Sunday, July 31, 2011

Slacker!

Sorry for my lack of posts last week. I'll try to do better this week. I have gads of reviews that need to be written and posted for you. So many delicious reads out there right now. I hope you're finding great ones to keep you entertained this summer.

I have some fun things to share, today.

First is the site for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. I will be in St. Louis the actual week of the BBAW, but I'm going to try to get posts done for the celebration ahead of time. If you're a blogger, I hope you'll participate as much as you can. If you're not a blogger, you can still participate in the fun by nominating blogs, visiting blogs during the appreciation week and participating in contests. So, check it out. I believe the nominations are open for the next two weeks, so if you plan to do that, you'll want to do it soon.

Next is some cool information from Tyrus Books. I had mentioned that Reed Farrel Coleman's INNOCENT MONSTER e-book was available for free for a limited time, but Tyrus is going to run giveaways of various e-book titles for the rest of the summer. Here is the schedule for that:

Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S. Choi (8/1 – 8/8)
Late Rain by Lynn Kostoff (8/8 – 8/15)
The Wind Knot by John Galligan (8/15 – 8/22)
Untouchable by Scott O'Connor (8/30 – 9/6)

So, be on the lookout for those. I believe it is through Amazon, but I'm not sure if other outlets will have them. You can get the Kindle ap for other devices, though.

There is going to be a Club Read event in Virginia in October: the weekend of the 15th and 16th. Looks like it will be quite an ordeal. You can check out details for that here.

Next is a plug for something I'm doing with xuni author Margaret Coel. Her new book, THE PERFECT SUSPECT, is coming out at the beginning of September and throughout the month of August, we'll be playing "Complete the Newspaper Headline" on Facebook and Twitter. You can get the headline from her FB fan page or if you're following her on Twitter we'll be posting it there. Each day you can complete the headline for an entry in the weekly drawings for signed copies of Margaret's books. I hope you'll play along with us. The more the merrier! (On Twitter, we'll be using #perfectsuspect for the game.)

It's 45 days to Bouchercon!! If you haven't registered, you better get on the ball. We're planning to have a party for the record books, so you need to be there.

Another event to be thinking about is the Murder and Mayhem in Muskego event in November. The line-up of special guests is outstanding! It's a wonderful event. I've been twice now and it's a regular part of my schedule now.

I think that's it for me. Any fun stuff you want to share with the group? Drop it in the comments! Hope you're having a great summer. Happy Reading!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT - John Verdon

First line: "He stood in front of the mirror and smiled with deep satisfaction at his own smiling reflection."

Retired NYC police detective Dave Gurney is battling boredom when he's called on once again to investigate a crime that police are not having luck solving. A young woman, from a very wealthy family, was beheaded on her wedding day. The suspected murderer escaped out a window and hasn't been found. Gurney agrees to commit to two weeks of investigation, knowing his wife is opposed to his becoming involved at all. And it doesn't take long for Gurney to discover that all the players in this game, including the victim, are more than a little off-center.

John Verdon's first novel, THINK OF A NUMBER, was one of my favorite reads of 2010. And all the qualities that made his debut wonderful are present in his sophomore novel, SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT. Those familiar with THINK OF A NUMBER will recognize his still of dual perspectives. While both written in the third person limited, one takes the perspective of the protagonist while the other looks through the eyes of the antagonist. The latter perspective allowing only enough of a picture to intensify the suspense of the novel.

The plot deals with a challenging, complex series of mysteries. The motive for the murder is a mystery, as is the escape of the murderer. As Gurney investigates the individuals tied to the victim, more mysteries arise, weaving a deadly web of motives and means.

Beyond his intriguing plot components, Verdon's created richly, dysfunctional characters. Gurney and his wife struggle to find a life together after retiring to the country. Madeleine Gurney points out that they are in the same geographic location without being together. However, if Gurney turns his back on the puzzles and challenges of police work, as Madeleine would prefer, he finds little satisfaction in life. Their struggles add an extra dimension to the novel.

Verdon has a gift when it comes to creating alluring antagonists. Readers are drawn to the evident evil by the both the mystery and the intellect. Verdon's antagonists are quite cerebral and it's fascinating to delve into the thoughts and rationales of these monsters. Readers will be hard pressed to empathize with the antagonist, but may likely see recognizable sparks or glimmers of familiarity. For after all, how many of us are truly without any evil at all?

SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT offers readers a multitude of challenges. There is a puzzling who-done-it mystery, myriad examples of conflict inviting examination of one's views and beliefs, and Verdon also challenges his reader to step out of the comfort zone, to feel and experience through his imagery:

"A blood-soaked room would slam him in the face. Later, stripped and sanitized, the same room would lay a cold hand on his heart, reminding him that at the center of the universe there was a boundless emptiness. A vacuum with a temperature of absolute zero."

While at times there were details that could have been left out without harm to the story, examples such as this leave impressions that don't easily clear from the brain.

SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT delivers an exciting, challenging and fulfilling reading experience. Verdon has written another smashing crime novel. You don't want to miss it.

SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT is available from Crown Publishers in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-307-71789-4) and on audiobook from Random House Audio, narrated by Scott Brick. My review is part of the SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT blog tour with TLC Book Tours. You can see the entire tour with links to other reviews of the book here.

As part of the blog tour, I am fortunate to be able to give away a copy of SHUT YOUR EYES TIGHT to one lucky reader in the US or Canada. So, if you're as excited about this book as I hope you are, enter to win a copy. I'll take entries through next Wednesday, August 3rd. Just complete the form below for your chance to win. Good luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Middle of the Week Fun!

I have a bunch of odds and ends to share with you and the middle of the week is usually when I need a pick-me-up, so maybe some of these goodies will be your mid-week pick-me-up.


Let's start by announcing some winners to the DOMINANCE book giveaway from Simon and Schuster. The following readers are going to receive a copy of Will Lavender's awesome new puzzle thriller:

  • Carol R from Massachusettes
  • Donna V from Missouri
  • Joyce D from New Jersey

Congrats ladies! And thanks to everyone for participating! Joyce, could you please email me your address. It seems the Google monster ate part of my Google doc and your name and address were part of that section. Thanks!!

Those of you who would still like to try your hand at winning, check out The Drowning Machine where Naomi has been playing a fun game to win great book prizes.

If you didn't see me tweet about this yesterday, you can download a Kindle version of Reed Farrel Coleman's INNOCENT MONSTER for free right now. If you haven't read this and you have a Kindle, GO. DOWNLOAD. NOW!!

If you'd like to hear me talking about blogging, the most wonderful Nicole from Linus's Blanket invited me to be her guest on her podcast "That's How I Blog." You can listen here. You can also find  out about the Jamaican sno-cones!

If you haven't heard yet, Declan Burke is set to release a new book, ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL. I read and reviewed his THE BIG O (be gentle, it was a very early review on the blog). Since I enjoyed THE BIG O, I am looking forward to ABSOLUTE ZERO COOL. This is the description for the book:
Who in their right mind would want to blow up a hospital?
            “Close it down, blow it up – what’s the difference?”
            Billy Karlsson needs to get real. Literally. A hospital porter with a sideline in euthanasia, Billy is a character trapped in the purgatory of an abandoned novel. Deranged by logic, driven beyond sanity, Billy makes his final stand: if killing old people won’t cut the mustard, the whole hospital will have to go up in flames.
            Only his creator can stop him now, the author who abandoned Billy to his half-life limbo, in which Billy schemes to do whatever it takes to get himself published, or be damned . . .
Liberties Press is publishing the book and its launch date is August 10th at its official party at the Gutter Bookshop, Temple Bar, Dublin. Anyone out Dublin way who could cover this event for us?? There is no US release set at this time, but I'll keep you updated. In the meantime, US folks can always secure a copy from The Book Depository (free international shipping!).

Just a reminder that Bouchercon is inching closer. Actually it is now less than TWO MONTHS AWAY!! If you haven't registered yet, you better get to it. And if you have registered, make sure you've also paid for the Anthony Awards Brunch on Sunday. You won't want to miss out on that.

I've made a couple updates to the columns over there on the right side of the blog. I added the widget that you can use to sign up for Shelf Awareness for Readers if you have not already done that. Plus you're entered to win book prizes just by signing up.

I also added the xuni logo that you can use to access the xuni Facebook page. I encourage you to "like" us there as we have some fun stuff coming up in connection with the xuni authors. And we're always sharing news items to keep you as up to date on all the authors as possible. One stop shopping on xuni authors!

I think that's all I have to share today. It's all my wee brain can remember we have to share anyway. Now how about if you share with me? Let me know what you're reading right now and how it is. I'm interested to know what everyone is sticking in their beach bags...or in my case, my work tote.

