Nothing is what it seems. Remember that as you romp through Fredrik Backman’s latest gem of a novel, Anxious People. The bank robbery that begins the book isn’t actually a bank robbery, and the resulting hostage situation that follows in an apartment across the street isn’t really a hostage situation, not to mention the rabbit […]

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Crime Fiction At Its Best

I’ve read a lot of crime fiction over the past couple of years–first because I was writing my own and lately because I’m trying to decide whether to write another. Three that I read recently are very different but all excellent, no doubt because the authors are skilled and experienced. I’m happy to recommend all […]

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Summer reads (aka beach books) get a bad rap, the phrase often treated as a synonym for mindless drivel.  But I can’t think of a better book to recommend for summer readying than Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews. It’s fun, easy lifting, and hard to put down. And yet, there’s a lot in […]

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Soon after my new novel, The Question Is Murder was released, I was invited by Mystery and Suspense magazine to write a feature story examining the history and attraction of political mysteries, with a list of some of my favorites. Here are the first few paragraphs of that story, with a link for those who want […]

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When Mystery & Suspense magazine asked me to write an article about political mysteries for July posting, I immediately thought of one of my favorite novels, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré, who died in December. I pulled the novel off my bookshelf, thinking I would skim a few pages to refresh my […]

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I was doing an interview the other day to promote my new book, my first mystery, when the host asked me what I like to read. I should have expected the question—it’s a standard for authors—but I froze. There is such a huge variety in what I read that I didn’t know where to start. […]

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Reading The Library Book a year into the pandemic is a bittersweet experience, to say the least. Libraries aren’t at the top of what I most missed this past year—seeing friends and family in person has to take that spot—but losing the hustle and bustle of a fully functioning, stimulating, creative gathering place for book […]

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Whenever I love a novel, I have mixed feelings about reading that author’s next work. On the one hand, I can’t wait, but on the other, I feel a certain amount of trepidation, fearing there is no way the new work can live up to the older one. I needn’t have worried, though, about Sigrid […]

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Reading for Presidents’ Day

Presidents’ Day 2021 couldn’t land at a more auspicious time. The divisions in the country, including the just concluded impeachment trial, put a bigger spotlight on past presidential actions even as current-day crises (Covid, the economy, climate change, inequality) make it more important than ever to get future presidential actions right. That’s all the more […]

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Rediscovering William Kelley

Book clubs come in many shapes and serve many purposes. Some are purely social, an excuse to get together and catch up on life, and, oh, by the way, what did you think of this month’s book. Others are dead serious, brought together by interest in a specific subject or genre. Sometimes friendships develop, sometimes […]

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Mark Willen