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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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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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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Review of Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

It impresses me that 75 years after its end, World War II, it continues to inspire great literature — A Woman of No Importance, The Splendid and the Vile, D-Day Girls, to name just a few. Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight isn’t quite a World War II novel, but it’s pretty close. It begins in 1945 as […]

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Great War Novels for Veterans’ Day

There are many ways to honor the men and women who put on a uniform and risk it all for the nations that send them into war in the name of duty and patriotism. One obvious way is to put their stories in writing—fiction or nonfiction—so that others can read and remember the sacrifices they made. As we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, I’d like to offer a very personal list of 11 great war novels to commemorate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

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Mark Willen