WYSO

Books - Fiction

During the early 1990's a crime reporter for the Dayton Daily News named Cheryl Reed was investigating the crack cocaine epidemic that was underway during that period. Reed was able to interview some young women who were using crack. Reed had been assured by the local police that she would not find any users of one particular race, young white girls, that they simply did not exist in Dayton. Their claims were dubious.

Harry Dolan returned to the program to talk about his delightfully deceptive new mystery novel "The Man in the Crooked Hat." Dolan is a masterful plotter and this story is brilliantly conceived. Our protagonist is Jack Pellum, a reluctant private investigator and former cop who is obsessed with identifying the person who killed his wife. Pellum suspects that is was a mysterious man who had been spotted in the vicinity. This fellow had been wearing the "crooked hat" of the title.

When you live in a state like Ohio you have to deal with many mistaken notions. Some people on the east coast don't really have a comprehension of what it is like out here in flyover country and that can be a good thing. Allow me to explain.

The Irish writer Maeve Binchy passed through Dayton on book tour in 1999. Maeve and her husband Gordon Snell came out to Yellow Springs for a live interview in our studios. During that conversation she explained that she had never come to America before on a book tour because some health issues had been preventing it.

"Righteous" by Joe Ide

Joe Ide returned to the program to talk about his second book in a series that features a fearless sleuth named I.Q. In his first book, the eponymous "I.Q.," we learned the back story of this young man who investigates crimes in a hardscrabble neighborhood in Los Angeles. He had been devoted to his older brother and after his brother was killed in a traffic accident that tragedy left the younger brother devastated and alone.

Lee Child made his fourth appearance on the program to discuss his latest Jack Reacher thriller "The Midnight Line." During this interview I told Lee that I think this is his best book yet. And I mean it. This novel is a bit of a departure for him. In this one Reacher is on a quest. He found a ring in a pawn shop and he wants to return it to the original owner. When he meets the person who owned the ring he is overcome by compassion. We don't think of Reacher as the emotional type. In "The Midnight Line" we find a kinder, gentler Jack Reacher.

John Sandford returned to the program to talk about his latest offering in the series that features his crime investigator Virgil Flowers. John has appeared on the program a half dozen times over the years and while we do spend a lot of time discussing each book and the story lines we also have had some conversations that have taken us to some other interesting places. In an interview many years ago John talked about something he enjoyed doing in his spare time; conducting archaeological digs in Israel.

Now and then a listener will ask me how I go about obtaining interviews with authors? The majority of the interviews that I book, probably 90%, are obtained by contacting publicists who work for the publishers of particular books. The most competent publicists will often send me advance copies of books that they think might be of interest to me. That gives me time to read books before they are actually available to the public.

Back in 2003 I was contacted by a book publicist in New York who wondered if I would be interested in interviewing a writer from Scotland who was going to be coming through Dayton on book tour? The author's name is Ian Rankin-he is the creator of a series of crime novels featuring an Edinburgh police detective, Inspector John Rebus. I had heard of the series but I had not read any of the books yet.

A new book by James McBride is an event. The last time he appeared on this program he had just published his novel "The Good Lord Bird." That extraordinary book went on to win the National Book Award. If you have not read it, you are missing out.

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