Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Emily Devenport

Emily Devenport has written several novels under various pseudonyms including one which was a finalist for the Philip K. Dick award.

Devenport's new novel is Medusa in the Graveyard: The Medusa Cycle (Volume 2).

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I have a full time day job, a household to run, a writing career to (mis)manage, and an odd collection of other pursuits that relate to all of the above, so my reading can be a bit spotty. Fortunately, there are audio books to help me multitask.

I just finished listening to Paper Son, by S.J. Rozan, the latest Lydia Chin/Bill Smith mystery. Lydia and Bill are very different people, who are sort of in love with each other but are also really good private investigators who discover quite a lot of culture and history along the way. Should anyone decide to give these two their own TV show, I am so there.

There are some superstars in the audio field, and one of my favorites is Robert McCammon, currently most famous for his Matthew Corbett books, narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. The most recent of these is Cardinal Black, which seems to be taking this historical series in some decidedly eldritch directions. That may not surprise anyone who has read McCammon's other titles, like Boy's Life, Swan Song, Stinger, and The Border. No one writes the Great American Post-Apocalyptic novel like Robert McCammon.

I was happy to discover a new installment of another one of my favorites, the Matthew Shardlake series: Tombland, by C.J. Sansom, narrated by Steven Crossley. Matthew is a lawyer trying to practice his trade in the dangerous court of Henry VIII. Henry has recently died, and the shark-infested waters in which Master Shardlake finds himself are getting choppier by the minute. Brilliant, compassionate, and stubborn, Shardlake is easy to root for – and he needs all the help he can get.

I can't talk about audio books without mentioning one of the best I've ever heard, Circe, by Madeleine Miller, narrated by Perdita Weeks. I am now a devoted fan of both Miller and Weeks. A lot of people have been comparing Miller to Mary Renault, and she certainly has the classical chops to rise to that sort of comparison – but Madeline Miller is also a fantasist par excellence. This book was one of my Hugo nominations.

Most of my reading these days is the audio variety, but I've got plenty of printed matter around the house too (in fact, far too much). Lately I've been reading Gleanings in Buddha Fields, by Lafcadio Hearn and The Book of Yokai, by Michel Dylan Foster. These books deal with subjects both whimsical and spooky, and I can recommend them to readers with a passion for Japanese culture and/or monsters.
Visit Emily Devenport's blog.

The Page 69 Test: Medusa Uploaded.

My Book, The Movie: Medusa Uploaded.

My Book, The Movie: Medusa in the Graveyard.

The Page 69 Test: Medusa in the Graveyard.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Kali Wallace

Kali Wallace has had a lifelong passion for both science and storytelling, and she earned a PhD in geophysics before becoming an author. Salvation Day is her first novel for adults. She is also the author of two young adult novels, Shallow Graves and The Memory Trees; the children’s fantasy novel City of Islands; and a number of short stories. After spending most of her life in Colorado, she now lives in southern California.

Recently I asked Wallace about what she was reading. Her reply:
As usual, I've got a couple of books going, because I like to blaze through some fast-paced fiction while savoring heftier fiction or nonfiction over a longer period.

This week I've been on a bit of a tear, as I turned in one novel and launched another recently, so I'm giving my own writing brain a rest by absorbing other people's words. I find it extremely comforting and relaxing to dive into other people's worlds when I'm exhausted by thinking about my own. And my go-to for comfort reading is always crime novels from across the Atlantic. I just finished Denise Mina's novel Conviction, a thriller that definitely scratches an itch for my true-crime-loving self, and Flynn Berry's A Double Life, which tweaks those same interests as a fictionalized version of the Lord Lucan case and what happens when privilege, power, and money stand in the way of justice.

Before that, I finished Val McDermind's Broken Ground, one of her seemingly innumerable excellent Scottish crime novels--I never get tired of them, and I hope she never gets tired of writing them. Her sense of place and compassion for damaged people makes every story engaging and interesting.

Up next in fiction I've got something entirely different waiting: Ada Hoffmann's The Outside, a sci fi about AI gods and what happens when you defy them. It's been a while since I've sunk my teeth into some weird, dark sci fi, so I can't wait to get into it.

I've also just started David J. Peterson's The Art of Language Invention. Peterson is the linguist who invented the Dothraki language for the Game of Thrones television show, and he's written this book as a guide for other language nerds or fantasy and sci fi lovers who want to invent their own languages. I don't know anything about linguistics, so jumping in head-first has a steep learning curve for me, but I like the careful, detailed, and thorough way Peterson works through all the different aspects of language.

