Friday, June 22, 2018

Pg. 69: E.M. Powell's "The King’s Justice"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The King's Justice by E.M. Powell.

About the book, from the publisher:
A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it becomes clear that nobody is above suspicion.

Facing growing unrest in the village and the fury of the lord of the manor, Stanton and Barling find themselves drawn into a mystery that defies logic, pursuing a killer who evades capture at every turn.

Can they solve the riddle of who is preying upon the villagers? And can they do it without becoming prey themselves?
Visit E.M. Powell's website, blog, Twitter perch and Facebook page.

Coffee with a Canine: E.M. Powell & Marshall.

The Page 69 Test: The King's Justice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 21, 2018

What is Cara Black reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Cara Black, author of Murder on the Left Bank.

Her entry begins:
This summer, I’m re-reading Philip Kerr’s books, the Bernie Gunther series.

In March, after ordering Kerr’s latest book, Greeks Bearing Gifts, and planning to spend a long weekend with Bernie in his latest investigation, shocking news came. I was at Left Coast Crime, and the rumor spreading around the conference was sadly true. Philip Kerr had passed two weeks before his book was coming out.

I’ve been a reader and fan since the 90’s. Bernie Gunther’s wise cracking, irreverent, police detective, then PI with a conscience in Berlin pre and post WW2 stuck with me. Kerr’s writing and the way he referenced history and that time so vivid in detail, had influenced me.

After the author’s untimely death, I missed Bernie, and definitely missed that this would be the author’s last book. I’ve...[read on]
About Murder on the Left Bank, from the publisher:
The eighteenth mystery in the New York Times bestselling Parisian detective series!

A dying man drags his oxygen machine into the office of Éric Besson, a lawyer in Paris’s 13th arrondissement. The old man, an accountant, is carrying a dilapidated notebook full of meticulous investment records. For decades, he has been helping a cadre of dirty cops launder stolen money. The notebook contains his full confession—he’s waited 50 years to make it, and now it can’t wait another day. He is adamant that Besson get the notebook into the hands of La Proc, Paris’s chief prosecuting attorney, so the corruption can finally be brought to light. But en route to La Proc, Besson’s courier—his assistant and nephew—is murdered, and the notebook disappears.

Grief-stricken Éric Besson tries to hire private investigator Aimée Leduc to find the notebook, but she is reluctant to get involved. Her father was a cop and was murdered by the same dirty syndicate the notebook implicates. She’s not sure which she’s more afraid of, the dangerous men who would kill for the notebook or the idea that her father’s name might be among the dirty cops listed within it. Ultimately that’s the reason she must take the case, which leads her across the Left Bank, from the Cambodian enclave of Khmer Rouge refugees to the ancient royal tapestry factories to the modern art galleries.
The Page 69 Test: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

My Book, the Movie: Murder at the Lanterne Rouge.

The Page 69 Test: Murder below Montparnasse.

The Page 69 Test: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder in Pigalle.

My Book, The Movie: Murder on the Champ de Mars.

Writers Read: Cara Black.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five notable books about motherhood and dystopia

Siobhan Adcock is the author of the novels The Barter and The Completionist. One of five top books about motherhood and dystopia she tagged at Tor.com:
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The grandmama of them all is back on bestseller lists and the inspiration for a wildly successful streaming series that brings Atwood’s original storyline onto an even bigger, scarier, more international stage. Atwood challenges us with a vision of a world so terrifyingly altered that women have lost every freedom, and motherhood itself has been redefined as a state of slavery. Yet of all the losses women face in Atwood’s story, Offred’s loss of her daughter is the most intimate and horrifying. Still, Offred’s determination to remain essentially herself—in her stubborn love of language (when even reading food labels is forbidden), and in her refusal to deny her own kindness, passion, anger, and fear—is what makes this novel such a masterpiece.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Handmaid's Tale made a list of four books that changed Meg Keneally, A.J. Hartley's list of five favorite books about the making of a dystopia, Lidia Yuknavitch's 6 favorite books list, Elisa Albert's list of nine revelatory books about motherhood, Michael W. Clune's top five list of books about imaginary religions, Jeff Somers's top six list of often misunderstood SF/F novels, Jason Sizemore's top five list of books that will entertain and drop you into the depths of despair, S.J. Watson's list of four books that changed him, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick's list of eight of the most badass ladies in all of banned literature, Guy Lodge's list of ten of the best dystopias in fiction, art, film, and television, Bethan Roberts's top ten list of novels about childbirth, Rachel Cantor's list of the ten worst jobs in books, Charlie Jane Anders and Kelly Faircloth's list of the best and worst childbirth scenes in science fiction and fantasy, Lisa Tuttle's critic's chart of the top Arthur C. Clarke Award winners, and PopCrunch's list of the sixteen best dystopian books of all time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Gideon Yaffe's "The Age of Culpability"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Age of Culpability: Children and the Nature of Criminal Responsibility by Gideon Yaffe.

