Sunday, April 28, 2013

James Ellroy revisits L.A. Confidential Themes

According to Deadline Hollywood, James Ellroy and New Regency are pitching an L.A. Confidential  sequel to broadcast and cable networks. Ellroy wrote the project on spec as a TV drama series.

The sequel will continue the themes and stories from L.A. Confidential, a murder mystery set in 1950s Los Angeles dripping with police corruption, organized crime, and Hollywood scandals. The 1997 film adaptation of Ellroy's novel earned nine Oscar nominations and won two awards, for best screenplay and best supporting actress (Kim Basinger).

As an interesting footnote, Aunt Agatha has just had confirmation that best-selling author James Ellroy will be speaking at the Burbank Public Library on Wednesday, May 22, at 7 PM. If you are in the Los Angeles area, do stop by for a most interesting conversation!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Librarian Melissa Uncovers Archaeological Mysteries

There is one thing I've discovered -- don't reinvent the wheel!  Librarian Melissa beat me to the newest Ruth Galloway mystery (I do take credit for introducing her to Ruth, however). Since Melissa already posted her thoughts on the Burbank Library blog, I'm reposting here, since I'm still reading A Dying Fall.

Continuing with the Ruth Galloway mysteries by Elly Griffiths...I found A Dying Fall on the new book shelves and took it home last weekend, only to discover, when I opened it, that Ruth's daughter Kate is 18 months old, while at the end of the last book I read, she hadn't been born yet! That can't be right, I thought, so I checked the list of "Books by Elly Griffiths" at the front of the book and discovered that I had missed not one but two books in between (yay! a prolific writer!), so I had to backtrack. I put A Dying Fall back (since it's a seven-day book) so someone else could enjoy it in the meantime, and checked out The House at Sea's End and A Room Full of Bones.

I liked The House at Sea's End, but I must confess that I enjoyed it more for Ruth's bewilderment at new motherhood than I did for the mystery. It's not that the mystery--six dead bodies found roped together in a fissure revealed by an eroding beach cliff--isn't interesting, but for some reason I didn't find it as compelling as the other archaeological puzzles in her previous two books (The Crossing Places and The Janus Stone). But I don't think that's any reflection on the book--it's just that the adjustments Ruth, a determined loner if there ever was one, has to make to accommodate a child into her existence as a teacher, lecturer, archaeologist, and consultant to the police department were more interesting to me. I also found some of the red herrings too determinedly trailed along in front of the reader--a certain lack of subtlety.

On the other hand, I found A Room Full of Bones much more compelling as a
mystery. There are so many story lines intertwining that it's hard to remember who knows what about whom and when, but it definitely keeps you reading. The coffin of a medieval Catholic bishop has been discovered, and Ruth Galloway has been invited to the "grand opening," only to discover the museum's curator lying dead next to the coffin. Then the owner of the museum, a British lord, dies too, muttering aloud about a great snake trying to devour him; since his great-grandfather was responsible for removing the skulls of Aboriginal ancestors from their native lands in Australia, and threatening letters have been found asking for their return, both of the deaths smell suspicious to DCI Nelson, who takes time away from his drug smuggling investigation to reconnect with Ruth over these mysterious events. Cathbad is, of course, in the middle of the mix, and Max makes a reappearance in Ruth's life as well.

And finally, I got back to A Dying Fall, in which Ruth's old university friend, Dan "the Man" Golding, reaches out to her about an exciting new archaeological find, only to tragically die in a fire before he can tell her about it. As soon as she decides to go to Lancashire to see if she can put together the pieces of the puzzle, though, Ruth starts receiving cryptic death threats. Enlisting Cathbad as escort and child-minder, she heads out with him and her daughter Kate for a "vacation" that coincides with a fishing expedition into Dan's research. The personal/professional saga of herself and DCI Harry Nelson continues in this one as well.

I like Elly Griffiths's books for a variety of reasons:

1. I always learn something (especially since I know virtually nothing about archaeology);

2. Her books are ultimately about relationships of all kinds, and I love how she traces the ins and outs of personal decisions and their effects;

3. She knows how to write a good cliff-hanger. She never stops in the middle of something and says "to be continued," but she always leaves you with a statement about the inner thoughts of her main characters guaranteed to have you salivating over the release date of the next book!

Her website is a richness of information and photographs showing some scenes from her books. Maybe someday she will tour in America, and Aunt Agatha can persuade her to come see us here at BPL!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dennis Lehane: "Proud to be a Bostonian"

These heartfelt sentiments from author Dennis Lehane's Facebook Page need to be
shared with all:

I still haven’t processed today, but some stray observations—

Every thought and every prayer goes out to the victims and their families and loved ones. What a senseless act of waste and violence.

