Friday, December 31, 2021

Pg. 99: William L. d'Ambruoso's "American Torture from the Philippines to Iraq"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: American Torture from the Philippines to Iraq: A Recurring Nightmare by William L. d'Ambruoso.

About the book, from the publisher:
What explains the United States' persistent use of torture over the past hundred-plus years? Not only is torture incompatible with liberal values; it is also risky and frequently ineffective as an interrogation method.

In American Torture from the Philippines to Iraq, William L. d'Ambruoso argues that the norm against torture has two features that help explain why liberal democracies like the United States have continued to violate it. First, the norm against torture paradoxically contributes to the belief that torture works. In naming certain behaviors as appropriate, norms also define what is inappropriate. Some policymakers and soldiers believe (not always unreasonably) that in the nasty world of international politics, cheaters--those who are willing to break the rules--have an advantage, especially in security matters. "Bad" becomes "good" because it appears effective, and rule-following is perceived as naïve and dangerous. Second, the anti-torture norm is not sufficiently specified to draw a definitive line between norm-compliant behavior and violations. For example, it is impossible to specify exactly how many hours must pass before forced standing becomes torture. As a result of torture's blurry definition, perpetrators can justify their actions by suggesting that the adversary is guilty of worse behavior, by using euphemisms such as "enhanced interrogation," or by flatly denying that an act is torture. In short, lack of specificity leads to justifications and redefinitions, which in turn enable transgressions. Drawing on previously overlooked archival testimony from the Philippine-American War (1899-1902), the Vietnam War, and the post-2001 war on terror, d'Ambruoso shows that the rationale for using torture has remained remarkably consistent throughout the past century.
Learn more about American Torture from the Philippines to Iraq at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: American Torture from the Philippines to Iraq.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five novels that riff on—and rip off—Shakespeare

Lois Leveen is the award-winning author of The Secrets of Mary Bowser and Juliet's Nurse.

[The Page 69 Test: Juliet's Nurse; Writers Read: Lois Leveen (October 2014)]

In 2014, for the Daily Beast, Leveen tagged five books that share a shameless use of Shakespeare as a source, including:
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

Lear gave away his kingdom. Larry Cook turned his family farm into a corporation. The latter might seem far less cataclysmic, but in translating Shakespeare’s tragedy to the ’70s American heartland, Smiley explores the petty ways in which family members tear each other, and ultimately themselves, apart. The story is narrated by Ginny, the eldest of Larry’s three adult daughters—a provocative choice, given that Shakespeare’s Goneril is too ruthless to elicit much sympathy. But Ginny’s version of events isn’t so much an exoneration of her own actions as an exploration of what an individual lets herself know or not know about the past, and an indictment of what she chooses to reveal or withhold in her telling. Which is pretty much the story of every family you ever met.
Read about another entry on the list.

A Thousand Acres is among Stacey Swann's seven novels about family members making each other miserable, Robert McCrum's ten top Shakespearean books, Rachel Mans McKenny's eleven books about midwesterners who aren’t trying to be nice, Hannah Beckerman's top ten toxic families in fiction, Brian Boone's five books that offer a brand new take on pre-existing works, Edward Docx's top ten Shakespearean stories in modern fiction, Emma Donoghue's six best books, Anne Tyler's six favorite books, Sally O'Reilly ten top novels inspired by Shakespeare, Alexia Nader's nine favorite books about unhappy families, and John Mullan's top ten twice-told tales.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Q&A with Thomas Bardenwerper

From my Q&A with Thomas Bardenwerper, author of Mona Passage: A Novel:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The Mona Passage is the body of water that separates the Dominican Republic from Puerto Rico. On an almost daily basis, Cuban, Haitian, and Dominican migrants attempt to cross this stretch of water in search of better lives.

Pat McAllister is a US Coast Guard officer stationed in San Juan whose cutter patrols the Mona Passage for cocaine smugglers and migrants. His neighbor and best friend, Galán Betances, is a Cuban emigrant. Galán’s sister, Gabriela, is still in Cuba and at risk of being committed to a mental health facility.

The only way for Gabriela to live a full life is to cross the Mona Passage and join Galán in San Juan. Pat, who becomes caught up in this plan, must decide if he is willing to risk everything to...[read on]
Visit Thomas Bardenwerper's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

Q&A with Thomas Bardenwerper.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Jacob Doherty's "Waste Worlds"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Waste Worlds: Inhabiting Kampala's Infrastructures of Disposability by Jacob Doherty.

About the book, from the publisher:
Uganda's capital, Kampala, is undergoing dramatic urban transformations as its new technocratic government seeks to clean and green the city. Waste Worlds tracks the dynamics of development and disposability unfolding amid struggles over who and what belong in the new Kampala. Garbage materializes these struggles. In the densely inhabited social infrastructures in and around the city's waste streams, people, places, and things become disposable but conditions of disposability are also challenged and undone. Drawing on years of ethnographic research, Jacob Doherty illustrates how waste makes worlds, offering the key intervention that disposability is best understood not existentially, as a condition of social exclusion, but infrastructurally, as a form of injurious social inclusion.
Learn more about Waste Worlds at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Waste Worlds.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten books about self-improvement

Anna Katharina Schaffner is professor of cultural history at the University of Kent. She is the author of Exhaustion: A History and the novel The Truth about Julia.