About the book, from the publisher:
Why be lenient towards children who commit crimes? Reflection on the grounds for such leniency is the entry point into the development, in this book, of a theory of the nature of criminal responsibility and desert of punishment for crime. Gideon Yaffe argues that child criminals are owed lesser punishments than adults thanks not to their psychological, behavioural, or neural immaturity but, instead, because they are denied the vote. This conclusion is reached through accounts of the nature of criminal culpability, desert for wrongdoing, strength of legal reasons, and what it is to have a say over the law. The centrepiece of this discussion is the theory of criminal culpability. To be criminally culpable is for one's criminal act to manifest a failure to grant sufficient weight to the legal reasons to refrain. The stronger the legal reasons, then, the greater the criminal culpability. Those who lack a say over the law, it is argued, have weaker legal reasons to refrain from crime than those who have a say. They are therefore reduced in criminal culpability and deserve lesser punishment for their crimes. Children are owed leniency, then, because of the political meaning of age rather than because of its psychological meaning. This position has implications for criminal justice policy, with respect to, among other things, the interrogation of children suspected of crimes and the enfranchisement of adult felons.
Learn more about The Age of Culpability at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Age of Culpability.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top books about the afterlife

Tim Thornton is the author of the novels The Alternative Hero, Death of An Unsigned Band, and Felix Romsey's Afterparty. He also plays drums for the band Fink. Among his top ten books about the afterlife, as shared at the Guardian:
The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier (2006)

In an accommodating but bland city, the deceased continue to exist, but only as long as someone still alive remembers them. Back on mid-21st-century Earth, things are going dangerously wrong: not least, the rampant spread of genetically modified viruses. If Earth’s population dwindles, what happens to the city of the remembered dead? An intriguing, melancholic portrait of an “in-between” place blossoms into a beautifully lyrical study of memory itself.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

What is Kyle Burke reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kyle Burke, author of Revolutionaries for the Right: Anticommunist Internationalism and Paramilitary Warfare in the Cold War.

From his entry:
I just finished Kathleen Belew’s outstanding and dismaying Bring the War Home: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America. Based on deep research into FBI files, obscure far-right publications, and other sources, Belew explains the origin and evolution of a militarized white power movement that now spans the country. Starting in the late 1970s, disparate sets of Klansman, neo-Nazis, tax protesters, Christian Identarians, and others joined forces. But rather than unite under a single banner, they utilized a strategy of “leaderless resistance,” which bred dispersed acts of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. Few authorities or commentators were able to link seemingly diffuse acts of violence to each other, or to the world of white power. Instead, they explained the far-right’s growing capacity for violence as the work of “lone wolves,” a framing that persists today. But...[read on]
About Revolutionaries for the Right, from the publisher:
Freedom fighters. Guerrilla warriors. Soldiers of fortune. The many civil wars and rebellions against communist governments drew heavily from this cast of characters. Yet from Nicaragua to Afghanistan, Vietnam to Angola, Cuba to the Congo, the connections between these anticommunist groups have remained hazy and their coordination obscure. Yet as Kyle Burke reveals, these conflicts were the product of a rising movement that sought paramilitary action against communism worldwide. Tacking between the United States and many other countries, Burke offers an international history not only of the paramilitaries who started and waged small wars in the second half of the twentieth century but of conservatism in the Cold War era.

From the start of the Cold War, Burke shows, leading U.S. conservatives and their allies abroad dreamed of an international anticommunist revolution. They pinned their hopes to armed men, freedom fighters who could unravel communist states from within. And so they fashioned a global network of activists and state officials, guerrillas and mercenaries, ex-spies and ex-soldiers to sponsor paramilitary campaigns in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Blurring the line between state-sanctioned and vigilante violence, this armed crusade helped radicalize right-wing groups in the United States while also generating new forms of privatized warfare abroad.
Learn more about Revolutionaries for the Right at The University of North Carolina Press website.

Writers Read: Kyle Burke.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five books that explore hidden domestic lives

Lucy Worsley's latest books are a non-fiction book for adults called Jane Austen at Home, and a novel for younger readers called My Name is Victoria. At the Guardian she tagged "five volumes that help you understand the domestic lives of people in the past – and why they came to matter," including:
[D]o you have a lingering feeling that constitutional or diplomatic history is more serious, more worthy? Well the personal is the political, a point made, at the same time as Girouard [Life in the English Country House (1978)] was writing, in the wildly popular and highly influential novel by Marilyn French, The Women’s Room (1977). I cannot erase from my mind French’s astonishingly realistic re-creation of the heroine Mira’s terrible, turgid housework routine.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Women’s Room is among four books that changed Jesse Blackadder.

--Marshal Zeringue

Yoon Ha Lee's "Ninefox Gambit," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, author of Revenant Gun.

The entry begins:
While I certainly wouldn't say no if someone offered to make my book Ninefox Gambit into a film, I suspect the special effects budget would be prohibitive! One of the hazards of writing space opera, I guess. I had actually imagined the book in animation instead, like Voltron: Legendary Defender or Code Geass or Avatar: The Last Airbender. But it costs nothing to dream, either way.

The first of my two main characters is Shuos Jedao, an undead general known both for never losing a battle across four hundred years and for an infamous massacre in which he blew up two armies, one of them his own. I'd cast Daniel Dae Kim. I've enjoyed his range in the different roles I've seen him in (I was so sad when his Gavin the evil lawyer died in Angel!) and I'd be fascinated to see how he interpreted a treacherous ghost general.

The second is Jedao's unwilling protégée, Captain Kel Cheris. She's dedicated and brilliant in a completely different way--she's a mathematician--and although she starts out...[read on]
Visit Yoon Ha Lee's website.

The Page 69 Test: Revenant Gun.

Writers Read: Yoon Ha Lee.

