, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world...

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in the Lake District, living close to her idol, Beatrix Potter, when machinations outside her control lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society's most notorious players, Alice Keppel. Flora is pulled between passionate love and duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a game - the rules of which are only known to others, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...

As Star learns more of Flora's incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love. Following on from the bestselling The Seven Sisters and The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister is the third book in Lucinda Riley's spellbinding series, loosely based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters star cluster.
Visit Lucinda Riley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Shadow Sister.

Writers Read: Lucinda Riley.

The Page 69 Test: The Shadow Sister.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Congratulations, Charlie Jane Anders

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. has announced the recipients of the Nebula Awards® for works published in 2016.

The winner in the Novel category:
All The Birds In the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Congratulations!

My Book, The Movie: All the Birds in the Sky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Wayne Franklin's "James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years by Wayne Franklin.

About the book, from the publisher:
A definitive new biography of James Fenimore Cooper, early nineteenth century master of American popular fiction

American author James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) has been credited with inventing and popularizing a wide variety of genre fiction, including the Western, the spy novel, the high seas adventure tale, and the Revolutionary War romance. America’s first crusading novelist, Cooper reminds us that literature is not a cloistered art; rather, it ought to be intimately engaged with the world.

In this second volume of his definitive biography, Wayne Franklin concentrates on the latter half of Cooper’s life, detailing a period of personal and political controversy, far-ranging international travel, and prolific literary creation. We hear of Cooper’s progressive views on race and slavery, his doubts about American expansionism, and his concern about the future prospects of the American Republic, while observing how his groundbreaking career management paved the way for later novelists to make a living through their writing. Franklin offers readers the most comprehensive portrait to date of this underappreciated American literary icon.
Learn more about James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years at the Yale University Press website.

Writers Read: Wayne Franklin.

The Page 99 Test: James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books on Southeast Asian travel literature

Cat Barton is a correspondent for the Agence France Presse in Hong Kong. At Five Books she tagged five top titles on Southeast Asian travel literature, including:
The Beach by Alex Garland.

This is a great book to read on the beach, and it’s much better than the film. It’s an interesting pop-culture musing on the idea of backpackers travelling around in search of unspoilt beaches. It deals with themes many people are likely to think about when travelling around the region. For example, is it possible to find an unspoilt beach? And what do backpackers do to the societies we visit? For example, how much good has it done the locals to have areas with thriving sex industries? Yes, the money flowing in is good, but how much has it really benefited the area?

The Beach deals with what happens if backpackers go militantly in the other direction. This particular group of travellers find a secluded cove and set up a kind of kibbutz. But the book suggests that the idea of trying to find a perfect, secluded island is pretty stupid. The group experiences a Lord of the Flies style meltdown – they all start turning on each other and I think it’s quite dystopian. That said, it is of course nice to get off the beaten track – but this novel deals with how far you can really do that as a backpacker.
Read about another entry from the Five Books list.

The Beach also appears on Kate Kellaway's ten best list of fictional holidays, Eleanor Muffitt top 12 list of books that make you want to pack your bags and trot the globe, Anna Wilson's top ten list of books set on the seaside, the Guardian editors' list of the 50 best summer reads ever, John Mullan's list of ten of the best swimming scenes in literature, and Sloane Crosley's list of five depressing beach reads.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Jason M. Hough reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Jason M. Hough, author of Zero World.

His entry begins:
As usual I'm devouring two books at once, because I'll do one in print when I have genuine reading time and the other as an audiobook when I'm driving or doing chores.

Right now in print I'm reading an advance copy of Scott Reintgen's Nyxia, which is a wonderful YA sci-fi novel about a planet with a unique and powerful element that the locals will only allow children to mine. It's extremely good and sports a great...[read on]
About Zero World, from the publisher:
Technologically enhanced superspy Peter Caswell has been dispatched on a top-secret assignment unlike anything he’s ever faced. A spaceship that vanished years ago has been found, along with the bodies of its murdered crew—save one. Peter’s mission is to find the missing crew member, who fled through what appears to be a tear in the very fabric of space. Beyond this mysterious doorway lies an even more confounding reality: a world that appears to be Earth’s twin.
Visit Jason M. Hough's website.

Writers Read: Jason M. Hough.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Ten top true crime books

Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich is the author of The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir. One of her ten favorite true crime books, as shared at Publishers Weekly:
Columbine by Dave Cullen

That journalistic challenge is one David Cullen faced head-on in the days after the devastating school shooting at Columbine. After the murders, the question of why Klebold and Harris had carried out their horrific plan was haunting—and the media quickly tried to put it to rest with too-simple, made-for-the-headlines answers: the Trenchcoat Mafia, bullying, the music of Marilyn Manson. Cullen spent 10years of investigation in Aurora, Colorado, digging through these answers to the complexity below, and the result is a page-turning, complex, disturbingly readable book of incredible ambition and scope.
Read about another book on the list.

