Reviews

pattersonellis_invisible
David Ellis’ pattern of involving stories was set in his first book, Line of Vision, which won the Edgar Award for best first novel.

Line of Vision wasn’t just a solid legal thriller, it was a poignant character study and a morality tale.

And Ellis isn’t just another attorney turned novelist. He’s about to be a judge.

He received the Democratic nomination for the Illinois Appellate Court, First Judicial District. He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary on March 18, 2014. He will be unopposed in the general election on November 4, 2014, after which he will become a judge.

Ellis’ last novel in his Jason Kolarich series was The Last Alibi, which came out last year.

Meanwhile, judge-to-be Ellis has become one of James Patterson’s co-authors. Their latest collaboration Invisible hit the ground running with spots on several best-sellers lists.

Invisible revolves around former FBI researcher Emmy Dockery who is obsessed with showing a link between hundreds of rapes, kidnappings and murders.

Invisible is the third time Ellis and Patterson have teamed up.

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

lackberg_hiddenchild
The Hidden Child
is a massive novel by Swedish author Camilla Läckberg that looks at how Sweden was affected by WWII and the contemporay reverberations of that war.

But The Hidden Child (Pegasus Crime) also is the story of a family—how a new mother deals with her child; how a vibrant teenager grows into a cold, emotionless mother and how this affects her own children; how two brothers copy with a devastating 60-year-old secret.

Here’s a quick interview with Camilla Läckberg, left.

At the heart of The Hidden Child is a woman learning about the girl her mother was; you show the options and opportunities that Erica Falck has are vastly different than the choices her mother, Elsy had. Could you comment on that?
A lot of things has change between the two different generations, not the least to say regarding women’s rights. In the story I also can also compare their challenges and opportunities being mothers in two different moments in time.

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Have you always wanted to write?
I have loved crime fiction since I can remember.

Does your background is as an economist ever enter into your writing?
I use my personal experience as much as I can, and whenever I mention an accountant or business man/woman I guess I share some of my acquired skills.

Tell us a bit about your personal life; married, children?
I have three wonderful kids who are my greatest live. I am divorced but have a very strong relationship with the children’s fathers. I call my family a star family and I’m so happy to have such a great relationship with my exes and their new girlfriends.

What character in The Hidden Child are you most proud?
Every character brings something unique to the story. However, I love the way I got to explore Erica’s courage in The Hidden Child. It feels that I got closer to her somehow.

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

dicker_joel
Joël Dicker’s The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (Penguin) is one of the summer’s most talked about novels. Now making its U.S. debut, the Swiss-born, 29-year-old’s novel became an immediate international bestseller when it was released in Europe during 2012.

Set in a quintessential small town in New Hampshire, the novel revolves around Marcus Goldman, a young author who had a massive blockbuster a couple of years ago and is now suffering from a massive bout of writer’s block. Then Marcus’ mentor, Harry Quebert, is arrested for murder when the body of Nola Kellergan is found on his land more than 33 years after the teenager disappeared. Marcus travels to New Hampshire to support Harry, and, as a result, may find his way into his next book.

Here's a brief chat with Dicker, left.

Q: The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair weighs in at 636 pages; did you ever think about making it shorter?
A:
I cut over 300 pages while writing this book. So, I guess I can tell you that the story could have been even longer! On a more serious note, I did ask myself if I should take out a few of the twists. But in the end I preferred to leave the book as it was, in order to convey my own enthusiasm to my readers.

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Q: What are your favorite novels?
A:
The Sea Wall, by Marguerite Duras. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck. Belle du Seigneur, by Albert Cohen. Poor Folk, by Doistoievski.

Q: Are you amazed at the response that The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair received in the European markets?
A:
Obviously: how could I have ever imagined, when signing the publication of my book in a tiny Parisian publishing house, that my book would be translated into 37 languages and read by millions of people? I am very thankful for everything that is happening to me.

Q: What are your thoughts about The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair being compared to Lolita?
A:
There’s nothing comparable. When imagining that I would develop the novel around a relationship between Nola and Harry, I immediately thought of Lolita. And therefore my allusion in the book with N-O-L-A. It was my way of mentioning the inspirations that arise in the creative process. I had read Lolita only once, when I was 15. I re-read it a few months ago, after my book’s success, and I realized that I hadn’t understood everything in the book.

Q: What are you most proud of in The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair?
A:
When I receive messages from my readers, especially young readers, who tell me they weren’t big readers, but that my book got them started and now they want to read more books. I think we all have to work hard to encourage people around us to read more.

Q: Who do you read?
A:
I’m a really open reader. I read just about everything that I come across. Lots of French and American literature. Right now, I’m reading Jean-Christophe Ruffin’s last book, as well as Good People by Nir Baram. Two very good books.

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

chandler_raymond1

The Hollywood Walk of Fame is one of those iconic must-sees for anyone visiting Hollywood.