My Book, The Movie: Ninefox Gambit.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Stephanie Butland's "The Lost For Words Bookshop"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Lost for Words Bookshop: A Novel by Stephanie Butland.

About the book, from the publisher:
Loveday Cardew prefers books to people. If you look carefully, you might glimpse the first lines of the novels she loves most tattooed on her skin. But there are some things Loveday will never, ever show you.

Into her hiding place - the bookstore where she works - come a poet, a lover, and three suspicious deliveries.

Someone has found out about her mysterious past. Will Loveday survive her own heartbreaking secrets?
Follow Stephanie Butland on Twitter and Facebook.

My Book, The Movie: The Lost for Words Bookshop.

The Page 69 Test: The Lost for Words Bookshop.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pg. 99: Philip Thai's "China's War on Smuggling"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: China's War on Smuggling: Law, Economic Life, and the Making of the Modern State, 1842–1965 by Philip Thai.

About the book, from the publisher:
Smuggling along the Chinese coast has been a thorn in the side of many regimes. From opium and weapons concealed aboard foreign steamships in the Qing dynasty to nylon stockings and wristwatches trafficked in the People’s Republic, contests between state and smuggler have exerted a surprising but crucial influence on the political economy of modern China. Seeking to consolidate domestic authority and confront foreign challenges, states introduced tighter regulations, higher taxes, and harsher enforcement. These interventions sparked widespread defiance, triggering further coercive measures. Smuggling simultaneously threatened the state’s power while inviting repression that strengthened its authority.

Philip Thai chronicles the vicissitudes of smuggling in modern China—its practice, suppression, and significance—to demonstrate the intimate link between illicit coastal trade and the amplification of state power. China’s War on Smuggling shows that the fight against smuggling was not a simple law enforcement problem but rather an impetus to centralize authority and expand economic controls. The smuggling epidemic gave Chinese states pretext to define legal and illegal behavior, and the resulting constraints on consumption and movement remade everyday life for individuals, merchants, and communities. Drawing from varied sources such as legal cases, customs records, and popular press reports and including diverse perspectives from political leaders, frontline enforcers, organized traffickers, and petty runners, Thai uncovers how different regimes policed maritime trade and the unintended consequences their campaigns unleashed. China’s War on Smuggling traces how defiance and repression redefined state power, offering new insights into modern Chinese social, legal, and economic history.
Learn more about China's War on Smuggling at the Columbia University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: China's War on Smuggling.

--Marshal Zeringue

Six of the best books about the advertising industry

Ken Auletta is The New Yorker's senior media correspondent and author of Googled, Three Blind Mice, and other nonfiction best-sellers. One of six books that shaped his new book Frenemies: The Epic Disruption of the Ad Business (and Everything Else), as shared at The Week magazine:
Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy

In a story reminiscent of Matthew Weiner's brilliant Mad Men series, Ogilvy offers an enjoyable jaunt back to a time when creatives rather than quants ruled advertising. He shares backstories to his most memorable ad campaigns, including his favorite: "At 60 Miles an Hour the Loudest Noise in This New Roll-Royce Comes From the Electric Clock."
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Demetra Brodsky reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Demetra Brodsky, author of Dive Smack.

Her entry begins:
This interview came at an odd time in my reading queue, because when I’m drafting I like to read non-fiction so the voice of whatever I’m reading doesn’t spill into my own writing. I’m currently working on a new thriller and reading two fascinating books as research for that novel. The first is The Skeleton Crew: How Amateur Sleuths Are Solving America’s Coldest Cases by Deborah Halber. What’s interesting about this read is that there are so many people, including myself who listen to murder podcasts that the fascination with how cold cases are cracked has grown with the increased access to that knowledge. Naturally. Deborah Halber’s book paints individual portraits and opens with a case about a body that was found wrapped in...[read on]
About Dive Smack, from the publisher:
Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.
Visit Demetra Brodsky's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Demetra Brodsky & L.B. and Ponyboy Curtis.

The Page 69 Test: Dive Smack.

Writers Read: Demetra Brodsky.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top fantastical heroines in great children’s books

Lavie Tidhar's latest novels are the forthcoming Unholy Land (2018) and his first children’s novel, Candy (2018). He is the author of many other novels, novellas and short stories. At Tor.com he tagged five fantastical heroines in great children’s books, including:
Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Scout, as everyone probably knows, is Harper Lee, and Dill is Truman Capote. What inspired me here was not just the book, which I love, but the actual life of (Nelle) Harper Lee. Nelle in Candy is named after her, of course. I first came across the idea of Lee as a detective of sort in the films Infamous and Capote, which weirdly came out around the same time, and both concern the writing of Capote’s In Cold Blood. Lee, his childhood friend (and before publication of her seminal novel), joined him on his investigation into the murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas. Lee is wonderfully played in the two movies by Sandra Bullock and Catherine Keener, respectively. So “my” Nelle is very much intended as a homage for the young Scout/Harper Lee herself.

It’s probably worth saying Mockingbird is, of course, very much not a fantasy novel, though I don’t know! Boo Radley’s as gothic a character as anything out of Shirley Jackson, and—hold on, can we make this list six characters? Because Merricat, in Jackson’s incredible We Have Always Lived in the Castle is just such a wonderful—if wonderfully disturbing!—character in her own right…

(Incidentally, it once occurred to me to wonder what would have happened had Capote and Lee took a wrong turn and ended up investigating a murder in Innsmouth instead of Holcomb. It’s in a story called—you guessed it—“Cold Blood,” in an anthology called Innsmouth Nightmares… But I digress! Needless to say, though, the manuscript of To Kill a Mockingbird Lee is writing turns out quite a bit different than in our own reality.)
Read about another entry on the list.

