Monday, August 6, 2018

Wallace Stroby

Wallace Stroby is an award-winning journalist and the author of eight novels, four of which feature professional thief Crissa Stone, whom Kirkus Reviews named "Crime fiction's best bad girl ever."

His new novel is Some Die Nameless.

A Long Branch, N.J., native, Stroby is a lifelong resident of the Jersey Shore. His debut novel The Barbed-Wire Kiss, which The Washington Post called "a scorching first novel ...full of attention to character and memory and, even more, to the neighborhoods of New Jersey," was a finalist for the 2004 Barry Award for Best First Novel.

His 2010 novel Gone 'til November was picked as a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, as was the second Crissa Stone novel Kings of Midnight. In 2012, the Crissa Stone novels were optioned by Showtime Networks for development.

A graduate of Rutgers University, Stroby was an editor at the Star-Ledger of Newark, Tony Soprano's hometown newspaper, for 13 years.

Recently I asked Stroby about what he was reading. His reply:
Reading-wise, I’ve always got two or three books in progress, but as I’ve grown older I’m quicker to set aside books I’m not responding to (that point is usually somewhere between 50 and 75 pages). I used to feel obligated to finish every book I started, but I don’t anymore. Life is short, and there are too many good books out there.

That said, here’s what I’ve got in front of me at the moment, that I won’t be bailing on:

Eight Million Ways to Die by Lawrence Block and John K. Snyder III. Artist Snyder’s evocative adaptation of Block’s classic 1982 Matt Scudder novel. I’m not a big graphic novel enthusiast, but this one is beautifully done. It captures both the fatalistic atmosphere of the Scudder novels, and the look of NYC in the early ‘80s. I’ve got Block’s new short story collection, Resume Speed, on deck as well.

The Death Instint by Jacques Mesrine. This came out a few years ago, but I’m just now catching up with it. It’s the memoir of the French arch-criminal Jacques Mesrine, written in Paris’ notorious La Sante Prison and smuggled out not long before Mesrine himself escaped. The book was first published in 1977, and two years later Mesrine was killed (some say assassinated) by a special police unit at a busy Paris intersection. As with most memoirs of this type, one has to allow for a certain amount of exaggeration, self-aggrandizement and outright fabrication. But it’s still a fascinating insight into the mind of an unapologetic Gallic Dillinger. I also recommend Jean-Francois Richet’s two-part film adaptation from 2008, starring Vincent Cassel as Mesrine, which paints him in a much-less-flattering – though probably more accurate – light.

The Lonely Witness by William Boyle. I'm loving this Brooklyn-set crime novel/character study, which came highly recommended. Boyle (Gravesend) is a terrific and evocative writer.

The Big Book of the Continental Op By Dashiell Hammett. Edited by Richard Layman and Julie M. Rivett. In between other books, I’ve been dipping into this collection, compiled by Hammett’s granddaughter, and one of his biographers. It includes all 28 short stories and two serialized novels featuring Hammett’s unnamed operative for the Continental Detective Agency. Though they were all written and published between 1923 and 1930, the stories still crackle with energy, wit and hard-boiled authenticity. Hammett, a former Pinkerton detective, knew of what he wrote.These stories were gamechangers for American crime fiction. Once Hammett rewrote the rules, there was no going back.

Up next and eagerly looking forward to:

Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

The Widower's Notebook: A Memoir by Jonathan Santlofer

The Man Who Came Uptown (ARC) by George Pelecanos
Visit the official Wallace Stroby website and The Heartbreak Blog.

--Marshal Zeringue