Columbine is among Charles Graeber's top ten true crime books and Lauren Passell's top nine books for the true-crime obsessed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Claire Cameron's "The Last Neanderthal"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Last Neanderthal: A Novel by Claire Cameron.

About the book, from the publisher:
From the author of The Bear, the enthralling story of two women separated by millennia, but linked by an epic journey that will transform them both

Forty thousand years in the past, the last family of Neanderthals roams the earth. After a crushingly hard winter, their numbers are low, but Girl, the oldest daughter, is just coming of age and her family is determined to travel to the annual meeting place and find her a mate.

But the unforgiving landscape takes its toll, and Girl is left alone to care for Runt, a foundling of unknown origin. As Girl and Runt face the coming winter storms, Girl realizes she has one final chance to save her people, even if it means sacrificing part of herself.

In the modern day, archaeologist Rosamund Gale works well into her pregnancy, racing to excavate newly found Neanderthal artifacts before her baby comes. Linked across the ages by the shared experience of early motherhood, both stories examine the often taboo corners of women's lives.

Haunting, suspenseful, and profoundly moving, THE LAST NEANDERTHAL asks us to reconsider all we think we know about what it means to be human.
Visit Claire Cameron's website and Facebook page.

See Cameron's five notable stories about unlikely survivors.

My Book, The Movie: The Line Painter.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Neanderthal.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Daniel Brückenhaus's "Policing Transnational Protest"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Policing Transnational Protest: Liberal Imperialism and the Surveillance of Anticolonialists in Europe, 1905-1945 by Daniel Brückenhaus.

About the book, from the publisher:
Policing Transnational Protest offers an original perspective on the history of police surveillance of anticolonial activists in France, Britain, and Germany in the first half of the twentieth century. Tracing the undertakings of anticolonial activists from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East in Europe and reconstructing the reaction of European governments, it illuminates the increasing cooperation of the police and secret services to monitor the activities of the "oriental revolutionaries" and curb their room to maneuver. But those efforts had an unintended inflammatory effect, provoking both supporters and opponents of colonial rule to understand the conflict in increasingly global and trans-imperial terms. The surveillance also exacerbated tensions between Europeans friendly to the anticolonial cause, and those who prioritized imperial security over civil liberties and national sovereignty. Tracking growing levels of transnational government cooperation against anticolonialists, this book pays special attention to Germany, where many activists were able to carry out their political work in relative safety after escaping surveillance in Britain and France.

By analyzing the emergence of ever more sophisticated counter-terrorism schemes and surveillance apparatuses, Brückenhaus also contributes a pre-history of similar phenomena characterizing the post-9/11 world. He shows how, then as now, an intensification of a "war on terror" went hand in hand with concerns about encroachments on civil liberties, often expressed in open protest against such governance measures. Policing Transnational Protest informs current debates about intelligence gathering and surveillance in several European countries as well as their new cooperative partner, the United States.
Learn more about Policing Transnational Protest at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Policing Transnational Protest.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, May 19, 2017

Five top YA novels about dangerous games

At the BN Teen Blog Eric Smith tagged five great YA novels about dangerous games, including:
Genius: The Game, by Leopoldo Gout

Told in shifting points of view with a cast of wonderfully diverse characters, Gout’s surprising debut is one of the most underrated books of 2016. If you slept on this one…well, I’d like to fix that. The youngest and wealthiest tech CEO in the world invites geniuses from all over the planet to compete in a massive competition, and Rex (a Mexican American hacker), Tunde (an prodigal inventor from Nigeria), and Painted Wolf (a high-profile activist from China, a la Anonymous), team up to win the biggest prize: a way out of their current lives, and access to the most advanced technology that exists. But the game is far more complicated than any of them can imagine. This book is loaded with sharp wit, major thrills, and twists and betrayals at every turn. If you missed out, be sure to pick it up.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Lucinda Riley reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lucinda Riley, author of The Shadow Sister.

