Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I'm Buzzing

Last night I asked my book club if they had ever read Tim Hallinan’s books. Some of them are not mystery readers, but I told them that Tim’s books are up there with some of the great “literary” genre writers—John LeCarre, Dennis Lehane, and Alice Sebold, to name a few. These are writers who fully embrace the mystery genre, but who add a philosophical and lyrical depth that many writers of genre fiction don’t strive for. A few of the women wrote down his name. That’s the sort of thing that creates buzz.

I hardly ever get off an airplane or leave a social event without having recommended books to people. If someone asks me what I write, I tell them and try to be aware if their eyes glaze over. If that happens, I ask what they like to read, and take the opportunity to tell them about books they may like. If someone likes cozies I’ll tell them about Rhys Bowen or Tracy Weber or Leslie Budewicz. Thrillers? I recommend Gayle Lynds or Marc Cameron, or Mark Greanley—I was just on a panel with them at Bouchercon and thoroughly enjoyed each of their books.

Do you like thrillers with a touch of sci-fi? Patrick Lee—what an imagination the guy has! Or there is always The Martian. I’m amazed that there are still people who never heard of it.

And I’m always keen to slip in a word for my fellow-writers at Seventh Street Books. Lori Rader-Day writes a solid mystery in the great tradition of whodunits—and has a fresh new Anthony award to prove it. James Ziskin writes a “historical” series (who knew the 1960s were historical?) from the viewpoint of a young female reporter—and has an Anthony nomination as well. Allen Eskens is a multiple award winner. I loved his first book and can’t wait to read his second.

One in particular that I want to buzz you with is a chilling psychological thriller that just came out—The Hollow Man, by Mark Pryor. Pryor writes a wonderful, gentlemanly series set in Europe with a diplomatic corps protagonist. The Hollow Man couldn’t be farther from this. It is about a sociopath who realizes something is missing in his psyche and has worked hard to fit in. When something in his life goes awry, his true nature is revealed. It’s a great read, and I highly recommend it. Will this little bit of buzz matter? Who knows? All I can do is tell people about the books I like.

I don’t know how word of mouth propels one good book and never catches with one equally as good. Most writers despair of this strange algorithm. I recently read a Macavity award-winning author whose book blew me away, and someone told me that not everyone loved the book. On the flip side, I have stopped reading a few popular books midway through because they simply didn’t engage me.

I’m itching to talk about books that I’ve been asked to blurb and that will come out in the spring—but that will wait for another posting. Happy reading, everyone!


Margie Bunting said...

Terry, I feel fortunate that you have recommended several books to me at Sisters in Crime events. Thanks to you, I just finished Allen Eskins' The Life We Bury, and I also read James Ziskin's Styx and Stone and Alex Marwood's The Killer Next Door, among others. And all were terrific! I might have missed them without your urging. Please keep those recommendations coming!

Kathy Waller said...

Thank you for the recommendations. I've been meaning to read more Seventh Street authors, and I guess there's no time like the present to start. I had to read Tim Hallinan's Herbie's Game slowly to catch all the humor in the dialogue--one line after another. And I agree about Mark Pryor's Hollow Man. I've been preaching to friends about it. It's pitch-perfect, and so tightly plotted. Surprises to the very end (I'm kicking myself because I should have known).

Terry said...

So glad you are enjoying my recommendations. Makes me think it should be part of my weekly blog.

Timothy Hallinan said...

Yikes, Terry -- sounds like me, talking about you. Thank you SOOOOO much.

(I'm linking to this.)