Monday, March 30, 2009

Nineteen Eighty, by David Peace

(hb; 2001: Book Three of the Yorkshire Quartet, aka the Riding Red Quartet)

From the inside flap:

"People are frightened. People are angry. Yorkshire police havent' laid a glove on him. Someone's got to take the blame. And someone's got to police the police.

"Step forward Peter Hunter. The honest copper. Hunter digs deep into West Yorkshire police. Hunter finds corruption, murder and cover-up. Hunter digs too deep. West Yorkshire police look after their own. . ."


Possible spoilers in this review.

Hunter, mentioned by never shown in Nineteen Seventy-Seven, is the main character here. Fresh twists and Hunter's clean-cut character set this apart, tone-wise, from the first two Yorkshire Quartet novels. The bloody end, keeping with otherwise grim, series-true form, doesn't come off as powerfully as those in the first two books, but it's not a complete 'what the f**k' moment, either.

Throughout this puzzle-like series, Peace uses his characters well: e.g., Reverend Martin Laws, who's barely mentioned in Nineteen Seventy-Four, becomes a prime mover in Nineteen Seventy-Seven. In this third book, Nineteen Eighty, Laws is pivotal again, in a seen-from-a-different-viewpoint way. And so it goes with the rest of the many characters in the Yorkshire Quartet, whether they be major or minor (which depends on which book you're reading).

Therein lies much of the power of this series. The characters, often recurring, are never entirely good or bad, though most are corrupted one way or another, whether it be through love, power, sex or money -- or a combination of the four motivations. That, and the way Peace keeps shuffling facts/puzzle pieces around, revealing more (often disturbing) character links as the books progress, make this, easily one of the more note-worthy crime series I've read. The characters and plotlines are so multi-layered that it becomes almost impossible to keep straight 'who's doing what to whom and why,' without writing down characters' names, their links to each other, and plot points.

Excellent, genre-shaking series, this. Check it out.

Followed by Nineteen Eighty-Three.

The novel Nineteen Eighty has also been filmed, under the title Red Riding: 1980. It's scheduled for stateside release in 2009. Tony Grisoni scripted. James Marsh directed the second part of the Grisoni-scripted Red Riding trilogy.

Warren Clarke played Bill Molloy. Paddy Considine played Peter Hunter. James Fox played Philip Evans. Ron Cook played Clement Smith. Maxine Peake played Helen Marshall. David Morrissey played Maurice Jobson. Eddie Marsan once again played Jack Whitehead. Sean Harris played Bob Craven. Shaun Dooley played Dick Alderman. Lesley Sharp played Joan Hunter. Peter Mullan played Martin Laws. Robert Sheehan once again played BJ. Kelly Freemantle once again played Clare Strachan. Joseph Mawle played The Ripper. Andrew Garfield once again played Eddie Dunford.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Kiss the Girls and Make Them Spy, by Mabel Maney

(pb; 2001: first book in the 007½ /Jane Bond series)

From the back cover:

" 'What's the story on Bond?'

" 'Your man is a homicidal depressive paranoiac,' the doctor reported.

" 'I know that. I want to know what's wrong with him! And be straight with me, man. No medical mumbo-jumbo.'

" 'He's lost his nerve.'

"N. had suspected as much. After a long while spent staring at the jagged skyline of London, N. came to a decision. He had no other choice but to go through with Pumpernickel's ridiculous plan.

"Enter Bond. Jane Bond, James's lesbian twin sister and hapless bookstore employee, who steps in to masquerade as her brother at an awards ceremony with the queen. But when the dastardly Sons of Brittain (S.O.B.s), a nefarious fraternity plotting to bring the Duke and Duchess of Windsor back to power, show up, it's up to some unexpected heroes to save the day. The Powder Puff Girls -- make-up salespersons by day, secret agents by night -- step in to secure the future of Brittain while Jane keeps her brother's reputation intact. . . both in and out of the bedroom!"


Addictive, kitschy kicks abound in this homocentric skewering of Ian Fleming's most famous characters. There's little violence and quick moments of sensuality in this campy, double-entendre-laden tale that's both solid and feather-light.

Followed by The Girl With The Golden Bouffant.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nineteen Seventy-Seven, by David Peace

(hb; 2000: Book Two of the Yorkshire Quartet, aka the Riding Red Quartet)

From the back cover:

"1977 -- the year two sevens clash; the year of punk; the year of the Yorkshire Ripper and the Silver Jubilee.

