Fabulous Fiction Firsts #104 (The Fourth Man)

"An absorbing study of sexual enthrallment, dogged policework and a harrowing twist or two" marks The Fourth Man, the American debut of Oslo police inspector Frank Frolich.

Soon after Frolich rescues Elisabeth in a robbery-homicide, he is drawn into a risky and sorted tangled web of "art theft, blackmail, torrid sex and double crosses". With his career and his life on the line, all the likely suspects turning up dead and Elisabeth missing, the identity of a possible 4th man becomes ever more crucial. Recommended for fans of Karin Fossum and Kjell Eriksson.

K.O Dahl is an award-winning author in his native Norway. Another new name to watch for nordic mystery fans.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #104

L.A., gangs, turf war. Sound familiar? Well, Toby Barlow's debut Sharp Teeth* is anything but!

Written in free verse, this "highly addictive, enormously enjoyable, and unexpectedly moving", horror/thriller is about the fantastical world of werewolves. Caught in the middle of savage pack rivalry is Anthony, a kindhearted, down-and-out dogcatcher and the girl he loves who is in fact, a female werewolf.

This adrenaline-packed, fast-paced, darkly comic (card-playing dogs, crystal meth labs, surfing) debut by a Michigan author will surprise and entertain. Barlow is the Executive Creative Director of the giant ad agency JWT, whose clients include Ford, Shell and MTV. He lives in downtown Detroit.

* = Starred reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #102

"Shades of Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Caleb Carr's The Alienist, Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and Kim Newman's Dracula-inflected Victoriana"(Kirkus)... now, if that does not intrigue you, let me tell you this is by far one of the best thrillers I have come across in quite awhile.

A guaranteed page-turner, British(Oxford)scholar Jonathan Barnes' hectic, layered, odd and oddly affecting literary extravaganza The Somnambulist* features the shadowy magician/private detective Edward Moon and his sidekick - the 8' tall, bald, mute somnambulist.

"Barnes is up to something very special here. He's created a new genre, really, a graphic novel written in longhand, and it combines the subtle horror of Patricia Highsmith, the goofy gore of Christopher Moore, and the cartoon action of the TV series Heroes. Read for the sheer fun of it"~ Jen Baker for Booklist. Trust us on this one.

* = Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #99

Go with Me* by Castle Freeman Jr. is an engaging “small masterpiece of black comedy and suspense”~Kirkus.

The plot is simple, really – but the execution (wink wink), is marvelous! In a small backwoods Vermont hamlet, young Lillian has nowhere to turn with the sheriff claiming that his hands are tied when it comes to her stalker – big bad bully Blackway, not even after he butchered her kitty cat. But Sheriff Wingate did point Lillian to Whizzer; a wheelchair-bound mill owner and his gang of beer-drinking loafers.

With beautiful characterization, measured pace, and wicked quiet humor, this loose rendering of a King Arthur tale will entertain and delight, even though the ending won't surprise. Still, more fun than you would expect from a fiction debut.

* = Starred Review

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #97

Oh, how I hate being late to the party! At the American Library Association Midwinter in Philly last week, the hot topic was nordic mystery and the most eagerly anticipated read was The Redbreast* (and I am still #13 on the waiting list!)

People-in-the-know are calling Norwegian Jo Nesbo's English debut "an epic new novel, brilliant in scope and design - a deep and fearless investigation of betrayal spanning two centures and three continents". It also introduces to North American readers Police Detective Harry Hole who finds himself sitting on top of an international conspiracy during a presidential visit to Oslo.

This winner of the Glass Key prize for the best Nordic crime novel, "fans of Henning Mankell and Karin Fossum will have a seriously difficult time putting down", writes Bruce Tierney of BookPage.

*= Starred Reviews (Jessica: Enjoyed yours in LJ)

AMERICAN GANGSTER

In 1970s Harlem, Frank Lucas (Denzel Washington) is a quiet, unassuming driver to one of NYC's most notorious drug lords. When his boss suddenly dies, Frank steps into the power vacuum to become an even bigger crime kingpin. Richie Roberts (Russell Crowe) is the hardnosed cop determined to bring Frank to justice. This is a gangster movie based on a true story. It focused on character rather than action and on the intricacies of people's backgrounds, strategies and motivations, a sprawling, fascinating look into the complicated mind and operations of the head of a crime syndicate. Watch (American Gangster) Trailer.

Voices heard year round

In recent years there have been oodles of Scandinavian mystery novels to lose your self in. I’ve become particularly engrossed with Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason and his best selling & award winning crime novels featuring detective Erlendur. (I’m not usually into mystery novels and I can’t seem to get enough of this series!)

Recently translated into English are Jar City, Silence of the Grave, Voices and most recently The Draining Lake. Voices begins with Erlendur as his usual somber and misanthropic self, thinking about his past and his troubled daughter. It’s Christmas time and there’s been a rather shocking and interesting murder at one of Reykjavik’s largest hotels. Erlendur and his usual cohorts are thrown into the case and are soon involved in figuring out the mystery of an abused child as well. Christmas is often a season for children, old and young, past and present, and that is surely true in this novel.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #88

Interred With Their Bones*, a literary thriller by first time novelist Jennifer Lee Carrell was the big book at the 2005 Frankfurt Book Fair and was predicted to be most eagerly anticipated debut thriller of 2007.

At the heart of the richly imagined mystery that spans centuries and involves players from both the Old and the New World, is Shakespeare’s lost play Cardenio.

Kate Stanley, a Shakespeare scholar in London directing Hamlet at the Globe theatre is approached by her estranged mentor Roz Howard, bearing a mysterious gift and a cryptic message to “follow where it leads”. Where it leads is Roz’s murder and mounting body counts, a fascinating look at the history of English theatre, church politics, Renaissance literature and Shakespeare lore. More importantly for Kate, it is a race to find the lost play before the killer makes her the next victim.

The fast pace, intricate plot twists and plenty of red herrings will make this a pleasure for discriminating mystery fans. Shakespeare lovers will find a treasure trove of tantalizing trivia from a renowned Shakespeare expert. Well worth the hype.

* = Starred Reviews

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #85

Considered by people-in-the-know (Bill Ott @ Booklist) to be possibly “the thriller of the year” - HeartSick* by Chelsea Cain is a must read for fans of Thomas Harris and Ridley Pearson, and those who likes them "gritty, grim, and gory".~Publishers Weekly

Set in Portland, OR, this outstanding thriller pits Archie Sheridan, a police detective addicted to painkillers and pink-haired newspaper reporter Susan Ward, against a psychotic serial killer targeting high school girls. Added to the suspense is Archie’s ambiguous relationship with the imprisoned Gretchen Lowell, a sadistic serial killer who carved her trademark (a heart) on Archie two years ago. Archie now hopes Gretchen could help him catch the After School Strangler.

“Cain (Confessions of a Teen Sleuth: A Parody) never misses a beat here, turning the psychological screwdriver tighter for both Sheridan and Ward while drawing us deep into the nightmare that lives inside Gretchen Lowell's head”. Projected to be the first of a series, so don't let this one slip by.

* = Starred Reviews

Total Eclipse of the Heart...

The drama continues in the third book in the vampire/werewolf, love triangle series by Stephenie Meyer. Following the first two titles, Twilight and New Moon, Eclipse picks up where we left Bella, Edward and Jacob - with more drama, high romance and Bella still grappling with when to become one of the undead. The BIG NEWS is that the series has been optioned for a film and now has a director - the fabulous Catherine Hardwicke of Thirteen and Lords of Dogtown fame. It's nice to know that someone that really *gets* the material and can deliver an authentic story will be at the helm.

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