Her entry begins:
I’m currently tackling the beast that is James Joyce’s Ulysses, as I promised a friend I would attempt it again for the third time to try and make sense out of the book! Having just moved back home to Ireland, it's a fitting time. I’m always fascinated by the background story of the author when he/she was writing a novel and I was told that Joyce was taking medicine prescribed by his doctor while working on Ulysses, which may have contained...[read on]
About The Shadow Sister, from the publisher:
Star D'Aplièse is at a crossroads in her life after the sudden death of her beloved father - the elusive billionaire, named Pa Salt by his six daughters, all adopted by him from the four corners of the world. He has left each of them a clue to their true heritage, but Star - the most enigmatic of the sisters - is hesitant to step out of the safety of the close relationship she shares with her sister CeCe. In desperation, she decides to follow the first clue she has been left, which leads her to an antiquarian bookshop in London, and the start of a whole new world...

A hundred years earlier, headstrong and independent Flora MacNichol vows she will never marry. She is happy and secure in her home in the Lake District, living close to her idol, Beatrix Potter, when machinations outside her control lead her to London, and the home of one of Edwardian society's most notorious players, Alice Keppel. Flora is pulled between passionate love and duty to her family, but finds herself a pawn in a game - the rules of which are only known to others, until a meeting with a mysterious gentleman unveils the answers that Flora has been searching for her whole life...

As Star learns more of Flora's incredible journey, she too goes on a voyage of discovery, finally stepping out of the shadow of her sister and opening herself up to the possibility of love. Following on from the bestselling The Seven Sisters and The Storm Sister, The Shadow Sister is the third book in Lucinda Riley's spellbinding series, loosely based on the mythology of the Seven Sisters star cluster.
Visit Lucinda Riley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Shadow Sister.

Writers Read: Lucinda Riley.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about bad girls

Ellen Klages's books include The Green Glass Sea, White Sands, Red Menace, and the story collection Wicked Wonders. One of her five favorite books about bad girls who dance where they want to, as shared at Tor.com:
The Paying Guests
Sarah Waters
2014

A confession: I have not actually read this book. I listened to it as an audio book—all 21 hours and 28 minutes of it—the autumn after I hurt my back and had to spend many, many hours lying supine in a cool, darkened room.

(I have since read the print versions of several other Sarah Waters’s books, and am in awe of her talent and skill and mastery of prose. And story-telling.)

But I’m really glad that I listened to this one, because my American eye would not have caught the nuances of class difference in written dialogue nearly as well as the British narrator delivered those subtleties of speech and accent to my ears.

After WWI, Frances Wray and her mother find themselves with a large house, but reduced circumstances. They have let the servants go, one by one, and are finally forced to take in boarders—Len and Lillian Barber, a married couple. For the first part of the book, everyone is rather formal, then Lillian and Frances begin to teeter on the edge of a forbidden attraction. Eventually, they fall, dramatically, disastrously, irrevocably.

These two strong women defy their (very different) upbringings, cultural assumptions, gender roles, societal norms, and even laws in order to be together. The book turns from a novel-of-manners to a page-turning thriller in the space of a few chapters. I stayed up way past my bedtime to keep listening, the aural equivalent of “I couldn’t put it down.”
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ryan Lobo's "Mr. Iyer Goes to War," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Mr. Iyer Goes to War by Ryan Lobo.

The entry begins:
I initially wrote this book as a screenplay.

When I wrote the book I had in mind an actor like Sir Ben Kingsley as Lalgudi Iyer . His gangster character in the movie Sexy Beast was inspiring in some regards, especially the intensity.

I imagined Bencho to be played by...[read on]
Visit Ryan Lobo's website.

My Book, The Movie: Mr. Iyer Goes to War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Eight of the best cold-case mysteries

Fiona Barton's latest thriller is The Child. One of her eight favorite cold-case mysteries, as shared at B&N Reads:
Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson

This is the novel that introduced me to Jackson Brodie, Atkinson’s troubled private investigator (are there any other kind?). As the title suggests, he deals with more than one cold case—there are three family tragedies, including the disappearance of a child from a tent in a back garden thirty years earlier, an axe murder by a new mother, and the stabbing to death of a solicitor’s daughter. Now, don’t say you are not getting good value… The stories intertwine expertly and unexpectedly, leaving you desperate to read the next one.
Read about another entry on the list.

Case Histories is among Shirley Henderson's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Sam Wiebe's "Invisible Dead"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Invisible Dead by Sam Wiebe.

About the book, from the publisher:
An ex-cop who navigates by a moral compass stubbornly jammed at true north, Dave Wakeland is a talented private investigator with next to zero business sense. And even though he finds himself with a fancy new office and a corporate-minded partner, he continues to be drawn to cases that are usually impossible to solve and frequently don't pay.

