Margaret Millar’s Beast in View opens with thirty-year-old Helen Clarvoe receving an unnerving, vaguely threatening phone call from a woman who claims to have once been her friend. Clarvoe is the sole daughter of a wealthy Southern California family whose dysfunction will be familiar to readers of the Lew Archer mysteries written by Millar’s husband, Ross Macdonald. The time is 1955, the place, Los Angeles. Miss Clarvoe, estranged from her mother and brother, spends most of her days alone in her room in the Monica Hotel, her door “locked against the ugliness of the world.
John Temple’s American Pain describes the rise and fall of America’s largest pill mill. A pill mill, in case you didn’t know, is a medical practice set up specifically to dispense narcotic pain killers. Patient appointments typically last only a few minutes, just long enough for doctor to write the prescription. Chris George, the wealthy son of a successful South Florida builder, was running a semi-successful shop selling anabolic steroids when he started seeing pain clinics pop up all over Broward County around 2008.
The opening chapter of Wake Up, Wanda Wiley is available on BookishFirst this week, January 13-20, 2020. Take a look, leave a comment, and enter to win one of 100 free copies of the ebook. In case you haven’t read it, here’s the blurb: Hannah Sharpe has been written out of all eighteen of Wanda Wiley’s romance novels. A runaway heroine who won’t conform to the plots laid out for her, Hannah has been consigned to a realm of fog deep in the recesses of the author’s imagination.
Nick Bilton’s American Kingpin describes the rise and fall of the darknet market The Silk Road, and its creator, Ross Ulbricht. The book focuses primarily on Ulbricht and a handful of agents from the DEA, FBI, IRS, and Homeland Security who wage a semi-coordinated effort to identify and capture the Silk Road leader, who was known online as the Dread Pirate Roberts. Ulbricht grew up in Austin, Texas, a middle-class kid with strong libertarian leanings.
This is one brutal book, and a damn good one. Slim writes with a fire that you rarely see even from great authors at their best. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything, nor does he lace his narrative with apologies to reassure delicate readers. He simply gives a straightforward account of a cruel world in which the cruelest rise to the top… at least for a while. The book takes place mostly on the south side of Chicago between the late 1930s and the late 1950s.
I just finished a draft of a new novel, tentatively titled Evidence of Aggression. This one features a strong female lead who gets caught up unawares in a Hitchcock-style thriller that unfolds in my old hometown of Washington, DC. Think North by Northwest in current day DC, with a sharp, strong-willed woman in the Carey Grant role. My heroine’s stength lies in her strong mind, unusual powers of observation, and ability to keep her cool and think her way out of tough situations.
The Body Keeps the Score describes what Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk has seen and learned in his thirty-plus years of treating trauma survivors. The author describes the causes and manifestations of trauma in a number of patients from his clinical practice: abused children, combat veterans, victims of accidents, rape, and assault. He describes how the intense emotional impact of trauma can linger for years when the mind is unable to assimilate the unbearable terror of events.
After months away from the keyboard, I’ve started work on a new novel, a mystery/thriller with a female protagonist. I wrote the first draft of Wanda Wiley over a period of about eight days in August, and the published version was closer to the first draft than anything else I’ve written. I had recently read and was powerfully moved by Donald Goines’ Dopefiend, and I understood his writing method even as I read: just pour it all out.
Margaret Millar was best known for her mystery and suspense novels. Wives and Lovers, published near the height of her career in 1954, is somewhat of a departure. The story takes place in Channel City, a thinly veiled version of Santa Barbara where Millar lived with her husband, mystery writer Ross MacDonald. If you come to this this book expecting a hook and an immediately engaging plot, you’ll be frustrated. Wives and Lovers is set of interwoven character studies and a sociological portrait of a fairly wealthy small city in mid-century California.
Readers’ Favorite posted the first review of Wake Up, Wanda Wiley today, giving it the full five stars. From the review: Author Andrew Diamond has created a bright and original rom-com with a cast of really enjoyable characters. A quick-read length book that would be suited for a holiday novel, Hannah’s exploits in the subconscious of her creator are sharp and extremely witty. She’s a hero anyone can root for, up against some intelligently drawn archetypes of popular fiction characters who slowly become more real and meaningful as the plot drives forward.
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