To Kill a Mockingbird made Sarah Ward's ten top list of brothers and sisters in fiction, Katy Guest's list of six top books for shy readers, Jeff Somers's top ten list of fictional characters based on actual people, Carol Wall's list of five books that changed her, John Bardinelli's list of five authors who became famous after publishing a single novel and never published another one, Ellie Irving's top ten list of quiet heroes and heroines, a list of five books that changed Richelle Mead, Robert Williams's top ten list of loners in fiction, Alyssa Bereznak's top ten list of literary heroes with weird names, Louise Doughty's top ten list of courtroom dramas, Hanna McGrath's top fifteen list of epic epigraphs, the Telegraph's list of ten great meals in literature, Nicole Hill's list of fourteen characters their creators should have spared, Isla Blair's six best books list, Lauren Passell's list of ten pairs of books made better when read together, Charlie Fletcher's top ten list of adventure classics, Sheila Bair's 6 favorite books list, Kathryn Erskine's top ten list of first person narratives, Julia Donaldson's six best books list, TIME magazine's top 10 list of books you were forced to read in school, John Mullan's list of ten of the best lawyers in literature, John Cusack's list of books that made a difference to him, Lisa Scottoline's top ten list of books about justice, and Luke Leitch's list of ten literary one-hit wonders. It is one of Sanjeev Bhaskar's six best books and one of Alexandra Styron's five best stories of fathers and daughters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, June 18, 2018

Pg. 99: Stephen W. Sawyer's "Demos Assembled"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Demos Assembled: Democracy and the International Origins of the Modern State, 1840–1880 by Stephen W. Sawyer.

About the book, from the publisher:
Previous studies have covered in great detail how the modern state slowly emerged from the early Renaissance through the seventeenth century, but we know relatively little about the next great act: the birth and transformation of the modern democratic state. And in an era where our democratic institutions are rife with conflict, it’s more important now than ever to understand how our institutions came into being.

Stephen W. Sawyer’s Demos Assembled provides us with a fresh, transatlantic understanding of that political order’s genesis. While the French influence on American political development is well understood, Sawyer sheds new light on the subsequent reciprocal influence that American thinkers and politicians had on the establishment of post-revolutionary regimes in France. He argues that the emergence of the stable Third Republic (1870–1940), which is typically said to have been driven by idiosyncratic internal factors, was in fact a deeply transnational, dynamic phenomenon. Sawyer’s findings reach beyond their historical moment, speaking broadly to conceptions of state formation: how contingent claims to authority, whether grounded in violence or appeals to reason and common cause, take form as stateness.
Learn more about Demos Assembled at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Demos Assembled.

--Marshal Zeringue

Rebecca Makkai's "The Great Believers," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai.

The entry begins:
If I get to indulge in this lovely daydream, I’m going to start by changing the parameters: I think The Great Believers would work better as a limited TV series than as a movie. Ten episodes. Great thing about TV shows, you can have an intro montage each time. I’d want photos of actual groups of friends from Chicago at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Friends dancing, friends posing, people in wheelchairs at the Pride parade, people at candlelight vigils, people at protests, people sick, friends lounging on the Belmont Rocks. While my novel is fiction, it’s about an experience that many very real people lived through—or lived only partway through—and I want those people there.

I’ve made myself a promise—one I’m intentionally putting in writing here—that if I’m lucky enough to have film or TV interest in this book, I would sell the rights only with the stipulation that the story stay in Chicago. Everything out there already is about San Francisco or New York. The story of AIDS in Chicago is different, and important, and fascinating. I could hand them a big long list of consultants, people who’ll kick their butts on 1980s Boystown details as much as they kicked mine. And we’re filming in Chicago, not in frickin’ Vancouver.

Some casting:

For Yale Tishman, my central guy, the one whose life simultaneously falls apart and takes on greater meaning over the course of the book, I want a young, gay cross between Paul Reiser and David Eigenberg. But no New York accent, please.

For Fiona, the woman we know as a flighty but loyal friend in the 1980s, and as a mother full of regret in 2015 Paris, I want both Kate...[read on]
Learn more about the author and her work at Rebecca Makkai's website, Facebook page and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Borrower.

The Page 69 Test: The Hundred-Year House.

My Book, The Movie: The Hundred-Year House.

My Book, The Movie: The Great Believers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Anne Frasier's "The Body Counter"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Body Counter by Anne Frasier.

About the book, from the publisher:
From a New York Times bestselling author comes the chilling follow-up to the Thriller Award winner The Body Reader.

Months after discovering the mastermind behind her own kidnapping, Detective Jude Fontaine is dealing with the past the only way she knows how: by returning to every dark corner of it. But it’s a new, escalating series of mass slayings that has become her latest obsession at Homicide.

At first, Jude and her partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, can see no pattern to the seemingly random methods, the crime scenes, or the victims—until they’re approached by a brilliantly compulsive math professor. He believes that the madman’s next move is not incalculable; in fact, it’s all part of a sequential and ingenious numerical riddle. His theory is adding up. The body count is rising.