When Wakeland is hired by a terminally ill woman to discover the whereabouts of her adopted child-who disappeared as an adult more than a decade earlier-it seems like just another in a string of poor career decisions. But it turns out this case is worse than usual, even by his standards. With only an anonymous and vaguely worded tip to guide him, Wakeland interviews an imprisoned serial killer who seems to know nothing about the case, but who nonetheless steers him toward Vancouver's terrifying criminal underworld.

And it all goes downhill from there.

Whatever ghosts drive Wakeland, they seem to drive him inexorably toward danger-a journey he's content to take so long as it means finding out what happened to someone the rest of the world seems happy enough to forget. With nothing to protect him but his wit and his empathy for the downtrodden and disenfranchised, Wakeland is on the case.
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe.

My Book, The Movie: Invisible Dead.

The Page 69 Test: Invisible Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Peter S. Ungar's "Evolution’s Bite"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Evolution's Bite: A Story of Teeth, Diet, and Human Origins by Peter S. Ungar.

About the book, from the publisher:
What teeth can teach us about the evolution of the human species

Whether we realize it or not, we carry in our mouths the legacy of our evolution. Our teeth are like living fossils that can be studied and compared to those of our ancestors to teach us how we became human. In Evolution's Bite, noted paleoanthropologist Peter Ungar brings together for the first time cutting-edge advances in understanding human evolution and climate change with new approaches to uncovering dietary clues from fossil teeth to present a remarkable investigation into the ways that teeth—their shape, chemistry, and wear—reveal how we came to be.

Ungar describes how a tooth's "foodprints"—distinctive patterns of microscopic wear and tear—provide telltale details about what an animal actually ate in the past. These clues, combined with groundbreaking research in paleoclimatology, demonstrate how a changing climate altered the food options available to our ancestors, what Ungar calls the biospheric buffet. When diets change, species change, and Ungar traces how diet and an unpredictable climate determined who among our ancestors was winnowed out and who survived, as well as why we transitioned from the role of forager to farmer. By sifting through the evidence—and the scars on our teeth—Ungar makes the important case for what might or might not be the most natural diet for humans.

Traveling the four corners of the globe and combining scientific breakthroughs with vivid narrative, Evolution's Bite presents a unique dental perspective on our astonishing human development.
Learn more about Evolution's Bite at the Princeton University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Evolution's Bite.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten novels about Pakistan

The Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin's books include the novel The End of Innocence and a collection of her satirical columns, The Diary of a Social Butterfly. One of her ten top novels about Pakistan, as shared at the Guardian:
Mottled Dawn By Saadat Hasan Manto

When, in August 1947, the subcontinent was partitioned, millions of Hindus and Sikhs left their ancestral homes in what had become Pakistan and trudged toward India, while Muslims made the opposite journey. The partition was scarred by an eruption of unspeakable sectarian violence. Hindus and Muslims, amicable neighbours for centuries, fell upon each other in an orgy of rape and bloodletting. Manto, then an urbane scriptwriter in cosmopolitan Bombay, saw the savagery up close. Migrating to Lahore in 1948, he channelled his rage and despair into a stream of Urdu short stories that are among the finest ever written in any language. On the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s cataclysmic birth, there can be no more important or sobering read.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Pg. 69: Bryn Chancellor's "Sycamore"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Sycamore: A Novel by Bryn Chancellor.

About the book, from the publisher:
Out for a hike one scorching afternoon in Sycamore, Arizona, a newcomer to town stumbles across what appear to be human remains embedded in the wall of a dry desert ravine. As news of the discovery makes its way around town, Sycamore’s longtime residents fear the bones may belong to Jess Winters, the teenage girl who disappeared suddenly some eighteen years earlier, an unsolved mystery that has soaked into the porous rock of the town and haunted it ever since. In the days it takes the authorities to make an identification, the residents rekindle stories, rumors, and recollections both painful and poignant as they revisit Jess’s troubled history. In resurrecting the past, the people of Sycamore will find clarity, unexpected possibility, and a way forward for their lives.

Skillfully interweaving multiple points of view, Bryn Chancellor knowingly maps the bloodlines of a community and the indelible characters at its heart—most notably Jess Winters, a thoughtful, promising adolescent poised on the threshold of adulthood. Evocative and atmospheric, Sycamore is a coming-of-age story, a mystery, and a moving exploration of the elemental forces that drive human nature—desire, loneliness, grief, love, forgiveness, and hope—as witnessed through the inhabitants of one small Arizona town.
Visit Bryn Chancellor's website.

Writers Read: Bryn Chancellor.

The Page 69 Test: Sycamore.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Wayne Franklin reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Wayne Franklin, author of James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years.

