Book Review: Two Girls Down, by Louisa Luna.

Two Girls Down Plot: Louisa Luna opens her novel Two Girls Down with the kidnapping of two sisters, Kylie and Bailey, ten and eight years old. Their mother has popped into a K-Mart for a few minutes, leaving the girls in the car. When she returns, the girls are gone. Frantic search. Police. Code Adam alert. Nothing.Continue reading “Book Review: Two Girls Down, by Louisa Luna.”

Review: Julia Haeberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans

The Black-Eyed Susans: “The Susans are a greedy plant, often the first to thrive in scorched, devastated earth.” This line, early in Julia Heaberlin’s novel Black-Eyed Susans, works on more than one level and becomes an underlying motif for the narrative. Tessa Cartwright was raped and left for dead as a teenager among a field ofContinue reading “Review: Julia Haeberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans”

Review: An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro

Introduction: Ishiguro Memory and the heart. Such fragile things on which to build our notion of ourselves. As the old prophet Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things . . . Who can understand it?” And memory is surely at least as deceitful as the heart. Both memory and the heart seem toContinue reading “Review: An Artist of the Floating World, by Kazuo Ishiguro”

Review: Sun and Shadow, by Ake Edwardson

Overview  Sun and Shadow, the first Detective Erik Winter novel by Swedish writer Ake Edwardson to be translated into English (1999), is a dark psychological mystery that chronicles two grotesque double murders and the exhausting investigation that follows. The plot is complex, and it delivers the build-up to a suspenseful ending.  (See review of TheContinue reading “Review: Sun and Shadow, by Ake Edwardson”

The Great American Eclipse: What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name? Juliet tells Romeo that nothing’s in a name. “That which we call a rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet,” she says. And even Hamlet seems dismissive in his “words, words, words.” But after the Great American Eclipse, I must rebuff the beautiful maiden and challenge the churlish prince.Continue reading “The Great American Eclipse: What’s in a Name?”

Missing Person, by Patrick Modiano, a Review

The Novel: What is possible when the missing person you seek is you? Where are the clues that will lead you to yourself? Only in the past. The past, for the protagonist of Patrick Modiano’s novel Missing Person, is the period of the German occupation of Paris prior to and during World War II. ItContinue reading “Missing Person, by Patrick Modiano, a Review”

The Preacher: Nordic Noir in Clear Prose and Diffuse Plot

The Preacher The Preacher, a Nordic Noir mystery/thriller by Dagmar Winther and Kenneth Degnbol, a.k.a. Sander Jakobsen, offers a beautiful prose narrative. Not surprisingly for Scandinavian crime fiction, the style leans toward the literary. It tells the story of two murders, each of a woman, apparently unrelated. As the police draw closer to solving theContinue reading “The Preacher: Nordic Noir in Clear Prose and Diffuse Plot”

Grab ’em by the throat and never let ’em go: Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder, who died in 2002, won six Oscars and was one of the most admired of screenwriters. The following ten tips were aimed at writing screenplays for movies, but if you are familiar with the three-act structure in fiction, you will see how they apply to fiction as well as they do to screenplays.  DevelopContinue reading “Grab ’em by the throat and never let ’em go: Billy Wilder”

From the Forge: The Humanity of Anton Chekov

  Anton Chekov The Russian writer Anton Chekov is widely recognized as a master of short fiction. It is interesting that many people seem to dislike Chekov’s short stories because they tend to be open ended, lacking a comfortable, reassuring resolution. But Chekov’s place in the pantheon is secure. His influence on later writers hasContinue reading “From the Forge: The Humanity of Anton Chekov”

Janelle Brown, Watch Me Disappear, a Gripping Read

Janelle Brown’s latest novel, Watch Me Disappear, due out July 11, is a gripping read. A mother’s disappearance while on a solo backpacking trip in the mountains of California devastates her husband and daughter. The narrative is beautifully imagined and intricately woven. The plot is driven by love, loss, and lies. Those three forces pull theContinue reading “Janelle Brown, Watch Me Disappear, a Gripping Read”