Hope you're having a great week. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

FUN & GAMES - Duane Swierczski


FIRST LINE: "She discovered Decker Canyon Road by accident, not long after she moved to L.A.

Charlie Hardie is a housesitter. There is no excitement in his life beyond running out of cold beer in the refrigerator, and that's exactly the way he likes it. Charlie has had enough excitement in his past to last several life times and he enjoys the calm of babysitting homes for the wealthy.

However, Duane Swierczski writes crime novels, so Charlie Hardie has to come into contact with crime at some point. That point finds Hardie when he heads out to Los Angeles to cover a job. When he arrives, he finds a famous actress hiding out in the house he's supposed to be inhabiting for the next couple of weeks. The actress is hiding out from a concrete villain; she's hiding out from "them."

As Charlie learns the actress has not escaped the local mental institution and is not completely off her rocker, the fight to stay alive begins.

FUN & GAMES is total madcap and written any other way would not have been my bailiwick at all. But instead I laughed and fell in love with the characters. It was completely entertaining. So what made FUN & GAMES different? The depth of character was hugely instrumental. Madcap often translates into flat characters, but that wasn't the case in FUN & GAMES. Both Lane and Charlie deal with events in their pasts that haunt them and drive their choices in the present. Both characters acknowledge the absurdity of the situation they find themselves in and it's somehow fitting for Los Angeles.

Swierczski's dialogue is priceless. His sense of humor is varied. He doesn't simply use one style of humor. Sometimes it's absurd, sometimes dark, sometimes sarcastic, but his humor mimics his characters more so than himself.

The other factor that made FUN & GAMES different for me was the level of plot. It's an intricate and intelligent plot, not one where I felt as though I was being insulted.

I listened to FUN & GAMES on audio, read by Pete Larkin. Larkin did an incredible job with the dynamics of this novel. He varied the intensity appropriately, did a nice job bringing out the personalities of the various characters and seemed to grasp the humor at every level. I was especially impressed with his depiction of "Man." "Man" is a fascinating character and Larkin brought out her coolness, her determination, and her drive. Larkin also did a grade A job on Charlie in his various states of injury. Sometimes narrators can get carried away with the dramatics and it comes off as over the top. Larkin made the madcap sound realistic and believable.

FUN & GAMES is a perfect example of pairing the right book with the right narrator to result in a fabulous performance. FUN & GAMES also made for a great workout audiobook. The constant action kept me moving at a quick clip. The title doesn't lie. Enjoy a little FUN & GAMES for yourself this summer!

FUN & GAMES is available in trade paper (ISBN: 978-0316133289) from Mulholland Books and on audio from Hachette Audio (ISBN: 978-1611139303).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Blogger: Thomas Kaufman

Last year Thomas Kaufman made his crime fiction debut with the book that won PWA/St. Martin's Best First Private Eye Award, DRINK THE TEA. This summer he is following up with his second Willis Gidney novel, STEAL THE SHOW. The jazz-loving PI is desperate for money...desperate enough to commit a crime?

Thomas Kaufman is here today as part of his blog tour to talk about one of those famous questions all writers encounter: "where do you get your ideas." Tom says it's about more than the ideas, but I'll let him tell you. Please help me welcome, Thomas Kaufman!

When I did my DRINK THE TEA book tour, I drank a lot of tea. I also answered a lot of questions about writing, and by far the most-asked question was, where do you get your ideas? I usually say I have a service in Duluth that emails me ideas once a month.

You'd be amazed at how many people come up afterwards and ask for the name of that company.

But having an idea is not the same thing as writing a book. I can say I have this great idea -- doing ROMEO AND JULIETTE as New York gangs in the 1950's. Nice idea, but it's a long stretch from there to WEST SIDE STORY, right?

Similarly, the newspaper is filled with story ideas. But unless the story grabs you, as a writer, unless it makes you think, then it's just an idea.

The genesis of DRINK THE TEA was an incident that happened in a restaurant. I was with some friends, and one of the young professionals at the table, who was a Mexican-American woman, spoke in a cruel and nasty way to the Mexican-American waitress, who had done nothing wrong.

Later, I thought a lot about this. I mean, why would someone act that way? Not only that, but feel they were completely right and justified in doing so? My guess is that, for some reason, things felt wrong to the young professional, out of balance somehow. By trashing the waitress, the other woman was trying to restore balance in her world.