His entry begins:
Recently, I read J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy because I’m always looking for books that open up seemingly neglected areas of American experience, especially if they have a strong spatial component. One of my favorite books of all time, All God’s Dangers, Theodore Rosengarten’s 1974 account of the life of black Alabama sharecropper and labor activist Ned Cobb, shows considerably more power than Vance’s more modest book can muster. But Vance does tell, from personal experience, the tale of twentieth-century Scots-Irish migration from rural Tennessee to industrial Ohio, capturing the sense of social and spatial dislocation that...[read on]
About James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years, from the publisher:
A definitive new biography of James Fenimore Cooper, early nineteenth century master of American popular fiction

American author James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851) has been credited with inventing and popularizing a wide variety of genre fiction, including the Western, the spy novel, the high seas adventure tale, and the Revolutionary War romance. America’s first crusading novelist, Cooper reminds us that literature is not a cloistered art; rather, it ought to be intimately engaged with the world.

In this second volume of his definitive biography, Wayne Franklin concentrates on the latter half of Cooper’s life, detailing a period of personal and political controversy, far-ranging international travel, and prolific literary creation. We hear of Cooper’s progressive views on race and slavery, his doubts about American expansionism, and his concern about the future prospects of the American Republic, while observing how his groundbreaking career management paved the way for later novelists to make a living through their writing. Franklin offers readers the most comprehensive portrait to date of this underappreciated American literary icon.
Learn more about James Fenimore Cooper: The Later Years at the Yale University Press website.

Writers Read: Wayne Franklin.

--Marshal Zeringue

Lucinda Riley's "The Shadow Sister," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Shadow Sister by Lucinda Riley.

The entry begins:
When I dream-cast The Storm Sister last year for this blog, little did I know that my dreams would turn to reality: the Seven Sisters series has been optioned for a multi-season television adaptation by a Hollywood production company. I had a surreal experience when I went to Hollywood and discussed casting – and realised that I wasn’t ‘dream-casting’ anymore. While the project is still in its very early stages, working with the production team has given me a fascinating glimpse of what happens behind the scenes. I will have a lot of input in the casting process, so I am looking forward to meeting the talented actors and actresses who will bring my characters to life.

For the main character Star in The Shadow Sister, I have imagined the lovely French actress Léa Seydoux, who would be able to portray her vulnerability as well as her strength. Star’s life becomes entangled in that of two brothers: Orlando, the owner of an antique bookshop in London, who would be played by Rupert Grint (of Harry Potter fame) and his older brother, the mysterious Mouse, would be perfectly portrayed by Tom...[read on]
Visit Lucinda Riley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Storm Sister.

My Book, The Movie: The Shadow Sister.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven books that make you smarter about science

At B&N Reads Jeff Somers tagged eleven books that make science easy, including:
A Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson

Bryson is a non-scientist approaching awe-inspiring scientific concepts with a layman’s perspective and a writer’s mastery of language. The end result is a book that will explain science to you in a fun, relaxed way. The sheer breadth of the material Bryson covers is stunning. Plus, it’s Bill Bryson, so you’ll be entertained as heck the entire time.
Read about another entry on the list.

A Short History of Nearly Everything is among Nick Crane's top ten books about the planet, Paul McEuen's six favorite books, and Linda Greenlaw's favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Coffee with a canine: Claire LaZebnik & Harvey, Lula and Mabel

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Claire LaZebnik & Harvey, Lula and Mabel.

The author, on how she and her dogs were united:
We got Harvey, our old Lab, at a school fundraiser; I guess someone had asked his breeder to donate a puppy. Harvey was being passed from arm to arm and he was so calm and gentle, even my husband (who doesn’t always like dogs) was attracted to him. We’d both had a glass of wine, so I said, “Let’s bid on him,” and he said, “Sure—we’ll be outbid instantly so why not?” We bid and no one else raised a hand after. We were shocked. We thought tons of people would want him. We went home with him that night and our kids have never been more excited than when they discovered we had gained a dog while they were asleep.

Lula and Mabel are both rescues. My daughter fell in love with Lula when she was volunteering for a dog shelter and...[read on]
About LaZebnik's Things I Should Have Known:
Things Chloe Knew:
Her sister Ivy was lonely. Ethan was a perfect match. Ethan’s brother, David, was an arrogant jerk.

Things Chloe Should Have Known:
Set-ups are complicated. Ethan would be a perfect boyfriend…for someone other than Ivy. David is the one person who really gets Chloe.