Who hasn’t seen either in person or in the movies those bright pink stars against the grey background on the sidewalk that stretches on both sides of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street?

These stars are permanent tributes to those in the entertainment business. Certainly a number of actors, musicians, directors and producers are among the stars, as well as a few fictional characters such as Kermit, the Frog. (oh, please…you thought he was real?)

The Walk of Fame also has found its way into several novels of crime fiction. Michael Connelly used Frank Sinatra’s star as a meeting place in his Angels Flight.

Authors also are represented among these stars with Raymond Chandler, above, slated to receive his spot in 2015, along with actors Will Ferrell, Julianna Margulies, and Daniel Radcliffe.

Chandler will join an exclusive club of authors with stars on this walk that include Ray Bradbury, Dr. Seuss, Adela Rogers St. Johns, and Ogden Nash.

It’s about time that Chandler was honored. His private detective Philip Marlowe remains one of the touchstones of the genre, and influenced generations of mystery writers, including Michael Connelly.

And Marlowe was not stranger to Hollywood. The character appeared in several film adaptations of Chandler’s work, as well as radio adaptations.

Actors who portrayed the private detective include Dick Powell (Murder, My Sweet, 1944); Humphrey Bogart (The Big Sleep, 1946); Robert Montgomery (Lady in the Lake, 1947); James Gardner (Marlowe, 1969, which was an adaptation of The Little Sister); Elliott Gould (The Long Goodbye, 1973); and Robert Mitchum (Farewell My Lovely, 1975, and The Big Sleep, 1978).

Chandler never adapted any of his novels to the screen, but he became a fixture in Hollywood.

Chandler worked with directors and screenwriters on adapting other novelists’ works. These screenplays include James M. Cain’s Double Indemnity, which he co-wrote with Billy Wilder and which was nominated for an Oscar, and Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train on which he collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock.

Chandler’s only original screenplay that actually was made into a film was The Blue Dahlia (1946). According to biographies, including one on producer John Houseman, Chandler hadn’t written an ending. Chandler agreed to finish the script, but insisted he could only do it drunk. That must have been some powerful drink because The Blue Dahlia brought Chandler’s second Oscar nod for screenplay.

Chandler did have one small role in a film, so small it was uncredited.

And this makes for a great Jeopardy! question:

Which noir novelist is seen sitting outside Keyes’ office in Double Indemnity?

Answer: Who is Raymond Chandler.

You have to look quick to spot Chandler in that scene, but Chandler’s Walk of Fame star will be easy to spot.

As for future crime fiction authors who should also have a Walk of Fame star—I nominate Michael Connelly and Robert Crais.

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Reviews
Oline Cogdill

smithtomrob_thefarm
The question of where do you get your ideas comes up at just about every author’s book signings.

At least the ones I attend.

But the answer is never simple. Ideas for novels come from myriad sources—from the news, from an idea sparked by an incident in the supermarket and, sometimes, from an author’s own life.

Even if it is a painful part of one’s life.

Tom Rob Smith borrows something from his past for the plot in his latest novel The Farm.

In The Farm, an adult son learns that his Swedish mother, Tide, and British father, Chris, no longer trust each other. His father says that his mother is psychotic, which his mother denies.

Throughout the 29-year-old’s life, his parents’ marriage had seemed to near perfect, with any sign of discontent concealed from their son. Chris tells Daniel that his mother has vanished following a breakdown. Then Tide shows up at Daniel’s apartment, claiming her husband has been trying to gaslight her. She’s armed with a briefcase full of evidence and a lifetime of resentment.

Who should he believe? And who should the reader believe?

Smith, best known for the Cold War-era series Child 44, used his experience with his own mother’s mental illness for The Farm.
Like his protagonist, Smith also didn’t know who to believe—his father who was obviously upset about his wife’s mental state or his mother who insisted she was fine.

Smith’s true story has a happier ending, which he wrote about in an essay published in the London Times: “The doctors have been so impressed with my mum's recovery that she now gives talks to other women on the nature of her experience. My parents are together and, if anything, closer than ever - a team again. In the same way, I also feel closer to both of them. Part of growing up is relearning who your parents are and being there for them in a way that they were for you, as a child, on countless occasions.”

Smith’s essay about his parents can be accessed here.

The Farm has been receiving positive reviews, including a starred review in Publishers Weekly and glowing quotes from Mark Billingham and Jeffery Deaver.

Smith’s novels in his Child 44 trilogy were New York Times bestsellers, as well as international best sellers. Child 44 won the International Thriller Writers 2009 Thriller Award for Best First Novel and the Crime Writers Association (CWA) Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award.

The film adaptation of Child 44, starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and Gary Oldman, is due for international release in October.

BBC Films and Shine Pictures have purchased the film rights to The Farm.

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