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Wednesday, April 21, 2004

All about the links 

But due to massive catch-up syndrome, it's mystery-only this morning. So let's get right to it:

First, as promised earlier by Kevin, the Sunday Telegraph interview with Boris Akunin, whose Erast Fandorin novels are starting to find the same kind of success that they have in his native Russia. A second book, LEVIATHAN (actually the third book in the series) has just been published in the UK and England. Interestingly, Akunin (real name Gregori Chkartashvili) refuses to meet his public, because they keep thinking his witty crime fiction capers will answer life's Big Questions:

"I never meet readers in Russia because there would always be some guy who would stand up and say, 'What is the meaning of life? Does God exist?' And so on and so forth. Russians are used to looking at the writer as a teacher of life. It is just this longstanding tradition that irritates me greatly, because I don't want to be a teacher of life. I want to be an entertainer. It's enough for me."

Bloody hell, I think that philosophy could apply to a great many authors--not just in crime fiction...

Next, columnists galore. Margaret Cannon's crime roundup in Saturday's Globe & Mail featured rave reviews of books by Mel Bradshaw, Phil Margolin, Rhys Bowen, and Roger Jon Ellory, with qualified positives for Lev Grossman's THE CODEX and Lyn Hamilton. Also in the G&M was a review of David Liss's A SPECTACLE OF CORRPUTION. Verdict? Great historical detail, but the mystery element is less assured. Perhaps it could be due to the fact that Liss didn't exactly intend to be a crime novelist...

Oline Cogdill devotes her entire space to Ace Atkins' DIRTY SOUTH, which is probably surprising its publisher in terms of how much review coverage it got. She loves the music and characterization, but is less enthusiastic about the plot.

Les Roberts looks at the newest releases from Karin Fossum (big rave) Annette Meyers (rave) and Iris Johansen (VERY qualified rave) for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Patrick Anderson's in a rather cranky mood this week, as David Lindsey's Ludlum-esque novel THE FACE OF THE ASSASSIN "makes [his] poor head hurt." Take a couple of aspirin, read a completely different book, and call us in the morning....

John Orr at the San Jose Mercury-News gives tons of good ink to Harlan Coben's JUST ONE LOOK (hmm, you mean I might have to move it up the pile? Okay...) Andrew Vachss' DOWN HERE, and Donald Westlake's new Dortmunder novel, THE ROAD TO RUIN.

Dick Adler's Chicago Tribune roundup also covers the new Westlake (plus the short story collection THIEVES' DOZEN) as well as new books by Cathy Pickens, Gayle Lynds, Carlos Ruiz Zafon (whose book, in proof form, was the reading material of the guy sitting in front of me on the plane ride to Houston), Naomi Hirahara, and Judy Clemens.

The Bradenton Herald concentrates on lesser-known writers like Lea Wait, Ken Bruen (to the columnist, anyway), and, um, Jilliane Hoffman, for some reason unknown to me.

A whole lotta interviews as well: Sara Paretsky talks V.I. and politics to In These Times, Cathy Anderson (aka Cathy Pickens) converses with the Charlotte Observer about her debut novel SOUTHERN FRIED, Julia Spencer-Fleming Q&As with the Maine Press-Herald about her latest Clare Fergusson novel, OUT OF THE DEEP I CRY, and Sarah Dunant is all over the place. Well, she was interviewed in the Observer and in the New York Times about the surprisingly huge success of her historical novel, THE BIRTH OF VENUS, after years in crime writing obscurity. And then there's Rita Mae Brown, whose 13th cat mystery "co-authored" by her feline, Sneaky Pie, merits an interview with the Arizona Republic. It's accompanied by a rather Blofed-ish photo of Brown, I must say....

In other news and reviews:

Jerry Buck's A BLOOD RED ROSE gets a nice review from the Canadian Press; THE LAST GOODBYE is favorably reviewed in the Wichita Eagle; and HARD REVOLUTION gets the digested read treatment.

Two more short stories for Val McDermid's online anthology: One by Nicholas Blincoe, and the other from blog favorite Chrissie Glazebrook (for her anarchic teen classic THE MADOLESCENTS, which will never be released in the US, alas, because it's written in Geordie dialect. Their loss.)

The Globe and Mail talks to Jen Lars Jensen, whose new book chronicles his slow descent into madness after the publication of his first novel.

And finally, if you're in the Minnesota area, it's a good bet to check out their Celebration of Books Festival at the Landmark Center, the centerpiece of which is the Minnesota Book Awards ceremony. Look for authors like P.J. Tracy, Pete Hautman, and Saul Baxter in attendance.

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