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    The Desert of Souls

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    In 8th century Baghdad, a stranger pleads with the vizier to safeguard the bejeweled tablet he carries, but he is murdered before he can explain. Charged with solving…

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    The Bones of the Old Ones

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    As a snowfall blankets 8th century Mosul, a Persian noblewoman arrives at the home of the scholar Dabir and his friend the swordsman Captain Asim. Najya has escaped…

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    The Waters of Eternity

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    Venture into the time of the Arabian Nights with stalwart Captain Asim and the brilliant Dabir as they hunt an unseen killer that craves only the eyes of…

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    Plague of Shadows

    Monday, August 13, 1066

    In the third official novel in Paizo’s Pathfinder Tales line, the race is on to free Lord Stelan from the grip of a wasting curse, and only Elyana,…

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    Stalking the Beast

    Monday, August 13, 1066

      When a mysterious monster carves a path of destruction across the southern River Kingdoms, desperate townsfolk look to the famed elven ranger Elyana and her half-orc companion…

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Sep
29

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Hardboiled Monday

queenpinFollowing up on last week’s hardboiled master list, I thought I’d talk about the first writer whose work appears on it, Megan Abbott. Chris Hocking was kind enough to drop by and offer a few additional thoughts.

Every Monday until we reach the end of the list we’ll discuss another book from the list, working our way down in alphabetical order. Any questions about the contents of the list can probably be answered on the preamble on the post about the list itself. The list was created by Hocking to lure me into reading hardboiled and noir, based on his reading in both genres for more than three decades. It worked. Being good doesn’t get you on the list; a work has to be great, keeping in mind certain idiosyncrasies that I discussed in the original post.

You know how Sturgeon famously said that “Ninety percent of everything is crud?” These books are drawn from the ten percent of hardboiled and noir that isn’t.

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Sep
25

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Hardboiled and Noir List

A few posts ago I mentioned my friend Chris Hocking had provided me with an amazing list of hardboiled and noir fiction. Hocking gave me the titles of the books he thought I’d most enjoy, the crème de la crème of the hardboiled and noir books he’s read over the last three and a half decades. It’s an extremely generous gift. Think of it this way: I’d have had to read for more than thirty years in the genre to find these on my own! With his permission, I’m now sharing it with you.

Before you dig in, understand that this list is idiosyncratic: it’s like a mix tape made for me by someone who not only understood my own preferences in literature but happened to have extremely similar tastes.

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Sep
23

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Hardboiled, or Noir?

black-mask-coverIt turns out that I’ve been using two related genre terms interchangeably in a whole series of related posts over the last year and now I have to cringe and confess I didn’t know what I was talking about.

Chris Hocking has introduced me to some noir, it’s true, but mostly what he’s opened me to is hardboiled fiction. While I’ve enjoyed the noir, it’s the hardboiled stuff that’s delighted me the most. I’m actually going to excerpt the Wikipedia definition of the term to define it, although I take issue with its concluding phrase, where it goes dreadfully wrong: Read More

Sep
18

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The Big Read

Next month I’ll be the keynote speaker at The DeKalb public library’s Big Read.

I’ll be speaking at 7:30 pm, October 6th at the Ellwood House – Visitor Center (Behind Ellwood House Museum), 509 N. 1st St., DeKalb, IL 60115.

I hope to see some of you there!

Further details can be found at this link.

Sep
16

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Deep in Revision

busy-running-scheduleI’m deep in revision, so there may be a little radio silence here for a while.

I’m head down over the second pass of the second Paizo novel of the summer, smoothing out the rough draft and groaning at the bad stuff. Occasionally I happen upon a chunk of text I like so well I can hardly believe I wrote it, which is always a nice surprise. Will I complete it and a final, third pass, by the end of September? Will Lassie warn the firemen? Will the sherif stop the stagecoach? Probably.

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Hardboiled Monday

Hardboiled Monday

Monday, September 29, 2014

Following up on last week’s hardboiled master list, I thought I’d talk about the first writer whose work appears on it, Megan Abbott. Chris Hocking was kind enough to…

Hardboiled and Noir List

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A few posts ago I mentioned my friend Chris Hocking had provided me with an amazing list of hardboiled and noir fiction. Hocking gave me the titles of the…