". . . Nineteen Seventy-Seven, the second part of [David Peace's] Yorkshire Quartet is one long noir nightmare. Its heroes -- the half-way decent copper Bob Fraser and the burnt-out hack Jack Whitehead -- would be considered villains in most people's books. Fraser and Whitehead have one thing in common though, they're both desperate men dangerously in love with Chapeltown whores. And as the summer moves remorselessly towards the bonfires of Jubilee Night, the killings accelerate and it seems as if Fraser and Whitehead are the only men who suspect or care that there may be more than one killer at large. . ."


As in Nineteen Seventy-Four, a nihlistic, self-destructive bent runs through Peace's characters. For the most part, it's not as intense as Nineteen Seventy-Four, but it's still intense, with a finish that is at once thrilling and shocking.

Followed by Nineteen Eighty.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Art And Lies, by Jeanette Winterson

(hb; 1994)

From the inside flap:

"The novel brings together three apparently disparate figures on a single day in a single place -- a high-speed train hurtling through the present and near-future (though the book itself ranges freely over the centuries). Handel is an ex-priest turned surgeon, a man whose humanity has been sacrificed to intellect. Picasso, a young woman cast out by the family that drove her to madness, is comforted only her painting. And Sappho is the famed lesbian poet of antiquity, as alive as her immortal verse. Each is at once beguilingly symbolic and painfully real, alienated from a brutal technological world and united by Winterson's narrative, which directs them towards a single end of satisfying inevitability. . ."


Art And Lies defies genre categorization. It zips between three distinctive voices (Sappho, the ghostly sensualist; Handel, the sad lonely surgeon; Picasso, the angst-ridden female painter). These voices are buoyed by dark literary wit and time shifts, as well as political, sexual and sociological musings, with an eye towards history, past and future.

So intense and condensed are the explosive ideas in this novel, I often had to re-read many passages to make sure I "got" everything Winterson put on the page. I didn't (that's okay), as Art And Lies is so multi-layered and complex.

This is a literary firebomb that forces the reader to think about what's important in all aspects of his/her life.

If you're looking for a comfy feel-good read, avoid this. If you want to challenge yourself to an intriguing and original work, check this out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Turner Diaries, by Andrew Macdonald (aka, William Pierce)

(pb; 1978, 1980, 1996)

From the front cover:





Publisher Lyle Stuart, not a White Power racialist (racist terrorist), says it best in his Introduction to this book: "The Turner Diaries is a dreadful book. It is ignorant. Even its author boasts, 'It offends almost everyone: Afro-Americans, feminists, gays and lesbians, liberals, communists, Mexicans, democrats, the FBI, egalitarians, and Jews. Especially the Jews: for it portrays them as incarnations of evil and destructive.'"

Why was this book, which not only inspired Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, but other antigovernment terrorists (e.g., "the Order," a 1985 group of murderers) being published, in 1996?

It wasn't, initially. You could only get this "underground" book -- more than 185,000 copies were sold, pre-mainstream publication -- through gun-shops and other locations where "gun fanatics," "rednecks" and others of that ilk, hung out.

Oren J. Teicher, President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression offers a compelling reason for this hateful book's mainstream (well, as mainstream as something this vile can be) publication: "As outrageous as the content of The Turner Diaries may be, we believe that even offensive and objectionable material is protected by the First Amendment. In fact, as you certainly understand, we do not need a First Amendment to protect the popular and non-controversial; it is the unpopular and controversial that requires our vigilance. . . I'd suggest [that we, as free people,]. . . expose and debate those [objectionable] ideas in a concerted effort to make certain that the truth emerges."

I, as a fiction writer, read this for research purposes.

I'll judge this book on two levels, plot/writing-ability, and its propagandist content. This review contains plot-spoilers.

This is (mostly) written in personal-journal form. The person writing the journal is Earl Turner, a thirty-five year old electrical engineer. He's a hardcore hater, part of an ineffective racialist group called the Organization. The Organization is barely getting by, financially and recruitment-wise.

The diary starts on September 16, 1991 (aka, 8 BNE, whichs stands for "Before New Era").

