Monday, May 29, 2006

Late Breaking News!

There will be a new post up tomorrow. I got back late yesterday from Atlantic City, where I actually came out ahead. Let's just say Phillip and Doris, our two dealers, never knew what hit them. Ok they probably did. Though I did watch one guy drop $1,000 on a single hand of blackjack. He put down a $250 bet, then split threes twice, doubling down on one of them. The dealer drew to 20, and our friend was out a grand in less time than it takes for me brush my teeth.

And the comedy line of the night goes to the woman manning the information booth at the Port Authority bus terminal. When I asked her if the AC shuttle made a stop at the Borgata casino, she replied, "No, that place is too high class for the people who ride this bus."

Right.

I also read J.A. Konrath's WHISKEY SOUR on the bus ride there and back. A quick, fun read, well-written, though sometimes unsure whether it wants to be more Janet Evanovich or Thomas Harris, skirting the line between guffaws and gruesomeness. Overall I enjoyed it, and will probably pick up BLOODY MARY in paperback. I also bought Cormac McCarthy's BLOOD MERIDIAN and Richard Ford's THE SPORTSWRITER yesterday, two books I've been meaning to read. There are some books I can just tell I'm going to love, and BLOOD MERIDIAN is one of them. Can't wait to crack it open.

Until tomorrow, heed the words of Nacho Libre. Sometimes a man has to wear stretchy pants.

4 Comments:

Blogger Allison Brennan said...

I haven't read Joe's books yet, I have one here but don't remember which I bought. But if it's a fast read I'll pull it out for the next plane ride.

Funny you mention Thomas Harris . . . my publisher in the marketing materials pulled out the comparison: "Thomas Harris meets Julie Garwood." Which I thought was totally cool, because I write dark romantic suspense with a heavy focus on the villain. Then I get this email from a male reader who says to choose either mystery or romance and stick to it. Hmmm, probably someone who's never read a romantic suspense. But overall, the feedback has been good :)

9:15 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

IMHO there's definitely room for cross-genre pollination if the author is good enough. And it's gotta be cool, as an author, to be compared with such successful writers. And then in your case, to then hit the Times list. My agent, when submitting THE MARK, said in his pitch letter I was "The Next Brad Meltzer." Not because I write political thrillers, but because Meltzer was also in his mid-late 20's when he wrote THE TENTH JUSTICE.

My only issue with WHISKEY SOUR was that the over-the-top gruesomeness of the murders didn't jibe 100% for me alongside the jokey, Hiaasen-esque humor. Almost like instead of mixing a potent cocktail, it was one part oil one part vinegar. In the end, Joe's a good enough writer to make it work for me and make me want to read more. And a big plus for me was that he wrote a good novel in less than 300 pages. So many thrillers clock in at 500+ pages (too much technical/forensic details, every setting catalogued like something out of LL Bean), and to his credit Joe's books certainly don't overstay their good, fun welcome.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Allison Brennan said...

Meltzer is great. He did THE LOTTERY WINNER, right? That was my first read of his, I think 9 or 10 years ago.

That would be an interest blog . . . how much forensic detail -- a good balance. Some writers are known for it, but they also have the background. Tess Gerritsen has a medical background but I've never found her too technical for me, she blends in her knowledge with story movement.

BTW, congrats on coming back from AC richer :)

10:25 PM  
Blogger Jason said...

I'm all for interesting forensic and technical detail, as long as it furthers the story rather than taking it over. And there are few moments as thrilling when you're reading a book and you think, "Wow, that's cool." I've never read a medical thriller, and I just bought Tess Gerritsen's HARVEST partly for that reason.

In publishing there's a term called "Purging the Notebook," where an author does a tremendous amount of research, but rather than using the important bits that relate to the story, they just dump anything and everything onto the page.

I think that's what killed ANGELS & DEMONS for me. I started to feel like Dan Brown was trying to show off how smart he was, rather than continue a compelling narrative. But it worked for other people, so obviously my opinion isn't (and doesn't need to be) shared by all.

11:05 PM  

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