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My Book Reading

The Border - Don Winslow

Metropolis - Philip Kerr

The Paris Diversion - Chris Pavone

The Network - Jason Elliott

Our Man Down In Havana - Christopher Hull

Mission To Paris - Alan Furst

A Dangerous Man - Robert Crais

Resurrections - Jeffrey Meyers

Spy Games - Adam Brookes

Podcast Favorites

   In this episode of the entertraining Books of the Year podcast, Simon Mayo and Matt Williams ask Lee Child about his legendary coffee consumption, at my request. 

@booksoftheyear, @simonmayo

I'll listen to Layne Norton discuss and argue passionately about nutrition any day. Mark Bell does a great job moderating an engaging conversation between Norton and Shawn Baker about health, fitness, food and nutrition. Science wins! @marksmellybell, @BioLane

Shane Whaley and David Craggs talk spy and espionage fiction, writing, politics and books with the outspoken, brilliant writer, Charles Cumming.

@Spybrary, @CharlesCumming

Malcolm Gladwell digs deep into the one song Elvis Presley couldn't consistently sing, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" This episode is a gripping, utterly fascinating discussion of how Elvis recorded, sang live, and interpreted his life through music. @Gladwell

« A Spy Named Orphan: The Enigma of Donald Maclean by Roland Philipps | Main | Time To Get Serious »

Short Takes on New Thrillers


The Last Stand by Mickey Spillane

Mickey Spillane would be 100 years old this month! I grew up seeing his pulpy novels in my parent’s basement, and in my lifetime have enjoyed reading many over the years. Spillane was a larger-than-life character.

The Last Stand is the novel Spillane was working on when he died in 2006. Only now can The Last Stand be read and enjoyed. A bonus addition to this volume is the also previously-unpublished novella A Bullet For Satisfaction, written early in Spillane’s career. Max Allan Collins, the fine writer who has done much to keep Spillane’s work alive, adds a lively introduction revealing how these two manuscripts were found.

@HardCaseCrime, @MaxAllenCollins, #mickeyspillane

  Closer Than You Know by Brad Parks

Brad Parks writes the sort of psychological thrillers typically I'm not attracted to. However, I got into and enjoyed Closer Than You Know.  This novel takes place in the world of social services, inadequate child protective policies, and mis-treated children. Author Parks creates deeply emotional issues and often helpless characters who demand a great deal from readers. Happily (for all of us), Parks also has a strong protagonist in the person of Melanie Barrick. Her adventures and struggles fuel Closer Than You Know, a legal thriller that kept me thinking and reading and turning pages.

@DuttonBooks, @Brad_Parks, #closerthanyouknow


Beautiful Music by Michael Zadoorian

I’m from Michigan, grew up in the late ‘60s and the ‘70s as immersed in the world of rock’n’roll as possible. I published a fanzine, wrote reviews as a freelancer, then in the late ‘70s moved to Detroit to work full-time editing and writing for a magazine about popular music publishing and record collecting.

Beautiful Music pushes all my buttons - Detroit, 1970s, the MC5, Iggy Pop. I was rushing to read the book before I knew a thing about author Zadoorian, another Michigan native. Set in Detroit in the early 1970s, a few years after the riots of 1967, a young Danny Yzemski has a startlingly poor home life, school is tough, and he's eternally confused. Danny begins to find salvation through music, even as his life and family goes downhill. 

Beautiful Music reads like rock’n’roll music, and affected me deeply. Zadoorian writes a mean lyric disguised as a wonderful, emotive sentence. at the same time, Yzemski discovers how rock’n’roll music can lift one’s soul.

@AkashicBooks, @zadoorian, #beautifulmusic


The Word Is Murder by Anthony Horowitz

Horowitz seemingly can write anything. Tell him to bring James Bond to life on the page - he does. How about the world of Sherlock Holmes - why not? In The Word Is Murder Horowitz clearly allowed his deep imagination to run wild, with interesting, amazing results.

Very much like Sherlock Holmes, Daniel Hawthorne is a smart, disgraced, police detective with less than optimal bedside manner. Author Horowitz is the Dr. Watson-like partner to Hawthorne, journaling about his cases.

The Word Is Murder becomes complex, intriguing, and just when I thought a narrative was unfolding in a manner I could follow, a blind turn appeared. Allow yourself to flow with the twists and turns and enjoy Horowitz’ mastery of the printed word. 

@HarperBooks, @AnthonyHorowitz, #thewordismurder


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