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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.

Posts Tagged ‘michael connelly’

Pronto by Elmore Leonard

I have read a lot of Elmore Leonard novels over the years and always enjoyed them.  They are always well paced, with interesting characters, and Pronto is no exception.  I pulled this one off the shelf when I found out that Raylan Givens is a featured character in the book.  For those who don’t know, Raylan is the main character in the TV series Justified on the FX network.  I had heard that it was based on a Leonard short story and didn’t realize that Raylan had also appeared in books.  Indeed, he is in Pronto and its sequel, Riding the Rap.  According to articles, and verified when I spoke with Dutch at a Michael Connelly book signing last April (see my report below), while Leonard is an executive producer of the show, he does not work on the scripts.  Even so, viewers will recognize a scene toward the end of the book!

Lunch with Michael Connelly

April 13, 2011 was a beautiful spring day in metro Detroit.  I loaded up the van with two bags of first editions and headed for Birmingham to meet and lunch with one of our favorite authors, one of the few that we actually collect.  The luncheon was a benefit for The Community House and the Baldwin Public Library.  Connelly had a full day with this meet-and-greet luncheon followed by an afternoon event where he discussed The Lincoln Lawyer and an evening event at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield which would up with an overflow crowd of more than 300.

“I might not be here today if it wasn’t for the library,” Connelly said in his brief opening remarks.  Connelly credits the local public library for the many hours he clocked reading as a child in Florida. Connelly’s mother was a bank teller, he said, and in the summer she would drop him off at the library in the morning and pick him up after work.  He said he was “happy to take part in anything that supports the library.”

After his remarks, people quickly lined up to meet Connelly and have him sign books.  Book Beat, a fine local independent book store, had a table of the author’s books available for purchase, including his latest novel, The Fifth Witness.  I think I took the prize for bringing the most books, and I waited until the line diminished before approaching the author.  He very generously inscribed copies for our collection and signed copies that will be for sale shortly.

The bonus round was the appearance of local author Elmore Leonard and his son (and author) Peter Leonard.  I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Dutch about the FX series Justified, which is based on his short story, Fire in the Hole.  Even though he is an executive producer for the show, he has nothing to do with the story line.  However, he is in the middle of writing a novel featuring Raylan Givens and, as he completes sections, has been sending them to the shows writers.  There are times when Shar an I are watching the show, hear some dialog and simultaneous laugh out loud because we know we just heard Leonard’s words.

 

Reading list status and reviews

So, a month ago I stacked up a pile of books to read next. I had a lull in my musical activities and figured to get through the seven books in three or four weeks. Five weeks later, I still have one left. Here’s what I read and what I think of them:

Don Winslow – The Winter of Frankie Machine
This isn’t the Don Winslow who writes Victorian erotica. This Don Winslow started with a series featuring PI/agent Neal Carey and then branched out to stand alone novels. The Winter of Frankie Machine is about an ex-hit man getting caught in a mob turf war in San Diego. I really enjoyed it. As Shar noted in an earlier comment, Winslow has a knack of making every character memorable in just a few words. Rumor has it that this may show up as a movie with Robert DeNiro.

Robert Crais – The First Rule
I’ve always enjoyed the Elvis Cole novels, particularly when Joe Pike showed up, so I was happy when Crais started writing books with Joe as the main character. I thoroughly enjoyed The First Rule. A good, complicated plot and some Elvis Cole!

Peter Steiner – L’Assassin: A Thriller
I picked this one up at the library because it looked interesting. The setting is a small town in France where a former CIA agent has settled after being set up and disgraced years before. Interesting characters and plot and an old protagonist with more skills than expected.

John Burdett – The Godfather of Kathmandu
I flew through the first three books in this series and looked forward to a fourth trip to Bangkok. This one took me a long time to get into and, even then, never satisfied as the first three did. Perhaps Sonchai spent too much time looking for enlightenment and not enough time investigating.

Michael Connelly – Nine Dragons
Even on an off day, Connelly is terrific. I’m not sure this was an off day, but I would prefer that family not be so involved in the plot. It always makes things more out of control.

Charlie Huston – My Dead Body
Everything from Huston is brutal and relentless and I want more. My Dead Body is the fifth in the Joe Pitt vampire noir series. Our hero is in even more trouble than before and still manages to resolve a lot of issues. Will there be another book? Hard to tell.

Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book
This is the one I didn’t get to, but I will as soon as I finish Stieg Larsson’s The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (gotta read that before I see the movie!) and Barry Eisler’s Inside Out.

What are you reading?

I’m working my way through a pile of books, some from the library and some from inventory. Mostly catching up with favorite authors, but Peter Steiner is new to me.

Here they are:
Don Winslow – The Winter of Frankie Machine
Robert Crais – The First Rule
Peter Steiner – L’Assassin: A Thriller
John Burdett – The Godfather of Kathmandu
Michael Connelly – Nine Dragons
Charlie Huston – My Dead Body
Neil Gaiman – The Graveyard Book

So, what are you reading? Any recommendations?

Authors’ references to each other

by Sharlan Douglas

I’m reading J.A. Konrath’s Bloody Mary (review to come).  One of the characters mentions in passing that he has a fake passport in the name of Barry Eisler.  I’m always amused when authors refer to each other like this.  My favorite is the character in a Michael Connelly or Robert Crais book (can’t remember which) who wears a T shirt from “Robicheaux’s bait house and boat dock.”  On a related note:  A character in an Elmore Leonard novel is named Randy Agley.  That’s the name of a a noted Michigan business owner and I’m guessing it’s not a coincidence: Leonard probably donated the naming rights to a local charity auction.

Do you have examples of favorite “insider” character names?