But when the latest victim is found in Jude’s apartment, the puzzle comes with a personal twist that’s going to test the breaking point of her already-fragile state of mind. For all she knows, her number may be up.
Visit Anne Frasier's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Body Counter.

--Marshal Zeringue

Marisha Pessl's six favorite stories of suspense

Marisha Pessl's new novel is Neverworld Wake. One of her six favorite stories of suspense, as shared at The Week magazine:
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

My grandmother introduced me at an early age to the grand dame of mystery, and Christie remains one of my favorite writers. I still love this Hercule Poirot tale for its exotic setting, the unchecked passions and heartaches of its characters, and the shock twist ending.
Read about another entry on the list.

Death on the Nile is among Sophia Bennett's top ten books set in the Mediterranean.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Coffee with a canine: E.M. Powell & Marshall

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: E.M. Powell & Marshall.

The author, on how she and Marshall were united:
We had to put Poppy, our sweet, bonkers girl of 14 years, to sleep last summer. We were utterly heartbroken. But we only lasted three weeks without a doggo. We weren’t in any way trying to replace her. But she was a rescue and we thought, ‘Why hang around and leave a dog in a shelter when they could be home with us?’ So we found Marshall at a wonderful shelter called Homeless Hounds here in the northwest of England. He’d been abandoned and would’ve been put down if...[read on]
About E.M. Powell's new novel, The King's Justice:
A murder that defies logic—and a killer on the loose.

England, 1176. Aelred Barling, esteemed clerk to the justices of King Henry II, is dispatched from the royal court with his young assistant, Hugo Stanton, to investigate a brutal murder in a village outside York.

The case appears straightforward. A suspect is under lock and key in the local prison, and the angry villagers are demanding swift justice. But when more bodies are discovered, certainty turns to doubt—and amid the chaos it becomes clear that nobody is above suspicion.

Facing growing unrest in the village and the fury of the lord of the manor, Stanton and Barling find themselves drawn into a mystery that defies logic, pursuing a killer who evades capture at every turn.

Can they solve the riddle of who is preying upon the villagers? And can they do it without becoming prey themselves?
Visit E.M. Powell's website, blog, Twitter perch and Facebook page.

Coffee with a Canine: E.M. Powell & Marshall.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Margarita Engle reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Margarita Engle, author of Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots.

Her entry begins:
This is an unusual moment for me, because I’m only reading a few books, instead of many. It’s also unusual because none of them are children’s books. I seem to have entered a summer of grownup books, even though I’m usually surrounded by piles of published and advanced review copies of works for young readers. I’m sure this strangely adult reading phase will pass soon, because I go to the library several times per week, and I visit every bookstore in town almost as often. (I’ve never ordered any book online. I prefer to support bookstores, especially the independent ones.)

There There by Tommy Orange
Wow! What a powerful and beautifully written novel about the urban Native American community in Oakland, California. I love the way chapters are in different voices, all so different and unique, yet united by heritage and a page-turning...[read on]
About Jazz Owls, from the publisher:
From the Young People’s Poet Laureate Margarita Engle comes a searing novel in verse about the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943.

Thousands of young Navy sailors are pouring into Los Angeles on their way to the front lines of World War II. They are teenagers, scared, longing to feel alive before they have to face the horrors of battle. Hot jazz music spiced with cool salsa rhythms calls them to dance with the local Mexican American girls, who jitterbug all night before working all day in the canneries. Proud to do their part for the war effort, these Jazz Owl girls are happy to dance with the sailors—until the blazing summer night when racial violence leads to murder.

Suddenly the young white sailors are attacking these girls’ brothers and boyfriends. The cool, loose zoot suits they wear are supposedly the reason for the violence—when in reality these boys are viciously beaten and arrested simply because of the color of their skin.

In soaring images and powerful poems, this is the breathtaking story of what became known as the Zoot Suit Riots as only Margarita Engle could tell it.
Visit Margarita Engle's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Margarita Engle & Maggi and Chance.

My Book, The Movie: The Lightning Dreamer.

My Book, The Movie: Mountain Dog.

The Page 69 Test: Silver People.

The Page 99 Test: Enchanted Air.

The Page 69 Test: Lion Island.

Writers Read: Margarita Engle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eight psychological thrillers of women starting over

Jennifer Hillier's new novel is Jar of Hearts. At CrimeReads she tagged eight crime novels of women starting over, including:
Never Let You Go, Chevy Stevens

Chevy Stevens’s Never Let You Go explores something similar with fathers and daughters. Lindsey has completely rebuilt her life as a single mom, but her abusive ex-husband has been released from prison and is attempting to build a relationship with their teenage daughter without her finding out. Sophie is understandably curious about her dad, and it’s hard for her to reconcile the seemingly kind, protective man she’s getting to know with the man who terrifies her mother. Told in alternating points of view, we get a close look at how both women are forced to adapt to their precarious situations.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 69 Test: Never Let You Go.

My Book, The Movie: Never Let You Go.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Seth Perry's "Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States by Seth Perry.

About the book, from the publisher:
Early Americans claimed that they looked to "the Bible alone" for authority, but the Bible was never, ever alone. Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States is a wide-ranging exploration of the place of the Christian Bible in America in the decades after the Revolution. Attending to both theoretical concerns about the nature of scriptures and to the precise historical circumstances of a formative period in American history, Seth Perry argues that the Bible was not a "source" of authority in early America, as is often said, but rather a site of authority: a cultural space for editors, commentators, publishers, preachers, and readers to cultivate authoritative relationships.

