Saturday, June 28, 2008

My TBR Just Grew

Last Monday, Marilyn and I were in New York City visiting friends and she and I stopped by the indie book seller, Partners & Crime in Greenwich Village. She claims we were in the shop for three hours but she was dozing on the "grumpy spouse couch" so I'm claiming we were only there for 30 minutes, tops. The person working that day - I didn't get her name - was very knowledgeable and knows many of my favorite authors personally. Check out their web site and if you are in the City, visit them. It is a great shop. I left with the following:

  • Bang Bang by Theo Gangi. This is a crime thriller and Theo's first book. He was in the shop that day and I got an autographed copy. I'm half-way through and it is an excellent read. Izzy and his partner rob drug dealers and one of their jobs goes wrong. Izzy and Mal end up on opposite sides with Mal determined to kill Izzy. Lots of good and action as well as some interesting introspection on the part of Izzy. Gangi's nedt book will be Kiss Kiss and I'll be watching for it.
  • A Hell of a Woman: An Anthology of Female Noir edited by Megan Abbott. Megan won an Edgar Award for Queenpin, a terrific book. I haven't dipped into A Hell of a Woman yet but I'm familiar with many of the authors (Ken Bruen, Christa Faust, Libby Hellman, Vicki Hentricks) and all the stories are new to me. Val McDermid wrote the foreward.
  • Die Twice by Simon Kernick. This volume contains two crime novels: The Business of Dying and The Murder Exchange. Kernick is a British crime fiction writer. Since I like British writers and they can be hard to find in the big box book stores and the counter person highly recommended it I picked it up.
  • A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes. I need to read this book for an upcoming discussion but Himes has been on my list for a while. He is a major figure of Black crime writers.
  • Dia de los Muertos by Kent Harrington. This is another book recommended by the person working the store. Harrington is a new author to me. Michael Connelly says "he writes with the ghost of Jim Thompson looking over his shoulder." He is published by Dennis McMillan who, I learned, publishes a limited runs of 2,000 copies. At $10 this book seemed like a steal to get aquainted with this author.
  • The Case of the Gilded Fly by Edmund Crispin. This is a departure from my usual hardboiled, high body count reading. It was first published in the U.K. in 1944 and is the first Gervase Fen mystery. Fen is a scholar who prefers the role of amateur sleuth. I picked this up because I recently read A. A. Milne's The Red House Mystery and I was reminded how much fun clever and witty British can be.
On the same trip I had some good coupons from Borders and picked up these in the Chestnut Hills Borders in Philadelphia:
  • A Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. I'm normally not one for historical mysteries but this one interested me because I do enjoy forensic crime stories. A Mistress ... is set in the time of Henry II and four children have been murdered. Jews are blaimed and Henry summons an expert in the science of deduction and death. He gets Adelia a woman, from the Medical School of Salerno.
  • Severance Package by Duane Swierczynski. If I hadn't purchased this in Philadelphia I surely would have in New York. The woman in Partners & Crime recommended it highly. She described it as very violent and very funny. Here is the description from the back of the book: "Jamie Debroux's boss has called a special meeting for all key personnel ant 9 A.M. on a hot Saturday in August. When Jamie arrives, the conference room is stocked with cookies and chanpagne. His boss smiles and tells his employees, "We're a cover for a branch of the intelligence community. and we're being shut down." Jamie's boss then tells everyone to drink some chanpagne, and in a few seconds they'll fall asleep--for good. If they refuse, they'll be shot in the head." This a great set up, kind of a variation on Six Days of the Condor.
  • Blonde Faith by Walter Mosley. This is the 10th Easy Rawlins story. Mosley, like Himes, is another Black writer I've been meaning to read.
  • The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher by Kate Summerscale. This is a true crime book. In 1860 three-year-old Saville Kent is found murdered. Detective Inspector Jonathan Whicher is detailed from Scotland yard to investigate. Whicher was one of the original eight detectives that formed Scotland Yard.