My new book is STEAL THE SHOW, and what got me interested in writing it was something a friend told me – he was working for a company that designs and manufactures a piece of consumer electronics gear. Three people owned the company: a young man who was the designer, his father, and another man.

My friend told me the son got squeezed out of the company – by his father! This intrigued me. Then my friend said that the son –who had designed the gear in the first place -- had signed a non-compete clause. So for the next three years (the duration of his non-compete), the son was making his own version of that same piece of electronics gear. The son was going to use it to drive his father out of business.

Interesting family dynamic, right?

It was for me, and that's how STEAL THE SHOW got started. Now, I had never met any of the people involved, but I didn't have to. All I had to do was create the characters I needed. Also, I try to keep the reader guessing as to the son's true intentions.

Another idea in STEAL THE SHOW is the use of encrypted digital satellites to distribute motion pictures. About 25% of US movie theaters now use digital projection (and have discarded their 35mm projectors). For a long time, Hollywood studios have looked for a different way of getting their movies into theaters. Because I work in the film business, I found this was interesting. So it became part of my story, the technology that the son was so good at.

Okay, now it's my turn to ask a question: Have you ever read a book, and couldn't get into it because the characters left you flat?

I've started more books than I've finished for that very reason. And one of the things people told me about DRINK THE TEA was that they loved the private eye, Willis Gidney. So I wanted to make sure the Gidney fans got their money's worth with STEAL THE SHOW. But how to do that?

The answer was about two feet tall and twenty months old – Sarah, the African American baby that Willis Gidney saves in DRINK THE TEA. At the end of that book, the cops take her away from Gidney.

While I was writing DRINK THE TEA, the Washington Post ran a series of articles about DC and its system of juvenile justice. So I interviewed the two reporters who had written the articles.

In other words, I found an idea that was too interesting to let go of. So I didn't. In the new book, Gidney is looking to adopt this child. But DC Adoptive Services, in the form of case worker from hell Florence Walters, doesn't see an unmarried PI as ideal parent material.

So Gidney has to hire lawyers, commit felonies, lie, cheat, and generally hang himself out to dry, all to help this girl. And I can hear you ask, why does Gidney do all of this?

Because he went through DC foster care himself. He barely survived it. So when he looks at Sarah, he can't quite bring himself to walk away from her. Plus, DC is overrun with kids needing homes. If he doesn't try to get Sarah out of there, no one else will.

I liked this because it dovetailed with what I knew about Gidney. This kind of story also provided multiple level of conflict. And conflict, as we know, is the medium through which story is told.

So while ideas are important, just about anything can serve as the jumping off point for a book.

Even if you're from Duluth.

Thomas Kaufman is an Emmy-winning director/cameraman who also writes mysteries. His first book, DRINK THE TEA, won the PWA/St Martin's Press Competition for Best First Novel. His second book, STEAL THE SHOW, released this month. His blog tour will continue at The Rap Sheet and Writers Read.

Friday, July 15, 2011

CENTURIES OF JUNE - Keith Donohue

First line: "We all fall down."

Centuries of June opens with a man bleeding out on his bathroom floor. He has a hole in his head and doesn't know how he ended up in this predicament. With the help of a man he believes to be his father he tries to backtrack and figure out exactly what transpired to bring him to the bathroom floor. However, in his efforts to recollect, he is interrupted by a series of women who arrive and share their personal stories; their stories of how they met their demises. The stories span centuries, but the time in the house remains 4:52 am, and the only thing in the man's house that seems to be anywhere near normal is his cat.

Centuries of June is quite different from my normal reading fair, and I must admit that I was apprehensive about reading it. However, it didn't take long for Donohue to hook me in this humorous, zany plot. Mixed with the humor are wonderful rich tales of the experiences of women through time: exploration of the New World, witch trials, slavery. Their stories remind us of the struggles they endured and their wills to prevail.

There are elements of the book that can be a tad racy, but not to the level that I would classify this as anything of a romance, but for those sensitive to such topics, there may be some passages that could be construed as offensive.

For me the most captivating mystery about this book was the fact that absurd humor is usually not my bailiwick, but I was drawn in and intrigued by it. Why does this entire plot transpire in the man's bathroom? No one finds it odd that no time is passing? These oddities simply added to the mystique and built, not so much suspense, but curiosity.

