Wednesday, 07 September 2011

altEach state in this country can boast its share of mystery writers who give the readers not only involving stories but also personal looks at myriad regions.

The genre is better for these stories that take us from the streets of New York City to small Idaho towns.

Last year, San Francisco was the site of Bouchercon and that gave me a chance to talk about the wonderful mysteries set there.

This year, Bouchercon is in St. Louis so that naturally leads to a discussion about the authors that Missouri has produced. I also have a personal connection as Missouri is my home state. I grew up in a small town in an area of Missouri called The Bootheel. I also graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia as did my husband. We found each other at Mizzou but we two journalism majors met in theater. Long story, but a good one.

So to get everyone in the mood for Bouchercon, we’ll start to look at those mysteries with a Missouri connection. Whether or not you are attending Bouchercon, this will give you insight into the Show Me State.

Some of the best known mystery writers either who either are from Missouri, live there or set there novels there include Sophie Littlefield, Robert Randisi, Elaine Viets, John Lutz, Joel Goodman, Michael A. Kahn, Michael Baron, Eileen Dreyer, Laurell K. Hamilton, Rett MacPherson, Jean Hager, Lise McClendon, Larry Karp, Janis Harrison, Dakota Banks, Shirley Kennett. I am sure I have missed a few, so please, add your favorites to the comments list.

Here’s a glimpse at a couple of St. Louis-based novels.

altMichael Kahn is best known for his novels about St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold, the latest of which is Trophy Widow (2002). After nearly decade, Kahn, a St. Louis attorney himself, has written another Rachel Gold novel that may be published in 2012. More about that from Brian at this post.

But Kahn also wrote the novel The Mourning Sexton (2005) under the pen name Michael Baron. This was my personal favorite from Kahn/Baron.

In The Mourning Sexton, David Hirsch, a once powerful St. Louis attorney who spent seven years in prison for embezzlement, tries to make amends by immersing himself in his Jewish faith. Every day, Hirsch, the mourning sexton, is among the first to arrive at the small, storefront synagogue in St. Louis. He has made his participation in services mandatory; his duties are to make sure there will be at least 10 men there, the minimum required for the daily prayers.

The Mourning Sexton is a heartfelt character study of a man on the rebound who has to fight temptation every day to reclaim his soul.

TRUE CRIME STILL TRUE

altScreenwriter and author Andrew Klavan isn’t normally associated with St. Louis but his 1995 novel True Crime is set in St. Louis. I remember being engrossed in this story about journalist Steve Everett, a foul wretch of a man who ruins just about everything in his life. But in one shining moment, Steve tries to do the right thing – save an innocent man wrongly convicted and do that in the 11th hour before the man’s execution.

A reporter for the fictional St. Louis News, Steve is despised by his colleagues. He lost his last job because he had sex in the supply room with the daughter of the newspaper's owner. He may lose his current job because he is sleeping with his boss' wife.

No one believes Everett's "hunch" that a young man on Missouri’s Death Row is innocent of killing a convenience store clerk. Everett’s editor calls his idea "A desperate attempt to cover the shabbiness of ... personal behavior with a show of professional skill."

Granted, the crusading reporter saving a wrongly convicted man has been done too many times but Klavan had me totally involved with True Crime. The film version starring Clint Eastwood was all right but never captured the novel’s intensity.

Klavan’s view of St. Louis was spot on, including his use of the huge Amoco sign that became kind of a talisman for Everett.

Michael Baron, Andrew Klavan, St. Louis
Oline Cogdill
michael-baron-andrew-klavin-st-louis

altEach state in this country can boast its share of mystery writers who give the readers not only involving stories but also personal looks at myriad regions.

The genre is better for these stories that take us from the streets of New York City to small Idaho towns.

Last year, San Francisco was the site of Bouchercon and that gave me a chance to talk about the wonderful mysteries set there.