Her latest book is The Art of Self-Improvement: Ten Timeless Truths.

At the Guardian Schaffner tagged ten of the best guides to making a better life, including:
Grit by Angela Duckworth (2017)

According to the psychologist Angela Duckworth, grit tops talent every time. That is music to the ears of anyone inclined to identify with Aesop’s plodding tortoise rather than the effortlessly speedy hare. “Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another,” she writes. Here grit is a drive to improve both our skills and our performance by consistent effort. Gritty people are always eager to learn and are driven by an enduring passion. They learn from their mistakes, have direction and live more coherent lives.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

What is William Boyle reading?

Featured at Writers Read: William Boyle, author of Shoot the Moonlight Out: A Novel.

His entry begins:
Without a doubt, the best book I read this year was Agota Kristof's The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie. I’d heard of this trilogy of novels somewhere along the line—I’d written down the titles in a notebook—but it must not have been a substantial lead because I didn’t follow through until recently. An absolute masterpiece. Can’t remember the last time I gulped down 500 pages so hungrily. The bones of a dark fable or fairy tale. Dissects the inhumanity of humankind, the ravages of war, the small lives lost in...[read on]
About Shoot the Moonlight Out, from the publisher:
A haunting crime story about the broken characters inhabiting yesterday's Brooklyn, this is the new novel from modern master of neo-noir William Boyle.

An explosive crime drama, Shoot the Moonlight Out evokes a mystical Brooklyn where the sidewalks are cracked, where Virgin Mary statues tilt in fenced front yards, and where smudges of moonlight reflect in puddles even on the blackest nights.

Southern Brooklyn, July 1996. Fire hydrants are open and spraying water on the sizzling blacktop. Punk kids have to make their own fun. Bobby Santovasco and his pal Zeke like to throw rocks at cars getting off the Belt Parkway. They think it’s dumb and harmless until it’s too late to think otherwise. Then there’s Jack Cornacchia, a widower who lives with his high school age daughter Amelia and reads meters for Con Ed but also has a secret life as a vigilante, righting neighborhood wrongs through acts of violence. A simple mission to strong-arm a Bay Ridge con man, Max Berry, leads him to cross paths with a tragedy that hits close to home.

Fast forward five years: June 2001. The summer before New York City and the world changed for good. Charlie French is a low-level gangster-wannabe trying to make a name for himself. When he stumbles onto a bowling alley locker stuffed with a bag full of cash, he brings it to his only pal, Max Berry, for safekeeping while he cleans up the mess surrounding it. Bobby Santovasco—with no real future mapped out and the big sin of his past shining brightly in his rearview mirror—has taken a job working as an errand boy for Max Berry. On a recruiting run for Max’s Ponzi scheme, Bobby meets Francesca Clarke, born in the neighborhood but an outsider nonetheless. They hit it off. Bobby gets the idea to knock off Max’s safe so he and Francesca can escape Brooklyn forever. Little does he know what Charlie French has stashed there.

Meanwhile, Bobby’s former stepsister, Lily Murphy, is back home in the neighborhood after college, teaching a writing class in the basement of St. Mary's church. She's also being stalked by her college boyfriend. One of her students is Jack Cornacchia. When she opens up to him about her stalker, Jack decides to take matters into his own hands.

A riveting portrait of lives crashing together at the turn of the century, Shoot the Moonlight Out is tragic and tender and funny and strange. A sense of loss is palpable—what has been lost and what will be lost—and Boyle’s characters face down old ghosts with grim determination, as ripples of consequence radiate in dangerous directions.
Visit William Boyle's website.

My Book, The Movie: Gravesend and The Lonely Witness.

The Page 69 Test: Gravesend and The Lonely Witness.

The Page 69 Test: City of Margins.

My Book, The Movie: City of Margins.

Q&A with William Boyle.

The Page 69 Test: Shoot the Moonlight Out.

My Book, The Movie: Shoot the Moonlight Out.

Writers Read: William Boyle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Steven L. Goldman's "Science Wars"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Science Wars: The Battle over Knowledge and Reality by Steven L. Goldman.

About the book, from the publisher:
There is ample evidence that it is difficult for the general public to understand and internalize scientific facts. Disputes over such facts are often amplified amid political controversies. As we've seen with climate change and even COVID-19, politicians rely on the perceptions of their constituents when making decisions that impact public policy. So, how do we make sure that what the public understands is accurate? In this book, Steven L. Goldman traces the public's suspicion of scientific knowledge claims to a broad misunderstanding, reinforced by scientists themselves, of what it is that scientists know, how they know it, and how to act on the basis of it.

In sixteen chapters, Goldman takes readers through the history of scientific knowledge from Plato and Aristotle, through the birth of modern science and its maturation, into a powerful force for social change to the present day. He explains how scientists have wrestled with their own understanding of what it is that they know, that theories evolve, and why the public misunderstands the reliability of scientific knowledge claims.

