Barbara Rogan Barbara's Comments (member since Apr 29, 2012)

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19126 The trouble with recommending books with unreliable narrators is that you're giving a lot away just by putting the book in that category. That said, I'd strongly recommend "The Pale Blue Eye" by the wonderful Louis Bayard (in checking the title, I noticed it's on sale for $1.99.) My latest, A DANGEROUS FICTION, also qualifies--but since it's mine, I can't recommend it.
Viking giveaway (1 new)
Jul 02, 2013 11:06AM

19126 Hi all,

Viking Books is giving away 20 galleys of my upcoming thriller, A DANGEROUS FICTION. It's the first of a new series featuring literary agent Jo Donovan. Good luck--hope you snag one! Here's the link:
May 27, 2013 05:54AM

19126 Bernie, journalism's different, though, isn't it? People read those stories for the information contained in them, stuff they need to know. There's nothing in a novel anyone NEEDS to know; novels are read for pleasure. And why spend hours and hours voluntarily following the adventures of a character you don't like and care about? Fascination can be a substitute for liking, but most often readers have to care deeply about someone in a novel to invest their time in it.
May 26, 2013 10:53AM

19126 Agree with you, Anthony, there's some of that going around. At the same time, if you ask most female writers, I think most will say there's a critical bias toward male writers, against female; and some of that factors into publishers' unconscious biases as well. So it's a complicated subject.
May 23, 2013 05:28AM

19126 Feliks wrote: "I've got about 400 thrillers/actioners in my Goodreads shelf; its probably the genre I've been involved with longest, man and boy. I've had this same discussion with guy friends of mine (we're all ..."

Feliks wrote: "I've got about 400 thrillers/actioners in my Goodreads shelf; its probably the genre I've been involved with longest, man and boy. I've had this same discussion with guy friends of mine (we're all ..."

Wow, hard to know where to start with this meaty (but wrong, IMO) post.Don't want to get into a "Yes they can," "No they can't" dispute on what women writers can do, so I'll just mention a few who traffic in cruelty: Susanna Moore (IN THE CUT), Joyce Carol Oates, and Patricia Highsmith, off the top of my head. Putting oneself into the heads of characters very different from oneself is the stock in trade of writers, and if the characters need to be cruel or violent, the writer, regardless of gender, will go there. I don't believe there's any part of the human experience unavailable to writers of either sex, though of course some things come more easily than others. Remember Hemingway's version of childbirth in A FAREWELL TO ARMS, which was totally, laugh-out-loud wrong. Imagine a woman at the height of labor who can't stop talking about how much she adores her partner...only a man could write that! But does that mean male writers aren't capable of writing about what you define as the feminine traits?

I don't believe in the whole male-female emotional dichotomy. I think we all have the whole range of emotions inside us, in differing proportions; and that writers who are good enough, regardless of gender, can access those various aspects of themselves to create all sorts of characters.
May 09, 2013 05:39AM

19126 Never heard of Kenneth Fearing but am putting him on my TBR list. Ambler, okay, but wasn't he more of a thriller writer? Graham Greene, now...that's a bit surprising. There's a religious subtext to most of his work that I would have thought took him out of the noir category.
May 07, 2013 06:28AM

19126 Charles wrote: "It's probably futile, but I'd like to make a distinction between noir and hard-boiled, and for The Maltese Falcon being noir, not hard-boiled as everyone says.

The noir detective defends individu..."

A fine distinction. Maybe you could name some noir detective writers. James Cain? Raymond Chandler?
May 01, 2013 05:48AM

19126 Jason, skip puppy; keep reading.
May 01, 2013 05:47AM

19126 I have to say that as a mystery writer as well as reader, I'm encouraged by how many respondents here say they buy books rather than borrow. Love my library and appreciate library sales, but writers have to eat!
James Lee Burke (28 new)
Feb 24, 2013 06:19AM

19126 Michael wrote: "I'm aghast! Nothing but a 2 year-old folder for the Dave Robicheaux series? Certainly, the rich sense of place, depth of characterization and sordid criminal elements would keep Mr. Burke in the ..."

I agree---he's one of the best writers of thrillers/mysteries working today, and one for whom setting matters immensely, as I'm convinced it does in all the great books. Dave himself is a complicated, fully realized character who grows from book to book, without losing his essential self. That's something I'm trying to emulate in the sequel to my own upcoming mystery (A DANGEROUS FICTION, Viking, July 2013), which is the pilot of the first series I've ever written.

I have to admit that I myself less than ecstatic about the later Robichaux books, because there are elements that repeat in a lot of his work (there's always a corrupt rich guy at the heart of the evildoing) and the series began feeling just a bit old to me; maybe that's why he started another series.

What do you like so much about him?
Jul 25, 2012 12:50PM

19126 I did like the ending. I think the sister had the right take on it in the end---I won't be more specific to avoid spoilers. But I thought the end was true to the dynamic of the whole story---and it was certainly (for me) unexpected.

I suspect many who didn't like the end would have liked something a bit more conclusive--to see the world made right, somehow. Something we tend to look for in crime fiction; one of its functions. But this book is up to something else.
Jul 20, 2012 07:32AM

19126 I loved the book, seriously loved it. As a writer myself, I appreciated it on several levels. Flynn made brilliant use of the "unreliable narrator" device. One of her main characters is actually two distinct people, and the other is also full of surprises. The structure of the book, with its two converging time lines, had to be very hard to pull off, but she made it look easy. Her psychopath is one of the most convincing and most chilling I've ever encountered in fiction. And the language is absolutely fresh. Can't recommend this book highly enough.
Jul 09, 2012 05:37AM

19126 Curious coincidence: Craig Johnson and I share both an agent and an editor. I interviewed both on my blog-- I think you might enjoy seeing some of the folks behind the scenes of this successful series.
Jul 05, 2012 07:07AM

19126 Sharon, interesting! I happen to love N.M.---lived in Santa Fe for a few years---and I think the landscape's beautiful...but it really didn't feel like the same setting described in the book, and now I know why.

Anyway, it's nice that the books are getting attention and doing well. We writers need all the help we can get.
Jul 05, 2012 03:57AM

19126 I have to say I agree with Scout---the main actor is sort of a black hole, charisma-wise. I noticed that the scenery in the book seems a lot more spectacular (and meaningful) than the scenery in the tv show---a tribute to the author's descriptive powers.
Jun 24, 2012 07:07AM

19126 Craig Johnson and I share both an agent and an editor, so I picked up his first novel out of curiosity, and I'm enjoying it a lot. Saw the first episode of the series, too, which wasn't as wonderful as the book, IMO. A lot of the humor gets lost in translation. But the setting is gorgeous, and I like a novel where setting actually matters.


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