Time passes, things change. Turner gets a girlfriend, Katherine (a White sister-in-arms, always written about in glowing terms), and the group becomes more effective. By mid-1993, the Organization's acts of "strategic sabotage" (nationwide bombings, assassinations, counterfeiting, and other "operations") are severely undermining the daily life of the average, panicked American (who, of course, is White).

By 1999 (the year the New Era begins) the Organization is controlling southern California, particularly Los Angeles, where "race traitors" (those who worked with, or supported non-Whites and Jews) are being hung from light poles and traffic lights. Any surviving non-Whites and Jews are being marched eastward, en masse, outside southern Calfornia, so as to flood/burden the other states with non-Whites (and thereby foment the seeds of discord towards non-Whites, getting new "recruits" in the process).

It's not long before an international and civil nuclear war ensues. By late 1999, the Organization, with help from other White Power groups (notably, The Order), have dominated the world -- with the exception of China.

The first half of the book is decently-written, pacing- and character-wise (when it comes to Whites). Turner comes off as recognizably human, if an extreme/racist idealogue: he constantly attributes rape and cannibalism exclusively to Blacks, and treachery, media manipulation and greed to the Jews -- these two latter groups, who are the main, gleefully-dispatched targets of Turner's violence, don't get a voice in this story. Why would they? This is a hate tract, after all.

After the first half of the book, the story becomes a White Power fantasy where the world is forced to acknowledge the domination of the "enlightened," "educated" White racialists.

The nuclear war scenario is ridiculous. Given the number of missiles fired, and their targets, the earth would be uninhabitable; yet in Pierce's tract, only a small number of the White racialists are killed in the what-should've-been-planet-killing firestorm.

Nauseating cost of "freedom of expression", this. (Thankfully, most of us can avoid this book, so it's a relatively small one.)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Passionate Mistakes & Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America, by Michelle Tea

(pb; 1998: prequel to Valencia)

Tea's first book reads like an angry teenager's tell-all diary. Appropriately rambling, with no paragraph breaks, it starts in Boston, Massachussetts, 1987, when Michelle is an adolescent goth, dealing with clumsy boyfriends, partying, getting felt up by popular musicians (members of the band INXS and New Kids on the Block are mentioned), and fending off neo-Nazi punks.

Detailed, gossipy tales are conveyed to the reader: it's not long before Michelle becomes a politically-agitative dyke and sex worker, and takes up with a volatile lover named Liz.

There's a lot of wisdom, warmth and sadness in the blow-by-blow accounts of her experiences (some of them are sexually explicit, most of them not). While Tea's chattering tone wears thin in some parts, it's ultimately worth reading, especially the abrupt, yet tone-consistent (and satisfying) ending.

Tea has injected this spiky, entertaining read with shots of old-school, punk-ferocious veracities. It's not a great book, but it's a promising first effort.

Followed by Valencia.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nineteen Seventy-Four, by David Peace

(hb; 1999: Book One of the Yorkshire Quartet, aka the Riding Red Quartet)

From the back cover:

"Jeanette Garland, missing Castleford, July 1969.
"Susan Ridyard, missing Rochdale, March 1972.
"Clare Kempley, missing Morley, since yesterday.

"Christmas bombs and Lucky on the run, Leeds United and the Bay City Rollers, The Exorcist and It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

"It's winter, 1974, Yorkshire, and Ed Dunford's got the job he wanted. Crime correspondent for the Evening Post. He didn't know it was going to be a season in hell. A dead little girl with a swan's wings stitched to her back. A gypsy camp in a ring of fire. Corruption everywhere you look. . ."


This is a fictionalized account of the "Yorkshire Ripper" killings, which took place between 1975 and 1981.

Raw, riveting, twist-laden, and damn near impossible to put down, this is one of the best crime novels I've read this year. Peace has written a novel that's reminiscent of the finer crime works of Elmore Leonard, Mickey Spillane and James Ellroy (Ellroy's L.A. Noir trilogy seems to be a heavy influence, stylistically, structurally and character-wise).

No one is innocent here. Everybody's running some sort of game, whether it be emotional, financial, criminal, political, or a variation of the aforestated -- even Dunford comes off as a heel: a heel with a conscience, but still a heel.

Nineteen Seventy-Four gripped me from the first word to the last, with a finish that's as explosive as anything Spillane put on the page.

Followed by Nineteen Seventy-Seven.