This year, Bouchercon is in St. Louis so that naturally leads to a discussion about the authors that Missouri has produced. I also have a personal connection as Missouri is my home state. I grew up in a small town in an area of Missouri called The Bootheel. I also graduated with a journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia as did my husband. We found each other at Mizzou but we two journalism majors met in theater. Long story, but a good one.

So to get everyone in the mood for Bouchercon, we’ll start to look at those mysteries with a Missouri connection. Whether or not you are attending Bouchercon, this will give you insight into the Show Me State.

Some of the best known mystery writers either who either are from Missouri, live there or set there novels there include Sophie Littlefield, Robert Randisi, Elaine Viets, John Lutz, Joel Goodman, Michael A. Kahn, Michael Baron, Eileen Dreyer, Laurell K. Hamilton, Rett MacPherson, Jean Hager, Lise McClendon, Larry Karp, Janis Harrison, Dakota Banks, Shirley Kennett. I am sure I have missed a few, so please, add your favorites to the comments list.

Here’s a glimpse at a couple of St. Louis-based novels.

altMichael Kahn is best known for his novels about St. Louis attorney Rachel Gold, the latest of which is Trophy Widow (2002). After nearly decade, Kahn, a St. Louis attorney himself, has written another Rachel Gold novel that may be published in 2012. More about that from Brian at this post.

But Kahn also wrote the novel The Mourning Sexton (2005) under the pen name Michael Baron. This was my personal favorite from Kahn/Baron.

In The Mourning Sexton, David Hirsch, a once powerful St. Louis attorney who spent seven years in prison for embezzlement, tries to make amends by immersing himself in his Jewish faith. Every day, Hirsch, the mourning sexton, is among the first to arrive at the small, storefront synagogue in St. Louis. He has made his participation in services mandatory; his duties are to make sure there will be at least 10 men there, the minimum required for the daily prayers.

The Mourning Sexton is a heartfelt character study of a man on the rebound who has to fight temptation every day to reclaim his soul.

TRUE CRIME STILL TRUE

altScreenwriter and author Andrew Klavan isn’t normally associated with St. Louis but his 1995 novel True Crime is set in St. Louis. I remember being engrossed in this story about journalist Steve Everett, a foul wretch of a man who ruins just about everything in his life. But in one shining moment, Steve tries to do the right thing – save an innocent man wrongly convicted and do that in the 11th hour before the man’s execution.

A reporter for the fictional St. Louis News, Steve is despised by his colleagues. He lost his last job because he had sex in the supply room with the daughter of the newspaper's owner. He may lose his current job because he is sleeping with his boss' wife.

No one believes Everett's "hunch" that a young man on Missouri’s Death Row is innocent of killing a convenience store clerk. Everett’s editor calls his idea "A desperate attempt to cover the shabbiness of ... personal behavior with a show of professional skill."

Granted, the crusading reporter saving a wrongly convicted man has been done too many times but Klavan had me totally involved with True Crime. The film version starring Clint Eastwood was all right but never captured the novel’s intensity.

Klavan’s view of St. Louis was spot on, including his use of the huge Amoco sign that became kind of a talisman for Everett.

Sunday, 04 September 2011

altThis story was forwarded to me by at least two friends and it is just too amusing to pass up.

Next time you're in a situation that's uncomfortable or face a problem you can't solve, just ask yourself: What would Jack Reacher do?

That's what Desmond Bishop of the Green Bay Packers did when he and his team were to visit the White House recently to celebrate the team's Super Bowl title.

Bishop had forgotten his identification on the team's charter plane and couldn't get past White House security.

But while his team was at a reception with President Obama, Bishop was reflective and philosophical in his tweets: "Tho dissapointed, i ll live vicariously thru my fellow Teammates.. Nap time.. As jack reacher wud say "sleep wen u can.."

Lee Child, the author of the Jack Reacher novels, should be proud. This just shows how popular Jack Reacher is.
 

