It was great fun to meet the incredible staff at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, one of the premiere and devoted locations for serious readers. I truly enjoyed explaining the story of Mickey Cohen, the Jewish mob leader from the 1930s-1970s, a man who achieved unlikely celebrity while heading up illegal gambling in Los Angeles. His friends ran the peculiar gamut from Billy Graham to Richard Nixon and Marilyn Monroe to Patty Hearst. What was unique and inspirational about this talk was the startling knowledge of history revealed in the questions of attendees. Bill and JB are American treasures!
Hollywood's Celebrity Gangster: The Incredible Life and Times of Mickey Cohen
It's always fun to be in the shop at Seattle Mystery--I want to move in, but I'm sure my husband might have something to say about that....
Anyhow, as usual, many books signed, many new and old readers met and far too much fun for a business date (shhh... don't tell the accountant I'm having fun.) After a lot of running about, it's great to be back home and warmly welcomed back to one of my favorite shops. Can't wait for the next time.
And there will be a next time, since, not only is the third book, UNDERGROUND, coming out in a year, my agent is just finishing negotiations for the next three, so I should have lots of chances to lurk in the "man-eating chair" in the next few years. Many thanks to Fran, Tammy, JB, Marie and the rest of the crew for a great time and wonderful support as always. (They rock!)
According to a story in this morning's Seattle Times, a quarter of American adults have not read a book in the last 12 months! As outlined in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll published yesterday, the most avid readers were women and older Americans. The most popular types of books were popular fiction and religious works.
As a nation, we're not massive consumers of books. A 'typical' reader in the survey said that they read just 4 books during that past year. If you take out the respondents who said they'd not read a single book, those who claimed to have read, half read more than 4 and half read less and, over all, the typical number of books read in the last year by those who participated was 7.
Good god - and they procreate and vote.
As cited in The Associated Press story by Alan Fram, the 27% of Americans who hadn't read a book in that past year consist of 'older, less educated, lower income, minorities, from rural areas and less religious' adults - one third of men and one quarter of women make up that slice.
The article detail that those who do claim to read dozens of books a year tend to be 'from the West and Midwest...Southerners who do read, however, tend to read more books, mostly religious books and romance novels, than people from other regions. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently... Democrats and liberals typically read slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.'
1003 adults were surveyed, and the variance is plus or minus 3%.
What does it mean? Well, it is pretty easy to see why independant bookstores have a hard time, why most authors have a hard time making any kind of living from their writing, why the major publishers have gutted their lists of the mid-range authors - there is a good chunk of the population that isn't reading much - or at all - and that means fewer sales and less money for the book world to chase.
It would be nice if the study told us what percentage of the American populace reads, say, a dozen books a year or 20 books a year. Are they more than 27% ? If the typical interviewee read just 4 books a year... YESH
There are undoubtedly other reasons to come to Seattle -- it's not as if those pink and white frosted animal cookies can only be found at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop -- but honestly, I've been dreaming about JB and his cookies since the last Left Coast Crime.
Because my list of favorite reads always includes the latest offering from Lee Child (in this case, BadLuck and Trouble, $26.00, Dell Publishing) I’m going to give you my Top Five So Far in addition to Jack Reacher’s latest adventure. Fair enough?
Volk’s Game, by Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt & Co., $19.95) ~ my nomination for best debut thriller of 2007. A contemporary thriller set in Moscow ~ dark and violent ~ featuring Volk, a battle scarred veteran of the war in Chechnya who is a major player in the black market as well as a covert agent for the Russian military. Volk is commissioned by both the mafia boss he works for and the General he is indebted to, to steal a lost Da Vinci painting. His survival depends on who he chooses to betray. Intense, brutal, non-stop action lyrically written.
The Unknown Terrorist, by Richard Flanagan (Grove/Atlantic, Inc., $24.00) – a political thriller that asks the question : what would you do if you turned on the television and saw you were the most wanted terrorist in the country? Doll spends the night with an attractive stranger and the next morning finds herself a prime suspect in the investigation of an attempted terrorist attack. In five days her life unravels as both the media and various governmental agencies whip the community into a frenzy of fear leaving her no way to tell her side of the story. Timely and frighteningly real.
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz (Simon & Schuster, $25.00) – the first in a new series featuring Izzy Spellman, private investigator with her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Working for family has its advantages and disadvantages, a fact Izzy knows all too well. They tend to bring their work home. They snoop on each other. They tail each other. They blackmail each other. They wiretap each other. And they start at an early age, as is evidenced by her fourteen year old sister, Rae, who is addicted to “recreational surveillance”. After Izzy’s parents hire Rae to follow her (to determine the identity of her new boyfriend) she snaps and decides to get out of the family business. Easier said than done….
The Blade Itself by Marcus Sakey (St. Martins, $22.95) – answers the question “how far would you go to protect everything you love?” brilliantly! Danny and his best friend Evan spent their youth knocking over pawnshops and liquor stores until a job went horribly wrong and Evan gets caught and sent to prison. Danny turns his life around and settles into a “normal” life – a legitimate job and a long-term girlfriend. By all accounts he’s a success. At which point, Evan re-enters his life, newly released from prison, having served his time without dropping Danny’s name and believing Danny owes him big time. A debut novel that explores the depths of friendship, the ugliness of revenge and proves that the more you have, the more you have to lose.