And in the background of all of this, I've been savoring Sarah Perry's The Essex Serpent, which is an absolutely delightful book that's a bit like what would happen if Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley got together to write a book about sea serpents. The characters are achingly charming, the language is gorgeous, and I'm taking it nice and slow because I never want it to end. I could never write a book like this, but I am happen that somebody else did, because it's a joy to read through it with that wonderful sense of awe.
Visit Kali Wallace's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Memory Trees.

The Page 69 Test: City of Islands.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Chris Tebbetts

Chris Tebbetts is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of James Patterson’s Middle School series. Originally from Yellow Springs, Ohio, Tebbetts is a graduate of Northwestern University. He lives and writes in Vermont.

Tebbetts's new novel is Me Myself & Him.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
I haven’t intended to focus my reading on characters in (or traveling to) the Eastern hemisphere, but as I think about my favorite reads of 2019, that’s where they all line up. I’ll share one middle grade, one YA, and one adult novel (though I’m recommending these for everyone).

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman does one of the things I love most in great books. It finds true, uncompromising beauty right alongside true, uncompromising, and harsh realities in the lives of its characters. In this case, the characters are a group of kids forced by circumstances to live on the streets of Chennai, India; and yet, somehow, with writing that’s just as beautiful as this book’s amazing cover, the author managed to leave me feeling sad, uplifted, and inspired all at the same time.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram follows its American-born protagonist on a family trip to visit his grandparents in Iran. This book, besides being a fast, compelling read, also features a protagonist like the one in my own new YA novel (Me, Myself, and Him)—which is to say, a gay character whose sexuality isn’t the problem or main focus of the story. I’ve been glad to see more and more of those kinds of stories appearing on the LGBTQ shelves in the past several years.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee tracks four generations in one Korean family over several decades, as they face (among other things) the difficulty of living in Japan, and the prejudices against Korean people there. This was a topic I knew nothing about, and I loved the passive education I got while I was simultaneously swept up in Min Jin Lee’s story and characters. The writing is masterful—and as an aside, her keynote talk at Grub Street from a few years ago is really worth finding online and watching, for anyone interested in writing and the creative process.
Visit Chris Tebbetts's website.

My Book, The Movie: Me Myself & Him.

The Page 69 Test: Me Myself & Him.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

J. Todd Scott

J. Todd Scott was born in rural Kentucky and attended college and law school in Virginia, where he set aside an early ambition to write to pursue a career as a federal agent. His assignments have taken him all over the U.S and the world, but a badge and gun never replaced his passion for books and writing. He now resides in the American Southwest, and when he’s not hunting down very bad men, he’s hard at work on his next book.

His debut novel, The Far Empty, was published in 2016.

Scott's new novel is This Side of Night.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
At any given time, I’m reading multiple books simultaneously, both on my Kindle and the “real thing,” all stacked up on my nightstand. Here are a few now: Riley Sager’s, Lock Every Door, Adrian McKinty’s The Chain, Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers, and Jonathan Moore’s Blood Relations. At the time I’m writing this, I’m a few days away from the launch of This Side of Night, and I’m set to share an event with David Bell (who I’ve gotten to know), and Cristina Alger (who I’m looking forward to meeting). Since I want to be able to talk about their books, I’m reading David’s Layover and Cristina’s Girls Like Us. So far, both are fantastic, although they’re very different (I think) from the sort gritty, Border noir that I’ve been doing in my Big Bend novels. I actually find that I read widely “out of genre” all the time. I love fantasy/sci-fi and horror, and I’m just as likely to be reading something in that vein as I am a crime or suspense novel. Later this month, Tim Lebbon’s new book drops – The Edge – and I’m a big fan of everything he does.
Visit J. Todd Scott's website.

My Book, The Movie: This Side of Night.

The Page 69 Test: This Side of Night.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Naomi Booth

Naomi Booth is a fiction writer and academic. Her first work of fiction, The Lost Art of Sinking, emerged from research into the literary history of swooning, and won the Saboteur Award for Best Novella 2016 as well as being selected for New Writing North’s Read Regional campaign 2017.

Booth's new novel is Sealed,

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
I’m currently reading Tentacle by Rita Indiana, and I’ve never read anything quite like it: it imagines a future Santo Domingo after a series of climate crises. The novel’s central character is impoverished and brutalised and made highly vulnerable by events around them—they’re also endlessly creative and energetic and regenerative. This is a supple, surprising, genre-defying novel.
Visit Naomi Booth's website.

