Wednesday, February 14, 2024

What is David Handler reading?

Featured at Writers Read: David Handler, author of The Woman Who Lowered the Boom.

The entry begins:
Whenever I’m working on a new novel, which I happen to be doing right now, I rarely read novels by anyone else. It isn’t fair to the author, because my reading window is limited to the thirty minutes that I read in bed at night before I fall asleep. That’s no way to read a novel.

So, quite a few years back, I turned my attention to short stories. My favorite short story writer is John O’Hara, whom I consider America’s master chronicler of the first half of the last century. O’Hara was a very successful novelist who wrote such bestsellers as Butterfield Eight and From the Terrace, but his greatest gift was short fiction. He was incredibly prolific. Wrote hundreds of them – many, but by no means all, for The New Yorker. And he cut a wide swath from Gibbsville, the fictionalized Pennsylvania coal town where he grew up, to New York to Hollywood. He was not considered a crime writer, although there is quite a bit of crime in his short stories. He was simply an ex-reporter who had no illusions about people. He wrote about bad behavior, and its consequences.

His Hollywood stories are my favorites, partly because I grew up there and partly because I spent twenty years in the movie business before I decided to devote myself to books full time. Right now I’m reading “Natica Jackson,” which can be found in a collection called Waiting for Winter. It’s a...[read on]
About The Woman Who Lowered the Boom, from the publisher:
This new installment of the Edgar award-winning Stewart Hoag mystery series finds the beloved ghostwriter-sleuth finally on the precipice of reclaiming his previous literary fame when threats against his editor appear to put both his career and her life in jeopardy.

Stewart “Hoagy” Hoag is walking on cloud nine after a meeting with his editor, Norma Fives, where she predicts his new book is sure to establish him as the next great American author. It has been years since he has even dreamed of such success after a crippling case of writer’s block limited his literary aspirations to ghostwriting celebrity memoirs. But his happiness is short-lived when at his next meeting with Norma she asks for his help in discovering who is behind a series of increasingly threatening letters sent to her attention.

Norma herself is not overly concerned about the letters but her boyfriend, Detective Lieutenant Romaine Very of the NYPD, thinks the threat of violence against Norma should not be so easily dismissed. Very feels the combination of Hoagy’s detective skills and knowledge of the underbelly of the publishing world make him the perfect person to investigate the matter. Plus, Hoagy is a friend he can trust to take care of the love of his life. Hoagy agrees if for nothing else than to ease the minds of two people he cares about very much. After all, this is likely to be nothing more than a dramatic gesture from a frustrated writer.

But as Hoagy and his trusty basset hound Lulu investigate, the threats move beyond the written word, making it clear that someone out there is determined to write a vicious ending to Norma’s life. Could it be the wealthy aging children’s author? The unethical snake of a literary agent? Or the handsy historian? This is not the return to the literary world that Hoagy dreamed of, but he is determined to unravel the mystery before the author of these crimes gets the last word.
Visit David Handler's website.

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Writers Read: David Handler.

--Marshal Zeringue