Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Carla Buckley

Carla Buckley is the debut author of The Things That Keep Us Here (Delacorte Press, February 2010.) Orion in the UK and Wunderlich in Germany pre-empted rights to The Things That Keep Us Here and Buckley's next book, which Delacorte will publish in 2011. Buckley is the Chair of the International Thriller Writers Debut Program and currently lives in Ohio with her husband and children.

Last month I asked her what she was reading. Her reply:
Because I’m a non-scientist writing about science, I usually read a lot of non-fiction while I’m in the process of researching my next book. I’ve just turned in my latest manuscript, so now I’m catching up on my fiction reading. Although I read a pretty broad selection, I do focus on thrillers. Currently, I am reading four novels that are about to be released.

Rescuing Olivia by Julie Compton. I was happy to snag an early read of Compton's second novel having read (and loved) her debut, Tell No Lies. Rescuing Olivia is about one man's determination to rescue the woman he loves who has gone missing. It’s Compton’s extraordinary ability to make her characters seem so real that we feel as though we’ve known them all our lives that drives this novel forward. And her gift of establishing setting (from lush Florida coast to chilly Connecticut town to the vast and magical African plains) makes us feel as though we’re right there, running alongside Anders as he searches for Olivia.

The Wolves Of Fairmount Park by Dennis Tafoya. I loved Tafoya’s debut, Dope Thief, with its unreliable narrator, and dived right into his second, The Wolves of Fairmont Park. Tafoya writes gritty and dark, and his language is beautifully spare. The story opens with two teenagers getting shot on a street corner in Philadelphia, and right from the beginning, you know this story is going somewhere. Tafoya punches right through to the heart of the action, and even as his characters make wrong and imperfect choices, you can’t help but buckle your seatbelt and go along for the ride.

The Whole World by Emily Winslow. This is Winslow’s debut novel, set in Oxford, England, about the mysterious disappearance of Nick, a graduate student, as told from the perspectives of five narrators whose stories are strung like gleaming beads on a chain. Winslow writes exquisitely and with great honesty, each character picking up the narrative and adding his or her own complex history so the result is a rich, multi-layered tale. The imagery is compelling: you can see the cascade of paper snowflakes, the shine of lights in the wet English rain. I was well past the halfway mark before I realized that The Whole World is about much, much more than what happened to one young man in the middle of an ordinary day.

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. Voice! There’s a lot of buzz building about Stevens’ debut novel, and I can see why. Her voice sings from every page, and her story, about a realtor abducted and held captive for a year, as told in private sessions with her therapist after her rescue, is utterly gripping. There isn’t a false step or wrong note; each scene seamlessly folds into the next, as we move from past to present to past again, and you can’t help but root for her fiercely tough and damaged heroine. This is the kind of story that makes you sit up in the middle of the night, heart pounding, to think, was that a noise?
Visit Carla Buckley's website and read more about The Things That Keep Us Here.

--Marshal Zeringue