Monday, July 14, 2008

The Spoken Word

Apparently, it's a banner day for publication over here where we're cooking up book reviews.

If you're the sort to curse the day Henry Ford was ever born as you sit and stew and burn four dollar-per-gallon gas - or you're simply an Ipod addict like the rest of us - you might get a few good ideas for entertainment from the new Kirkus Audiobooks Special.

For my part, I had the novel pleasure of writing the included feature review with the great expatriate humorist David Sedaris, who talked, among other subjects, about the eccentricities of life in London and Paris, the absurdities of reading out loud to hundreds of bookstore patrons, and the recording of his audiobook, about which I'll give this little unpublished tidbit.

"We were going to this studio in Soho and even when I was walking from my house in London and getting on the tube and going to Soho, I’d look around and think, 'Look at us all, going to work. A train full of people going to work.' It felt so good because I felt a part of it in a way that I normally don’t. I take the train but maybe I’m going to the movies or down to Selfridge’s but I’m not going to work usually, not in the traditional sense. I’m not going to work with everybody else. I miss that. I miss feeling a part of things. "

Elsewhere in the special you'll find me chatting with Dean Koontz about his Odd Thomas series, quizzing the smart-as-a-whip Kate Reading about occupying Stephenie Meyer's alien beings, and talking with James Patterson and his narrator Ellen Archer (the voice of Ambien!) about Sundays at Tiffany's. I also wrote the spotlight feature on Stephen King's super-creepy novella The Gingerbread Girl but horrors, the novelist was traveling and unavailable for questions, as was his superb narrator, Mare Winningham.

Elsewhere in the issue, thrillers and mysteries are well represented with entries from David Baldacci, Harlan Cohen, Janet Evanovich, and Stuart Woods. Lend an ear.

Doc Savage, Eat Your Heart Out

So if you were lucky, you grew up on beaten-up copies of paperback pulp fiction (think old Conan novels, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Doc Savage, and a host of melodramatic imitators). If you're that kid at heart, this news from Charles Ardai at Hard Case should make your ears perk right up.

New York (July 14, 2008) – Charles Ardai, Edgar Award-winning author and creator of the acclaimed pulp mystery series Hard Case Crime, today announced a new series of pulp novels scheduled to debut in the summer of 2009: The Adventures of Gabriel Hunt. Featuring painted covers in the grand pulp tradition by artist Glen Orbik, the series will chronicle the travels and travails of modern-day explorer Gabriel Hunt, who scours the globe in pursuit of precious artifacts, lost civilizations, and secrets that could save the world…or destroy it.

These books are for anyone who grew up reading H. Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs or watching Harrison Ford wield his bullwhip at the movies,” said Ardai. “We’re talking classic adventure fiction, complete with horses, snakes, shovels, pickaxes, torches, traps, bottomless pits, barroom brawls, jungles, jewels, and just about everything else that’s ever made your heart beat faster.”

Authorship of each book will be credited to Gabriel Hunt himself, with the hands behind the Hunt nom-de-plume scheduled to include some of Hard Case Crime’s most popular authors. The first title is due to hit bookstores in May 2009, with subsequent titles following every other month. Readers eager to get a glimpse of Gabriel Hunt in action can visit, where one of Orbik’s paintings depicts the hero in a characteristic moment of peril.

Like Hard Case Crime before it, the Gabriel Hunt series is a true labor of love,” said Ardai. “Everyone working on it is doing so with a wild gleam in the eye and the gas pedal pressed to the floor, and the result is the sort of exultant seat-of-the-pants storytelling that makes you feel 14 years old all over again.” Gabriel Hunt’s initial adventures are expected to take him to Borneo, Guatemala, Turkey, Egypt, Antarctica, and the Kalahari Desert

Thrillers Unbound

Well, I'm told that the Rocky Mountain News' new all-thriller section hit print over the weekend. It's a pretty exciting bunch of books, too, including an exclusive interview with Daniel Silva as well as pulse-pounding rundowns of new books by James Lee Burke, Ridley Pearson, Christopher Reich, and Lisa Gardner. It's a great section but I drew the short straw this time. If you dare, you can read my fair warning to avoid Stephen L. Carter's new historical Palace Council, which is a drag by any standards. I know he wrote The Emperor of Ocean Park and it seemed pretty hefty. Stop it. Put down. Walk away now.

Back to plotting my next move. As you were.