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 Crime fiction writers have complete control over their material. They can create dialogue, see into characters’ minds, plant clues and red herrings, and tie things up in a neat bundle by the book’s end. They can also delete whatever isn’t working or add what might be missing after the first…

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The “Six Tudor Queens” project begun by novelist and historian Allison Weir comes to its conclusion with this final volume, “Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife,” a novel about the last wife of England's King Henry VIII. The series began years ago with a thick volume telling the life and unhappy …

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The premise of Catherine Raven's irresistible book “Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship” is what a cynical Hollywood operator might call “pure gold.” Raven, a National Park ranger, builds herself an off-the-grid house deep in the remote wilderness of Montana, where she can read and enjoy sol…

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There are several thousand points of interest held in public trust for Americans to enjoy but few of them inspire so much interest, loyalty, and sheer affection as the Appalachian Trail (AT). Completed in 1937, it stretches for over 2,000 miles through 14 states, from Mount Katahdin in Maine…

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Edward Rutherford’s historical fictions have won him a wide reading audience and that audience knows their patterns: they are Michener-style productions, taking some enormous setting—all of England, all of London, all Russia—and fleshing it out over a thousand pages and many generations of c…

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On on level, Harvard University English professor Louis Menand's new book “The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War” is about the explosion of voices – social and artistic – that happened in America in the wake of the Second World War. On this level, it's understandable that somebody …

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Given the fact that it’s one of the biggest historical events since the Second World War, the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 is a natural lure to historians. In the months since this novel coronavirus escaped from first Wuhan and then mainland China, three million people have died of the virus, w…

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The May book season has its headliner titles—three of the best-selling nonfiction writers of the day, “The Premonition” by Michael Lewis, “Freedom” by Sebastian Junger, and “Doom” by Niall Ferguson. These titles will get reviewed widely, and they’ll set a large amount of the bookish discours…

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   “A best-seller is the gilded tomb of a mediocre talent,” wrote a snooty bookish professional in the 20th century who had never, obviously, produced a bestseller in a lifetime of writing. Writers who’ve never had a bestseller have often reflexively dismissed the whole phenomenon as some ki…

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(NAPSI)—With vaccination rates increasing, Americans are heading outdoors and gearing up for a summer of fun. Google searches on terms like “c… Read more

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There are several thousand points of interest held in public trust for Americans to enjoy but few of them inspire so much interest, loyalty, and sheer affection as the Appalachian Trail (AT). Completed in 1937, it stretches for over 2,000 miles through 14 states, from Mount Katahdin in Maine…

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Edward Rutherford’s historical fictions have won him a wide reading audience and that audience knows their patterns: they are Michener-style productions, taking some enormous setting—all of England, all of London, all Russia—and fleshing it out over a thousand pages and many generations of c…

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One of my favorite crime writers was Andrea Camilleri, who died in July of 2019 at age ninety-four. His Inspector Montalbano series, set in Sicily, was the subject of a previous column. Camilleri’s books were full of wit, violence, and a deep knowledge of human nature. His death, and the pro…

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It seems to me that production of detective stories on so large a scale, and by writers whose immediate reward is small and whose need of critical praise is almost nil, would not be possible at all if the job took any talent.

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 The lifeblood of any publishing year is novelty, in all its forms. The endless parade of books on bookstore display tables all calls out to prospective buyers with the same call: new, new, new! The newest novels, the newest histories, the newest biographies taking advantage of the newest so…

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There are some books I am a little reluctant to review. I struggle to overcome that reluctance because dark things happen in our world, and we gain nothing by hiding them—or hiding from them. In truth, we lose because by hiding them, we let then grow and fester.

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Despite the blazing heat and choking humidity outside, despite the classic dog-days-of-summer feeling of being trapped all day and all night under a soggy, heated blanket, the weeks are slowly filing in, and the autumn book-season is slowly drawing nearer. The season typically brings an incr…

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I was in law enforcement for over twelve years. Many things, like the high incarceration rate of black males, have disturbed me about our criminal justice system. But when it came to police brutality, I believed in the “few rotten apples” theory. I understand the pressures police face from a…

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Max Brooks had a massive bestseller on his hands back in 2006 when he wrote that War and Peace of zombie novels, World War Z. The book's title was later used in a Brad Pitt movie that otherwise had virtually nothing in common with the book other than hordes of shambling undead, but millions …

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The action of Matthew Carr's second novel (following 2017's The Devils of Cardona) kicks off in Barcelona in the summer of 1909. It features private detective Harry Lawton, who arrives in the city just in time to be drawn into a series of bizarre killings. Several people have been killed by …

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Jill McCorkle's new novel Hieroglyphics is on one level a quiet, modest story about a battered, durable, loving marriage. Lil and Frank Wishart have been together for years, their long marriage first cemented by the fact that each of them had already been deeply wounded by personal bereaveme…

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A new writer has piqued my curiosity. Well, Lydia Davis is not a new writer, as she has at least 16 books to her credit. Only one of them is a novel, “The End of the Story.” I have not read it and likely will not read it. A brief description of the story made me think it would not hold my interest.