An open discussion on what everyone is currently reading. Make recommendations to others, discuss what is new, hot, bestsellers, anything and everything related to books and the authors.

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I've been reading academic comedies: Changing Places, Lucky Jim, Straight Man, Moo. Watch out, colleagues!
I'm finishing a book by Bill Pronzini called Illusions. It's good. Stumbled on this one at the Chestnut Street Library in San Francisco. This lesser-known mystery master has been nominated for an Edgar Award five times. He's written 35 books or more of this "Nameless Detective Series." Being from Petaluma, California, Pronzini covers a lot of territory in San Francisco and the wine country.
My favorite book of 2009 is The Fifth Floor by Michael Harvey. Wow. If you go for hard-boiled fiction and extra lean, taut prose that keeps you on edge like a revolver pointed into your kidney from behind, this is it.
Did you read The Chicago Way? I was lucky enough to review both of these books and loved them. Currently reading Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid.
Chercover's TRIGGER CITY. I don't agree that this one is better than his first novel, BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD, an extraordinarily strong first novel, but it is pretty good.
I liked both of his books and hope to read another one soon.
I'm rreading Hochhuth's "A German Love Story" which is a fictionalized account of a tragic affair between a German woman and a Polish prisoner of war. The criminal Nazi regime made all sorts of things "crimes" including doing a simple favor for a prisoner. In the case Hochhuth dramatizes, interspersed with Nazi regulations, interivews, and records, the Polish prisoner is hanged for having had sex with an Aryan German woman It was called rassenschande, a shame on the race. Hochuth minces no words in his condemnation of war criminals, both German and Allied. His insights shed, for me, new light on world War II which I otherwise remember well. I didn't realize that Churchill had tricked Hitler into bombing London instead of the British factories. Unfortunately, vengeance took over and Dfresden was just one of the results.
If any on Crimstapce are wannabe authors, read those contracts with care. My new mystery, "The Lollipop Murder" is about some crazy authors who rebel against their penurious book contracts. It's available now at www.lulu.com. (Can't wait to go through the tedious process of submitting manuscripts to publishers. They'fre overwhelmed anyway.)
A disappointing week. I attempted the much-discussed Joseph Finder and tossed two books in rapid succession. They appeared to be suspense thrillers. The problem was with an overly simple writing style heavily laced with cliches. I can see where that might sell, but for me it made a potentially tragic event merely banal. The one called VANISHED was an audio version. I replaced it with an Anchee Min potboiler. I'm not very discriminating when driving a car. :)

The second disappointment was Ken Bruen's ONCE WERE COPS. I'm a great fan of his Jack Taylor novels. This was one of his hard-boiled noir works. Think Jack Taylor as a serial killer and member of the NYPD. It just didn't work for me.
I finished "A Carrion Death" by Michael Stanley and will look for the next. Kubu is an appealing character, and the book leads you to the solution but not exactly. The end, then, is satisfying.

Next I read the brief "Three-Core Lead" by Clare Curzon. This was one of a long list of her books. It was written in 1988. I guess I'm surprised that I have never heard of her. Nice, little book. I shall read more.

Next is Val McDermid's "The Grave Tattoo." I enjoyed her four Tony Hill books and one stand-alone, "A Place of Execution." The rest of her books are fairly shallow. Hope this one is okay.
Seemed to me I.J. basically said she switched to Anchee Min because she preferred it. That's a compliment.
Quite right. For me Anchee Min beat out Finder very easily, even though I consider her novel (ORCHID) a potboiler that keeps you reading for the secrets of the imperial bedchamber and the vicious behavior of eunuchs and imperial wives. I write historical novels and I know when I read a potboiler. Having said that, the novel moves quite easily and is rich in historical detail. A literary masterpiece it's not.
I enjoyed Dick & Felix Francis's DEAD HEAT, but am having trouble starting the next one, SILKS, due to the idea of an attorney subject to extortion by a plausible psychopath.

Instead, I picked out Janwillem van de Wetering's THE MIND-MURDERS from my tbr's. I'm cataloging the tbr's, and running across some attractive stuff I had forgotten I have.

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