| Nov 27, 2011
Last summer, while browsing in a used bookstore in San Luis Obispo, I discovered something I thought no longer existed — an Agatha Christie novel I had not read. Anyone monitoring my vital signs would have thought I had discovered the next Gnostic...
| Jun 27, 2011
After just three novels in the Lincoln Perry series, Michael Koryta defied the dictates of serial crime fiction and took a purposeful walk in another direction. "Envy the Night," his first standalone novel, was a taut tale of revenge that garnered him...
| Jul 31, 2011
Penguin: 256 pp., $15 paper
Longtime novelist Sheila Kohler had a breakthrough popular hit with 2009's "Becoming Jane Eyre," in which she imagined her way into the life of beloved gothic novelist Charlotte Brontë....
| Jul 24, 2011
Marcel Proust, the great author of memory, gets a swift kick in the pants in Dan Simmons' latest novel of an apocalyptic future, "Flashback" (Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown: 560 pp., $27.99). Remember all that stuff Proust wrote about memories returning to...
| Sep 4, 2011
In 1937, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay came close to refusing an honorary degree from New York University when she learned she had been excluded from a reception for male recipients of the doctorate at the Waldorf-Astoria and instead was to have a quiet...
| Oct 9, 2011
How survivors of the Chicago Fire sought scapegoats 140 years ago
Even as the embers of the Chicago Fire cooled, the saga of Mrs. O'Leary began. For 140 years, she has been alternately accused and exonerated of setting off the inferno that consumed...
| Nov 2, 2012
| 1:01 PM
Mysteries abound in our sacred and profane world—for example, transubstantiation—and they should remain mysteries. This is because (a) they are unsolvable, (b) trying to solve them is borderline blasphemous because by trying, man arrogates...
| Apr 18, 2011
It's telling that the title of Marcia Clark's murder-mystery debut is smaller than her name on the novel's cover. Clark is best known as the lead prosecutor in the media circus known as the O.J. Simpson murder trial. She's less recognized as an author,...
| Apr 15, 2011
| 1:26 PM
Here's what I like about Tea Obreht's debut novel, "The Tiger's Wife": Obreht can write. She can put a sentence together, inhabit characters with lives far different than hers; she can trace the horrors of a war she's never seen. All that is essential,...
| Apr 22, 2011
| 10:21 AM
Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Kurt Wallander?
Don't worry, the peerless Swedish police detective, the pride of the force in rural Ystad, doesn't get ruthlessly gunned down like Edward G. Robinson's Rico Bandello in "Little Caesar." It's that author...
| May 1, 2011
The intersection of DeSoto and State streets here doesn't look like anything special.
On the southeast corner of the roads is H Town Custom Wheels. Across DeSoto to the west is Beer & Bud Mart, which faces a Church's Chicken stand. Immediately to the...