With many examples drawn from the history of philosophy and science, the chapters illustrate an ongoing debate over how we know what we say we know and the relationship between knowledge and reality. Goldman covers a rich selection of ideas from the founders of modern science and John Locke's response to Newton's theories to Thomas Kuhn's re-interpretation of scientific knowledge and the Science Wars that followed it. Goldman relates these historical disputes to current issues, underlining the important role scientists play in explaining their own research to nonscientists and the effort nonscientists must make to incorporate science into public policies. A narrative exploration of scientific knowledge, Science Wars engages with the arguments of both sides by providing thoughtful scientific, philosophical, and historical discussions on every page.
Learn more about Science Wars at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Science Wars.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best novels written by poets

In 2015 at B&N Reads, Jeff Somers tagged "five novels written by poets you should absolutely check out," including:
Deliverance, by James Dickey

These days, when people think of Deliverance (whose author was, lest we forget, Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 1966–68) they likely think of the film’s “dueling banjos” sequence. Deliverance is a powerful novel, written by a writer who uses words like bricks, building sturdy, beautiful structures. The novel has many deep themes and ideas, but can be read simply as a harrowing, dark adventure tale; a story of civilized men who enter an American “no-man’s land” as it’s about to be wiped away by a dam project and discover just what civilized means—and what it doesn’t.
Read about another entry on the list.

Deliverance is among T.C. Boyle's six top books that explore man's inherent violence and Pat Conroy's six favorite books.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Pg. 69: John Copenhaver's "The Savage Kind"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: The Savage Kind: A Mystery (Nightingale Trilogy, 1) by John Copenhaver.

About the book, from the publisher:
Two lonely teenage girls in 1940s Washington, DC, discover they have a penchant for solving crimes—and an even greater desire to commit them—in the new mystery novel by Macavity Award-winning novelist John Copenhaver.

Philippa Watson, a good-natured yet troubled seventeen-year-old, has just moved to Washington, DC. She’s lonely until she meets Judy Peabody, a brilliant and tempestuous classmate. The girls become unlikely friends and fashion themselves as intellectuals, drawing the notice of Christine Martins, their dazzling English teacher, who enthralls them with her passion for literature and her love of noirish detective fiction.

When Philippa returns a novel Miss Martins has lent her, she interrupts a man grappling with her in the shadows. Frightened, Philippa flees, unsure who the man is or what she’s seen. Days later, her teacher returns to school altered: a dark shell of herself. On the heels of her teacher’s transformation, a classmate is found dead in the Anacostia River—murdered—the body stripped and defiled with a mysterious inscription.

As the girls follow the clues and wrestle with newfound feelings toward each other, they suspect that the killer is closer to their circle than they imagined—and that the greatest threat they face may not be lurking in the halls at school, or in the city streets, but creeping out from a murderous impulse of their own.
Visit John Copenhaver's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Savage Kind.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Neil Richards's "Why Privacy Matters"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Why Privacy Matters by Neil Richards.

About the book, from the publisher:
A much-needed corrective on what privacy is, why it matters, and how we can protect in an age when so many believe that the concept is dead.

Everywhere we look, companies and governments are spying on us--seeking information about us and everyone we know. Ad networks monitor our web-surfing to send us "more relevant" ads. The NSA screens our communications for signs of radicalism. Schools track students' emails to stop school shootings. Cameras guard every street corner and traffic light, and drones fly in our skies. Databases of human information are assembled for purposes of "training" artificial intelligence programs designed to predict everything from traffic patterns to the location of undocumented migrants. We're even tracking ourselves, using personal electronics like Apple watches, Fitbits, and other gadgets that have made the "quantified self" a realistic possibility. As Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg once put it, "the Age of Privacy is over." But Zuckerberg and others who say "privacy is dead" are wrong. In Why Privacy Matters, Neil Richards explains that privacy isn't dead, but rather up for grabs.

Richards shows how the fight for privacy is a fight for power that will determine what our future will look like, and whether it will remain fair and free. If we want to build a digital society that is consistent with our hard-won commitments to political freedom, individuality, and human flourishing, then we must make a meaningful commitment to privacy. Privacy matters because good privacy rules can promote the essential human values of identity, power, freedom, and trust. If we want to preserve our commitments to these precious yet fragile values, we will need privacy rules. Richards explains why privacy remains so important and offers strategies that can help us protect it from the forces that are working to undermine it. Pithy and forceful, this is essential reading for anyone interested in a topic that sits at the center of so many current problems.
Learn more about Why Privacy Matters at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Why Privacy Matters.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten incredible literary parties