What Would Jack Reacher Do?
Oline Cogdill
what-would-jack-reacher-do

altThis story was forwarded to me by at least two friends and it is just too amusing to pass up.

Next time you're in a situation that's uncomfortable or face a problem you can't solve, just ask yourself: What would Jack Reacher do?

That's what Desmond Bishop of the Green Bay Packers did when he and his team were to visit the White House recently to celebrate the team's Super Bowl title.

Bishop had forgotten his identification on the team's charter plane and couldn't get past White House security.

But while his team was at a reception with President Obama, Bishop was reflective and philosophical in his tweets: "Tho dissapointed, i ll live vicariously thru my fellow Teammates.. Nap time.. As jack reacher wud say "sleep wen u can.."

Lee Child, the author of the Jack Reacher novels, should be proud. This just shows how popular Jack Reacher is.
 

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

altTimes flies, doesn't it?

It seems like just yesterday we were in San Francisco, enjoying crisp California wine, loving the beautiful scenery and, oh yeah, immersing ourselves in all that is mysteries at Bouchercon.
A whole year? Doesn't seem possible.

Yet, here we are, just a few weeks away from Bouchercon, one of my favorite mystery fiction conferences. This year Bouchercon will be Sept. 15-18.

For those who don't know, Bouchercon has been taking place annually since 1970.

Borrowing the next three paragraphs from the official Bouchercon web site: "It is open to anyone and is a place for fans, authors and professionals to gather and celebrate their love of the mystery genre. It is named for famed mystery critic Anthony Boucher. During the convention there are panels, discussions, and interviews with authors and people from the mystery community covering all parts of the genre."

altBouchercon is held in a different area each year and 2011 will take us to St. Louis.

The St. Louis locale makes it even sweeter for me since I am from Missouri and graduated with a Bachelor's of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where, even more important, I met my husband.

Bouchercon guests of honor are Robert Crais, Charlaine Harris, Colin Cotterill and Val McDermid. Lifetime achievement will be given to Sara Paretsky. Toastmaster is Ridley Pearson.

I am especially excited about the fan guests of honor, Kate Stine and Brian Skupin, who are Mystery Scene co-publishers.

The Bouchercon panels have been organized and are on conference's Facebook page. Look under the notes section. They will be posted on the web site later.

Next week, to get you even more in the mood, I'll talk about mysteries based in Missouri.

Bouchercon Comes to St. Louis
Oline Cogdill
bouchercon-comes-to-st-louis

altTimes flies, doesn't it?

It seems like just yesterday we were in San Francisco, enjoying crisp California wine, loving the beautiful scenery and, oh yeah, immersing ourselves in all that is mysteries at Bouchercon.
A whole year? Doesn't seem possible.

Yet, here we are, just a few weeks away from Bouchercon, one of my favorite mystery fiction conferences. This year Bouchercon will be Sept. 15-18.

For those who don't know, Bouchercon has been taking place annually since 1970.

Borrowing the next three paragraphs from the official Bouchercon web site: "It is open to anyone and is a place for fans, authors and professionals to gather and celebrate their love of the mystery genre. It is named for famed mystery critic Anthony Boucher. During the convention there are panels, discussions, and interviews with authors and people from the mystery community covering all parts of the genre."

altBouchercon is held in a different area each year and 2011 will take us to St. Louis.

The St. Louis locale makes it even sweeter for me since I am from Missouri and graduated with a Bachelor's of Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where, even more important, I met my husband.

Bouchercon guests of honor are Robert Crais, Charlaine Harris, Colin Cotterill and Val McDermid. Lifetime achievement will be given to Sara Paretsky. Toastmaster is Ridley Pearson.

I am especially excited about the fan guests of honor, Kate Stine and Brian Skupin, who are Mystery Scene co-publishers.

The Bouchercon panels have been organized and are on conference's Facebook page. Look under the notes section. They will be posted on the web site later.

Next week, to get you even more in the mood, I'll talk about mysteries based in Missouri.