Wednesday, 20 August 2014 05:08

rosenfelt davidhoundedx
David Rosenfelt
is the consummate dog lover. You can tell this from his involving novels about lawyer Andy Carpenter.

In each of the 12 novels in this series, Rosenfelt works in a love of dogs as the canines have something to do with the plot.

In Hounded, the latest novel in this series, Andy is asked to take in the eight-year-old son of a murder victim and the boy’s basset hound, Sebastian.

The dog is no problem—Andy often does rescue and fostering of dogs—but a child, well, that’s another matter. Hounded is one of the best novels in Rosenfelt’s series.

Without getting too sentimental or cutesy, Rosenfelt shows in each of the Andy Carpenter novels how our bonds with dogs can change our lives.

Andy’s rescue sideline never overwhelms the plot but it is a part of this character and makes him who he is.

In the novels, Andy owns just one dog—a golden retriever named Tara, who is named after Rosenfelt’s own Tara.

But the author David Rosenfelt doesn’t own a single dog.

He has 25.

Yes, 25 dogs, all of which he and his wife, Debbie Myers, have taken in as rescues.

Of course, that number could be completely different today.

Rosenfelt and Myers rescue dogs, especially golden retrievers, and try to find them homes.

rosenfeltdavid dogtrippingxx
But if they can’t find new homes, well, these dogs have a forever home with them.

Rosenfelt discusses his love of dogs, how he got into rescuing, and how he moved his family and those 25 dogs from Southern California to Maine in Dogtripping.

A funny, insightful memoir, Dogtripping shows how the best plans can go awry when humans, and, well, dogs, too, are in the mix.

When he started the relocation of his pack, Rosenfelt thought he had planned for every turn. He had GPSes, RVs for transit, and loads of food. But he was traveling with 25 dogs and he was in for an adventure.

Spoiler alert: everyone made it just fine.

Dogtripping also is the tale of the beginnings of his dog rescue foundation, which is named after Tara, the beloved golden who lives on in Rosenfelt’s novels.

Those of us who love dogs will find Rosenfelt’s recollections bring a few tears, and a lot of smiles.

And as a consummate dog lover myself, I also know the power of bonding with a dog. My first dog, Lou, came when I was about 11 months old, and, except for college, I have always had at least one dog.

Currently, we have only two—and, yes, both are rescues.

Monday, 18 August 2014 12:08

leonard elmore
Elmore Leonard left a legacy of novels and short stories when he died Aug. 20, 2013. And nearly a year after his death, his works are as popular as ever.

On Aug. 29, the film Life of Crime, based on Leonard’s novel 1978 The Switch, will hit movie theaters.

True to Leonard’s work, the novel is an edgy, black-comedy approach to crime fiction in which a wealthy man sees the perfect end to his marriage when his wife is kidnapped. If he doesn’t pay the ransom, he reasons, she will be killed, and that, he believes, will save him alimony. Tim Robbins stars as Frank Dawson and Mickey, his estranged wife, is played by Jennifer Aniston. Isla Fisher is Frank’s new girlfriend. Mos Def and Will Forte also co-star.

For trivia buffs, the kidnappers are Louis Gara, played by John Hawkes, and Ordell Robbie, played by Mos Def using the name Yasiin Bey. Louis and Ordell returned in Leonard’s 1992 novel Rum Punch, which was made into the 1997 film Jackie Brown. The older Louis and Ordell were played by Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson in Jackie Brown.

But Life of Crime is only the start of what appears to be a mini resurgence of Leonard’s work.

On Sept. 4, the Library of America will release Elmore Leonard: Four Novels of the 1970s, edited by Gregg Sutter. The compilation is a gorgeous book, true to what I expect from the Library of America.

The compilation features four significant Leonard novels, each of which gave us a glimpse of the route that the author was taking—darkly funny with razor sharp dialogue and twists that seem outlandish yet realistic at the same time.

The novels included are:

leonardelmore fournovels
Fifty-Two Pickup
, in which an adulterous businessman runs afoul of a crew of murderous blackmailers. Fifty-Two Pickup also was made into a film in 1986, starring Roy Scheider, Ann-Margret, John Glover, and Kelly Preston.

Swag marks the first time that Leonard showed us his brand of comedy. In Swag, Frank Ryan has a plan to commit armed robberies with a car thief.

Unknown Man No. 89 delivers a complex pattern of crisscrossing rip-offs and con games in which Detroit process server Jack Ryan searches for a missing stockholder.

And, finally, The Switch is included. See the film and then reread the novel to decide which is better. (I think I know.)

The Library of America volume also contains a newly researched chronology of Leonard’s life, prepared with exclusive access to materials in his personal archive.

The book is edited by Gregg Sutter, a Detroit native, who began working for Leonard in 1981. He is currently at work on a biography of Leonard, from the perspective of being his full-time researcher for more than 30 years.

And we can expect more Leonard works. British publisher Weidenfeld & Nicolson has acquired 15 unpublished early stories, most written while Leonard was working as a copywriter at a Detroit advertising agency in the 1950s. The volume will be released in the fall of 2015, with HarperCollins publishing in the United States.

The stories are set in myriad locations from New Mexico to Malaysia and feature some characters that recur in later works.

And, of course, we have the sixth season of Justified to look forward to next year. Unfortunately, it will be the last season of Raylin and Boyd.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014 01:08

kelli cityofghosts

I love exotic perfumes, the kind that you don’t often find in regular department stores. And if those perfumes come with a history, so much the better.

Perfumes also can make a statement about character in crime fiction.

Scents trigger Maggie Silver’s memory in Denise Hamilton’s novel Damage Control. Here's Maggie applying a fragrance: “...clean, crisp notes of citrus, bergamot and verbena. Nothing cloying or clobbering... Just a subtle scent amulet to infuse me with secret grace and power.” Hamilton, by the way, is an expert on perfumes.

Perfume, or at least one perfume, has meaning to private detective Miranda Corbie in Kelli Stanley’s latest novel City of Ghosts set in San Francisco during 1940, the time when war was raging in Europe but the U.S. had yet to enter the battle.

For Miranda, the scent Vol de Nuit is important. Not because of its wonderful bouquet, but because Vol de Nuit reminds her of a different time and when she was a different person.

Stanley writes: “Vol de Nuit, replacement for Je Reviens and the happy time, the other Miranda, the girl in New York who liked carnations and violets, the scene of freshly cut oranges and coffee, the sound of the Elevated pounding above her tiny apartment, shouts of kids running to buy candy and a Shadow magazine at the corner store.”

In City of Ghosts, Miranda is down to her last bottle of Vol de Nuit, and knows that there will be no more shipments of the perfume until the war is over.

“She closed her eyes, inhaling the oakmoss and narcissus, the deep vanilla crème and the arid scent of wood bark, straight from the Ardennes,” writes Stanley.

Vol de Nuit is an apt perfume for Miranda to cherish during wartime. Produced by the house Guerlain (who make Shalimar, among others), Vol de Nuit was “composed in 1933 as a tribute to flight, celebrating the novel of the same name by pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Air France.” The novel Vol de Nuit celebrated courage, according to Guerlain.

Naturally, I had to order a bottle. I don’t know how much courage it brings me, but it is a lovely, old-fashioned scent that at the same time is modern.

And every time I wear it, it smells as if it were San Francisco, 1940.


I love exotic perfumes, the kind that you don’t often find in regular department stores. And if those perfumes come with a history, so much the better.