Archive for the ‘California’ Category

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


What do you see in the dark? Well, that partly depends on your perspective. In Munoz’s stylistic mise-en-scène novel, the second-person point of view frames the watchful eye and disguises the wary teller. Reading this story is like peering through Hitchcock’s lens—the camera as observer’s tool and observer as camera–with light and shadow and space concentrated and dispersed frame by frame, sentence by sentence.

March 28, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Class - Race - Gender, Mystery/Suspense, Noir, Whiting, y Award Winning Author


THREE STAGES OF AMAZEMENT by Carol Edgarian is the story of a marriage. The novel takes place in the not far distant past, when Obama has recently been elected president and the markets have plummeted. Lena and Charlie have started their lives anew. Charlie was the head of surgery at Mass General Hospital. He has left this behind to move to San Francisco to start up a new company that specializes in medical robotics although this is not the best time to look for venture capitalists to fund his research.

March 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: California, Character Driven, Contemporary

THE SENTRY by Robert Crais

The latest and 14th installment of Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole/Joe Pike crime fiction series is THE SENTRY, denominated “A Joe Pike Novel.” THE SENTRY is the third Pike book of the series, the other eleven being Elvis Cole novels. Pike, the ex-marine, ex-LAPD officer, ex-mercenary for hire (for the right cause), is forever stoic and withdrawn, except the issues that affect him are more in the forefront…

March 19, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: California, Character Driven, Sleuths Series, Thriller/Spy/Caper, y Award Winning Author


Never one to shy away from sacred cow territory or the ruthless ways in which humans stampede it, T.C. Boyle’s latest wise epic puts ecologists on a restless collision course with agitated animal rights activists. In his vintage style of tackling issues with snarling drama and incendiary humor, Boyle plots a political novel without sending the reader a preachy message, although he comes right up under it.

February 24, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Contemporary, Theme driven, y Award Winning Author

WRECKER by Summer Wood

WRECKER takes place primarily in the Mattole Valley in northern California from 1965 through the 1980’s. It is the story of a commune called Bow Farm and of the people who live there, held together by their love of a boy named Wrecker who comes to them unexpectedly and grows to be the glue that keeps them all together.

February 17, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Contemporary, Family Matters