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

MR. TOPPIT by Charles Elton

The first half of MR TOPPIT takes its readers for a grand ride. This debut novel, written by Charles Elton, has had quite a following in the United Kingdom and has just been released in the United States. It is a novel about speculation and conjecture, the ‘what ifs’ of life, and wishing things might have been different. Mostly though, it is about Luke Hayman and how he became immortalized in his father’s Hayseed Chronicles as the boy who eluded Mr. Toppit in the Darkwood.

December 24, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: California, Contemporary, Debut Novel, United Kingdom


For the longest time, growing up in rural Virginia, Birdie Baker is convinced she is destined to follow the path set forth by her devout Christian parents. Like them, as a Jehovah’s Witness, she will spread the word of the Lord, marry, settle down and wrap it up. But the sense of unease that plagues her even after she is married to a church-going man named Judah, is worsened when she runs into her high school drama teacher at the grocery store. “What are you still doing here?” he asks, “I figured the next time I saw you it would be in a movie.” Eventually, leave Virgina she does. Birdie pools all her savings toward a one-way bus ticket to Los Angeles.

December 14, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , ,  · Posted in: 2010 Favorites, California, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Drift-of-Life

A STRANGER LIKE YOU by Elizabeth Brundage

Elizabeth Brundage’s third novel A STRANGER LIKE YOU is her darkest to date. Her first novel THE DOCTOR’S WIFE is a tale of a woman married to a doctor who works a women’s clinic and performs abortions. The couple runs foul of anti-abortion activists in this tale which examines marital obligations against the backdrop of larger social issues. SOMEBODY ELSE’S DAUGHTER is set in an exclusive school for the children of the wealthy, but when the protected, elite environment is breeched, various ugly realities seep in. A STRANGER LIKE YOU is a post-9-11 tale: unrelentingly bleak and merciless in its examination of a decaying society of damaged people.

September 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: California, Character Driven, Contemporary, Reading Guide, Thriller/Spy/Caper

MY HOLLYWOOD by Mona Simpson

Mona Simpson’s book, MY HOLLYWOOD, explores the relationship of mothers, children and nannies in southern California, most particularly in Santa Monica. The novel is told from two vantage points, the first one Claire, a mother in her 30’s with a 2 1/2 year old son, William. The other vantage point is Lola’s, the Filipina nanny who works as a live-in nanny for Claire and her husband Paul during the week when she takes care of “Williamo.” Lola also has a second job on the weekends, taking care of the son of a friend of Claire and Paul’s.

September 12, 2010 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Contemporary, Family Matters

LOSER’S TOWN by Daniel Depp

LOSER’S TOWN is the first novel from Daniel Depp and the first in a series of David Spandau mysteries. Now I am going to get the nauseating stuff over with first: yes, Daniel DEPP is the half brother of Johnny Depp, and according to some internet sites, there are some unpleasant assumptions that having a famous sibling carries clout in the publishing world. When it comes to carving out accomplishments in the world, it must be a pain in the arse to have a phenomenally famous sibling.

May 2, 2009 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: California, Debut Novel, Noir, Sleuths Series