It’s August, time for the end of summer thrillers, and the perfect time to answer a frequent reader question—“How do you write a column?”
Every month I sort through a big, brightly colored, lopsided, pile of books looking for ones you will enjoy. If, after 50 pages or so, an author’s labors don’t grab me its bye-bye-bookie. By the time the deadline arrives, I’ve read ten or fifteen books I’m hoping you will enjoy.
Then I start writing pithy, memorable, punchy copy that captures the feeling of a book in just a few words.
If I was a big city publishing icon, here’s a few of the blurbs I’d have put on the cover of Steven Gore’s latest Graham Gage paperback thriller, “Power Blind.” (Harper Collins, $9.99, 512 pages.) www.stevengore.com.
“THE summer thriller.”
“The kind of book your momma warned you not to read before bed.”
“Intensely compelling. Grippingly authentic. Thrilling to the end.”
“Captivatingly complex and relentlessly entertaining.”
A former international private eye, Gore’s thrillers draw on his real life experience digging into murders, fraud, money laundering, organized crime, political corruption, drugs, sex, and arms trafficking in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Gore has been featured on 60 Minutes and been honored for excellence in his field.
In “Blind” Gage finds himself engulfed in murder, money laundering and corruption masking a political money laundering operation that threatens to topple the USA.
Here’s what I say. “Gripping. Relentless. Authentic. The Year’s Best.”
Still sitting on the fence about spending $9.99 on the best night’s entertainment you’ve ever had? Reread the blurbs.
“Cannibal Reign,” by Thomas Koloniar. (Harper Collins $7.99, 502 pages, paperback.) www.harpercollins.
Koloniar has turned a tired concept (meteor hits earth destroying life as we know it) into one of the best first novels I’ve read in a very long time.
“Cannibal” is life after a catastrophic asteroid strike. Who lives? Who dies? And what must the remaining humans do live?
“Rizzoli & Isles Last To Die” by Tess Gerritsen (Ballantine Books, $27, 338 pages, hard cover.) www.tessgerritsen.com
In a book forum Tess Gerritsen posed the question, “Why don’t they just review my book?” Ever since, I’ve wanted to review one of her immensely popular Rizzoli & Isles novels.
Reader’s who’ve watched the “Rizzoli & Isles” TV show will find the book slightly different than the show. In “Last” the long time crime fighting team is on the outs, separated by Isles’ testimony in a court trial that sent a cop to jail.
In “Last” twelve year old Teddy Clock’s family is massacred. Two years later, his foster family is slaughtered, leaving him, again, the only survivor. To protect him, Rizzoli moves Teddy to a special school for “victims of evil” that can provide the protection he needs where she discovers two other children with pasts shockingly similar to Teddy’s and a predator out to kill them all.
“The Survivor” by Gregg Hurwitz. (St. Martin’s Press. $25.99, 384 pages, hard cover.) www.gregghurwitz.net
Nate Overbay, dying former soldier, goes to an eleventh floor bank, climbs out onto a ledge, ready for suicide. In the bank behind him, robbers begin shooting bank employees and customers. Having nothing to lose, Nate crawls back in and begins knocking off the robbers.
And that’s where the story begins. Then the come the Russian mobsters, the media exposure and the tension of slowly dying with ALS. A disease he can’t seem to tell his ex-wife and daughter about.
“freak” by Jennifer Hillier. (Gallery Books. $24.99, 384 pages, hard cover.) www.jenniferhillier.org.
The first sentence of this book hooked me. “There was something *&^%$# up about a job where cocaine was overlooked, but cigarettes would get you fired.”
Abby Maddox is a prison celebrity. Her fame derived from being the lover of a serial killer and for slashing a police officer’s throat. Now the bodies of young women are turning up. Each has been carved with a cryptic message that alludes to Abby.
Warning. Graphic sex. Great writing. And after a gang buster opening there’s a slow spot in the first 10-50 or so pages. But the investment of time is well worth it.