From the author of Epic Fail comes the story of Chloe Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl on a quest to find love for her autistic sister, Ivy. Ethan, from Ivy’s class, seems like the perfect match. It’s unfortunate that his older brother, David, is one of Chloe’s least favorite people, but Chloe can deal, especially when she realizes that David is just as devoted to Ethan as she is to Ivy. Uncommonly honest and refreshingly funny, this is a story about sisterhood, autism, and first love. Chloe, Ivy, David, and Ethan, who form a quirky and lovable circle, will steal readers’ hearts and remind us all that it’s okay to be a different kind of normal.
Visit Claire LaZebnik's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Claire LaZebnik & Harvey, Lula and Mabel.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Avery Duff's "Beach Lawyer"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Beach Lawyer by Avery Duff.

About the book, from the publisher:
After five grueling years, Robert Worth is just days away from making partner at a powerful Santa Monica law firm. When a client confides in him that senior partner Jack Pierce sexually assaulted her, Robert breaks two of his mentor’s cardinal rules: Never let yourself get emotional about clients. And never make an enemy of Jack Pierce.

Robert crosses Pierce and is fired on the spot, losing not only his job but also his reputation. Advised to go quietly, Robert vows revenge against the ruthless man who betrayed him. But his investigation uncovers a twisted shadow world of sex, infidelity, and deception, where nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted. Only one thing is clear: Pierce will go the limit to keep his secrets.

This straight shooter will need to use every angle if he hopes to win. But could victory come at too high a price?
Learn more about Beach Lawyer.

My Book, The Movie: Beach Lawyer.

The Page 69 Test: Beach Lawyer.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: James Mark Shields's "Against Harmony"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Against Harmony: Progressive and Radical Buddhism in Modern Japan by James Mark Shields.

About the book, from the publisher:
Against Harmony traces the history of progressive and radical experiments in Japanese Buddhist thought and practice, from the mid-Meiji period through the early Showa. Perhaps the two best representations of progressive Buddhism during this time were the New Buddhist Fellowship (1899-1915) and the Youth League for Revitalizing Buddhism (1931-1936), both non-sectarian, lay movements well-versed in both classical Buddhist texts and Western philosophy and religion. Their work effectively collapsed commonly held distinctions between religion, philosophy, ethics, politics, and economics. Unlike many others of their day, they did not regard the novel forces of modernization as problematic and disruptive, but as opportunities.

James Mark Shields examines the intellectual genealogy and alternative visions of progressive and radical Buddhism in the decades leading up to the Pacific War. Exposing the variety in the conceptions and manifestations of progress, reform, and modernity in this period, he outlines their important implications for postwar and contemporary Buddhism in Japan and elsewhere.
Learn more about Against Harmony at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Against Harmony.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven top historical fiction books about epic rivalries

At the BookBub Blog by T.A. Maclagan tagged eleven historical fiction books about epic rivalries, including:
Oil and Marble by Stephanie Storey

From 1501—1505, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was a charming, handsome 50-year-old at the peak of his career. Michelangelo was a temperamental sculptor in his mid-20s, desperate to make a name for himself.

Michelangelo is a virtual unknown when he returns to Florence and wins the commission to carve what will become one of the most famous sculptures of all time: David. Even though his impoverished family shuns him for being an artist, he is desperate to support them. Living at the foot of his misshapen block of marble, Michelangelo struggles until the stone finally begins to speak. Working against an impossible deadline, he begins his feverish carving.

Meanwhile, Leonardo’s life is falling apart: He loses the hoped-for David commission; he can’t seem to finish any project; he is obsessed with his ungainly flying machine; he almost dies in war; his engineering designs disastrously fail; and he is haunted by a woman he has seen in the market — a merchant’s wife, whom he is finally commissioned to paint. Her name is Lisa, and she becomes his muse.

Leonardo despises Michelangelo for his youth and lack of sophistication. Michelangelo both loathes and worships Leonardo’s genius.

Oil and Marble is the story of their nearly forgotten rivalry. Storey brings early 16th-century Florence alive, and has entered with extraordinary empathy into the minds and souls of two Renaissance masters. The book is an art history thriller.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, May 15, 2017

Sam Wiebe's "Invisible Dead," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Invisible Dead by Sam Wiebe.

The entry begins:
Most MBTM entries focus on casting, but before I get there I’d like to talk about location.

Vancouver is known as Hollywood North due to the number of movies and TV shows filmed here. From X-Files to Deadpool to Jason Takes Manhattan, Vancouver is visually familiar to everyone…but not as itself.

So how do you film a story set here?

In some ways this overfamiliarity is an advantage, because Invisible Dead is a book about what lies beneath the surface of the city.