In 2014 the staff at Off the Shelf tagged ten of "the most fantastical (and sometimes fanatical) parties imaginable" in novels, including:
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Hunger Games also appears on Chevy Stevens's list of the best survivalist thrillers, Amanda Craig's top ten list of the best-dressed characters in fiction, Sarah Driver's list of her five favorite fictional siblings, Meghan Ball's list of eight books or series for Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans, Jeff Somers's lists of "five pairs of books that have nothing to do with each other—and yet have everything to do with each other," top five list of dystopian societies that might actually function, and top eight list of revolutionary SF/F novels, P.C. Cast’s top ten list of all-time favorite reads for fantasy fans, Keith Yatsuhashi's list of five gateway books that opened the door for him to specific genres, Catherine Doyle's top ten list of doomed romances in YA fiction, Ryan Britt's list of six of the best Scout Finches -- "headstrong, stalwart, and true" young characters -- from science fiction and fantasy, Natasha Carthew's top ten list of revenge reads, Anna Bradley ten best list of literary quotes in a crisis, Laura Jarratt's top ten list of YA thrillers with sisters, Tina Connolly's top five list of books where the girl saves the boy, Sarah Alderson's top ten list of feminist icons in children's and teen books, Jonathan Meres's top ten list of books that are so unfair, SF Said's top ten list of unlikely heroes, Rebecca Jane Stokes's top ten list of fictional families you could probably abide during holiday season and top eight list of books perfect for reality TV fiends, Chrissie Gruebel's list of favorite fictional fashion icons, Lucy Christopher's top ten list of literary woods, Robert McCrum's list of the ten best books with teenage narrators, Sophie McKenzie's top ten list of teen thrillers, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, Annalee Newitz's list of ten great American dystopias, Philip Webb's top ten list of pulse-racing adventure books, Charlie Higson's top ten list of fantasy books for children, and Megan Wasson's list of five fantasy series geared towards teens that adults will love too.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 27, 2021

Q&A with Teresa Dovalpage

From my Q&A with Teresa Dovalpage, author of Death under the Perseids:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

It works nicely. There is a death (in fact, several deaths) in the story, and a key action takes place during the Perseid meteor shower. But I must say that The Tears of Saint Lawrence would have been a good title too. In fact, that’s the one I will use for the Spanish version. Las lágrimas de San Lorenzo is the meteor shower’s name in Spanish because it happens on or around St. Lawrence feast day, August 10th. Lorenzo is a main character (the protagonist’s true love and an amateur astronomer) so it would be fitting as well.

How surprised would your teenage reader self be by your new novel?

My teenage self wanted to be...[read on]
Visit Teresa Dovalpage's website.

Writers Read: Teresa Dovalpage (April 2018).

The Page 69 Test: Death Comes in through the Kitchen.

My Book, The Movie: Death Comes in through the Kitchen.

Coffee with a Canine: Teresita Dovalpage & La Niña.

Q&A with Teresa Dovalpage.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Paul R. Deslandes's "The Culture of Male Beauty in Britain"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Culture of Male Beauty in Britain: From the First Photographs to David Beckham by Paul R. Deslandes.

About the book, from the publisher:
A heavily illustrated history of two centuries of male beauty in British culture.

Spanning the decades from the rise of photography to the age of the selfie, this book traces the complex visual and consumer cultures that shaped masculine beauty in Britain, examining the realms of advertising, health, pornography, psychology, sport, and celebrity culture. Paul R. Deslandes chronicles the shifting standards of male beauty in British culture—from the rising cult of the athlete to changing views on hairlessness—while connecting discussions of youth, fitness, and beauty to growing concerns about race, empire, and degeneracy. From earlier beauty show contestants and youth-obsessed artists, the book moves through the decades into considerations of disfigured soldiers, physique models, body-conscious gay men, and celebrities such as David Beckham and David Gandy who populate the worlds of television and social media.

Deslandes calls on historians to take beauty and gendered aesthetics seriously while recasting how we think about the place of physical appearance in historical study, the intersection of different forms of high and popular culture, and what has been at stake for men in “looking good.”
Learn more about The Culture of Male Beauty in Britain at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Culture of Male Beauty in Britain.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten top groundbreaking horror novels

Gus Moreno is the author of This Thing Between Us. His stories have appeared in Aurealis, PseudoPod, Bluestem Magazine, LitroNy, the Burnt Tongues anthology, and a bunch of other places that are totally not defunct.

At Publishers Weekly he tagged ten books that "push the boundaries of the genre in terms of what terrifies us, what disturbs us, and what we expect from a horror novel." One title on the list:
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones

My only gripe with people calling Stephen the “Jordan Peele of Horror” is that he’s been doing this kind of work well before Peele’s debut classic, Get Out. But the comparison is apt, and The Only Good Indians is the reason. Four American Indian men go hunting in an undesignated area, starting a chain of events that hunts them down one by one. The effects of this book will be felt for years to come, but what’s so remarkable is its ability to be a social commentary for a general audience and remain a specific American Indian story. Writers looking to explore culture and race in genre would do well to start here.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, December 26, 2021

William Boyle's "Shoot the Moonlight Out," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Shoot the Moonlight Out: A Novel by William Boyle.