This wasn't about Boston. This was about a global gathering of the finest runners in the world on a gorgeous spring day celebrating nothing but athleticism and a love of life itself.

It’s hard to imagine any people more inspiring than all those people who dashed across Boylston Street within seconds of the first explosion, and rushed to the aid of the injured. Didn't give their own safety a thought. Made me proud to be a member of the human race, which I think was the exact opposite of the effect the bomber was hoping for.

Great job by my buddy, Dave Robichaud, questioning the official assumption that the fire at JFK Library was part of the attack. He cut down on a lot of public hysteria in one fell swoop with solid, effective journalism.

When I watch the footage of the first explosion, I look at the Boston Public Library Main Branch across the street, and I think no matter who they turn out to be--Islamic jihadists, home grown militia, neo-Nazis, something else--what really scares them, what they truly hate, is the access to knowledge that building exemplifies.

Lisa Hughes of WBZ 4 has been a rock throughout the coverage all day and into the night--empathetic but level-headed, humane and so sharp.

Youngest victim is 8. Sigh. What can you do with that? If your "CAUSE" involves the death of kids, it's not a cause, it's a pestilence.

So proud to be a Bostonian tonight. So brokenhearted to be one, too.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Walking in the footsteps of Chief Inspector Armande Gamache

Here's something interesting to consider as you plan your summer getaway. If you have any plans to visit Québec, you may like to take the Bury Your Dead Guided Walking Tour, based on Louise Penny's Best-Selling novel.

"As Quebec City shivers in the grip of winter, its ancient stone walls cracking in the cold, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache plunges into the most unusual case of his celebrated career. A man has been brutally murdered in one of the city's oldest buildings - a library where the English citizens of Quebec safeguard their history. And the death opens a door into the past, exposing a mystery that has lain dormant for centuries...a mystery Gamache must solve if he's to apprehend a present-day killer."

Starting in June 2013, this two-hour tour follows the trail of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache as he investigates the murder of a local amateur archeologist, whose body was found in the cellar of the Québec Literary and Historical Society. Explore Old Québec City’s narrow streets and see with your own eyes the places where life and work bring Armand Gamache.
Get more tour information here.

The Bury Your Dead Tour starts at the Quebec Tourist Information Centre (12, Sainte-Anne Street). It stops at the Notre-Dame Basilica, the Literary and Historical Society (Morrin Centre) and the Petit Coin Latin restaurant where participants enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and a slice of sugar pie [Personally, I would enjoy Gamache's favorite, a cup of cafe au laite and a chocolate croissant]. It then goes to the Jeanne d'Arc Garden through the Plains of Abraham, ending at the Montcalm monument, on Grande Allée Street.

Canada's CBC is bringing Louise Penny's first book, Still Life, to the television screen. Production began last October and it should be out sometime this year. Nathaniel Parker, perhaps best known for his run as Inspector Lynley on the BBC series, was tapped to play Chief Inspector Gamache. 

Here is a link to the story aired on CBC.
Louise Penny has already sold the film rights to her second novel. 

The next Chief Inspector Armande Gamache novel, How the Light Gets In, will be released on August 27.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Edge-of-Your-Seat Reads

Looking to dive into a good suspense novel?
The International Thriller Writers have
announced their nominees for the 2013 Thriller Awards which recognizes the best books published in this genre during 2012.

The winners will be announced during ThrillerFest, July 13, 2013, at the Grand Hyatt (New York City).

Here are the nominees…
Best Novel:

The Trinity Game by Sean Chercover
Spilled Blood by Brian Freeman
Catch Me by Lisa Gardner
The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz
Defending Jacob by William Landay

Best Paperback Original Novel:

Pines by Blake Crouch
Lake Country by Sean Doolittle
And She Was by Alison Gaylin
The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Night Blind by Michael W. Sherer

Best First Novel:

Don't Ever Get Old by Daniel Friedman
The Professionals by Owen Laukkanen
The Expats by Chris Pavone
The 500 by Matthew Quirk
Black Fridays by Michael Sears

Best Short Story:

• "The Devil To Pay" by David Edgerley Gates (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)
• "The Street Ends at the Cemetery" by Clark Howard (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine)
• "The Consumers" by Dennis Lehane (Mulholland Books)
• "The History Lesson" by Gordon Mceachern (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine)
• "Lost Things" by John Rector (Thomas & Mercer)

Best Young Adult Novel:

Don't Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon
If We Survive by Andrew Klavan
False Memory by Dan Krokos
Crusher by Niall Leonard
Dark Eyes by William Richter
Best eBook Original Novel:

Pandora's Temple by Jon Land
Blind Faith by C. J. Lyons
Huntress Moon by Alexandra Sokoloff
Dead End Deal by Allen Wyler
Dead Wrong by Allen Wyler