Monday, March 18, 2013

Zoë Sharp

Zoë Sharp’s crime thriller series features former British Special Forces soldier turned bodyguard heroine, Charlie Fox. Sharp’s work has been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Benjamin Franklin, and Macavity Awards in the United States, as well as a CWA Short Story Dagger. The latest in the Charlie Fox series is Die Easy.

Last month I asked Sharp what she was reading. Her reply:
Raylan by Elmore Leonard

A Plague of Dreams by John Gregory Hancock

Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter

I’m reading a bit of everything at the moment, but these are the three main ones. First up is Raylan by Elmore Leonard, featuring Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens. It’s weird to read elements of the same story as I’ve watched on TV in Justified, but all jumbled up and presented in a completely different order. Elmore Leonard’s pared-down style—so pared down that you don’t even get apostrophes for missing letters—gets straight to the heart of things. It has a distinctive rhythm all its own. The character of Raylan is as charismatic as Timothy Olyphant makes him on screen, and the story weaves a far more complex and intriguing tale. I’ll certainly be picking up the other two novels to feature Raylan—Pronto, and Riding The Rap—as well as the novella Fire In The Hole, on which the TV series was actually based.

Before that I had the pleasure to read a short story collection written and illustrated by John Gregory Hancock, called A Plague of Dreams, which was apparently inspired by the author’s own dreams. Hmm, if that’s the case he should probably stop eating cheese right before he goes to bed. A highly imaginative set of stories, often accompanied by beautiful original artwork. Hard to pick a favourite, although I particularly liked ‘Forked’, ‘Panic Tower’ and ‘The Veil’. Mr Hancock is definitely a multi-talented artist and I look forward to reading more of his weird dreams.

Lastly, is Hunted by Elizabeth Heiter. I was asked to read this one—which won’t actually be out until January 2014—with a view to giving it a blurb. Having been through the book in typescript form I ended up with loose pages all over the bedroom floor because I was turning them over so quickly. The female protagonist is troubled FBI profiler Evelyn Baine who is driven by ambition to succeed at a job for which she has an apparently natural talent, and a tragedy from her childhood. The story is meticulous and fascinating, as well as being a real page-turner. I look forward to seeing it hit the shelves.
Visit Zoë Sharp’s website, blog, or find her on Facebook or Twitter.

The Page 69 Test: Third Strike.

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--Marshal Zeringue