The pace of this novel is slow to match the tone and plot. The reader is viewing the events through the eyes of the man from the bathroom floor.

For me, I was transfixed, turning pages with puzzlement and wonder. Where exactly is Donohue taking this? I know I must find out.

Centuries of June is available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-307-45028-9) from Crown Publishers and on unabridged audio from Random House Audio, narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Mark Bramhall.

And my review of Centuries of June is part of the TLC book blog tour for the book. You can find more bloggers included in the tour here. And you can learn more about Keith Donohue and Centuries of June at Keith's website.   

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

YOU'RE NEXT - Gregg Hurwitz

One of the books I have been pushing on everyone who asks...and some who don't...is Gregg Hurwitz's new thriller YOU'RE NEXT. I reviewed this one for Shelf Awareness and am reposting it here with their permission. This book will most definitely be on my favorite reads list for 2011. It's incredible. Hope you enjoy.

First line: "The four-year-old boy stirs in the backseat of the station wagon, his body little more than a bump beneath the blanket draped over him, his hip sore where the seat belt's buckle presses into it."

Gregg Hurwitz, author of The Crime Writer and They’re Watching, takes his fast-paced, action-packed writing to a new level in You’re Next. Alternating between past and present, Hurwitz reveals the history of Michael, whose father abandoned him on a playground at the age of four. Michael fights for everything he achieves by adulthood, so when that life is threatened, he won’t go down without a fight.

Readers may not notice immediately, but Hurwitz’s creative manipulation of sentence structure and language works to build the novel’s tone, its pacing and even its characters. Hurwitz is acutely aware how much the simplest of details can alter a plot, so he stealthily makes every last one count.

In the end, however, authentic character relationships charge this electrifying thriller. The themes and plot are built on the relationships, and the characters are defined by their relationships. It’s Hurwitz’s ability to illustrate the potency of these human connections that will make readers laugh, cry and stay up far past their bed times.

You’re Next is Gregg Hurwitz’s finest work to date. His passion shines through in tight plotting, witty dialogue, and emotional imagery. Hurwitz goes beyond current issues and examines the very heart of human issues. He is not just a writer for those who appreciate crime fiction or thriller novels, he’s an artist for those who appreciate superior writing.

Step right up and experience the phenomenon that is Gregg Hurwitz. You’re next.

You're Next is available in hardcover cover St. Martin's Press (ISBN: 978-0312534912) and on audio from Brilliance Audio (ISBN: 978-1-4233-8097-9), narrated by Scott Brick.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A DOMINANCE Giveaway

I'm very excited to announce the new contest I have to offer readers. I'm excited because I'M excited to read this book. DOMINANCE is the new puzzle thriller from Will Lavender. You can read about it here. And you can check out Will's website here. And this is a great review from The New York Times. If you're a fan of psychological thrillers, I don't know how you couldn't be excited about this book.

The folks at Simon & Schuster were nice enough to offer me three copies to give away to you three readers, so you know the drill. Just complete the form below. I'll take entries through Sunday, July17th, and you must be residents of US or Canada to enter. If you have any questions, pop me an email. GOOD LUCK!!

Contests, Contests Everywhere

O.k., first of all, I have some winners to announce. Let's take care of those.

For the Hachette Audio final giveaway, we have the following winners:

Jennifer C (Literate House Wife) wins STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG.
Susan B wins NOW YOU SEE HER
Paul P wins THE LINCOLN LAWYER
Lisa G wins TABLOID CITY
Linda R wins THE FIFTH WITNESS
Dary O wins THE FIFTH WITNESS
Steve W wins THE FIFTH WITNESS

Congratulations to those winners. I'll be getting your audiobooks out in the mail this week.

And our second contest was for Karin Slaughter's FALLEN from the generous folks at AudioGo. The following six folks won those prizes:

John T
Anne F
Karen B
Alison M
Gail C
Nancy H

And congratulations to those winners! Again, I'll get your audiobooks out in the mail this week. Thanks so much for participating!! Enjoy your audiobooks...happy listening!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

LONG GONE - Alafair Burke

My review of LONG GONE is showing up here a little late because I was fortunate enough to be accepted as a reviewer for the new Shelf Awareness for Consumers and LONG GONE was my first review for them. It appeared in last Tuesday's edition as the Starred Review. I'm thrilled as I definitely felt it was a starred-worthy book. So, now with Shelf Awareness's permission, I am re-printing my review here. I hope you enjoy it.

