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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 May, 2009

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

It took me a while to get into this  1987 swords-and-horses-without-many-horses fantasy.  Once I did, though, the intrigue and period detail drew me in, reminding me of Les Liasons Dangereuses.  In this Regency-flavored world, disagreements are settled with swords, often by proxy swordsmen like Richard St. Vier, who lives with his mysterious lover Alec among the lower classes in Riverside but earns his keep fighting the battles of the lords on The Hill.   I was sorry when we lost track of the noble young rake and aspiring swordsman Michael Godwin, and hoped we see him return in a sequel.  Alas,  Kushner waited  13 years to write The Privilege of the Sword and the online summaries don’t mention Michael.

Alex Berenson’s The Silent Man

By Sharlan Douglas

Can’t say too much, because Ken still has to read it, but …

Berenson’s first book, The Faithful Spy, is one of the best thrillers I’ve ever read.  In this latest book he continues to demonstrate his plotting skill and his  knowledge of Muslim terrorism, but I fear  he may have worn out John Wells as a subject.  Berenson has to invent increasingly implausible circumstances to insert Wells into the action.  That’s OK in something like the Vince Flynn books — they don’t even pretend to resemble reality – -but the versimilitude of The Faithful Spy leaves my hungry for a little  more logic.

Tom Clancy fans will love the details on how to manufacture a nuclear weapon.  I just kept thinking COMSUBSYNCPAC.

Estleman coming to Ann Arbor Book Fair

We’ll be at the Ann Arbor Antiquarian Book Fair this Sunday, May 17 at the Michigan Union.  There’s a good chance Loren Estleman will be there (he lives in nearby Whitmore Lake),  and he’s always kind enough to sign what we’ve got, so we’re bringing just a few of  our 87(!) Estleman books.

Check our inventory: http://tinyurl.com/q4qday.  If there’s anything there that interests you, call or email us before Sunday and we’ll sell it signed for the list price.

Ken’s been hitting the book sales …

New acquisitions awaiting processing, as seen from Shar's desk

New acquisitions awaiting processing, as seen from my desk

Most days we look at each other across our adjacent desks — except when Ken’s been shopping.  Now, not only do I not see much of him, but I fear for my life.

How to Get Balled in Berkeley

Subtitle:  A Historial Romance of the 60s, by Anne Steinhardt

Just picked this book up at a book sale and here’s what I want to know:  Was it so difficult that a how-to book was necessary?

By the author of Thunder La Boom.  We have a copy, if you’re interested.  Blurbed by Terry Southern.