While paying careful attention to early national bibles as material objects, Perry shows that "the Bible" is both a text and a set of relationships sustained by a universe of cultural practices and assumptions. Moreover, he demonstrates that Bible culture underwent rapid and fundamental changes in the early nineteenth century as a result of developments in technology, politics, and religious life. At the heart of the book are typical Bible readers, otherwise unknown today, and better-known figures such as Zilpha Elaw, Joseph Smith, Denmark Vesey, and Ellen White, a group that includes men and women, enslaved and free, Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Mormons, Presbyterians, and Quakers. What they shared were practices of biblical citation in writing, speech, and the performance of their daily lives. While such citation contributed to the Bible's authority, it also meant that the meaning of the Bible constantly evolved as Americans applied it to new circumstances and identities.
Learn more about Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States at the Princeton University Press website.

Writers Read: Seth Perry.

The Page 99 Test: Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Antony Beevor's six best books

The military historian Antony Beevor has written both novels and non-fiction. His latest book is Arnhem: The Battle for the Bridges, 1944. One of his six best books, as shared at the Daily Express:
THE RED AND THE BLACK by Stendhal

A compelling novel of love, ambition, obstinacy and romantic tragedy. It features a fascinating fictional hero, a brilliant meritocrat who is brought down by the reactionary French establishment. I first read it in Paris 45 years ago.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Red and the Black is among Piers Paul Read's top ten novels about unfaithful wives, André Aciman five best books on lovers touching hands, John Banville's five best books on early love and the flush of infatuation, Warren Adler's five best books about ambition, and Norman Mailer's top ten works of literature.

--Marshal Zeringue

Stephanie Butland's "The Lost For Words Bookshop," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Lost for Words Bookshop: A Novel by Stephanie Butland.

The entry begins:
The first time I visited my UK publisher's offices there was quite a debate going about who would play the main characters in the movie of The Lost for Words Bookshop!

Archie was a toss-up between Simon Callow and Jim Broadbent. (I'd go with Jim Broadbent — no-one does avuncular quite like him.) Or maybe Kiefer Sutherland?

Nathan has, I think, the quality of a young Jonny Lee Miller, but a young James...[read on]
Follow Stephanie Butland on Twitter and Facebook.

My Book, The Movie: The Lost for Words Bookshop.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Eric Bernt's "The Speed of Sound"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Speed of Sound by Eric Bernt.

About the book, from the publisher:
In this propulsive thriller, one of the most ingenious young men in the world has also become the most dangerous…or has he?

Harmony House is more than a “special place for special people.” It’s a think tank where high-functioning autistic savants harness their unique abilities for the benefit of society. Resident Eddie Parks’s contribution is nothing less than extraordinary: an “echo box” that can re-create never-recorded sounds using acoustic archeology.

All Eddie wants is to hear his late mother’s voice. But what he’s created is inadvertently posing a threat to national security.

To Harmony House’s shadowy government backers and radical extremists, the echo box is the ultimate intelligence asset—an end to the very concept of secrecy. Now for Eddie and the compassionate Dr. Skylar Drummond, the true nature of the institution is becoming chillingly clear.

As ruthless competing enemies close in on Eddie and his miraculous machine, Skylar risks all to take him on the run. Because once that prize is won, Eddie Parks will no longer be considered a “special person” but a dangerous redundancy. An inconvenient echo that must be silenced.
Visit Eric Bernt's website.

Writers Read: Eric Bernt.

The Page 69 Test: The Speed of Sound.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five top books about magical apocalypses

Peng Shepherd was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from New York University, and has lived in Beijing, London, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, and New York.

The Book of M is her first novel.

One of Shepherd's five favorite books about magical apocalypses, as shared at Tor.com:
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

What if what you dreamed sometimes came true? Good dreams, bad dreams, everything in between, completely out of your conscious control. And then what if against all odds, the psychiatrist assigned to your case started to believe that perhaps you weren’t crazy after all, that perhaps you were really telling the truth—but instead of helping cure you, he tried to use your dangerous power to make what he thought would be a better world? A beautiful, poignant examination of love, loss, and what it means to be alive, this is one of my favorite books of all time.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Lathe of Heaven is among Ellen Wehle's five can’t-miss classics of dystopian fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, June 15, 2018

What is Yoon Ha Lee reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Yoon Ha Lee, author of Revenant Gun.

From Lee's entry:
...I'm reading Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict, ed. Max Brooks, John Amble, M. L. Cavanaugh, and Jaym Gates. I'm only casually acquainted with the Star Wars universe, but I enjoy reading military history and space opera, and this marries the two in one enticing package. I was especially intrigued by the Preface by Cavanaugh, who's taught strategy at West Point: he explains that in trying to discuss strategy with colleagues in South Korea, he needed to find common ground as South Koreans will not necessarily, say, have a clue about American Civil War battles that are well-known in the United States. So the solution was to talk about strategy through the lens of Star Wars! (My sister and I, who have both lived in South Korea, were impressed Star Wars worked for this purpose. Who knew!) The essays run the gamut from satire to serious analysis, and...[read on]
About Revenant Gun, from the publisher:
Shuos Jedao is awake...