Invisible Dead’s Vancouver is a city where troubled young women go missing all too often. The main character, David Wakeland, sets out to find a missing sex worker, and must eventually confront some painful truths about life in his city.

Filming in Vancouver would offer a chance to show the city streets and tourist sights we all recognize…and then send the camera down the alleys and dark places that haven’t been captured on film. There is...[read on]
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe.

My Book, The Movie: Invisible Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Kim Culbertson's "The Wonder of Us"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson.

About the book, from the publisher:
Riya and Abby are: Best friends. Complete opposites. Living on different continents. Currently mad at each other. About to travel around Europe. Riya moved to Berlin, Germany, with her family for junior year, while Abby stayed behind in their small California town. They thought it would be easy to keep up their friendship-it's only a year and they've been best friends since preschool. But instead, they ended up fighting and not being there for the other. So Riya proposes an epic adventure to fix their friendship. Two weeks, six countries, unimaginable fun. But two small catches: They haven't talked in weeks. They've both been keeping secrets. Can Riya and Abby find their way back to each other among lush countrysides and dazzling cities, or does growing up mean growing apart?
Visit Kim Culbertson's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Kim Culbertson and Maya.

The Page 69 Test: Catch a Falling Star.

The Page 69 Test: The Wonder of Us.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is William Christie reading?

Featured at Writers Read: William Christie, author of A Single Spy.

His entry begins:
This is hard, because when I'm writing a novel I try not to read fiction. Or at least the genre I'm writing in. Because when I'm impressed I sometimes find myself writing in that writer's voice. And when I look at the day's work I find myself saying: what the hell? But in writing a historical novel I kept coming back to Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies. Not just that it is brilliant writing and brilliant use of history. But because she...[read on]
About A Single Spy, from the publisher:
“A single spy—in the right place and at the right moment—may change the course of history.”

Alexsi Ivanovich Smirnov, an orphan and a thief, has been living by his wits and surviving below the ever-watchful eye of the Soviet system until his luck finally runs out. In 1936, at the age of 16, Alexsi is caught by the NKVD and transported to Moscow. There, in the notorious headquarters of the secret police, he is given a choice: be trained and inserted as a spy into Nazi Germany under the identity of his best friend, the long lost nephew of a high ranking Nazi official, or disappear forever in the basement of the Lubyanka. For Alexsi, it’s no choice at all.

Over the course of the next seven years, Alexsi has to live his role, that of the devoted nephew of a high Nazi official, and ultimately works for the legendary German spymaster Wilhelm Canaris as an intelligence agent in the Abwehr. All the while, acting as a double agent—reporting back to the NKVD and avoiding detection by the Gestapo. Trapped between the implacable forces of two of the most notorious dictatorships in history, and truly loyal to no one but himself, Alexsi’s goal remains the same—survival.

In 1943, Alexsi is chosen by the Gestapo to spearhead one of the most desperate operations of the war—to infiltrate the site of the upcoming Tehran conference between Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin, and set them up to be assassinated. For Alexsi, it’s the moment of truth; for the rest of the world, the future is at stake.
Visit William Christie's website.

My Book, The Movie: A Single Spy.

Writers Read: William Christie.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thirty-two books for "American Gods" fans

At the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog Martin Cahill, inspired by the television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, tagged thirty-two books in which deities take direct action, including:
The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne, by Brian Staveley (4 books)

Staveley’s epic fantasy, continued in this year’s Skullsworn, centers on the children of an emperor whose lives are thrown into chaos in the wake of his death. In this world, humanity is only the newest in a long line of sentient beings, preceded by the cold, emotionless Csestriim and, before them, the primal Nevariim, all of them under the watch of the Old Gods and the Young. While the original trilogy has all these different layers of peoples at war, the gods run through each book, possessing, influencing, and using humanity to their own ends. Philosophically inclined, with steadfast but gorgeous prose, Stanley’s series is epic in scale but fresh in ideas.
Read about another entry on the list.

Writers Read: Brian Staveley (April 2017).

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Pg. 99: Jon Lewis's "Hard-Boiled Hollywood"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Hard-Boiled Hollywood: Crime and Punishment in Postwar Los Angeles by Jon Lewis.

