Summer Reading

With the unofficial start of summer less than two weeks away, it’s a good time to take a look at some of what’s out there to read while you are at the beach, pool or at home with your air conditioning turned up high.  Here are some books that are on my list to read this summer.

spenserI have been a big admirer of Robert B. Parker’s sparse style for many years. Since his  death Ace Atkins has primarily taken over writing his Spenser series, and doing it with the same sharp dialogue and flavor as the master. Little White Lies is the latest. 

SinceJust published, Dennis Lehane’s latest has been getting rave reviews. I have to admit, I have not read any of Lehane’s earlier books, however from what I have read, Since We Fell, is a bit different from his previous endeavors. That’s fine with me, since I am coming to him with fresh eyes.

jacksonShirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin came out in September of last year. It’s been on my read list since I read the many positive reviews. The book made both the New York Times and Washington Post notable picks for 2016.

Wrong Side  Late

 

I have been reading, and listening to Michael Connelly a lot lately. Watching Amazon’s fantastic Bosch series sparked my interest to dig into Connelly’s backlog of work. Not one disappointing read yet.

The Wrong Side of Goodbye is Connelly’s latest Harry Bosch novel (published 11/16) which I still have not read. Coming in July is The Late Show with  a new character, Renee Ballard, a once on the rise detective, now stuck on the night shift.

Forever JuneIn June, Hard Case Crime will publish legendary crime novelist, Donald Westlake’s Forever and a Death. The backstory on this never before released work is fascinating. About twenty years ago, the producers of the James Bond films hired Westlake to write a story treatment for a new Bond film. The treatment was never used due to political concerns at the time with China. Westlake took the story and turned it into an original novel which was never published during his lifetime.  It’s seeing the light of day for the first time.

ExposureStuart Woods’ Stone Barrington is a guilty pleasure. Barrington is one of those characters who has it all: looks, money, beautiful women and influential friends. He also manages to get himself in plenty of trouble, but not before buying another house, he has at least five, and bedding just about every woman he meets. The books have varied in quality lately, but are light fun reads.

HighCasa

Three film related books on my shelf that sound like absorbing reads are Glenn Frankel’s High Noon: Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic and Noah Isenberg’s We’ll Always Have Casablanca. Being an admirer of both films, these books are making me salivate. You can read a review I wrote on High Noon here.

IMG_4817.JPGLast but not least on the film front is Dan Van Neste’s new biography of Ricardo Cortez which is a must read.

HemingwayHemingway’s Cats – This book  came out in 2015, but it only recently came to my attention while I was doing some research about authors and cats for a future post I am looking to write. The macho Hemingway love animals and had a special affection for cats.  Throughout his life, from childhood to his suicidal end, the author had cats in his life. Author Carlene Brennan chronicles the felines in Hemingway’s life in words and photos.

Inspiration: Where Does it Come From?

Abandoned Shack - 1924-CW-1144I find inspiration can from anywhere and at any time. Many times it happens when you least expect it. For Life Lesson, one of  twelve short stories in my new e-book, Devious Tales, it came from the above photograph I took back in 2015 in Vermont. My wife and I did a photographic road trip that began in Burlington. From there we made our way to Woodstock, St.  Johnsbury and eventually back to Burlington; making multiple stops to photograph what caught our eye along the way. One day during this road trip we found ourselves on a dirt road. Instead of turning around, we decided to see where it would lead. There was actually little to see or photograph except for this old boarded house. I took a few photos from different angles and we went on our way.

The house intrigued me. I wondered who built it way back in 1924? Why in the middle of nowhere? Who and how many people have lived here since? What happened to them? It all stayed buried in my head. As the idea for Life Lesson began to take root, this house was the image that suddenly appeared in my head, and where most of the action in the story takes place.

Like any creative individual does, no matter what form your art takes,  you observe, you listen and you store away information into a mental or physical file for possible future use. That’s where it remains, waiting for that spark of creative juice to bring to life something new.

You can read Life Lesson and other short stories in Devious Tales. Currently, available as an e-book on Amazon. Click here.

It will soon be available as a paperback. More on that later.

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