Monday, 23 December 2013

Resurrecting the Millennium Series of Stieg Larsson

Fans of Stieg Larsson's trilogy of novels may have mixed feelings about the announcement that Quercus will publish a fourth book in the Millennium series in August 2015. Larsson died in 2004, but before his death had penned about two hundred pages of the fourth novel in what was intended to be a ten-book series.

The fourth novel will be written by Swedish author David Lagercrantz, who is not exactly a household name in Sweden, but has co-authored an autobiography of a Swedish "footballer" and has written some fiction. He was apparently chosen by Quercus because he "has in his writing constantly sought out odd characters and complex geniuses".

I'm always dubious about one writer taking over another author's works, although it's a fairly common practice (for example, Felix Francis for his father Dick Francis, Andrew Neiderman for V.C. Andrews, and various writers for Robert Ludlum). On the one hand, this practice encourages continued interest in the original author, who may have died prematurely, and allows his/her fans to enjoy a similar type of novel. On the other hand, the practice can be viewed more cynically as a means of generating ongoing revenue for the publisher.

In any event, it will be interesting to see how the uniquely individual Lisbeth Salander fares in the hands of a new author.

For the full text of the article in The Bookseller, please click here.

On another note, I'd like to wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday. Merry Christmas!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Michael Connelly: Influences and Favorite Books

The Sunday Book Review of The New York Times has an interesting interview with Michael Connelly in its "By the Book" feature. We discover, for example, that Connelly has an eclectic taste in books from historical non-fiction to Stephen King's Doctor Sleep. 

Connelly has some interesting observations to make about writing. He refers to the "momentum" that carries an author through the writing process rather than the time spent writing a book. In fact, Connelly thinks that his best novels are the ones he wrote quickly when he had an "unstoppable" momentum.

He also talks about how his mother introduced him to crime fiction and how he became "hooked" once he began reading John D. MacDonald. And of course he has very strong words of praise for Raymond Chandler, whose work was the impetus for Connelly himself to become a crime fiction writer.

For the full text of the interview, please click here.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Book Review: Ruby Heart by Cristelle Comby

Once again The Overnight Bestseller is pleased to host a Tribute Book blog tour. We would like to welcome Cristelle Comby as we look at her new-adult novel Ruby Heart.

Ruby Heart Book Summary:

When elderly client Doris Hargrave informs private investigator Alexandra Neve that her beloved antique ruby heart necklace has gone missing for the second time in a period of over sixty years, Alexandra knows this is no ordinary jewellery theft. The ruby heart is a family heirloom and the only thing that connects an ailing Mrs Hargrave to her parents, who were murdered during the Holocaust.

To solve the case, Alexandra and her business partner, blind history professor Ashford Egan, must sift through obscure Holocaust documents to find out the truth. It’s that way that they learn of a secret World War II-era love affair which could hold the key to all the answers they are looking for. Meanwhile, Egan is under immense pressure from the university to quit his private investigating business, and Alexandra is afraid that a man she trusts will leave her. Again.

When Alexandra begins to receive anonymous threats and her flat is vandalised, this all becomes personal. Knowing that there is someone out there to hurt her, Alexandra vows to find that elusive ruby heart if it’s the last thing she ever does.

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Cristelle Comby's Bio: 

Cristelle Comby was born and raised in the French-speaking area of Switzerland, in Greater Geneva, where she still resides. Thanks to her insatiable thirst for American and British action films and television dramas, her English is fluent. She attributes to her origins her ever-peaceful nature and her undying love for chocolate. She has a passion for art, which also includes an interest in drawing and acting.

Ruby Heart is her second new-adult novel, and she’s hard at work on the next titles in the Neve & Egan series.

Our Review of Ruby Heart:

In Ms. Comby's previous novel, Russian Dolls, Alexandra Neve and Ashford Egan team up to investigate the death of Alexandra's friend. Ruby Heart is the second novel featuring this private investigation team. The two work well together despite their obvious differences in temperament, and are engaging and unique characters. Operating on a shoe-string budget, Neve and Egan have no real office and often meet clients in a local bar. However, they are anxious to establish themselves as professionals and are delighted to tackle the case of a stolen ruby necklace (as opposed to searching for missing dogs).

Comby has drawn a sympathetic portrait of an elderly and gravely ill woman trying desperately to recover her family heirloom. She has also done a very good job of weaving together current events with the back story of World War II and the plunder of valuables from Jewish victims.

This is an interesting and enjoyable novel, and readers will no doubt look forward to the third novel in the Neve-Egan series.

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Monday, 2 December 2013

A Simpler Way to Celebrate the Holidays?

Now that the snow is here, and Christmas music is being piped into sound systems in every store, there is the "traditional" mad rush to buy gifts. The excesses of Black Friday are probably the best symbol of consumerism gone rampant-- fed by the advertising industry and based on the premise that buying more is better. On the one hand, I understand this.  Retailers are still feeling the effects of the recession, and they especially count on Christmas spending to pump up their bottom line. But I find the advertising starts earlier and earlier each year, and the ads get more crass.  (Witness the ad where the salesclerk is piling more and more electronics on a lady who is trying to find gifts for her nieces and nephews and would have to have Bill Gates's income to afford all that stuff!)

Maybe we should take a small step back and enjoy precious time spent with our families rather than seeing how much we can buy for people who probably already have a lot of stuff. Not a new theme certainly, but one that bears consideration in the face of all this pressure to spend...