The Page 69 Test: Sealed.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, July 19, 2019

Claire Lombardo

Claire Lombardo earned her MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. The Most Fun We Ever Had is her debut novel.

A former social worker, she now teaches fiction writing and is at work on a second novel.

Recently I asked Lombardo about what she was reading. Her reply:
Between releasing my first book, packing up my house in Iowa City, and watching seasons one and two of Fleabag on near-constant repeat, I’m afraid I’ve been a less-than-vigorous reader lately, but I have been trying to take advantage of Midwestern porch weather and read a bit each evening. Right now I’m at the beginning of Mona Awad’s Bunny, which called out to me both because it’s been compared to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History—one of my all-time favorites—and because I’m in withdrawal from MFA drama, having graduated from my own fine arts program a few years ago.

I also just reread a beloved YA novel from my adolescence called Anna to the Infinite Power, which came out in the 80s and is about a young woman who discovers she’s the product of a sinister cloning experiment. This book was very arguably the catalyst for my obsession with conspiracy theories and scandal, and it was a delight to return to it and have that wonderful muscle-memory feeling that comes with reading a book that you’d devoured in your youth, where you realize you’ve had particular sentences and prose rhythms stored in your head for decades.
Visit Claire Lombardo's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Most Fun We Ever Had.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Heather Child

Heather Child's experience in digital marketing has brought her into close contact with the automation and personalization technologies that herald the "big data" age.

Her debut novel is Everything About You.

Recently I asked Child about what she was reading. Her reply:
I read a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, the latter often as research for whatever I’m writing.

This is what brought me to Selfie by Will Storr. It’s ostensibly about our current selfie-taking celebrity culture, but I was surprised to find it a far-reaching study that chronicles how the concept of ‘the individual’ came to be revered, from ancient Greece through to American neoliberalism.

Putting the self first is a western - rather than universal - cultural tendency, and it’s fascinating to read about how research was wilfully misused to argue that high self-esteem would solve all social ills – violence, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy etc – so that the majority of US primary schools put programmes in place to boost it. Of course, low self-esteem isn’t great either, but we seem to have overshot the happy medium of people having a realistic view of their abilities, resulting in the narcissistic ‘selfie’ culture we have today.

Fiction-wise, I’m part way through My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante, about two girls growing up in Naples. It was my turn to pick something for a local book club, and my ulterior motive for choosing this novel was to see a stylish depiction of close female friendship, something I’m trying to write about currently. Reading is the best way to learn about writing, after all.

My Brilliant Friend is beautifully narrated, but it took me a while to get into the story - probably because it is realism and I’ve been reading a lot of speculative fiction recently (so I kept expecting something strange and unnatural to happen!)
Visit Heather Child's website.

The Page 69 Test: Everything About You.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 15, 2019

Julie McElwain

Julie McElwain is a national award-winning journalist. Born and raised in North Dakota, she graduated from North Dakota State University, and moved to Los Angeles, where she worked for a fashion trade newspaper. Currently, she is an editor for CBS Soaps In Depth, covering the No. 1 daytime drama, The Young & The Restless.

Her first novel, A Murder In Time, was one of the top 10 picks by the National Librarian Association for its April 2016 book list. The novel was also a finalist for the 2016 Goodreads’ readers choice awards in the Sci-fi category, and made Bustle’s list of 9 Most Addictive Mystery series for 2017.

The series continues Kendra Donovan’s adventures in Regency England with A Twist in Time, Caught in Time, and Betrayal in Time.

When McElwain is not on her laptop, she enjoys traveling, exploring different cultures, spending time with family and meeting friends for Happy Hour. She lives in Long Beach, California.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. McElwain's reply:
Lethal White, by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and The Accidental Dictionary by Paul Anthony Jones

Lethal White is the fourth installment in the Cormoran Strike/Robin Ellacott detective series, and I was as engrossed and entertained as the other three books. The mystery begins when an obviously mentally disturbed man named Billy seeks help over the long ago murder of a child. Or what he believes to be the murder of a child. While Strike and Robin are intrigued enough to launch an investigation into Billy’s claim, they have to wonder how much is true, and how much is simply a fantasy created by a delusional mind. Rowling writes mysteries as brilliantly as she writes magic (ala her Harry Potter series). Lethal White is filled with interesting characters that have plenty of motives to keep their secrets tightly locked away — and one person who will resort to murder to get what they want. Equally important to the story is the ongoing and evolving relationship between Strike and Robin. For that, I would recommend readers to begin with the first book, Cuckoo’s Calling. My only frustration with this series is that Rowling is still caught up in writing for the Harry Potter universe, so there tend to be long waits between the Strike novels. But it is well worth the wait!

