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We're Ken Hebenstreit and Sharlan Douglas, blogging here about the books we love: Mysteries, suspense, crime fiction. If you want to comment on one of our postings, click on its headline.

Archive for July, 2007

Cormac McCarthy's The Road

I am unworthy even to try to use words to write about this devastating, magnificent book, recipient of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.  Visit this link at Metacritic.com to see the efforts of critics whose jobs meant they HAD to write about it.  Some of the pages have expired, happily not that of Janet Maslin at the N.Y. Times.


Here's a great Loren Estleman story

It’s no secret that Shar’s a huge fan of Loren Estleman. This favorite son was recently featured in Eastern Michigan University’s alumni magazine. Read all about it here.

New Martin Cruz Smith Renko book: Stalin's Ghost

The New York Times (7/9/07) likes Martin Cruz Smith’s new book, Stalin’s Ghost.

“The sustained success of Mr. Smith’s Renko books is based on much more than Renko. This author’s gift for tart, succinct description creates a poisonous political backdrop, one that makes his charters’ survival skills as important as any of their other attributes.”

We have five of Smith’s books in inventory

Click here for a comprehensive listing of Martin Cruz Smith books and his reading recommendations.

Budding writers take note

According to the July 16 Newsweek, Elmore Leonard’s next book, due out this fall, will be Ten Rules of Writing. Newsweek liked No. 5: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” I’ve always liked “Leave out the parts that people skip.” Other Leonard quotes at http://thinkexist.com/quotes/elmore_leonard/. Newsweek also published an excerpt from a new Leonard novel.

Newsweek asked Leonard to name his five most important books. Ala David Letterman:

#5 – Legends of the Fall
#4 – The Friends of Eddie Coyle “The best crime novel ever written. I read it and learned how to do bad guys.”
#3 – High Water
#2 – For Whom the Bell Tolls
#1 – All Quiet on the Western Front “The first book that inspired me to write. I set a play in no man’s land and staged it in my fifth-grade classroom in 1935.”

I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t let you know that we have a F+/F+ copy of Legends of the Fall for $60, a F/F copy of Friends of Eddie Coyle for $20 and 34 Leonard books — see the list at abebooks.com.

Before his success as a novelist, Leonard worked at a downtown Detroit ad agency and took a commuter train to work. He once said that he found many of his characters’ faces on that train. I, too, was commuting on that train in the late 1970s and early 1980s and always wonder if he was the guy paying attention to the people while I was playing fiendish bridge. (Train bridge: Coming into the station, bid six no trump.)