Saturday, April 2, 2011

Larry D. Sweazy

Larry D. Sweazy's first western, The Rattlesnake Season, a Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger novel, was released by Berkley Books in 2009. Book #2 in the Josiah Wolfe series, The Scorpion Trail, followed in 2010. Book #3, The Badger's Revenge, was released on April 05, 2011, and Book #4, The Cougar's Prey, will be released in October, 2011.

A couple of weeks ago I asked him what he was reading. His reply:
I’m just finishing up reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. A couple of things grabbed me about this stunning novel right off, beyond the fact that it is a compelling read. It is a first novel, and the author was 70 years old when it sold. Simply put, it’s never too late to make your dream come true. Bradley obviously didn’t let his age stop him. The narrator, 11 year old Flavia de Luce, is written in first person. I thought it was a brave choice for a 70 year old male writer to tackle the voice of an 11 year old girl, but Bradley pulls it off seamlessly. Of course, Charles Portis pulled off nearly same thing with True Grit, but this is different, and just as literary. I love the idea that a writer has the courage and freedom to tell a story as he sees fit, and if it’s good enough, it will find an editor brave enough to buy it, who will then publish it, and set it out into the world to succeed or fail on its own merits.

The novel is a historical mystery set in 1950s England. Bradley had never been to England until after he wrote novel. More courage on the writer’s part. And even though the narrator is 11 years old, this book is not being marketed as a YA (young adult) novel, but as an adult mystery. All of that said, once the reader encounters Flavia, it’s a rip-roaring start to a great story, and a love affair that promises to last beyond the first book, since this is also the beginning of a series. Flavia is an aspiring chemist who lives in a house that was once considered one of the finest estates in England, but has fallen into disrepair. Flavia’s mother has died. Her father is heart-broken. And her two sisters are older, and off on their own adventures, pretty much leaving Flavia to herself to practice her chemistry. That changes when she finds a dead bird on the front stoop with a stamp stabbed through its beak, and hours later, when she finds a dead man in the garden, who is mysteriously connected to her grieving father. What comes next is a twist at every turn, description worthy of a master, quirky characters, and a fantastic mystery, that shouldn’t be missed. This is one of best debuts I’ve read in a long time.
Watch the trailer for The Badger’s Revenge, and learn more about the book and author at Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Badger’s Revenge by Larry D. Sweazy.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Larry D. Sweazy and Brodi and Sunny.

--Marshal Zeringue