Nineteen Seventy-Four is now a film, titled Red Riding: 1974. Set to be released stateside in 2009, and scripted by Tony Grisoni, Julian Jarrold directed the first part of the Grisoni-scripted Red Riding trilogy.

Andrew Garfield played Eddie Dunford. Anthony Flanagan played Barry Gannon. Sean Bean played John Dawson. Cathryn Bradshaw played Marjorie Dawson. Michelle Dockery played Kathryn Tyler. Kelly Freemantle played Clare Strachan. Rebecca Hall played Paula Garland. Eddie Marsan played Jack Whitehead. Daniel Mays played Michael Myshkin. Robert Sheehan played BJ.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Exquisite Corpse, by Poppy Z. Brite

(pb; 1996)

From the back cover:

"To serial slayer Andew Compton, murder is an art, the most intimate art. After feigning his own death to escape from prison, Compton makes his way to the United States with the ambition of bringing his art to new heights. Tortured by his own perverse desires, drawn to possess and destroy young boys, Compton inadvertantly joins forces with Jay Byrne, a dissolute playboy who has pushed his art to limits even Compton hadn't previously imagined. Together, Compton and Byrne set their sights on an exquisite young Vietnamese-American runaway, Tran, whom they deem to be the perfect victim. . ."


Bleak, uncompromising and gory, this shocker isn't for readers who prefer "mainstream" horror.

Brite's homoerotic splatterfest is political, sexual and graphic in its descriptions of New Orleans debauchery, serial killer-style. The writing is edgy, of course (as is all Brite's horror writing) and concise, spiced with poetic bursts of savagery and sex. The characters are fully-realized and -fleshed, with the novel's twists consistently linked to the characters' personalities.

This is one of my all-time favorite horror novels, not only for the able, edgy writing, but for the, uh, guts it took to write this. If you're into true, heart-of-existential-darkness horror, read this; if not, don't.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lobotomy: Surviving the Ramones, by Dee Dee Ramone with Veronica Kaufman

(pb; 1997, 2000: autobiography)

From the back cover:

"Lobotomy is the most lurid and unlikely temperance tract yet from the underbelly of rock 'n' roll. On a wild rollercoaster ride from his f**ked-up childhood in Berlin and Munich to his lonely, methadone-quaffing stay at a cheap hotel in Earl's Court and newfound peace on the straight and narrow, Dee Dee Ramone catapults us into the raw world of sex, addiction, and two-minute songs. It isn't pretty. With the velocity of a Ramones song, Lobotomy rockets through headlining days at CBGB's to the breakup of the Ramones' happy family with an unrelenting backbeat of hate and squalor: His girlfriend ODs; running buddy Johnny Thunders steals his ode to heroin, 'Chinese Rocks'; Sid Vicious shoots up using toilet water; and a pistol-wielding Phil Spector holds the band hostage in Beverly Hills. Hey! Ho! Let's go!"


Born to a German ex-go-go-dancer and an American Army soldier (who was twenty-one years older than his wife) in 1951, Douglas Colvin -- who later, in his teens, would become Dee Dee Ramone -- had a rough life. Both his parents were raging alcoholics, his father more physically abusive than his nutso mother. A sensitive, hyperactive kid, he was shooting heroin by his early teens, while revering bands like The Beatles (Colvin took his later name, Ramone, from Paul McCartney's early non de plume, Paul Ramone), the Troggs, the Kinks, The Beach Boys, the Small Faces, The Hollies, the Walker Brothers, The Who, and the Rolling Stones.

When his mother finally left his father in the mid- to late-Sixties, Dee moved to Queens, New York, with his mother and his younger sister, Beverly. Forest Hills, Queens, was just as rough as Pirmasens, Germany, in a different way: it was there that Dee discovered the Stooges, and the New York Dolls.

It wasn't long before Dee befriended, and banded with, Joey (who initially was the Ramones' drummer, but later became lead vocalist) and Johnny (guitar). After a few line-up changes, the Ramones -- whose members adopted the surname "Ramone" -- were: Joey (vocals), Tommy (drums), Johnny (guitarist), and Dee (bass). It wasn't long before they were playing gigs, alongside up-&-coming bands like Blondie. Initially, they didn't know much about being musicians: Dee didn't even know how to tune a guitar, or read sheet music. As Dee writes, they were all social misfits, f**k-ups, who somehow, over time, became cool.

