With a personal viewpoint, writing about the arts stops sounding like Newspeak. Here is the best gift I can give an artist—a flash of my impressions of the work as open as I can divine them, uncluttered by social and historical baggage, and free of plot-spoilers.
Photographs were taken of or from Point Richmond, California and Champaign, Illinois.
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WRITTEN OFF ©2016 by E. J. Copperman stars a crime fiction writer, Rachel Goldman, whose protagonist jumps off the page into her life as a semi-official police presence. Naturally a huge leap of disbelief is required, but surprisingly realistic as amateur detective fiction goes—I mean if I wrote crime fiction and my hero came to life, I’d probably be thinking much of what the protagonist of this story does. Furthermore (don’tcha love sentences that start with "furthermore"), E. J. Copperman is a pseudonym of a charming writer. So one watches oneself watching the writer watching E. J. Copperman molding Rachel as she interacts with her detective who has come alive—the whole premise is nuts, right?
This is part of the series Lively Discussions on Crime Fiction. Since LinkedIn’s group search capabilities have diminished, we’ve provided this summary.
Of the many tasks before your book is published, here are a few relevant discussions for self-publishers.
To access these links, you’ll need to be a member of our FREE Crime Fiction group on LinkedIn.
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From December through mid February, readers of DorothyL listserv posted their favourite books read (for the first time) during 2015 to the DorothyL list.
Our volunteer Allocator read all DL posts and forwarded relevant emails to our volunteer processors (fondly known as Indefatigable Sharpies), each of whom copied, cleaned and pasted data from those emails into an Excel spreadsheet which they then forwarded to me. I did some more data cleansing, and then sent out a cry to the list for volunteers to verify submitted data (copyright dates, titles of books and authors).
I found LITTLE BLACK LIES ©2015 by Sharon Bolton a complex read. The person who starts this story is angry and full of grief, and it took me several attempts over several days before I could read beyond a few paragraphs. This is a case where a Cast of Characters would have been helpful and prevented my having to go back and reread prior sections of the story.
Intruiging title, eh? Invigorating. Sometimes hilarious. I’m not fond of short stories, mostly because there’s not enough time to get beyond the punchline, to learn about the lives of the characters. This collection of six short stories in ASSUME NOTHING, BELIEVE NOBODY, CHALLENGE EVERYTHING by Mike Craven ©2015 exceeded my expectations in most particulars. We come to care deeply about Detective Inspector Avison Fluke’s team of police- men and women. They’re a clever and thoughtful bunch.
I knew I’d be writing a review by the middle of THE DEVIL’S MAKING by Sean Haldane because it’s a fascinating story. Sadly the moment passed when I could write knowledgeably about the story, but I’m unwilling to let it go. Everyone should read this book!
THE DEVIL’S MAKING won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel (2014).
NEVER KILL A FRIEND (©2015) by Martin Hill is slow to start but my interest keeps building. Detective Krieg doesn’t do what I’m expecting. Neither does author Martin Hill Ortiz.
Some of the language is lyrical. The crimes are gruesome. Banter between friendly workmates is titillating. Carping by adversaries intrigues.
In DEAD ANYWAY by Chris Knopf (©2012), Arthur has a great life, until he nearly loses it. Dragging himself back to the living, he sets out to find who is responsible. Although we know, generally, what he’s up to, it’s fascinating how he goes about trying to identify the culprits. I suppose if I’d stopped reading and thought about it, I might have deduced more of his plan; but I couldn’t stop reading. Arthur’s way of narrowing the probabilities to figure out what to do next is very engaging. He has a tidily precise mind, which is devious and obsessive. We zip through the details of his plan like we’re hanging on the back of a speedboat.