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Saturday, January 17, 2004

Weekend update 

First, for fans of Denise Mina's marvellous books set in and around Glasgow, some bad news: FIELD OF BLOOD, the first in a new series starring young reporter Paddy Meehan on the beat in Glasgow in the early 80s, has been pushed back from an April 2004 release to March 2005. According to the folks at Transworld, her UK publisher (she's published by Little, Brown in the US), the recent birth of her first child combined with various marketing factors at work to set the series launch more firmly in motion contributed to the delay. Although I'm disappointed in the news, if pushing the release date back makes for a better book, I'm all for it.

The Save Our Short Story Campaign has updated with two new stories in the ongoing online anthology: one from editrix Val McDermid, and the other from Moira Forsyth. The anthology continues with two stories each month until July.

Robert McCrum rhapsodizes on what's becoming a lost art in the age of the PC: the first draft as put to paper by pen.

Tessa Hadley's new novel EVERYTHING WILL BE ALL RIGHT is reviewed all over the place; a rave from the Observer, and another from the Guardian review, and still another from the Independent.

At the WaPo Book World: Jeffrey Frank's BAD PUBLICITY is fiction that's less funny the truth of Washington politics; Deborah Davis adores Tracy Chevalier's new novel; Gavin McNett gets a headache from Tibor Fischer's latest; and Mary Roach (the author of STIFF, which was hugely enjoyable) is wonderfully enthusiastic about Bill Bass's new book about "The Body Farm," the Tennessee forensic pathology institute devoted to discovering the mysteries of death and what transpires afterwards.

At the NYT: Truthfully, not a hell of a lot. Walter Mosley's THE MAN IN MY BASEMENT is given a bit of a thumbs-down; Stephanie Zacharek's review adds further credence that Gavin Lambert's biography of Natalie Wood is a must-read; and Terence Rafferty finds that John Le Carre might be becoming a bit of a hothead in his old age.

Elmore Leonard's MR. PARADISE marks a return to his stomping grounds of Detroit--at least fictionally (he's been living in the vicinity for decades.) Not surprisingly, the Detroit Free Press is all over it: Marta Salij comments on the things you learn from his novels, and there's extra information on why he's turned back to Detroit. In related reviews, David Gilmour at the Globe and Mail uses the new book as a springboard for talking about Leonard's overall appeal.

Speaking of the Freep, I've been sort of aware that author Lev Raphael reviews mysteries for the paper but have been sadly negligent in linking to them, especially when he's so good at panning stuff in an elegant fashion. For example, see his review of Jilliane Hoffman's RETRIBUTION from earlier this year:

Should you bother reading it? Perhaps, if bad writing and a far-fetched plot with an unbelievable villain don't bother you. But "Retribution" will probably make a strong film, and it's unlikely the movie will be worse than the book.

Like, ouch. Last week's crime roundup features reviews of Joseph Finder's PARANOIA (he liked it, which surprised me somewhat), Tom Mitchelltree's BLINK OF AN EYE (which was less warmly received) as well as a reissue of Eric Ambler's espionage novel THE SCHIRMER INHERITANCE.

And finally, an obligatory Rick Mercer article. I, foolishly, missed his debut, but will be watching Monday night. Although in terms of cool comedy pundits, he doesn't quite match up to Jon Stewart--it's the eyes, after all...

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