Tommy Ramone, their drummer, who was tired of the rock 'n' roll life, left the band after the Ramones' third album, Rocket to Russia (1977). He was replaced by hard-partying, volatile Marc Bell (aka, "Marky Ramone").

According to Dee, life in the Ramones was less fun than it seemed. Their tour manager, Monte Melnick, along with Johnny Ramone, pretty much told the other Ramones what to do. And all of them liked to party hard -- Dee and Marc, especially. (In later years, Joey became an out-of-control alcoholic.) Dee, who wrote or co-wrote a good number of the band's songs, often felt like he was being bossed around by those who were doing the least amount of work. Yet, for all their neuroses and faults, they complemented each other musically: when one member had a problem finishing a song -- whether it was writer's block, or a lack of musical expertise -- one or several of the other Ramones could step in and help the first member finish it. They were "bruddas," as Dee repeatedly writes, tight and dysfunctional as any crazy family.

Dee left the band in 1989, shortly after the release of their Brain Drain album. He'd been in The Ramones for seventeen years. During all of that time, he'd been a miserable junkie, trapped by fame -- it was terrifying to encounter many of the band's "fans," and he was constantly bullied by the other band members. Shortly before he left The Ramones, he recorded a rock-rap album called Standing in the Spotlight under the name Dee Dee King, which alienated his bandmates (they thought Ramones fans would hate it). The solo album sold well, and received favorable reviews from many music critics.

CJ Ramone became The Ramones' bassist, while Dee wandered through a mid-life drug haze. He was aware that he needed to stop using heroin, but his own personality -- as well as other druggies around him -- thwarted his efforts. During this brief period, a good number of his friends died, among them: Stiv Bator (former lead singer of The Dead Boys, and The Lords of the New Church), when he was hit by a taxi in Paris, France; guitarist Johnny Thunders, when he was murdered while tripping on LSD; and Dee Dee's longtime ex-girlfriend, Connie (a stripper/prostitute and fellow junkie), who OD'd.

Dee also started a band in Detroit, Michigan, called The Chinese Dragons, which was a moderate success, and, according to Dee, a joyous, bluesy rock 'n' roll experience.

The book's ending isn't fairy-tale-happy, but it is sober (as in: Dee is drug-free) and funny, in a f**ked-up way.

The writing throughout is conversational, and darkly funny, even when the told circumstances of Dee's life are completely crappy. This is a fun read, if you have an appreciation for wow-that's-f**ked-up sense of humor.

*Post-book facts:

Dee Dee Ramone released another solo album, Latest & Greatest, in 2001.

In 2002, Dee Dee, along with his fellow Ramones, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. According to, "less than two months after his induction, [Dee Dee] was found dead in his house by his wife [of seven years]," Barbara Zampini. The (somewhat fitting, yet ironic) cause: "accidental drug overdose. . . He was 50 at the time of his death."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, by Janet Evanovich with Ina Yalof

(pb; 2006: non-fiction)

"How I Write is for anyone who is hungry to find out about how Janet Evanovich does what she does.

"• How she comes up with such remarkable characters, like Stephanie Plum, Lula, and Grandma Mazur.

"• How she finds out insider details.

"• Just how she thinks up those hair-raising plots.

"• Techniques on revising and editing.

"• What the life of a full-time writer is really like.

" •What she'd tell an aspiring author about the publishing industry.

"• And much, much more!

"Written with nonfiction author and creative writing teacher Ina Yalof and with help from daughter Alex Evanovich, How I Write is the perfect guide for anyone looking to strengthen their writing, and for those who want to find out just what makes Janet Evanovich tick!"


Entertaining, instructional read. The personable optimism, humor and pragmatism that Evanovich imbues her fictional work with highlights this book, as well.

This is not the definitive how-to-write book, nor does it claim to be. As Evanovich repeatedly warns, this is how she writes; every writer has to find out, via experience, what writing set-up works for him or her.

It is, however, fun (in a non-threatening-to-beginning-writers way) and helpful (whether you're a beginner, or a more experienced writer). The side-bar pointers from Evanovich's daughter, Alex, and Yalof enhance Evanovich's observations.

My only nit is that some of the readers' questions are essentially the same question, stated in a slightly different way. A number of these questions could have been trimmed, making for a more focussed read.