...and nothing is as he remembers. He's a teenager, a cadet—a nobody—in the body of an old man: a general in command of an elite force. And he's the most feared, and reviled, man in the galaxy.

Jedao carries orders from Hexarch Nirai Kujen to re-conquer the fractured pieces of the hexarchate. But he has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general, and the Kel soldiers under his command hate him for a massacre he can't remember committing.

Kujen's friendliness cant hide the fact that he's a tyrant. And what's worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted—by an enemy who knows more about Jedao than he does himself...
Visit Yoon Ha Lee's website.

The Page 69 Test: Revenant Gun.

Writers Read: Yoon Ha Lee.

--Marshal Zeringue

Eleven top books to help children cope with the loss of a parent

The B&N Editors pulled together a list of eleven books to help children cope with the loss of a parent, including:
No Matter What, by Debi Gliori

When children feel anxiety about losing a parent, often their fears focus on their worry that their parent no longer loves them. In this charming book, Gliori’s characters ask and answer these very questions your little one may have and prove that a parent has an endless capacity for love, even after death, and that their child is always loved, no matter what.
Read about another title on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Margarette Lincoln's "Trading in War"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Trading in War: London's Maritime World in the Age of Cook and Nelson by Margarette Lincoln.

About the book, from the publisher:
A vivid account of the forgotten citizens of maritime London who sustained Britain during the Revolutionary Wars

In the half-century before the Battle of Trafalgar the port of London became the commercial nexus of a global empire and launch pad of Britain’s military campaigns in North America and Napoleonic Europe. The unruly riverside parishes east of the Tower seethed with life, a crowded, cosmopolitan, and incendiary mix of sailors, soldiers, traders, and the network of ordinary citizens that served them. Harnessing little-known archival and archaeological sources, Lincoln recovers a forgotten maritime world. Her gripping narrative highlights the pervasive impact of war, which brought violence, smuggling, pilfering from ships on the river, and a susceptibility to subversive political ideas. It also commemorates the working maritime community: shipwrights and those who built London’s first docks, wives who coped while husbands were at sea, and early trade unions. This meticulously researched work reveals the lives of ordinary Londoners behind the unstoppable rise of Britain’s sea power and its eventual defeat of Napoleon.
Learn more about Trading in War at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Trading in War.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten essential books about contemporary queer life in America

Michelle Tea's new book is Against Memoir: Complaints, Confessions & Criticisms. One of ten books about contemporary queer life in America she tagged at Publishers Weekly:
Stray City by Chelsey Johnson

A cheeky novel about a queer girl’s secret dalliance with a cisgendered straight guy and the family that results, Chelsey Johnson’s debut novel is chock full of lived details of what it meant to be a queer girl in Portland, Ore., in the 1990s–many of which remain true today. A love letter to queer community that does not shy away from calling out scenes on their tendencies to be small-minded and clannish, this book sparkles, and innovates the form, flipping perspective towards the end of the book and using postcards, lists, and other ephemera to further the story.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, June 14, 2018

What is Eric Bernt reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Eric Bernt, author of The Speed of Sound.

His entry begins:
I just finished reading Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker because after reading The Better Angels of Our Nature, I simply had to. Pinker is one of the smartest minds writing today. I find his framing of today's world through an objective and well-researched historical lens to be incredibly insightful. He gives...[read on]
About The Speed of Sound, from the publisher:
In this propulsive thriller, one of the most ingenious young men in the world has also become the most dangerous…or has he?

Harmony House is more than a “special place for special people.” It’s a think tank where high-functioning autistic savants harness their unique abilities for the benefit of society. Resident Eddie Parks’s contribution is nothing less than extraordinary: an “echo box” that can re-create never-recorded sounds using acoustic archeology.

All Eddie wants is to hear his late mother’s voice. But what he’s created is inadvertently posing a threat to national security.

To Harmony House’s shadowy government backers and radical extremists, the echo box is the ultimate intelligence asset—an end to the very concept of secrecy. Now for Eddie and the compassionate Dr. Skylar Drummond, the true nature of the institution is becoming chillingly clear.

As ruthless competing enemies close in on Eddie and his miraculous machine, Skylar risks all to take him on the run. Because once that prize is won, Eddie Parks will no longer be considered a “special person” but a dangerous redundancy. An inconvenient echo that must be silenced.
Visit Eric Bernt's website.

Writers Read: Eric Bernt.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Demetra Brodsky's "Dive Smack"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Dive Smack by Demetra Brodsky.

About the book, from the publisher:
Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.
Visit Demetra Brodsky's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Demetra Brodsky & L.B. and Ponyboy Curtis.

The Page 69 Test: Dive Smack.

--Marshal Zeringue

Jeff Wheeler's "Storm Glass," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Storm Glass by Jeff Wheeler.

The entry begins:
I admit that I’m a bit of a nut for period dramas. I’ve seen nearly every Jane Austen and Charles Dickens adaptations, along with a healthy dose of Elizabeth Gaskill and Victor Hugo. When I decided to write the Harbinger series, I wanted to tap into that era but create something new in a fantasy world. I’ve always visualized my books inside my mind as I write then, so imagining it on the big screen is a big part of my process.