Stealing the Dragon by Tim Maleeny (Midnight Ink, $14.95) – the debut of a new series featuring private investigator Cape Weathers and his partner, Sally, who also happens to be a professional assassin trained in the Orient. Cape is investigating the murders of the crew of a container ship smuggling Chinese refugees, a job that looks suspiciously like one that might have been done by his partner who has, oddly enough, gone missing. Moving between the back alleys of San Francisco and the secret societies of Hong Kong’s criminal underworld Maleeny tells a story that is both fast paced, action packed and character driven with humor & style. Can’t wait for the next one ~ Beating the Babushka (Midnight Ink, $14.95), due out this fall! (Signing October 13th.)
– In no particular order:
Laura Lippman, What the Dead Know (HarperCollins, $24.95) The impact of family history and personal choices intrigue me. This story has such an interesting family twist and trauma. I also appreciate writing in which you get to feel the characters struggle.
John Hart, King of Lies (St. Martins, $6.99) Down River (Oct. St. Martins, $24.95) The genteel writing, lush settings, fallible characters and complex story twists have made me fall in love with this author. Both books are great, the King of Lies is his debut which won an Edgar.
Derek Nikitas, Pyres (Oct. St. Martins, $24.95) Okay, white trash, gruesome situations, does she escape? Yikes! What else could one want in a good mystery? I loved the intensity of this story.
Alice Sebold, The Almost Moon (Oct. Little Brown, $24.95) Nowhere near as gentle as The LovelyBones, however… If you can get past the horrific details of her mother’s murder, the story is a gripping study of the relationship between mothers and daughters.
Laura Benedict, Isabella Moon (Sept. Ballantine, $24.95) Pure enjoyable read, soap opera mystery. Full of everything one wants in a can’t-put-down story. Plus ghosts!
Suzanne Brockman – Multitude of Titles. Just discovered this author on my summer vacation. Excellent, high paced, action, trash! Sex! Drama! Perfect beach books.
As part of my low-budget effort to promote Bad Monkeys, I have set up a "super-secret" web site at www.areyouabadmonkey.com. In addition to info about the book, there's a puzzle contest which, surprisingly, no one has solved yet. Something tells me Seattle Mystery Bookshop customers should have an edge on this, so please, give it a try...
Well, this is my first foray into the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and as promised it was a lovely experience. Fran could not have been more of a star, convincing all and sundry who passed by the table (or really, just by the store) that they absolutely HAD to purchase a copy of my debut thriller THE TUNNELS, since it was sure to be a collector's item someday. Thanks to her efforts the stacks in front of me rapidly dissipated until there was nary a copy in the store, always a wonderful turn of events. Love the overstuffed armchair, too- a pleasant change of pace from the typical Stalin-esque formica monstrosities or, God forbid, podiums with no seating available whatsoever. As I approach the close of my whirlwind tour, it was nice to settle into the plush comfort of this amazing, wonderful store.
Can't wait to come back next summer when BONEYARD is released.
In a world of shrinking independent book stores, I'm always delighted to come to Seattle Mystery where the welcome is warm, the atmosphere is like family (then again, maybe that's not always a compliment...), and YES! They not only know my name, but they can spell it!!! That sure beats being called Mrs. Mayhem as some idiot once mispronounced my last name. About the same time that happened, my sister-in-law was addressed as Mrs. Maytime. The difference, I suppose, is in our personalities...
It is great to be at Seattle Mystery Bookshop once again to promote my latest Thomas Martindale Mystery, Descent Into Madness. (I should add that It is not an autobiograpahy!) It solves the cliffhanger ending of my last mystery, Searching for Murder. My protagonist is a college professor who solves crimes on the side. In this book, he is on the trail of the killer of a good friend. The search takes him to an abandoned sanitarium in Oregon's Coast Range filled with bats, rats, cobwebs, and a Mexican drug gang.
Before I go into this buisness, I thought all I had to do was write the books and they would magically disappear from bookstore shelves. That was the tip of the proverbial iceberg. But, I have learned to love the promoting because it provides the chance to meet readers and bookstore people. It is fun and sure beats spending time alone at my computer.
Books in my series are: Murder at Yaquina Head, Dead Whales Tell No Tales, Lights, Camera,Murder!" and Murder Below Zero. My Web site is: www.martindalemysteries.com.
Last summer in the midst of a book tour in Georgia, my husband and I promised our two boys that we'll get them to all 50 states before my oldest son graduates high school in 2013. Seemed like a great idea at the time...maybe it was all that heat...or all those peach mojitos...
Anyway, we never break promises so here we are this summer, on the first leg of our trip right here in Seattle, with Oregon just behind us and Alaska straight ahead. Along the way I'm researching an upcoming thriller, DYING LIGHT, the sequel to next year's DYING BREATH (Zebra May 2008), a serial killer cat & mouse thriller partially set in the Pacific Northwest.
Here at the Mystery Bookshop, I'm signing copies of DON'T SCREAM, my latest thriller, and having a terrific time learning about Seattle from the staff as my kids spend their entire allowances at the toy shop along the way. None of us has ever visited Washington State before and having been here less than 24 hours, we're already trying to figure out when we can come back!
Thanks, Mystery Bookshop gang, for the enthusiasm and hospitality! I hope my readers will keep an eye out for AWAKENING, the launch title of my new Young Adult Paranormal series, LILY DALE, in just two weeks from Walker Books.
Always a pleasure to come to Seattle - it wasn't raining this time which was a shame as it reminds me of home. Still, the coffee is always excellent and the welcome superb - I also notice you have a wonderfully sinuous light rail snaking around the freeway from the airport - top idea - let's hope other US cities have a similar idea..
Check out my website for future apperances in the US on tour, and note that we have the 2nd Fforde Ffiesta next year in Swindon, UK - a weekend of high-jinx loosely based around my books.
I trust you enjoy the latest Thursday Next book, and if you hadn't heard, The Fourth Bear is now out in paperback.