WYSO

Books - Fiction

As I am interviewing authors I am always trying to think of the best questions to ask them. I want to keep things fresh and that can be a challenge. A number of years ago I interviewed C-Span's Brian Lamb. As the host of that network's Book TV program Lamb has distinguished himself as one of the best prepared author interviewers around. Like me, he's accustomed to being the one who is asking the questions. He seemed slightly uncomfortable with having that role reversed.

Once upon a time it was possible to live in Manhattan inexpensively. It wasn't that long ago really. There were neighborhoods like the Lower East Side where artists, club kids, and squatters were still able to eke out livelihoods in the vibrant city that continues to attract newcomers from every corner of the globe.

Tana French returned to the program to talk about her latest Dublin Murder Squad novel "The Trespasser."  Last year Tana did an interview for the hardcover release of this book and I could not resist the opportunity to talk to her again because I loved this story and she doesn't put out new books very often.

Kathi Reed returned to the program to discuss her latest novel "Trouble for Rent." This book is a prequel to Reed's debut effort "Banking on Trouble." In this one Annie Fillmore is running her mom and pop video rental store in a small town in Ohio. The year is 1990 and the video rental business was at the height of what was to be a brief but highly lucrative run.

C.J. Box concludes his "Highway Quartet" with "Paradise Valley." A serial killer known as "The Lizard King" has been preying on truck stop prostitutes for years and he is finally slowing down. As this diabolical psychopath heads back to the wild western lands where he grew up he is leaving a trail of carnage behind him. And, in a weirdly twisted manner he is trying to recreate a family unit consisting of hostages he has harvested from among the innocents who have had the misfortune to meet him.

Astrea Taylor returned to our studios to discuss her latest book, "Belle Dame Sans Merci," an urban fantasy novel that showcases the author's vivid imagination. The main character is a woman who has become a demon. She is trying to improve her karma enough to be admitted to heaven. Until she does so she'll continue with her lethal labors for a truly devilish boss. Taylor's vision of the precincts of hell is complex and profoundly amusing.

Fiona Barton served notice with her debut novel "The Widow" that she is a rising star in the world of crime fiction. Her second effort, "The Child," is just as compelling as her first book. Barton had a long career as a journalist and that background has served her well. Kate, her fictional investigative reporter has returned in the second book but don't think that just because she is back that these two books mark the start of a series. They don't. These are stand-alone thrillers.

We are living in the age of the "selfie." Some of us are self-absorbed. President Trump epitomizes the "selfie" lifestyle. It's really all about him. This is the perfect moment for a humorous novel featuring a protagonist who is dealing with all the stress and pressure of modern life and not handling it too well.

"Who is Rich" by Matthew Klam is set during the summer of 2012. That seems like a zillion years ago. Barack Obama was running for re-election and his opponent was Mitt Romney. In retrospect those seem like innocent times.

Don't you love it when somebody has the good grace to go out at the top of their game? It can be depressing to watch former star performers embarrassing themselves because they didn't know when to quit. We have all seen them, the baseball players who strike out on pitches they used to hit or the lead singer who wrote the lyric "I hope I die before I get old" still out there on stage 50 years later gamely strumming away. Some writers keep plodding along, putting out books long after inspiration has faded.

This book is the debut in a new crime fiction series set in Columbus. Roxane Weary is a private eye with lots of issues. Her dad was a hard drinking cop who died recently while fighting crime. The two of them didn't get along. His sudden death has left his daughter with unresolved "Daddy" issues. He drank a lot. So does she. Her love life is a mess, too. Her father's demise has even served to complicate that aspect of her existence. Business is bad.

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