First line: "Alice Humphrey knew the kiss would ruin everything."

In her first stand alone novel, Alafair Burke, author of 212 and Angel’s Tip, moves out of the law enforcement realm and into the experiences of a privileged young woman trying to make a name for herself without her family’s money or influence. When Alice Humphrey lands the job of her dreams, she quickly and painfully learns that appearances can be deceiving…and deadly.

Burke took a huge risk leaving the safety of an institution she knows intimately and a sub-genre she’s well versed in for a psychological thriller in the world of the arts. But her risk paid off in spades. Burke has continued to expand her skills with each novel and Long Gone is an exceptional exhibit of her overall writing prowess.

Long Gone deftly navigates between alternating points of view: male/female, teen/adult, detective/civilian, privileged/middle class. Every character has a dimension and richness befitting his/her role. The novel also displays one of Burke’s strengths regardless of what book she’s writing, the ability to bring New York City to life on the page.

In the thriller genre, more so than others, plot plays a vital role. Burke didn’t forget; she created a series of events containing social issues wrapped in well-timed plot twists that not only keep the reader on his/her toes, but quickly turning the pages to find the resolution.

Combine crisp dialogue, laced with Burke’s signature wit, lean prose infused with pop culture references and a pace that could earn Burke a citation for excessive speed and the result is Long Gone. Whether you’ve experienced Burke’s work before, Long Gone is a book you won’t want to miss.

Long Gone is available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-061-99918-5) from Harper.

If you have not already signed up to receive Shelf Awareness, I encourage you to do so. You can have it delivered right to you in your email on Tuesdays and Fridays. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THE HONORED DEAD - Joseph Braude

First line: "Muhammad Bari eased out of his bedroom and opened the creaking front door just enough to make his way outside."

THE HONORED DEAD: A Story of Friendship, Murder, and the Search for Truth in the Arab World is the non-fiction account of Joseph Braude's investigation into a murder while he was embedded with Casablanca's National Security. Joseph Braude is a Jewish-American journalist and he was given the file on the murder of a homeless man in a warehouse. He was given the file to illustrate how well the National Security was doing its job. As Braude spoke to people who knew the victim, he discovered Muhammad Bari. Bari believed there was more to know about his friend's murder and he recruited Braude to help him find out exactly what happened.

THE HONORED DEAD took some adjustment for me as a reader because I'm typically a fiction reader these days. I quickly remembered that reading non-fiction is a much slower endeavor for me. While THE HONORED DEAD reads somewhat like a murder mystery, it still exhibits elements of non-fiction, such as deviations to explain cultural information, background information, history, etc. There is also an important layer to the book that deals with Braude's own history, so there are times when he deviates to explain his personal story. All of these items are important to understand the journalist's perspective and the actions of the people involved in his investigation. But it does have the effect of slowing down the reading experience.

This book was at turns fascinating and terrifying. For me it was somewhat of a reminder of my sorely deficient knowledge of world events. And it is still a jolting experience for me to be reminded of how women and underrepresented populations are treated in these cultures. The irony being that the National Security is trying to show Braude how advanced and progressive they are. Change is a very slow process when it involves culture.

THE HONORED DEAD is a book that I believe is very dependent on the reader. I was moved by Braude's vision of the people he encountered. His cultural background mixes Judaism with his mother's Iraqi heritage. Braude is American by birth and studied Near Eastern cultures in college; his best friend was Muslim. This diversity allowed him to have somewhat of a connection with most everyone he encountered. And similarly, his bad experience with law enforcement in the United States influenced his perceptions of law enforcement in Morocco as well. I felt a great deal of empathy for many of the people Braude illustrated. I would be curious to know how someone from the Muslim culture or the Jewish culture would see these same people through these same words. Would Braude's effect be similar? What the reader brings to this book plays a huge role in its tenor.

THE HONORED DEAD is an eye-opening experience in it's portrayal of Morocco and it's people.

THE HONORED DEAD is available in hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-385-52703-3) from Spiegel & Grau.

My review is part of the TLC Blog Tour for THE HONORED DEAD. You can check the site here for additional reviews of this book as well as additional information about Joseph Braude. You can also find out more about Joseph Braude and THE HONORED DEAD at his website.

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