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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 June, 2010

Free bag when you purchase 2 books

If you have one book, you really don’t need anything to carry it in, right?  But if you have two, well, then that’s another story.  So buy two books from our website and get a handy, eco-friendly bag in which to tote them around!  Or buy from us at one of two upcoming book fairs and get one free with your purchase!

To Kill a Mockingbird is 50 this year …

…and there’s a website celebrating it.

If you don’t have a first edition, this could be your year, or you might decide to acquire an even rarer advance reading copy.   Here’s info about both books.

Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

I kept turning the pages in this book, even while rolling my eyes as coincidence piled up on exaggeration which piled up on improbability.  I do like stories in which a hapless schlump discovers new depths in himself as he outwits and beats up the bad guys, but Barclay’s protagonist never really grows.

13 book hacks for the library crowd

Of course you should be buying books from us but heck, even I check them out at the library.  I can’t be trusted with a $250 first edition in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other.  Our library makes it easy: I can browse online to reserve the books I want and  I get an email when they’re ready for pickup.

Here are some tips from the highly useful website Lifehacker.com on how to get the most out of your local library.

Oil spill in the gulf? Get me Bruce Willis!

In the June 18, 2010 Entertainment Weekly (no link available), Stephen King recalls the movie Armageddon.  In it, Bruce Willis is an oil rig roughneck drafted by the government’s Billy Bob Thornton to lead a team of space cowboys into the wild blue yonder to split an asteroid and save the planet.

“Armageddon is full of resonant lines, if you’ve been following the Gulf oil-spill story,” King writes. “Bruce Willis asks Billy Bob, ‘You’ve gotta have some kind of backup plan, right?’ To which the redoubtable Mr. Thornton replies, ‘No we don’t have a backup plan.’   That qualifies him for the BP board of directors in my opinion …”

Ken continues to disagree with all this and has an APB out for Dirk Pitt to cap the well and clean up the oil, just in time to hook up with that hot female marine biologist …

Elmore Leonard Literary Arts and Film Festival

The Birmingham, MI Community House (just a hop, skip and a jump up the road from us here in Royal Oak, Mich.) will honor homie Elmore Leonard November 10-13 with short story and film competitions, a screening of the pilot of the TV series “Justified” and a gala tribute to Dutch.  Read more

Marcus Sakey reviews Lee Child

In the latest Mystery Scene magazine, Marcus Sakey reviews Lee Child’s first book, Killing Floor.  He says, “Writing is about rhythm and balance and enticement.  It’s a dance, a seduction.  One good sentence eases a reader into the next one.  At a glance, Child’s basic structure and matter-of-fact description seem simplistic.  But there is a subtle, calculated beat to it that pulls a reader through like a drum for a march.  When someone says that they couldn’t put a book down, that’s only partly because they wanted to find out what happened; it’s also because the rhythm of the prose never game them the chance.”

Awards season

Mystery Scene Magazine posts the winners of the Agatha and Edgar awards and the Ellis and Poe nominations here.

Oil spill solution

BP hasn’t been able to fix the problem with the oil spill.  Our national economy and ecology are in dire peril.  What I want to know is why hasn’t President Obama asked for help from NUMA and Dirk Pitt?

Exile by Denise Mina

OK, I’ll stop harping about how great Denise Mina is.  After I get done reminding you how great she is.  We met Maureen O’Donnell in Mina’s first book, Garnethill, as she was recovering from the psychological aftershock of childhood sexual abuse.  As an ad hoc detective, she tracked down a killer in the murky world of care givers and patients.  She’s even more ad hoc, but immensely insightful, in Exile, uncovering the fate of an abuse victim in the world of drug dealers, while trying to find out what “normal” means in her own life with family, friends and lovers.   Mina’s language continues to captivate me.  Try this:  “Maureen inhaled and felt the nicotine trickle into her system, tickling her fingers, opening hair hair follicles, placating the angry rims of her eyes, kicking her into the day.”