Wednesday, May 1, 2019

August Norman

Originally from central Indiana, thriller and mystery author August Norman has called Los Angeles home for two decades, writing for and/or appearing in movies, television, stage productions, web series, and even, commercial advertising. A lover and champion of crime fiction, Norman is an active member of the Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and Sisters In Crime (National and LA), and regularly attends the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference.

Norman's first Caitlin Bergman thriller is Come and Get Me.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
In general, I reach for a mix of crime fiction, true crime, literary fiction, and non-fiction, though often delve into sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and romance. Basically, I read everything, especially if referred by a friend. My current bookshelves include: Doyle, Christie, Chandler, Hammett, MacDonald, Connelly, Coben, Crais, Cormac McCarthy, Laurie R King, Sue Grafton, Meg Gardiner, Michael Koryta, Elmore Leonard, T. Jefferson Parker, Robert Parker, Dennis Lehane, J.A. Jance, Stephen King, Walter Mosley, Gillian Flynn, Kathy Reichs…plus a whole bunch of debut fiction. Let’s just say, I recently took ten books to a swap designed to thin my sagging shelves, and came back with fifteen more.

So far, 2019’s reading list has been a whirlwind of great and diverse reads. The next installment in my Caitlin Bergman series (Crooked Lane, Spring 2020) has required a good deal of research. Of the many non-fiction sources I’ve consulted, my favorite has been the study from 1954 that defined the term ‘Cognitive Dissonance’ by observing a flying saucer cult from within when their apocalyptic predictions failed to come true. Authored by Leon Festinger, Henry W. Riecken, and Stanley Schachter, When Prophecy Fails: A Social and Psychological Study of a Modern Group that Predicted the Destruction of the World is a fascinating look at why people hold true to their beliefs, even when visibly disproven by logic. While the study concentrated on religion, it’s easy to see the same patterns play out in the rest of our world ... cough, cough, flat earth, cough, politics.

Beyond research, the publishing of my debut novel introduced me to established authors (though new to me), who were kind enough to contribute blurbs.

In the world of crime fiction, I gobbled up Lisa Brackmann’s Black Swan Rising. Readers who love a good thriller, not just plucked from the headlines, but predicted from current events, should get a copy now.

I started with the fifth book in Gwen Florio’s Lola Wicks mystery series, Under the Shadows, and can’t wait to go back for the rest. Besides her realistic look at trauma-related addiction and her vivid painting of places like Montana and Utah, her character Lola is a hard-charging reporter, unafraid to put herself in the middle of the action ... which come to think of it, is similar to my own heroine, Caitlin Bergman ... and Lisa Brackmann’s Casey Cheng. What can I say? I have a type.

Best-selling author Steena Holmes’ novel The Forgotten Ones pulled me in and made me cry, so now I’ll be tearing through her whole catalog ... as well as those of David Bell, Lydia Kang, Christine Carbo, Barbara Nickless, Simon Gervais, and Thomas Shawver.

Finally, I’ve also read two debut novels from the class of 2019, The War in our Hearts by Eva Seyler, and Past Presence by Nicole Bross. The first, a historical drama set in WWI, the second, a modern mystery with a touch of supernatural. Both introduced me to strong literary voices with great futures to come – and a need for a few more shelves.
Visit August Norman's website.

The Page 69 Test: Come and Get Me.

--Marshal Zeringue