The entry begins:
My new novel, Shoot the Moonlight Out, is an ensemble crime drama set in southern Brooklyn in the summer of 2001 (with a prologue set five years before that). The book revolves around five main characters: Jack Cornacchia, a widower doling out vigilante justice in the neighborhood, who becomes a shell of a man after losing his daughter in a tragic accident; Lily Murphy, who returns to the neighborhood after four years at college, a writer who feels lost and out of place and is searching for connection, which she finds teaching a community writing class in the basement of her childhood church; Francesca Clarke, who just graduated high school and dreams of being a filmmaker, and whose life changes when she meets Bobby Santovasco, an aimless, self-sabotaging neighborhood slacker with ghosts in his closet; and Charlie French, a low-level mob wannabe who crosses paths with all of these characters in unexpected ways. If they make the book into a film, here's who I'd like to play the lead roles:

Jack Cornacchia: Joe Manganiello

Lily Murphy: Sophia...[read on]
Visit William Boyle's website.

My Book, The Movie: Gravesend and The Lonely Witness.

The Page 69 Test: Gravesend and The Lonely Witness.

Writers Read: William Boyle.

The Page 69 Test: City of Margins.

My Book, The Movie: City of Margins.

Q&A with William Boyle.

The Page 69 Test: Shoot the Moonlight Out.

My Book, The Movie: Shoot the Moonlight Out.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best books about American disasters

Cynthia A. Kierner is professor of history at George Mason University and the author of Martha Jefferson Randolph, Daughter of Monticello and Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood.

[The Page 99 Test: Inventing Disaster]

At Shepherd she tagged five of the best books about American disasters. One title on the list:
Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples from Hernando de Soto to Hurricane Katrina by Christopher Morris

Christopher Morris's chronological scope is break-taking, and not all five hundred years of his story deal directly with the hurricanes and other disasters that have routinely afflicted the Lower Mississippi River region. The Big Muddy describes the interplay between humans and the environment, and especially human efforts to engineer the boundaries between wetlands and dry agricultural acreage (first for rice, and later for cotton). After more than a century of hubris-laden and profit-driven tinkering, the Katrina disaster was more or less inevitable—and very much in keeping with the region's tradition of inequitably sharing both the short-term benefits and long-term costs of environmental disruption.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: The Big Muddy.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Rashmi Sadana's "The Moving City"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Moving City: Scenes from the Delhi Metro and the Social Life of Infrastructure by Rashmi Sadana.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Moving City is a rich and intimate account of urban transformation told through the story of Delhi's Metro, a massive infrastructure project that is reshaping the city's social and urban landscapes. Ethnographic vignettes introduce the feel and form of the Metro and let readers experience the city, scene by scene, stop by stop, as if they, too, have come along for the ride. Laying bare the radical possibilities and concretized inequalities of the Metro, and how people live with and through its built environment, this is a story of women and men on the move, the nature of Indian aspiration, and what it takes morally and materially to sustain urban life. Through exquisite prose, Rashmi Sadana transports the reader to a city shaped by both its Metro and those who depend on it, revealing a perspective on Delhi unlike any other.
Learn more about The Moving City at the University of California Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Moving City.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Twelve novels with top courtroom scenes

Jane Casey has written eleven crime novels for adults and three for teenagers. A former editor, she is married to a criminal barrister who ensures her writing is realistic and as accurate as possible. This authenticity has made her novels international bestsellers and critical successes. The Maeve Kerrigan series has been nominated for many awards: in 2015 Casey won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for The Stranger You Know and Irish Crime Novel of the Year for After the Fire. In 2019, Cruel Acts was chosen as Irish Crime Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. It was a Sunday Times bestseller.

Born in Dublin, Casey now lives in southwest London with her husband and two children.

Her newest novel is The Killing Kind.

[My Book, The Movie: The Killing Kind]

At The Strand Magazine Casey shared twelve novels featuring some of her favorite courtroom scenes, including:
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

If you ask a group of crime writers for their favourite thrillers Presumed Innocent is likely to turn up on the list. Rusty Sabich is used to prosecuting murders, but he finds himself on trial when his lover is found dead. There’s a particular thrill to seeing the court case unfold from the perspective of the accused – a man who knows exactly what is happening and what awaits him if he is found guilty. The plot twists are justly famous; if you start reading it be prepared to stay up all night until it’s finished.
Read about another entry on the list.

Presumed Innocent is among Bonnie Kistler's four classic fictional trials that subverted the truth, five books that changed Reece Hirsch's life, Fiona Barton's ten favorite books centering on marriages that hold dark secrets and Alafair Burke's favorite "Lawyers are People Too" books. Sandy Stern in Presumed Innocent is one of Simon Lelic's top ten lawyers in fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, December 24, 2021

Pg. 99: Ellen Schrecker's "The Lost Promise"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Lost Promise: American Universities in the 1960s by Ellen Schrecker.

About the book, from the publisher:
The Lost Promise is a magisterial examination of the turmoil that rocked American universities in the 1960s, with a unique focus on the complex roles played by professors as well as students.

