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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 April, 2008

Mystery writing royalty in Royal Oak

Ken with Laurie King

More than 100 people packed the Royal Oak library’s auditorium tonight — April 8, 2008 — for an appearance by Laurie R. King.

As part of an annual reading promotion, book clubs throughout Wayne and Oakland counties read The Beekeeper’s Apprentice this year, so most of the questions revolved around Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. King said that, from the moment she conceived of Russell’s character, “There was no arguing with this person.” Russell is as analytical and repressed as Holmes, but with the drive of a 20th century female detective.

King confessed to a certain haphazardness in her own modus operandi. Her books start as a messy draft and get cleaned up in rewrite, when she adds the the least amount of background research necessary.

“Research just tempts you to use it,” she said.

Complimented on the continuity in the Russell/Holmes series, she admitted that it was somewhat of a chore. She said, when pressed to remember a detail from a previous book to use in the one she’s writing, she sometimes taps the collective memory of those who read her blog. (She includes a link to Barry Eisler’s website there — see my previous post about Eisler and his John Rain protagonist.)

“I learn from each book what a very bad writer I am,” she claimed. Yes, so awful that she’s working on her 19th book, The Language of Bees, the ninth Russell/Holmes book.

Ken now has signed copies of five King books, including A Grave Talent, Beekeeper, A Darker Place, To Play the Fool and her newest, Touchstone. Call for prices.

Shar and Ken have fallen for John Rain

In 2002, Barry Eisler published the first in a series of books about a John Rain, Japanese assassin-for-hire who specializes in making his victims’ death look accidental.  Rain uses a lot of our favorite spook craft as he glides through the shadowy alleys and neon-lit shopping strips of Tokyo and beyond, tricks Eisler picked up in a three-year stint with the CIA.  Eisler draws on his own martial arts training for Rain’s hand-to-hand encounters.

Eisler gives Rain a poet’s melancholy, in a solo existence underscored by classic jazz and flavored with single malt scotches.

Ken was tearing through the six-book series so fast he had to force himself to take a break.

We have the first book, Rain Fall, in inventory and The Last Assassin and Requiem for an Assassin ready to go up to the web, so call if you’re interested in those.

Here’s Eisler’s home page.