Thursday, June 29, 2017

Barry Lancet

Barry Lancet is the author of the award-winning international suspense series featuring Jim Brodie. The latest entry is The Spy Across the Table, which sends Brodie careening from Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to Japan, South Korea, the DMZ, and the Chinese-North Korean border, in a story that predates recent headlines. In one of the first advance reviews, Publishers Weekly said that "Lancet keeps the suspense high through the exciting climax."

The previous entry in the series, Pacific Burn, explores the tragic aftermath of the Fukushima quake-tsunami disaster and the real reasons behind the nuclear melt down. Japantown, the first Brodie adventure, won the Barry Award for Best First Novel, was initially optioned by J. J. Abrams, and is now under consideration at other studios. The second volume, Tokyo Kill, was a finalist for a Shamus Award for Best Novel of the Year and declared a must-read by Forbes magazine.

Recently I asked Lancet about what he was reading. His reply:
Here are three titles on the top my to-be-read or just-read stack, both of which are always threatening to scrape the ceiling.

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee. This nonfiction account of one woman’s escape from North Korea is a stunner. I came across it when I was doing research for The Spy Across the Table. The prose is clear, crisp, and matter of fact to the point of understatement. And yet it’s gripping. Once Lee crosses over the North Korean border into China, a new set of trials begins. And they go on and on and then redouble at the point where you think she’s finally safe.

The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne. A long-time acquaintance, Karen first mentioned her thriller to me after her agent made a big sale to Putnam, as well as an impressive string of overseas sales. I’ve only just sampled it so far but the writing is clean and fluid and I am expecting great things from this one. Reviews have been stellar and comparisons to Room are common, but to my mind the novel, set in Michigan’s remote marshlands, promises to be earthier, grittier, and more complex.

The Song Dog by James McClure. Every once in a while I go back and reread a book I enjoyed. This is the last of McClure’s South African detective series featuring Lieutenant Tromp Kramer and Detective Bantu Sergeant Mickey Zondi, policemen during the Apartheid era. After The Steam Pig, this is my favorite of the eight-book series. The story opens with a man and a woman lying on a mattress on a hot night, in a shack on stilts edging a lagoon, with mangrove frogs and crocodiles about. In the dark, she swats an engorged mosquito, blood splatters on her thigh, and slowly it dawns on each of them that neither has been bitten. Who’s blood is it then? The writing is quirky, colorful, witty, and compassionate. McClure began his anti-Apartheid mysteries (with one white and one black detective) while the repressive regime was still in power, and I’m told he had to leave the country to continue the series. Kudos to Soho Press for re-issuing the books.
Visit Barry Lancet's website.

The Page 69 Test: Pacific Burn.

--Marshal Zeringue