Worth reading, this, whether you're new to writing, or an older hand at it. Check it out from your local library.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hater, by David Moody

(hb; 2006, 2009: Book One of the Hater trilogy)

From the inside flap:

"Society is rocked by a sudden increase in the number of violent assaults on individuals. Christened Haters by the media, the attackers strike without warning, killing off all who cross their path.

"The assaults are brutal, remorseless, and extreme: within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied vicious killers. There are no apparent links as a hundred random attacks become a thousand, and then hundreds of thousands. Everyone, irrespective of gender, age, race, or any other difference, has the potential to become a victim -- or a Hater.

"People are afraid to go to work, afraid to leave their homes, and, increasingly, afraid that at any moment their friends, even their closest family, could turn on them, with ultra-violent intent. Waking up each morning, no matter how well-defended, everyone must now consider the fact that by the end of the day, they might be dead. Or, perhaps worse, become a killer themselves. As the status quo shifts, 'ATTACK FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER' becomes the order of the day. . . only, the answers might be far different than what you expect. . ."


Distinctive entry in the "pseudo-zombie outbreak" horror genre. Early on, Moody establishes the unsettling tone of the book, alternating between third-person narrations of random violence between individuals, and the first-person perspective of Danny McCoyne, a constantly-stressed, thirty-something office worker, husband, and father of four children.

McCoyne's irritation is palpable and relatable. Almost immediately, Moody made this reader feel the mounting tension as McCoyne's unrelenting irritation turns to deep fear and, eventually, savagery. This all happens over the course of ten days, as media-reported, here-and-there acts of violence swell to terrifying, civilization-shattering numbers.

What sets this apart from other "pseudo-zombie outbreak" novels are Moody's distinctive twists in the story, plot- and character-wise. These twists make a sequel -- in this case, two sequels -- not only palatable, but desirable.

Moody's writing is straightforward, with little flourish, which adds to the tension of the story and characterizations. The characters' evolutions -- whether they become Haters or victims -- are seamless, believable and character-true.

Landmark read, this. Check this out!

Followed by Dog Blood.

The resulting film version of Hater is set for an unspecified release date.

Juan Antonio Bayona is set to direct, from Glen Mazzara's screenplay. Guillermo del Toro is listed as the film's producer.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Writing Mystery and Crime Fiction, edited by Sylvia K. Burack

(pb; 1985: non-fiction)

From the back cover:

"A practical guide for both beginning and professionals, Writing Mystery and Crime Fiction offers valuable advice from leading experts on the specialized technique of writing mystery fiction. Twenty-six successful crime and mystery writers discuss the basics of plotting, characterization, setting, pace, dialogue, and other essential elements of crime fiction.

"These best-selling authors describe tested procedures for writing and selling full-length novels and short mystery fiction, using examples from their own published works.

"All types of mystery writing are covered: police procedurals, suspense fiction, spy thrillers, modern psychology novels, inner-suspense stories, and true crime fiction -- by Catherine Aird, Jean L. Backus, Cecilia Bartholomew, Rex Burns, Max Byrd, Stanley Ellin, Loren D. Estleman, Rosemary Gatenby, Sue Grafton, Bill Granger, William Hallahan, Paul Henissart, Clark Howard, P.D. James, Peter Lovesey, Dan J. Marlowe, Patricia Moyes, Marcia Muller, Al Nussbaum, Lillian O'Donnell, Gerald Petievich, Richard Martin Stern, Mary Stewart, Dorothy Uhnak, Michael Underwood, and Phyllis A. Whitney.

" 'A Layman's Guide to Law and the Courts,' and ' Glossary of Legal Terms,' both prepared by the American Bar Association, and a selected list of important reference books round out this. . . handbook."


The back-cover blurb pretty much says anything I'd write about this indispensable-to-any-crime-thriller-writer how-to guide.

Easily one of the best genre-specific writing books I've read. All the essays were helpful to me, whether they shored up knowledge-experience I already possessed, or taught me something new. There's something here for any crime/thriller writer out there, if the reader in question isn't close-minded.

Own it, already!

<em>Mother Night</em> by Kurt Vonnegut

(pb; 1961) From the back cover “ Mother Night is a daring challenge to our moral sense. American Howard W. Campbell, Jr., a spy du...