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My goal, of course, is to keep the hundreds of thousands of you who follow my blog up to date with my reading, but since this is the first time I’ve posted book reviews, I think it best to establish that I am not going to review everything I read. Much of what I read is for research, and so boring that even mentioning the titles could harm you. I spend a lot of my reading time with manuscripts and galleys, offering up advance comments and giving back to the writerly community that has given so much to me. And finally, I won’t post bad reviews of fiction, and I will only post bad reviews of non-fiction if there is something about it that pisses me off. So, the bottom line is that I will mostly be telling you about the book I like.

Also, if you are strapped for cash, make sure you ignore my recommendations and instead buy The Devil’s Company (on sale July 7th!) and The Whiskey Rebels (now in paperback!). It’s important to prioritize.

The Little FriendDonna Tartt: The Little Friend.  This is one I’ve been meaning to read for years. I loved (as did just about everyone who read it) Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History, but I never quote got around to her second book, in part because of what was, as I recall, a somewhat lukewarm reception. I can now officially say the lukewarmity was totally undeserved, stemming from a sense of disappointment, I believe, that Tartt did not write the same kind of novel the second time around. The Little Friend is a very different book, but a brilliant one in its own right. Imagine a bizarre mash-up for Stephen King at his most controlled best and Flannery O’Connor at her southern gothic creepiest.

The Little Friend is, ostensibly, about a precocious and damaged 12-year-old girl who sets out to uncover the mystery of her brother’s brutal murder, which happened when she was an infant. It is not a mystery novel, however, and readers in search of hard-core plot resolution will almost certainly be disappointed.  Rather than focus on who done it, Tartt concerns herself with a couple of very differently messed up families and the stories people tell themselves to understand their own lives. Make no mistake, this is a compelling, page-turning, suspenseful novel. It just doesn’t go for the easy answers.For the dogs

And to cover some things I’ve already read but deserve mention…. The TouristI am also one of the bloggers over at Contemporary Nomad, and I’ve been trying to catch up with the books of fellow ContNoms, as we often call ourselves. Two books I must recommend are The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer and For the Dogs by Kevin Wignall. I met Olen when I was in Italy a couple months ago, and we creepily became friends instantly even though his wife hates me. Hates me.  The Tourist is a perfectly executed spy thriller, compelling and very smart.  It’s the real deal. I’ve never met Kevin, but via email he seems like an all around good guy. For the Dogs is a voice-driven, devour-in-one-sitting thriller about a retired hit man and the strange relationship he develops with a woman he has been hired to protect.    Both of these writers have several other books which I have not yet gotten to, but you should. After you buy mine.

3 Responses to “”

  1. Your father says:

    Why does Mrs Steinhauer hate you?

  2. Karen says:

    Hi David — I found your blog by accident, but now that I am here, I wanted to tell you that I have really enjoyed all of your books. I’m right in the middle of The Whiskey Rebels and because I am from Western PA, I am intrigued by the historical aspects of this book. Looking forward to your next book!

  3. My wife does not hate you. As you may know, when hate is involved Serbs tend to produce advanced weaponry. She packed nothing, and as far as I know has made no weapon related purchases since–I checked her browser history to be sure.

    Thanks for plugging the book(s), now I need to go mention that the new Liss is out…

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