Saturday, March 10, 2018

Two audiobook quirks, one that works

My latest report from the world of audiobooks concerns an author who appears to confuse "concede" and "accede." (At least twice he has had political leaders "concede to" demands.)

The other thing he does is a lot more interesting. The book is a history of the Habsburg Empire, and it naturally mentions cities that have names in German and one or more Slavic languages. Many books of history handle such matters of nomenclature with a prefatory note in which the author presents the problem, then explains why he or she has chosen to use one name or the other.

This author, on the other hand, almost always gives both or even all three names of a city every time he mentions it. This must be obtrusive on the page, and it's almost maddeningly disruptive when one has to hear someone reading it. And yet, many hours into the book, while the violence this does to the rhythm of the reading remains, it begins to drive home the multiethnic character of the empire in question. This is of particular interest given the various types of nationalism and regionalism that came into play in Habsburg territories in 19th century. So I grudgingly concede (note my proper use of that word, author) that the device is effective.

(The book is The Habsburg Empire: A New History. The author is Pieter M. Judson. The audiobook reader/narrator is Michael Page.)

© Peter Rozovsky 2018

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More New York crime seen

This time it was (from left) Ed Aymar, Jenny Milchman, Angel Colón, and Hilary Davidson stopping in at Mysterious Bookshop to talk about The Night of the Flood, a novel to which they and a bunch more authors contributed.

All photos by Peter Rozovsky for Detectives Beyond Borders
They talked about the book, the story behind it, the issues it embraces, and the chords it struck with them. Colón and Davidson were especially compelling and, as was the case when Scott Adlerberg touted his new novel at Mysterious not long ago, authors talking can be even better than authors reading when it comes to making a case that you ought to buy their books.
There's more to New York than crime writers. The city is also rife with picturesque precipitation, and its ethnic diversity is nearly as great as Toronto's.

© Peter Rozovsky 2018

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Thursday, March 08, 2018

More crime in New York

Alison Gaylin. Photos by Peter
Rozovsky for Detectives Beyond
Another day, another crime fiction event at Mysterious Bookshop. This time it was Alison Gaylin talking about her new novel If I Die Tonight on Tuesday with Megan Abbott for a crowd that included Sarah Weinman and other luminaries I'd have had a chance to talk to if I hadn't had to get back to work.

Elsewhere, well, from the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side, New York is just a fine place to do some shooting. And let me tell you: The hotels up there are nicer than the ones down here.

© Peter Rozovsky 2018

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Monday, March 05, 2018

Cavanagh, McKinty, and Child at the Mysterious Bookshop

Lee Child, Steve Cavanagh. Photos by Peter Rozovsky for
Detectives Beyond Borders.
Steve Cavanagh is a lawyer in Northern Ireland who sets his legal thrillers in New York because the U.K. legal system, which divides a lawyer's job into the two professions of barrister and solicitor, would force him to create two protagonists, and besides, who could take seriously a hero in a white powdered wig?

That's what Steve said, at least, and if he was having his audience (Friday, at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York) on a bit, that would be thoroughly in keeping with the sort of fun and misdirection that he says characterizes great courtroom advocates.  Such lawyers, Steve said, know just how to hold the room's attention and when to misdirect it. It may help if you know that Steve's protagonist, the irrepressible Eddie Flynn, star of The Defence (The Defense in the U.S.), The Plea, and The Liar, is a con man turned lawyer, and the type of lawyer I'd want on a my side even if he sometimes sleeps in his clothes, tiptoes along high ledges, or works with a bomb attached to his body.

"Is there anything you have thought about having Eddie do but then rejected as too wild even for him?" I asked.

"No," Steve said, and if you suspect from this that the Eddie Flynn novels are fun, you're right.
Steve Cavanagh, Adrian McKinty
Cavanagh appeared with Lee Child at the event, and the audience included Adrian McKinty, in downtown Manhattan by way of Carrickfergus, Melbourne, and uptown Manhattan. Adrian is a longtime Detective Beyond Borders favorite, an Edgar Award winner, the author of two superb series in addition to a bunch of standalone novels, a self-proclaimed connoisseur of beer, and an erudite boon companion whom it is always a pleasure to see.

© Peter Rozovsky 2018

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

MWAaaaaaaaa! for mystery

Jeff Markowitz, head of the MWA's New York
chapter, who really is as genial as he appears here.
Photo by Peter Rozovsky
I'm not a joiner, but I'm going to make an exception for the Mystery Writers of America, the New York chapter of whose Mix and Mingle brunch I attended Saturday. A good time was had by everyone whose opinion I could verify, and the only glitch was that, thanks to some confusion on the staff's part, I got an extra margarita. 

Here's some of what I learned:

1) Sara Blaedel, Danish crime writer, now lives in New York, knows a lot of stuff, and is good to chat with over brunch.

2) Ben Keller, whom I had not known previously, is a PI and from Louisiana, and what could be cooler background for an author than that? Except that's not even the coolest thing about his career.

It was good to see Charles Salzberg, author, teacher, writing guru, and a generous soul who has channelled some editing work my way; author Chris Knopf, previously unknown to me and apparently a good egg (but what else would you expect from someone who hangs out with Charles Salzberg?); Tim O'Mara; Dru Ann Love, one of those super volunteer-fan-reviewers who are a big part of the glue that holds the crime fiction community together; and other folks whose names I never got but who left me feeling like a hayseed clutching a worn carpet bag and gaping in awe at all the crime-related events going on in this city. And the food was good!

 © Peter Rozovsky 2018

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