The 1950s through the early 1970s are widely seen as American academia’s golden age, when universities—well funded and viewed as essential for national security, economic growth, and social mobility—embraced an egalitarian mission. Swelling in size, schools attracted new types of students and professors, including radicals who challenged their institutions’ calcified traditions. But that halcyon moment soon came to a painful and confusing end, with consequences that still afflict the halls of ivy. In The Lost Promise, Ellen Schrecker—our foremost historian of both the McCarthy era and the modern American university—delivers a far-reaching examination of how and why it happened.

Schrecker illuminates how US universities’ explosive growth intersected with the turmoil of the 1960s, fomenting an unprecedented crisis where dissent over racial inequality and the Vietnam War erupted into direct action. Torn by internal power struggles and demonized by conservative voices, higher education never fully recovered, resulting in decades of underfunding and today’s woefully inequitable system. As Schrecker’s magisterial history makes blazingly clear, the complex blend of troubles that disrupted the university in that pivotal period haunts the ivory tower to this day.
Learn more about The Lost Promise at the University of Chicago Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Lost Promise.

--Marshal Zeringue

Nine top fishing books

A lifelong outdoorsman, writer, artist, and lure craftsman, Conor Sullivan holds a Bachelors in Marine Science from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, a Masters in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, as well as a 200-ton Master Mariners license. As a Coast Guard Officer, he served in numerous leadership positions, including as the Commanding Officer of the North Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center in Kodiak, Alaska, and as the Captain of a Coast Guard Cutter in the North Atlantic, specializing in fisheries conservation, search and rescue, and maritime law enforcement.

Sullivan is the author of Fishing the Wild Waters: An Angler's Search for Peace and Adventure in the Wilderness.

At Lit Hub he tagged nine favorite fishing books, including:
Paul Greenberg, Four Fish

Cod, salmon, sea bass, and tuna: these four fish drive the economic engines of seafood demand, often with devastating impacts to the
environment and the stocks themselves. Four Fish is an in- depth look at how we as consumers have created complex markets to feed our demand of certain fish. While it pulls back the veil of how these fisheries feed that demand, the resulting picture is not all doom and gloom. As a fisherman, this book helped me understand the history and truth behind the fillets that we see at the market. If you enjoy knowing where your food comes from and thinking about ways to minimize your impact on the environment, this is a great read.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Coffee with a canine: Teresita Dovalpage & La Niña

Featured at Coffee with a Canine: Teresita Dovalpage & La Niña.

The author, on how La Niña aids her writing:
She sits on an armchair and takes long naps while I write. It’s a comforting, quiet presence, until she sees a squirrel outside. Then tranquility goes out the window! But usually she is just there, snoring softly. When I get tired, I take ten minutes off to snuggle with her—very relaxing. Inspirational, too. That’s how she made a cameo in Death under the Perseids. I was on “her” chair, proofreading a printed copy of the manuscript (it’s too easy to miss errors on screen) and La Niña placed her aforementioned possessive paw on a page. It was a scene where the protagonist’s grandmother, Mamina, complains about being lonely. So I gave Mamina a puppy and...[read on]
About Dovalpage's Death under the Perseids, from the publisher:
There’s no such thing as a free cruise in Cuban American author Teresa Dovalpage’s addictively clever new Havana mystery.

Cuban-born Mercedes Spivey and her American husband, Nolan, win a five-day cruise to Cuba. Although the circumstances surrounding the prize seem a little suspicious to Mercedes, Nolan’s current unemployment and their need to spice up their marriage make the decision a no-brainer. Once aboard, Mercedes is surprised to see two people she met through her ex-boyfriend Lorenzo: former University of Havana professor Selfa Segarra and down-on-his-luck Spanish writer Javier Jurado. Even stranger: they also received a free cruise.

When Selfa disappears on their first day at sea, Mercedes and Javier begin to wonder if their presence on the cruise is more than coincidence. Mercedes confides her worries to her husband, but he convinces her that it’s all in her head.

However, when Javier dies under mysterious circumstances after disembarking in Havana, and Nolan is nowhere to be found, Mercedes scrambles through the city looking for him, fearing her suspicions were correct all along.
Visit Teresa Dovalpage's website.

Writers Read: Teresa Dovalpage (April 2018).

The Page 69 Test: Death Comes in through the Kitchen.

My Book, The Movie: Death Comes in through the Kitchen.

Coffee with a Canine: Teresita Dovalpage & La Niña.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Thomas M. Truxes's "The Overseas Trade in British America"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: The Overseas Trade of British America: A Narrative History by Thomas M. Truxes.

About the book, from the publisher:
A sweeping history of early American trade and the foundation of the American economy

"We could have no better guide than Truxes explaining incisively how American colonial merchants enriched their communities through licit and illicit trade, and how this enrichment was the product of slavery and the slave trade."—Nicholas Canny, author of
Imagining Ireland's Pasts

In a single, readily digestible, coherent narrative, historian Thomas M. Truxes presents the three hundred–year history of the overseas trade of British America. Born from seeds planted in Tudor England in the sixteenth century, Atlantic trade allowed the initial survival, economic expansion, and later prosperity of British America, and brought vastly different geographical regions, each with a distinctive identity and economic structure, into a single fabric. Truxes shows how colonial American prosperity was only possible because of the labor of enslaved Africans, how the colonial economy became dependent on free and open markets, and how the young United States owed its survival in the struggle of the American Revolution to Atlantic trade.
Visit Thomas M. Truxes's website.

