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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 August, 2007

James Lee Burke, the ultimate Katrina chronicler

“If I’d been asked to bet on who’d write the definitive crime novel about Hurricane Katrina and the devastation of New Orleans, my money would have been on James Lee Burke. And that’s just what he delivers …” writes crime columnist Marilyn Stasio in the 8/12/07 New York Times Book Review. I’m hankering to get my hands on a copy of The Tin Roof Blowdown and hoping not to have to pay retail for it.


We have 13 Burke books in our online inventory.



Philip Pullman's Golden Compass

Ken and I went to the movies yesterday — a double header of “Hairspray” and “Bourne Ultimatum.” We saw a preview for the fantasy movie The Golden Compass, to be released December 7. “Sounds interesting,” I said. “Want to read the book?” Ken asked. Well, maybe …


Then I read Christopher Hitchens’ August 12, 2007 NY Times review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. He recommends that children (and adults?) hungry for post-Potter experiences read books by — are you ready? — Philip Pullman, author of, yes, The Golden Compass. OK, OK, I’m in. Now I just have to get Ken to dig it out of Box 46.



Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files

I have just finished the sixth book of the series: Blood Rites. The majority of our customers are mystery and/or literature readers and collectors, but for those of you who also like magic, paranormal, vampires, suspense and more, all mixed together with good writing and good humor, both Shar and I highly recommend you give Jim Butcher a try. The first seven books in this series are paperback originals that have also been published in three hardcovers by the Science Fiction Book Club. We have the first two of these available: Wizard for Hire and Wizard by Trade. They aren’t available online yet — call me if you’re interested.

Sue Grafton background and "E" commentary

By Nick Bledsoe

I collect southern writers. California mystery writer Sue Grafton is not listed in Writers of the American South or A Portrait of Southern Writers. But she fits my criteria – she was born here. According to Ahearn’s Author Price Guide, she was born in Louisville, Kentucky and earned a BA from the University of Louisville. Her parents were both children of Presbyterian missionaries to China. Ms. Grafton has said, “The mystery novel offers a world in which justice is served. Maybe not in a court of law, but people do get their just desserts.” Grafton is best known for the alphabet series beginning with “A” is for Alibi, but her first book was Keziah Dane published by McMillan in 1967. A fine copy with a fine dustjacket of Keziah Dane would bring about $500, while “A” is more like $1,500. This is a case where the author’s first book is ….

Review continued

Sue Grafton books available from Ken Hebenstreit, Bookseller


Travel plans

We will again be selling at the Montgomery Book Fair this year on August 18. Visit us at the Business Club of Montgomery, 7777 Sycamore from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. As usual, we’ll play golf and dine at some of our favorite restaurants, including the Montgomery Inn, the Iron Horse Inn in Glenview and Sturkey’s in Wyoming. We’d welcome company on the course or at the table or the bar.


We’ll be at the Decatur Book Fair, outside Atlanta, August 31 and September 1-2. Beforehand, we’ll visit Raleigh August 25-27 and Asheville August 28-30. We welcome opportunities to get together with fellow book lovers during our travels. Click on the link on the right to contact us and set up an offline (i.e. live and in person) visit.

Robert Ludlum's pen flourishes beyond the grave

There’s a line in Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical Into the Woods: “They die but they don’t.” They must have been singing about Robert Ludlum, who died in 2001, but whose name looms over the titles of 12 books published since then, written by six different people, most recently Eric Van Lustbader. Lustbader has written more than 25 books under his own name, including Ninja, “soon to be made into a major motion picture” (did anybody ever make a minor motion picture?)


“People expect something from a Robert Ludlum book, and if we can publish Ludlum books for the next 50 years and satisfy readers, we will,” said the executor of Ludlum’s estate.


Here’s the full NY Times story from 7/30/07


Van Lustbader background

Ludlum background