Archive for the ‘California’ Category

THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK by Brando Skyhorse

The silent, overlooked residents of Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood play the starring role in author Brando Skyhorse’s debut, THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK. The novel, really more of a collection of short stories, each narrated by a different character, presents to the reader different facets of both the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in multicultural Los Angeles. Skyhorse, winner of the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award for this novel, was born and raised in Echo Park.

June 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Class - Race - Gender, Debut Novel, Latin American/Caribbean, PEN/Hemingway Winner, Reading Guide, Short Stories

FUN AND GAMES by Duane Swierczynski

Imagine a kick-ass action flick–say one starring that perennial crowd-pleaser, Bruce Willis, and then imagine the source material, and you’d just about have an image of Duane Swierczynski’s latest book, FUN AND GAMES. This is the first entry in the Charlie Hardie trilogy. HELL AND GONE follows in October 2011, and the third novel, POINT AND SHOOT is scheduled for publication in March 2012. FUN AND GAMES delves into the old Hollywood story that studio fixers leap in to stabilize publicity nightmares. This legend has bounced around Hollywood for decades and still lingers over the deaths of notables such as Jean Harlow’s husband, Paul Bern.

June 20, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper

SWIM BACK TO ME by Ann Packer

Ann Packer’s newest book, SWIM BACK TO ME, is comprised of a novella and five short stories. They are all “emotionally searing stories” dealing with issues of intimacy, misunderstandings that cause distancing, betrayals, and the problems that people have with understanding and knowing one another. Each story is strong and brilliant.

May 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: California, Coming-of-Age, Literary, Reading Guide, Short Stories

THE GREAT NIGHT by Chris Adrian

In this phantasmagorical tale, Chris Adrian reshaped “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” into a mammoth, messy, tilted, erotic, meandering reimagining of Shakespeare’s comedy into an elaborate feast of faeries and monsters, Lilliputians and giants, demons and derelicts, heart-broken humans and a group of outspoken homeless people who are staging a musical reenactment of Soylent Green. And that is just a segment of the odd and atavistic population of characters that you will meet in this multiple narrative tale of loss, love and exile. As you enter San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park during this millennial summer solstice, the moon shines eerie and luminous over creatures large and small, and a thick wall of fog sluggishly spreads its fingers during the celebration known to the faerie kingdom as the “Great Night.”

April 26, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: California, Humorous, Speculative (Beyond Reality), Unique Narrative

THE FIFTH WITNESS by Michael Connelly

Michael (Mickey) Haller is still working out of the back seat of his armor-plated Lincoln Town Car, but he now specializes in helping people prevent or delay foreclosure on their homes. In the shattered economy and with housing prices in freefall, business has been brisk. Although criminal defense is his first love, Mickey has changed course, knowing that “the only growth industry in the law business was foreclosure defense.”

April 10, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

THE COLOR OF NIGHT by Madison Smartt Bell

I have chosen this rather longer quotation to show how Madison Smartt Bell can turn on a dime between a realistic description of a California druggie cult in the late sixties to an evocation of the revels of Dionysian maenads from the earliest age of Greek mythology. The link here is an acid trip, but Bell does not need chemicals to effect his alchemy. In 2001, when the book opens, the narrator Mae is a middle-aged croupier in a Las Vegas area casino. Bell’s description is realistic and immediate: “Only the whirl of lights and the electronic burbling of machines, rattle of dice in the craps table cups, and almost inaudible whisper of cards, the friction-free hum of roulette wheels turning.” But two sentences later, he has already made the shift: “It was a sort of fifth-rate hell, and I a minor demon posted to it. A succubus too indifferent to suck.”

April 6, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Contemporary, New York City, US Southwest, y Award Winning Author