The Page 99 Test: Defying Empire.

The Page 99 Test: The Overseas Trade of British America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Top ten Christmas poems

Allie Esiri is an award-winning anthologist and curator and host of live poetry events at London’s National Theatre, Bridge Theatre, and at major international literary festivals.

Esiri's bestselling anthologies Shakespeare for Every Day of the Year, A Poem for Every Day of the Year and A Poem for Every Night of the Year have lit an explosion of interest in poetry, are regularly chosen for National Poetry Day and have been picked as best books of the year in the Observer, New Statesman and The Times (London).

"When it comes to the wonder – or dread – of Christmas," she writes, "we find that there’s a poem for pretty much everything, from profound expressions of love and loss right down to the troubled ruminations of a turkey."

At the Guardian Esiri tagged her top ten Christmas poems, including:
"A Christmas Poem" by Wendy Cope

Christmas is not a merry time for all, as Wendy Cope makes clear in this perfectly executed poem, reproduced below. Comedic talent is as underrated in the world of poetry as it is in other art forms, but Cope is a virtuoso whose highly skilled work dazzles with irony, wit, and parody. She has been called “a jet-age Tennyson” for her pitch-perfect common touch:

At Christmas little children sing and merry bells jingle,

The cold winter air makes our hands and faces tingle

And happy families go to church and cheerily they mingle

And the whole business is unbelievably dreadful, if you’re single.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Q&A with Camilla Trinchieri

From my Q&A with Camilla Trinchieri, author of The Bitter Taste of Murder:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

I don’t know how much of the story a reader will glean from my title. The word ‘taste’ is apt because my characters do a lot of eating in the series. In this story the taste is bitter because the victim is poisoned. I also wanted to underline how the victim’s family and friends might feel. Even the investigators. I also wonder what taste is left in your mouth when you discover someone you loved is the killer. It can’t be sweet.

What's in a name?

A name gives information. My main character’s name popped in my head—Nico (Domenico) Doyle. It told me he was...[read on]
Visit Camilla Trinchieri's website.

Q&A with Camilla Trinchieri.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Erik Bleich & A. Maurits van der Veen's "Covering Muslims"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Covering Muslims: American Newspapers in Comparative Perspective by Erik Bleich and A. Maurits van der Veen.

About the book, from the publisher:
An examination of how American newspaper articles on Muslims are strikingly negative by any measure.

For decades, scholars and observers have criticized negative media portrayals of Muslims and Islam. Yet most of these critiques are limited by their focus on one specific location, a limited time period, or a single outlet. In Covering Muslims, Erik Bleich and A. Maurits van der Veen present the first systematic, large-scale analysis of American newspaper coverage of Muslims through comparisons across groups, time, countries, and topics. The authors demonstrate conclusively that coverage of Muslims is remarkably negative by any measure. They show that American newspapers have been consistently negative across the two-decade period between 1996 and 2016 and that articles on Muslims are more negative than those touching on groups as diverse as Catholics, Jews, Hindus, African Americans, Latinos, Mormons, or atheists. Strikingly, even articles about mundane topics tend to be negative. The authors suggest that media outlets both within and outside the United States may contribute to pervasive Islamophobia and they encourage readers and journalists to "tone check" the media rather than simply accepting negative associations with Muslims or other marginalized groups.
Learn more about Covering Muslims at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Erik Bleich's The Freedom to Be Racist?.

The Page 99 Test: Covering Muslims.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best books with multiple timelines

Joel Fishbane, author of The Thunder of Giants, is a novelist, playwright, sous-chef, actor, trivia host, amateur boxer, occasional clarinet player and general man about town. His various plays, short stories, articles, critiques and literary musings have been published, performed, honored, and otherwise applauded in Canada, the United States and Europe.

“Take equal parts Peter Carey, Michael Chabon and Erin Morgenstern, throw them in a blender, and serve in a glass with a seven-foot, five-and-a-half-inch Krazy Straw," wrote the author Myla Goldberg. "The colossally entertaining result is Joel Fishbane's The Thunder of Giants.”

At Shepherd Fishbane tagged five favorite books with multiple timelines, including:
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Told across several decades, Makkai's book leaps between 2015 and 1980s Chicago, allowing for a poignant story that weaves the fictional characters with historical events, chiefly the 1980s AIDS crisis. Again, the book tells a compelling story written with elegant prose while also being a delight from a craft perspective. I love epic novels that take place over many years and the decision to tell the story in a non-linear fashion is a rewarding one when handled with this sort of skill.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Great Believers is among The Center for Fiction's 200 books that shaped 200 years of literature, seven top books for World AIDS Day, and Joanna Hershon's seven darkly fascinating books about cults.

My Book, The Movie: The Great Believers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

What is Kimberly Belle reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Kimberly Belle, author of My Darling Husband.

