Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Marcus Sakey

Marcus Sakey's debut thriller The Blade Itself has raked in many, much-deserved, rave reviews.

"A hard-charging thriller ... delivers a kick and leaves no loose ends," wrote the New York Times. The CBS Sunday Morning News called it "[t]he first page turner of 2007 ... this is how immortality gets started."

I recently asked the writer what he has been reading. His reply:
You know when you hit a streak and get a bunch of good books in a row? I've been on a roll for the last few months, so the hard part is picking favorites.

I powered through James Sallis's Drive in an afternoon, and found myself torn between awe and envy. The book is remarkable not only for the story, but for the depth of psychological insight and existential bent. If Camus wrote crime fiction, it might read something like Drive.

Earlier this year I finished A Winter's Tale, by Mark Helprin, which was both a challenge and a delight. Helprin is a spectacular wordsmith, and his sentences read like rich candy -- sometimes a little too rich for my tastes. But I loved the sense of wonder, the beauty of the imagery, and especially the humane philosophy that lit the book from within.

On the flip side is a book called A Prayer for Dawn, by Nathan Singer. It's a savage, heartbreaking novel that ruthlessly lampoons our media-crazed, emotionally-unbalanced, pop-another-pill-and-change-the-channel world. Not a comfortable read, but a spectacular one.

Lastly, I just this morning finished Charlie Huston's A Dangerous Man, the conclusion of the Hank Thompson trilogy. I don't generally care for series, but I'm in love with Charlie's storytelling, and each book in the series gave me four hours of unmitigated bliss. Ken Bruen called it "compassionate noir," and that's a perfect description -- dark, violent, sometimes downright mean, but with a soft side that keeps the heart beating.
Read more about these and other books on Sakey's recently-read shelf.

Find out more about The Blade Itself and future projects at Sakey's official website and at the group blogs "The Outfit" and "Killer Year."

Last year I asked him a question about the male-female ratio of the writers represented on his bookshelf and got a very interesting answer.

Read the results of the Page 69 Test for The Blade Itself.

--Marshal Zeringue