I am also reading the non-fiction book, The Accidental Dictionary. In writing my books, I spend a lot of time researching words and phrases, so I was particularly pleased to find this book, which explores the etymology of words and phrases. One example: A bimbo was originally meant to describe a man. Reading this book is like rummaging around in an attic and uncovering unexpected treasures — truly delightful!
Visit Julie McElwain's website.

The Page 69 Test: Caught in Time.

My Book, The Movie: Betrayal in Time.

The Page 69 Test: Betrayal in Time.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Hilary Davidson

Hilary Davidson’s debut novel, The Damage Done, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel, and the Crimespree Award for Best First Novel. The second book in the series is The Next One to Fall and the third is Evil in All Its Disguises. Davidson’s first standalone novel, Blood Always Tells, was published by Tor/Forge in April 2014.

Her new novel is One Small Sacrifice—the first book in a new series.

Recently I asked Davidson about what she was reading. Her reply:
I was on book tour recently, and my most recent reading has been influenced by the writers I appeared with. I’d never met Laird Barron before we did an event together at Scottsdale’s Poisoned Pen, but I’d heard about his work in the horror genre. Before our event, I read his new novel, Black Mountain, which is the second in his Isaiah Coleridge series. There were a lot of reasons I loved the book, starting with how the author incorporated mythology from several cultures. Isaiah Coleridge himself is half-Maori, half-Celt, and there are dreamlike sequences that are very different from what I’ve encountered in most crime novels. The private investigator novel is well-trod terrain, but Barron’s version came with many delightful twists.

I knew Laura Benedict before we appeared together at the St. Louis County Library, and I’ve read her short fiction before. But I’d never read her novel-length work until I started The Stranger Inside. It’s a delightfully twisted domestic suspense, with two timelines that show the main character, Kimber Hannon in very different ways. In the contemporary timeline, she’s the victim of a con artist who’s managed to move into her house while she was away for a few days; in a timeline set in the past, Kimber is an aggressive teenager who makes a terrible, tragic mistake and buries the consequences. Of course, the past never stays dead, and the confluence of past and present makes for a thrill ride of a book.

Finally, I had the pleasure of reading Rachel Howzell Hall’s standalone novel, They All Fall Down. I’ve seen some reviews calling it a modern take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but it’s so much more than that. It manages to take a diverse crew of miscreants and make the reader care about them, none more so than Miriam Macy, the bitter, vengeful narrator of the story. The novel delves deeply into issues around sin and punishment, and I loved every dark moment of it.
Visit the official Hilary Davidson site.

The Page 69 Test: The Damage Done.

The Page 69 Test: Blood Always Tells.

The Page 69 Test: One Small Sacrifice.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Keely Hutton

Keely Hutton is a novelist, educational journalist, and former teacher. She is the recipient of the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop scholarship at Chautauqua.

Hutton has worked closely with Ricky Richard Anywar to tell his story in her first novel, Soldier Boy.

Her latest novel is Secret Soldiers.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Hutton's reply:
Spring was a great season of reading for me.

In April, my first novel Soldier Boy was honored at the 26th Annual Children’s Africana Book Award in Washington D.C. In preparation for and following the ceremony, I read the books written and illustrated by my fellow honorees. I highly recommend these wonderful stories that celebrate African history and culture and provide readers with a better understanding of African societies and issues.

Books for Young Readers:

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Mama Africa by Kathryn Erskine and illustrated by Charly Palmer

Grandma’s List by Portia Dery and illustrated by Toby Newsome

Sleep Well, Siba & Saba by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl and illustrated by Sandra Van Doorn

Books for Older Readers:

When Morning Comes by Arushi Raina

Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson

In May, I read King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I am a huge fan of Bardugo’s novels, and King of Scars did not disappoint. I was delighted to find characters from her Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology in the first book of her new duology. Her beautiful writing, memorable characters, and fast-paced adventures immerse you in the Grishaverse she’s created and leave you wishing the next novel was already available.