Her entry begins:
Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr

Any story set in the Netherlands is an automatic draw for me, and when I heard Woman on Fire centered around the high-stakes world of art theft, I was sold. Part thriller, part World War II epic, this novel follows a gutsy journalist as she chases a Nazi-looted masterpiece through the darkest and most dangerous streets of the international art world. Barr’s descriptions are...[read on]
About My Darling Husband, from the publisher:
Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle's exceptional talent for domestic suspense.
Visit Kimberly Belle's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dear Wife.

Q&A with Kimberly Belle.

The Page 69 Test: My Darling Husband.

Writers Read: Kimberly Belle.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: Laura A. Henry & Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom's "Bringing Global Governance Home"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Bringing Global Governance Home: NGO Mediation in the BRICS States by Laura A. Henry and Lisa McIntosh Sundstrom.

About the book, from the publisher:
The world's problems--climate change, epidemics, and the actions of multinational corporations--are increasingly global in scale and beyond the ability of any single state to manage. Since the end of the Cold War, states and civil society actors have worked together through global governance initiatives to address these challenges collectively.

While global governance, by definition, is initiated at the international level, the effects of global governance occur at the domestic level and implementation depends upon the actions of domestic actors. NGOs act as "mediators" between global and domestic political arenas, translating and adapting global norms for audiences at home. Yet the role of domestic NGOs in global governance has been neglected relatively in previous research.

Bringing Global Governance Home examines how NGO engagement at the global level shapes domestic governance around climate change, corporate social responsibility, HIV/AIDS, and sustainable forestry. It does so by comparing domestic reception of global standards and practices in the BRICS states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). These newly emerging global powers, representing a range of regime types, aspire to become global policy makers rather than mere policy takers and have banded together through periodic summits to devise alternative approaches to economic development and global challenges. Nevertheless, these countries still engage the world primarily through existing global governance institutions that they did not create themselves. Ultimately, this book explores the interplay of international and domestic factors that allow domestically-rooted NGOs to participate globally, and the extent to which that participation shapes their ability to mediate and promote global governance perspectives within the borders of their own countries with varying regimes and state-society relations.
Learn more about Bringing Global Governance Home at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Bringing Global Governance Home.

--Marshal Zeringue

Four of the best ticking-clock thrillers

Andrew Bourelle is the author of the novel Heavy Metal and coauthor with James Patterson of Texas Ranger and Texas Outlaw. His short stories have been published widely in literary magazines and fiction anthologies. He is an associate professor of English at the University of New Mexico.

Bourelle's new novel is 48 Hours to Kill.

[Q&A with Andrew Bourelle]

At CrimeReads Bourelle tagged four of his favorite ticking-clock thrillers, including:
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

In [some] examples, it’s the reader who is aware of the ticking clock, not necessarily the characters. Thomas Harris perfected turning up the pressure on his characters by making them aware of the countdown facing them. In Red Dragon, the FBI figures out that the serial killer known as the “Tooth Fairy” strikes on the full moon, so they know exactly how long they have to catch him before he strikes again. In his follow-up, The Silence of the Lambs, Harris takes this technique a step further as the investigators realize that serial killer “Buffalo Bill” abducts his victims but keeps them alive, starving them so that their skin will be loose when he peels if off their bodies. Not only does the FBI have a clear sense when the killer will strike, the victim is already his prisoner. It’s not just a murder investigation—it’s a rescue mission. Plenty of crime thrillers use this technique, but, for me, The Silence of the Lambs is the quintessential prototype for a catch-the-killer-before-he-kills-again thriller.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Silence of The Lambs is among Ben McPherson’s ten thrillers based on real-life events, E.G. Scott's best frenemies in fiction, Caroline Louise Walker's six terrifying villain-doctors in fiction, Kathy Reichs's six best books, Matt Suddain's five great meals from literature, Elizabeth Heiter's ten favorite serial killer novels, Jill Boyd's five books with the worst fictional characters to invite to Thanksgiving, Monique Alice's six great fictional evil geniuses, sixteen book-to-movie adaptations that won Academy Awards.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, December 20, 2021

Q&A with Elizabeth Breck

From my Q&A with Elizabeth Breck, author of Double Take: A Madison Kelly Mystery:
How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

As many likely know, the publisher has the final say on the title of a book. Double Take used to be called Tapestry of Lies, and in fact I called it that all through the writing of it. However, my publisher felt it sounded too much like a cozy mystery (“Pancakes and murder” type of book), and my book is much more of a thriller/mystery; I saw their point. I offered about forty different options before we settled on the title Double Take. As a reader, when I get to the end of a book, I want to understand what the title had to do with the story—so I kept going until I found a title that the team loved, but I felt still represented the plot. By the end of the book, you will definitely understand why the book has that title, but I can’t give it away now or it will be a spoiler. Anyone who reads the book and can’t put it together by the end, please contact me via my website or my twitter and I would love to discuss it with you!

What's in a name?

The heroine of my books, Madison Kelly, is my alter-ego: we are both licensed private investigators, and when I was Madison’s age, I lived in...[read on]
Visit Elizabeth Breck's website.

Q&A with Elizabeth Breck.

--Marshal Zeringue