“Blood Ties,” by Nicholas Guild, or “Why isn’t this book a movie yet?”

This is an outstanding blend of police procedural/thriller and, honestly, a love story. Guild's strengths are his characters and his rock solid prose. He has the knack of creating very believable protagonists and supporting characters ... and then putting them through hell in a way that keeps you turning pages.  He also describes violent things …

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“The Devil All The Time” by Donald Ray Pollock, or Good Lord, this is a bleak and depressing book …

I am going to buck the trends, and not join those who love this book. There is much to like. Pollock's prose is terrific, at times starkly poetic. The images are concise, and cutting, and won't leave your head anytime soon. The man certainly can write. And yet ... Damn, this is a depressing read. …

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“Jezebel’s Daughter,” by Wilkie Collins: Murder and mystery the old-fashioned way

No one today writes crime novels the way Wilkie Collins did, nor should they. Collins, a contemporary of Charles Dickens, is best known for atmospheric works such as "The Moonstone" and "The Woman in White," but he wrote many, many more novels than those two. When I find myself in the mood for a good …

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“Pirate Latitudes” reviewed, or how I wish Crichton had given this one a heavy rewrite

"Pirate Latitudes" was written early on in Michael Crichton's quest to become a famed novelist. It was put away while he built his reputation and fortune with works such as "Jurassic Park," "Eaters of the Dead," "The Andromeda Strain" and others.  It was dug up after his death, like a buried treasure, and published.    …

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Review: “The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein” by Peter Ackroyd

I really wanted to like this book. My fiction reading has slowed to a snail's pace, and I thought this book might get me back into it in a big way. I am a fan of Mary Shelley's excellent "Frankenstein," a fabulous blend of Gothic horror, science fiction and weighty themes. I thought a new …

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Review: “Tunnel in the Sky” — by Robert A. Heinlein

Most of what I've read in the past year or so has been non-fiction (or occasionally fiction masquerading as non-fiction ...), as fodder for my current events news column. Having put aside the column recently, I found myself looking for something to read and determined to read something just for fun. My wife popped out …

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