Following King of Scars, I read Refugee by Alan Gratz. A teacher-friend recommended the book, and I devoured it in two days. This heartbreaking middle grade novel follows the stories of three young refugees forced to flee their home countries in search of safety and freedom. Told in the alternating points-of-view of Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany, Isabel, a Cuban girl in 1994, and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015, Gratz skillfully weaves historical facts with emotion to help readers, young and not-so-young, better understand the plight of refugees in our not-so-distant past and present and sparks much-needed discussions in our homes, schools, and communities.

I am currently reading the Winner of the 2017 Newbury Medal The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Barnhill’s lyrical writing brings this fairytale of witches, a tiny dragon, a poetry-loving bog monster, and a baby girl who is accidentally imbued with magic when she is fed moonlight to life in the reader’s imagination.

The next book on my TBR pile is For Every One by Jason Reynolds. Reynold’s Long Way Down is one of my favorite books. I recommend it to everyone and can’t wait to kick off my summer reading with Jason Reynold’s inspirational words in For Every One.
Visit Keely Hutton's website.

The Page 69 Test: Soldier Boy.

My Book, The Movie: Soldier Boy.

The Page 69 Test: Secret Soldiers.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Garry Disher

Garry Disher is one of Australia’s best-known novelists. He’s published over 50 books in a range of genres, including crime, children’s books, and Australian history. He lives on the Mornington Peninsula, southeast of Melbourne.

Disher's novel Under the Cold Bright Lights is now out in the US.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Disher's reply:
An Australian, I have been reading more Australian fiction recently, especially the crime novels The Dry by Jane Harper, and Scrublands by Chris Hammer. My crime novel Bitter Wash Road (published by Soho in the US), sits comfortably with both books in a sub-genre we might call "outback noir". The setting is remote rural rather than urban, and, crucially, the lead investigators are newcomers or outsiders who, unlike completely-at-home urban investigators like Bosch in LA, must try to understand the setting in addition to the circumstances of the crimes they're investigating.
Visit Garry Disher's website.

The Page 69 Test: Under the Cold Bright Lights.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, July 8, 2019

Aminah Mae Safi

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer. Safi was the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest, and that story appears in the anthology Fresh Ink. She lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner and cat.

Her new novel is Tell Me How You Really Feel.

Recently I asked Safi about what she was reading. Her reply:
In terms of Young Adult, I've been reading If I'm Being Honest by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberly which has a great heroine— the mean girl who is usually the villain of most YA books. So I love turning that trope on its head. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo, which is a fantastic just one day kind of story— it's Roman Holiday with a K-pop star in Hong Kong. And When the Light Went Out by Bridget Morrissey, because she's such a master of creating ensemble casts where you can keep everyone separate in your mind and understand all the character's underlying motivations and wants so cleanly. I love reading to learn a new way of telling a story and a more masterful way of cleaning up my own work.

I recently read The Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson and I keep thinking about the ways memory and space and experience shape us. The ways in which how we tell stories about ourselves and our lives provide the foundation for how we see not only ourselves, but the world around us. But Wilson always manages to remind me the power of story.

I’ve also been reading a good amount of poetry for research for my latest book and Rapaces by Joyce Mansour was particularly vivid and haunting. Beautifully angry femme Surrealist poetry.

And then I finally got to dive back into the world of Lyra and His Dark Materials with La Belle Sauvage. I love the world that Pullman has built and I love the way his stories are just this slow ramping up. They're really like that old adage about boiling the frog. Where the layers just slowly add and add and the heat slowly turns up and suddenly we're on this boiling, insane, fast-paced adventure despite Pullman's having taken so much time to set the scene and set up his world. It's a master class on not skipping the exposition while also keeping the reader engaged.
Visit Aminah Mae Safi's website.

--Marshal Zeringue

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Richard Zimler

Richard Zimler's novels include The Search for Sana, The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, and The Seventh Gate. He has won many prizes for his writing and has lectured on Sephardic Jewish culture all over the world. He now lives in Porto, Portugal, where he teaches journalism and writes.

Zimler's latest novel is The Gospel According to Lazarus.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Zimler's reply:
I’m currently reading two books: Sails & Winds: a Cultural History of Valencia, and The Dead Sea and the Jordan River.

Sails & Winds, by British journalist Michael Eaude, is a wide-ranging, in-depth look at Valencia and its region – its history, politics, culture, agriculture... The author clearly has an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject and writes extremely well. He’s particularly good on early Valencian literature – on writers such as Ausi├ás March, regarded by many literary critics as Spain’s greatest poet in the fifteenth century, and Joanot Martorell, who wrote the famous 15th century novel, Tirant Lo Blanc. Eaude provides his own translations of excerpts from their writings, which I found extremely helpful.