About the book, from the publisher:
The tragic and mysterious circumstances surrounding the deaths of Elizabeth Short, or the Black Dahlia, and Marilyn Monroe ripped open Hollywood’s glitzy façade, exposing the city's ugly underbelly of corruption, crime, and murder. These two spectacular dead bodies, one found dumped and posed in a vacant lot in January 1947, the other found dead in her home in August 1962, bookend this new history of Hollywood. Short and Monroe are just two of the many left for dead after the collapse of the studio system, Hollywood’s awkward adolescence when the company town’s many competing subcultures—celebrities, moguls, mobsters, gossip mongers, industry wannabes, and desperate transients—came into frequent contact and conflict. Hard-Boiled Hollywood focuses on the lives lost at the crossroads between a dreamed-of Los Angeles and the real thing after the Second World War, where reality was anything but glamorous.
Learn more about Hard-Boiled Hollywood at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Hard-Boiled Hollywood.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about mothers

Dea Brøvig’s debut novel is The Last Boat Home. One of her ten top books about mothers, as shared at the Daily Express:
MOTHERS AND SONS by Colm Toibin

The territory between mother and child is well-trodden in Colm Toibin’s writing.

I particularly like his portrayal of those relationships in Mothers and Sons, a collection of eight short stories and one novella.

In one story, a woman left in debt after the death of her husband succeeds in turning their business around to the delight of her son, who hopes to one day take over, not realising her intentions are to sell up and leave town for good.

In another, as a priest prepares to go to court over allegations of abuse, his mother defies her children when she discovers she is the last to know.

Each story is special, not least for the endearments, admissions and accusations that go unsaid.
Read about another book on the list.

"The Use of Reason" by Colm Tóibín (from Mothers and Sons) made Ian MacKenzie's top 10 list of artworks in novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Amy Plum's "Dreamfall"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Dreamfall by Amy Plum.

About the book, from the publisher:
A Nightmare on Elm Street meets Inception in this gripping psychological thriller from international bestselling author Amy Plum. Seven teenagers who suffer from debilitating insomnia agree to take part in an experimental new procedure to cure it because they think it can’t get any worse. But they couldn’t be more wrong.

When the lab equipment malfunctions, the patients are plunged into a terrifying dreamworld where their worst nightmares have come to life—and they have no memory of how they got there. Hunted by monsters from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, these seven strangers will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Dreamfall is perfect for fans of dark and edgy young adult novels from authors like Danielle Vega, Natasha Preston, Kendare Blake, and Madeleine Roux. It is the first book in a spine-tingling duology full of action, suspense, and horror that's sure to keep readers on the edge of their seat until the very last page.
Visit Amy Plum's website, and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Coffee with a Canine: Amy Plum and Ella.

The Page 69 Test: Dreamfall.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Five top books about sleuths

Gwenda Bond and Christopher Rowe are married, and the Supernormal Sleuthing Service series is their first writing collaboration. Among their five favorite bookish sleuths, as shared at Tor.com:
A Spy in the House (and the rest of The Agency series) by YS Lee

Oh, how I [Gwenda] love this series! How about an alternate Victorian England where a secret women’s detective agency, with a girl’s school attached, natch, exists? Yes, right. So much yes. Main character Mary Quinn has secrets of her own and like most of my favorite sleuths has a knack for getting in over her head and then coming out on top anyway.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Sam Wiebe reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Sam Wiebe, author of Invisible Dead.

His entry begins:
My local bookstore owner recommended Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson practically at gunpoint, calling it “an aboriginal Twin Peaks.” It’s about Jared, a teenaged indigenous kid trying to negotiate his hellishly dysfunctional family. Robinson is from the Haisla First Nation, and her writing ranges from my hometown of Vancouver to the small towns of northern British Columbia. She writes characters who understand poverty and desperation, but her books also feature moments of humour and genuine kindness. As the title suggests, there are elements of the mythical and supernatural, but like Stephen King’s...[read on]
About Invisible Dead, from the publisher:
An ex-cop who navigates by a moral compass stubbornly jammed at true north, Dave Wakeland is a talented private investigator with next to zero business sense. And even though he finds himself with a fancy new office and a corporate-minded partner, he continues to be drawn to cases that are usually impossible to solve and frequently don't pay.

When Wakeland is hired by a terminally ill woman to discover the whereabouts of her adopted child-who disappeared as an adult more than a decade earlier-it seems like just another in a string of poor career decisions. But it turns out this case is worse than usual, even by his standards. With only an anonymous and vaguely worded tip to guide him, Wakeland interviews an imprisoned serial killer who seems to know nothing about the case, but who nonetheless steers him toward Vancouver's terrifying criminal underworld.

And it all goes downhill from there.

Whatever ghosts drive Wakeland, they seem to drive him inexorably toward danger-a journey he's content to take so long as it means finding out what happened to someone the rest of the world seems happy enough to forget. With nothing to protect him but his wit and his empathy for the downtrodden and disenfranchised, Wakeland is on the case.
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe.

--Marshal Zeringue