WELCOME TO A NEW YEAR
WELCOME TO A NEW DECADE
We’ve recently learned that Sandy, the creator and original editor of our quarterly newsletter and one-time bookkeeper, has moved back to town.
Welcome Back! We hope to see you soon.
From The Guardian’s Editor’s Best Stories of 2019: ‘Blood on their hands’: the intelligence officer whose warning over white supremacy was ignored
Words of the Month
Alaska: Northern Noir ~ Crime fiction has found a strange home in the cold wilds of Alaska. (have to say these people are way behind the curve if they think this is new…)
The Ferrante Effect’: In Italy, Women Writers Are Ascendant ~“My Brilliant Friend” and Elena Ferrante’s other best-selling books are inspiring female novelists and shaking up the country’s male-dominated literary establishment.
7 Things Crime Readers Will No Longer Tolerate by Christopher Fowler
From Gar Anthony Haywood: I Wrote the Kind of Character I Wanted Most to Read About
From Portland, another bookshop closes: Another Read Through is leaving Mississippi Avenue
January 11 – Candace Robb and Kim Zarins, 4pm, UBooks
January 21 – Chad Dundas, 7:30pm, Powell’s
January 29 – Mary Wingate, 7pm, Village Books
January 30 – Russell Rowland, 7:30pm, Powell’s
Other Forms of Fun
The Bone Collector, Jeffery Deaver’s first book with forensic anthropologist Lincoln Rhyme, was made into a 1999 film staring Denzel Washington as Rhyme and Angelina Jolie as the young cop who becomes his “legman”. Rhyme is a quadraplegic and needs Amelia Sachs to visit the crime scenes. The books are a true updating of the armchair detective story – it’s a great series. Now, starting Friday, Jan. 10, the book comes to the smaller screen when ‘Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector’ debuts on NBC. As they say, check your local listings!
Coming in February: ‘Narcos: Mexico’: Scoot McNairy Hunts Diego Luna in Season 2 First Look
Words of the Month
Ignis fatuus: a light that sometimes appears in the night over marshy ground and is often attributable to the combustion of gas from decomposed organic matter or a deceptive goal or hope.
Ignis fatuus is a Latin term meaning, literally, “foolish fire.” In English, it has come to designate a hovering or flitting light that sometimes appears in the night over marshy ground that is attributable to the combustion of gas from decomposed organic matter. Other names for this light are jack-o’-lantern and will-o’-the-wisp—both of which are connected to folklore about mysterious men, Jack and Will, who carry a lantern or a wisp of light at night. A Scottish name for ignis fatuus is spunkie, from spunk, meaning “spark” or “a small fire.” It has also been told that ignes fatui (the Latin plural form) are roaming souls. No doubt these stories spooked listeners by candlelight, but in time, advancements in science not only gave us electricity to dispel the darkness but proved ignis fatuus to be a visible exhalation of gas from the ground, which is rarely seen today.
‘But thou art altogether given over, / and wert indeed, but for the light in thy face, the son of utter / darkness. When thou ran’st up Gadshill in the night to catch my / horse, if I did not think thou hadst been an ignis fatuus or a / ball of wildfire, there’s no purchase in money. O, thou art a / perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light! ‘
— William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, ca. 1597
Links of Interest
December 9: ‘Perfect’ Scotch whisky collection could be worth £8m
December 12: The CIA’s Former Chief of Disguise Drops Her Mask
December 13: Hosting an Orgy? This 1970s Cookbook Has You Covered
December 13: Octopus and eagle square off at Canadian fish farm
December 16: Meet a Bad Man Who Became a Truly Great Spy
December 17: A New Way of Looking at ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
December 19: Is the Netherlands becoming a narco-state?
December 23: LS Lowry: Lost painting to go on sale after 70 years
December 23: I was a teenage code-breaker at Bletchley Park
Words of the Month
terroir: the combination of factors including soil, climate, and sunlight that gives wine grapes their distinctive character. First known use was in 1863. From Old French tieroir, from Vulgar Latin *terratorium, alteration of Latin territorium. (thanks to Merriam-Webster) [what a difference and “i” makes…]
December 7: Friends actor Ron Leibman dies at the age of 82
December 16: Nicky Henson: Stage and screen actor
December 20: Acclaimed Author and Journalist Ward Just Dead at 84
December 25: Allee Willis: ‘Friends’ theme songwriter
December 31: M. C. BEATON: R.I.P.
Words of The Month
What We’ve Been Up To
Finder of Lost Things
This coming Friday we come to the last post for series one! Can you believe it? And we will see how Phoebe and Joseph cope with the after effects of the Woman In White’s attack.
Series Two – will drop in about two-ish months. I will give you guys plenty of warning when I’m going to start posting! Though on the upside if you haven’t started reading my story yet – this is the perfect time to catch up!
