"Mirror Image" (Poisoned Pen Press) now at your bookseller's.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

LA Times Festival Of Books

I just got back from signing copies of my new book, From Crime to Crime, at the LA Times Festival of Books at UCLA.

What a crowd of book-lovers, authors, Festival volunteers and food vendors. Pretty impressive gathering, given that the temp hovered around 100 degrees!

So much for the idea that Southern Californians aren't readers, or interested in literature. Some of the most eager attendees gathered around small press booksellers booths, or took a chance on books (and authors) they hadn't heard of.

The most exciting thing about the whole event was how happy, engaged and curious the attendees were. Glad to be among others who loved books. Glad to meet their favorite authors. Glad, I think, that such a festival exists.

I know I am.


cator said...

Cool, good luck on your book, did you get a chance to look around when you weren't signing copies of your book ?
Wondering if you stoped at Mariner Software booth or are acquainted with their writing software Storymill ?

Jimmy D said...

In the recent spate of American murder mysteries involving groups of men (The Dante Club; The Mephisto Club), Dennis Palumbo’s From Crime to Crime describes guys who are much more in line with my tastes—a bunch of middle-aged slobs like me, whose priority at each monthly meeting is the food. And while the literary clues and solutions of Harvard’s Dante Club were beyond me, the basic tales of everyday American crime stories are culled from the headlines.

The premise continues the classic “armchair-detecting” of the great mystery writers, where four men—a lawyer, a psychotherapist, a journalist, and an actor—are presented with a murder case (encountered in their jobs or through associates), and where the “clues” are presented simultaneously to the reader. In theory, the reader should be able to solve the mystery, but most readers will miss that one small detail, that one small nuance of criminal analysis, that we aren’t smart enough to “catch.”

Through the course of each story, the “catch” is provided by Isaac, a peripheral character in the stories initially (the visiting uncle of the psychotherapist’s wife), who quietly sits by and takes in the details, muses on various analyses by the group, and then simply resolves the mystery. Reminiscent of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and others, but without the arrogance of Sherlock Holmes, Isaac’s solutions rely upon a lifetime of “common sense” and experience as a “jack-of-all trades,” rather than solely on the “little gray cells.” And the minute that Isaac sums up the case, the reader is struck by the simplicity of just following the clues, as well as the irritating, “why didn’t I think of that?”

Having Dennis as an old college buddy, it is even more irritating that he can pose problems that I can’t solve. I have no Isaac.

Jim Denova, Ph. D.
Pittsburgh, Pa.