Another aspect of Sails & Winds that I really like is the exploration of current Spanish politics – and Valencia’s role in all the conflicts and controversies. It’s fascinating, for instance, to discover the different perspectives on the Valencian version of the Catalan language, and how these perspectives have served political ends – and continue to serve them. I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in Spanish literature, history or politics. And for anyone who likes reading about present-day corruption in Spain, it’s a gold mine of information!

The Dead Sea and the Jordan River, by Barbara Kreiger, is also beautifully written. And again, the author has an extraordinary depth of knowledge about her subject matter, which is the Dead Sea. I’m at a point in the book where Kreiger is detailing the many expeditions made in the 19th century to try to answer age-old questions about the famous lake – for instance, how far below sea level does it lie? What happened to the ancient cities once bordering its shores and that seem to have completely vanished? Does it have any underground outlet to the Red Sea?

I would highly recommend the book to anyone interested in the geographical and cultural history of the Holy Land – and particularly to people who like to read about pioneering expeditions in extremely harsh environments.
Visit Richard Zimler's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Gospel According to Lazarus.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Kimberly Belle

Kimberly Belle is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of novels of suspense. A graduate of Agnes Scott College, she worked in marketing and nonprofit fundraising before turning to writing fiction. She divides her time between Atlanta and Amsterdam.

Belle's new novel is Dear Wife.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
One of the best perks of this job is getting to read, a lot. Most of the titles I pick up are suspense, but I’ll throw in an occasional women’s fiction or romance to keep things interesting.

The Kill Club by Wendy Heard. Heard has a real knack for creating characters who are as unique as they are compelling, with real-life flaws and big, strong voices. Jazz in The Kill Club has a gritty, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo vibe, and she drives the action in this full-throttle thriller all the way to the deliciously dark end. This was one of my favorites this year, out in December.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier. It takes a lot to hit me with a twist I don’t see coming, but Hillier did it with this one. Jar of Hearts is the perfect kind of thriller, dark and twisty and genuinely surprising, the kind of book best swallowed in one sitting. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either; it’s been nominated for a whole slew of awards, including from the International Thriller Writers.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. This book was recommended to me by dozens of people, and they were right; it’s fabulous. The perfect blend of humor, snark, and sweet romance, and it brings home an important message without being preachy. I loved it!
Visit Kimberly Belle's website.

The Page 69 Test: Dear Wife.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Adam Mitzner

Adam Mitzner is currently the head of the litigation department of Pavia & Harcourt LLP in midtown Manhattan and the author of several acclaimed novels, including Dead Certain, A Conflict of Interest, A Case of Redemption, Losing Faith, The Girl from Home, Dead Certain and Never Goodbye.

Mitzner's new novel is A Matter of Will.

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. His reply:
Before I start writing a new book, I like to do a lot of reading. (And in this case, the new book is not the one after A Matter of Will, but the one after that, which I just submitted to my publisher for publication in April 2020). At the moment, I’m juggling the following:

Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson

In my legal practice, I’ve represented many artists and gallery owners. I’ve always wanted to set a novel in the art world because the idea that someone could scribble on a blank piece of paper and turn it into a million dollars is fascinating to me. One of the early quotes in the book is attributed to Jasper Johns, when he is told that one of his works sold for a $100 million, and he says, “That’s nice, but it has nothing to do with art.”

The Better Sister by Alafair Burke

Alafair was the first real author I met, when I attended a reading of hers right before my first novel came out. Since then, I’ve never missed one of her books, and I’ve never been disappointed either.

The Sentence is Death by Anthony Horowitz

This is a sequel to The Word is Murder, Horowitz’s meta novel where he writes himself into the story in the Watson role to a Sherlock named Daniel Hawthorne, a former police inspector turned private detective whom Horowitz both despises and is amazed by. The first book was so good that I started watching The Midsomer Murders, a British procedural that Horowitz references in the book because he wrote some of the early episodes.
Visit Adam Mitzner's website.

The Page 69 Test: A Conflict of Interest.

My Book, The Movie: A Conflict of Interest.

The Page 69 Test: A Case of Redemption.

My Book, The Movie: A Case of Redemption.

The Page 69 Test: Losing Faith.

My Book, The Movie: Losing Faith.

The Page 69 Test: A Matter of Will.

--Marshal Zeringue