In the first book of the Harbinger series, Storm Glass, one of the main characters that both protagonists admire is Vice-Admiral Brant Fitzroy. This is a man, a father, who has made it through tragedy, a difficult relationship with his own father, and still held to his principles. Although he loves the “Mysteries” around the blossoming scientific age of his world and their sky ships and floating manors, he has fought in wars and dabbled in music. He’s a good leader, an understanding father, someone who has a reputation for integrity that must be upheld despite the penchant for corruption in his world. I pictured the actor-singer...[read on]
Visit Jeff Wheeler's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Queen's Poisoner.

My Book, The Movie: The Queen's Poisoner.

My Book, The Movie: Storm Glass.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top lost women's classics

Caroline O'Donoghue's debut novel is Promising Young Women. One of her top ten lost women's classics, as shared at the Guardian:
Kindred by Octavia Butler

This is often cited as the first science fiction published by a black woman, but you don’t need to put Kindred in the category of “firsts” to find it brilliant. It follows 26-year-old Dana, a black woman moving in with her white boyfriend, who is periodically sent back in time to a pre-civil war Maryland plantation. Here, she’s forced to protect her distant white relatives from destruction while they abuse her and other slaves. It is the marker you should judge all other time-travelling narratives by.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Pg. 99: Dominic Sachsenmaier's "Global Entanglements of a Man Who Never Traveled"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Global Entanglements of a Man Who Never Traveled: A Seventeenth-Century Chinese Christian and His Conflicted Worlds by Dominic Sachsenmaier.

About the book, from the publisher:
Born into a low-level literati family in the port city of Ningbo, the seventeenth-century Chinese Christian convert Zhu Zongyuan likely never left his home province. Yet Zhu nonetheless led a remarkably globally connected life. His relations with the outside world, ranging from scholarly activities to involvement with globalizing Catholicism, put him in contact with a complex and contradictory set of foreign and domestic forces.

In Global Entanglements of a Man Who Never Traveled, Dominic Sachsenmaier explores the mid-seventeenth-century world and the worldwide flows of ideas through the lens of Zhu‘s life, combining the local, regional, and global. Taking particular aspects of Zhu‘s multiple belongings as a starting point, Sachsenmaier analyzes the contexts that framed his worlds as he balanced a local life and his border-crossing faith. At the local level, the book pays attention to the intellectual, political, and social environments of late Ming and early Qing society, including Confucian learning and the Manchu conquest, questioning the role of ethnic and religious identities. At the global level, it considers how individuals like Zhu were situated within the history of organizations and power structures such as the Catholic Church and early modern empires amid larger transformations and encounters. A strikingly original work, this book is a major contribution to East Asian, transnational, and global history, with important implications for historical approaches and methodologies.
Learn more about Global Entanglements of a Man Who Never Traveled at the Columbia University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Global Entanglements of a Man Who Never Traveled.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Yoon Ha Lee's "Revenant Gun"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee.

About the book, from the publisher:
Shuos Jedao is awake...

...and nothing is as he remembers. He's a teenager, a cadet—a nobody—in the body of an old man: a general in command of an elite force. And he's the most feared, and reviled, man in the galaxy.

Jedao carries orders from Hexarch Nirai Kujen to re-conquer the fractured pieces of the hexarchate. But he has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general, and the Kel soldiers under his command hate him for a massacre he can't remember committing.

Kujen's friendliness cant hide the fact that he's a tyrant. And what's worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted—by an enemy who knows more about Jedao than he does himself...
Visit Yoon Ha Lee's website.

The Page 69 Test: Revenant Gun.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Seth Perry reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Seth Perry, author of Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States.

His entry begins:
Like probably any academic, I’m “reading” a dozen books at any one time, with varying degrees of attentiveness and intention (intention to finish, I mean), but I have to admit that the first thing that comes to mind with this prompt is that I just started Woken Furies, the third book in Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs series. I picked up the first one, Altered Carbon, after watching the Netflix show. These sci fi novels are not high art, and I actually find the Byzantine complexity of the plots perfectly bewildering, but Morgan’s world building is a lot of fun, and there are flashes of real artistry and...[read on]
About Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States, from the publisher:
Early Americans claimed that they looked to "the Bible alone" for authority, but the Bible was never, ever alone. Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States is a wide-ranging exploration of the place of the Christian Bible in America in the decades after the Revolution. Attending to both theoretical concerns about the nature of scriptures and to the precise historical circumstances of a formative period in American history, Seth Perry argues that the Bible was not a "source" of authority in early America, as is often said, but rather a site of authority: a cultural space for editors, commentators, publishers, preachers, and readers to cultivate authoritative relationships.

While paying careful attention to early national bibles as material objects, Perry shows that "the Bible" is both a text and a set of relationships sustained by a universe of cultural practices and assumptions. Moreover, he demonstrates that Bible culture underwent rapid and fundamental changes in the early nineteenth century as a result of developments in technology, politics, and religious life. At the heart of the book are typical Bible readers, otherwise unknown today, and better-known figures such as Zilpha Elaw, Joseph Smith, Denmark Vesey, and Ellen White, a group that includes men and women, enslaved and free, Baptists, Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Mormons, Presbyterians, and Quakers. What they shared were practices of biblical citation in writing, speech, and the performance of their daily lives. While such citation contributed to the Bible's authority, it also meant that the meaning of the Bible constantly evolved as Americans applied it to new circumstances and identities.
Learn more about Bible Culture and Authority in the Early United States at the Princeton University Press website.

Writers Read: Seth Perry.

--Marshal Zeringue