Friday, August 26, 2011

James Lee Burke- Part One (PEGASUS DESCENDING)

This is the first edition of a six part series of interviews with James Lee Burke. I will begin with our interview done in 2006 when we discussed PEGASUS DESCENDING. (KINDLE) You can read what I wrote about the book in 2006. My feeling that Mr. Burke is an American master have increased. I am nearly finished reading FEAST DAY FOR FOOLS, the new Hack Hackleberry novel (publication date 9/27). FEAST DAYS continues Mr. Burke's string of classic novels. I do not use that term lightly.

I continue to believe that James Lee Burke's body of work has achieved the level of 'classic literature'. His books will be read (and studied) 100 years from now- if we have bookstores. It pains me to think  of reading Mr. Burke's work electronically. If you have not discovered his work do yourself a favor. Buy THE NEON RAIN and get started.

The series will culminate with a live discussion of FEAST DAY FOR FOOLS shortly after its publication.

I will interview George Pelecanos next Friday to discuss THE CUT. I will feature that interview next week.

So go ahead and get started with my discussion with James Lee Burke regarding PEGASUS DESCENDING.  Enjoy!


Week of July 19, 2006 | James Lee Burke
Make no mistake; with PEGASUS DESCENDING Mr. Burke has joined the ranks of our country’s finest authors. We read the classics to learn how authors viewed the era during which they lived. We learn about Russia by reading Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. We read Jane Austen, Ernest Hemmingway, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Eudora Welty for the same reason. 

In a perverse form of serendipity, Dave Robicheaux has emerged as the man who tells us what it’s like to live in the United States in 2006. I normally use my book mark to tell myself where I stopped reading the book I’m involved with. My bookmark got a workout with PEGASUS DESCENDING because I simply had to stop and savor the power of Mr. Burke’s prose on numerous occasions. 

PEGASUS DESCENDING is an important book and deserves to be read. I am often asked who my favorite writer is. Up until Andre Dubus died in 1999 the answer was an easy one. Since his death the answer to that question has changed from time to time. The answer now is James Lee Burke. 
We should all feel lucky to be alive while he is writing at the top of his literary power, and I hope PEGASUS DESCENDING begins making it onto summer reading lists for students. Let’s educate young readers who are old enough to handle the material in Mr. Burke’s novels to read his work. 

We lose a lot of young readers by making them read books they have no interest in. Some of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING are disturbing, there’s no arguing that. I turned on the news after re-reading the novel and what I saw on television disturbed me much more than any of the scenes in PEGASUS DESCENDING.

BLOG HOP! Visit the Blog Hop to find out about other book blogs.  This week's question is

“Non-book-related this week!! Do you have pets?”

My dog Karma is still with me in spirit.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Last Call by James Grippando

My guest is James Grippando, one of my favorite thriller writers. We discuss LAST CALL, featuring Mr. Grippando's popular series character Jack Swyteck

Jack Swyteck is a criminal defense attorney in Miami. Many years ago Swyteck saved Theo Knight's life. Theo had a rough childhood, to put it mildly, but he has turned his life around thanks to Jack Swyteck's help and encouragement. He owns a successful bar in Miami.

One night an escaped convict from Theo's old neighborhood shows up at his bar and asking Theo for help. In return, he will give Theo the name of the man who killed his mother, a murder that took place twenty years ago. Theo refuses to help him, but he ends up becoming pulled into a legal quagmire anyway.

Jack and Theo must work together to solve the puzzle. The people involved in the murder of Theo's mother now have a lot to lose- and they don't want to be caught. LAST CALL is a
brilliant thriller, complete with revelations that you won't soon forget. It's the perfect read for a cold winter night.

James Grippando lives in Florida, where he was a trial lawyer for twelve years. LAST CALL is his fourteenth novel. Enjoy this interview from 2008!



BLOG HOP! Visit the Blog Hop to find out about other book blogs.  This week's question is 
“What’s the LONGEST book you’ve ever read?”
(Note: I’m putting one caveat on this question. You aren’t allowed to say the Bible, Torah, Qur’an, or other religious/spiritual text.)

"Tom: The Unknown Tennessee Williams" by Lyle Leverich 644 pages (Volume 1) 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sandra Brown - Play Dirty

The wayback machine is set to 2007 and an interview I did with Sandra Brown.  Ms. Brown and I discuss PLAY DIRTY, her novel published by Simon & Schuster. 

Griff Burkett, the protagonist of PLAY DIRTY, had it all. He was handsome, he was the star quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, and the fans loved him. He gets involved with the wrong people and ends up throwing it all away. 

PLAY DIRTY is the story of his attempt to put his life together again. Ms. Brown has a worldwide audience of readers and they will love PLAY DIRTY, it has all of the elements of a Sandra Brown novel; great characters, a fast-moving plot with plenty of twists and turns, and a passionate love story.

LISTEN TO the interview


I decided to add a Friday blog so I could participate in a really fun book blogging event that takes place each weekend.  It is called a Blog Hop and introduces readers to new blogs when they follow the Blog Hop link.  I think I may be the only guy participating!  Each week I will answer a book related question. 

BLOG HOP! Visit the Blog Hop to find out about other book blogs.  This week's question is:

“Let’s talk crazy book titles! Highlight one or two (or as many as you like!) titles in your personal collection that have the most interesting titles! If you can’t find any, feel free to find one on the internet!”

Of course these are all on my bookshelf!
The Hummingbird's Daughter- Luis Alberto Urrea
In the Electric Mist With Confederate Dead- James Lee Burke
The Last Good Kiss- James Crumley

Thursday, August 11, 2011

George Pelecanos- Part Two (THE WAY HOME and THE WIRE)

This week I am featuring my second interview with George Pelecanos. We discuss his novel THE WAY HOME. We also discuss his work on the award winning HBO series THE WIRE. I think you'll find our discussion about the collaboration on THE WIRE of interest.

I am featuring Mr. Pelecanos this month because on August 29th the Regan Arthur imprint of Little, Brown will publish THE CUT, a new series written by Pelecanos that introduces a new character, Spero Lucas. THE CUT should bring Mr. Pelecanos the audience he so richly deserves. I'll admit it, I am a huge George Pelecanos fan. I began reading him in the early 90's and I've been a fan ever since.

Great writers have a gift: with Elmore Leonard it's dialogue; with Michael Connelly it's attention to detail; with Anne Tyler it's the characters and her portrayal of Baltimore. Peleconos' gift is the way he integrates music into his stories. He is the master of this.

Go ahead and pre-order THE CUT. You will love it. I will be interviewing Mr. Pelecanos in the next couple of weeks and will feature that interview the week of publication date. In the meantime enjoy this interview that we did in 2009.

LISTEN TO the interview