Chloe Neill – Wicked Hour
The second book in the Heirs of Chicagoland series is a fun, fast-paced romp that is stronger than its predecessor by a factor of five. While a few of the original cast make their presence felt, they only enter into the narrative when necessary. Rather than making gratuitous and/or distracting appearances – which is really lovely.
The mystery presented in the second installment is also solid. Part of the Pack living in Northern Michigan is experiencing problems…and that’s putting it mildly. So Connor Keene, heir apparent to his father’s position as Apex, is sent to figure out what exactly is going on.
What he finds is a hornet’s nest.
Into this mess of resentment, issues, and anger Conner’s also brought, Elisa Sullivan. Because if things aren’t already stressful enough, let’s bring along the girl you’re more than just a little interested in and see how the pack reacts.
Elisa is more than capable of staring down a few shifters – katana in hand.
Then we get to the murder…and the other murder…and bad magic.
Seriously this book was a whole lotta fun to read. Neill introduced us to a quasi-new character named Alexei Breckenridge – who next to Lulu and Elisa’s cat Eleanor of Aquitaine (who will exact revenge if called by anything less than her full title) – is my favorite thus far. Mostly due to his dry sense of humor, the fact he enjoys needling Elisa by continuing to sneak up on her and the fact you never know where any of his sentences will take you.
If you are looking for a new-ish shifter/sorcerer/vampire mystery series to read, without needing to go back and read the original Chicagoland series (which honestly you should because it was great), you should start with Wicked Hour!
I’ve been trying to figure out how to sell M. R. Carey‘s post-apocalyptic thriller THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (Orbit) to myself, if I was still selling books. Because on the surface, I’d have turned it down, despite the whole post-apocalyptic thing. I guess it’s a “Trust me” book.
See, it’s written in present tense, and we all know how weird I am about that. But worse, it’s about zombies. I really don’t like zombies. Bleah. I know lots of people do love them, and they’ll jump all over this book, but I find them boring.
However, I really do like the TV series “Lucifer”, and M. R. Carey is the writer behind that. He creates amazing, three dimensional and compelling characters, and I’m a sucker for great characters! And twisty, well told stories. He does those brilliantly.
Oh, short synopsis, yeah. In this devastated future in a military base in England, children are strapped into wheelchairs, arms, legs and heads. Then they’re wheeled into classrooms where they’re taught all the things school children learn. Melanie is about ten years old, and her favorite teacher is Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau makes learning fun, and she really interacts with the children. Melanie loves Miss Justineau, the other teachers not so much.
However, outside the base, things are bleak. A fungus, Ophiocordyceps, has mutated – or has been mutated – so that it no longer just infects ants, and has taken over mankind. Well, most of mankind. And the fungal infection moves quickly, thoroughly, no chance of recovery ever, and makes the new hosts mindless and hungry.
I don’t want to say too much more because THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS takes off at breakneck speed, and it really doesn’t slow down. M. R. Carey understands timing and plot and tension, but he also understands how complicated people are, and how powerful love can be.
So yeah, this is a “Trust me” book, but I really do want you to trust me on it! The science is disturbingly cool (I kind of want to watch the David Attenborough documentary about the ants, but I’m afraid it’ll just creep me out), the story revolves around a teacher and her pupil, and the writing is simply brilliant.
Shop dream on the morning of Xmas Eve: what I remember was looking into a box of books, a shipment all jumbled together, and realizing that reserves hadn’t been pulled so I was digging through the books and flipping pages in the reserve book, trying to match up authors to lists of customers who wanted a copy. The books in the box were in no special order, so I was flipping back and forth in the reserve book as I fished out a hardcover, for some reason not taking all the books out first and organizing them… Where do these dreams come from !
Could there be a better way to end the year, and to relax over a few days away, that to catch up on a favorite author’s book you’d missed???? I doubt it, I really do.
I had ordered what I thought was his latest book last Spring to take on a trip back to KC but it ended up being the story from the year before. What the hell – I read it again on the trip, the books are that good. So it had always stuck in some shadowed part of my brain that there must’ve been a DeMarco from this year that I’d not read. Finally, I started to wonder when there’d a be a new one next year and that’s when I finally cleared to mush from my cabasa and got a copy of House Arrest.
It’s a very different DeMarco story, even while it is another great DeMarco story.
Arrested for the murder of a congressman in the Capital, DeMarco sits in jail with a target on his forehead. In many ways, this is Emma’s book, as she swings into action to prove he was framed. To do that, she’s gotta provide the FBI with the real killer. So she relies on her years of training and work and those she’s gotten to know to save DeMarco. Why? She abhors his love of baseball and golf, thinks his wardrobe is ridiculous, and is pained to know he works for a man she detests but, really, Emma likes DeMarco. She appreciates his spirit, his ethic, and his willingness to put himself in the line of fire to help someone – as he has with Emma a couple of times.
There are big changes in DeMarco’s life mandated by publicity of the arrest and I have no idea where Mike will put him. It could be the end of the series – any of books could – but I think he has freed DeMarco to do other things.
And I can’t wait.