The End of Everything by Megan Abbott
Megan Abbott is one of my favorite authors. I found her novel, QUEENPIN, to be inspiring for my own writing, and the competitive world of cheerleading in DARE ME to be fascinating. My favorite aspect of Abbott's writing is the first person POV of her characters - the unnamed protagonist in QUEENPIN, Addy in DARE ME - but Lizzie in THE END OF EVERYTHING might just be my favorite. Her intense emotions - twisting of words, actions and memories to fit her reality, balancing between teenage naivety and the darker realization of the nature of the relationships around her. Lizzie/Evie/Dusty's desire for attention/father figures (and more), siblings' struggle for identity and escape, maturing in a complicated world - there are so many layers to this brilliant book. I can't say enough good things.
The Rapist by Les Edgerton
With a title like, THE RAPIST, you expect potential for a little controversy. The challenge of writing in first person from such a despicable POV as Truman Pinter is fraught with peril. I've put down several other stories by authors who attempted similar undertakings. But not only does Edgerton succeed in creating a compelling, unlikeable character, his style and voice are incredible. A haunting read from the present, past and future mind of a rapist. A literary undertaking that is not to be missed.
Piggyback by Tom Pitts
While it's a bummer that Tom Pitts won't be making it to Bouchercon this year (or will he??), I was happy to pick up a signed copy of PIGGYBACK as it had been on my to-read list since it came out last year. PIGGYBACK is the tale of a loser who turns to the wrong guy for help. From the onset, you know this won't turn out well. The book is a blast - the kind of compact, wild novella that you can burn through in one sitting. It's dark - there are no saints here - but the characters are real, their actions believable, and a great sense of black humor carries the day.
Criminal Economics by Eric Beetner (limited uncorrected edition #27/100)
From the frying pan and into the fire. Bo and Slick, two fugitive bank robbers on the run from the law and in search of their stash. Beetner throws everything but the kitchen sink at the pair and they keep on coming. Pure noir pulp that never lets up. The book is only available in paperback (limited run of 100 books), so if you are interested, kick Beetner a note or find him at Bouchercon.
Slow Burn by Terrence McCauley
New York City, 1932 - the glitz and glam of prohibition is over and NYPD Detective Charlie Doherty is on the case. It had been some time since I'd read a novel set in the prohibition era, and the tension and fast pacing McCauley brings to the table made SLOW BURN a very pleasant surprise. Fascinating characters (Doherty's parallel with the rise and fall of Prohibition/Tammany Hall), New York corruption and Tammany Hall influence, the detective's interviews - the little details in the novel really set it apart for me. McCauley's excellent prose will keep you glued to the page. For crime fans, especially those of historical mysteries, SLOW BURN is for you. Looking forward to reading his other novel, PROHIBITION.
Until next time...
See you at Bouchercon 2013 in Albany, NY!