My Review of the New Jack Reacher Novel

Although Lee Child is listed as co-author of “The Sentinel,” the 25th thriller in the Jack Reacher series, the book was largely written by his brother Andrew Grant, who has assumed responsibility for continuing the popular Reacher franchise.

This time, Reacher foils a Russian plot to subvert the upcoming national election. Fans of the series will be pleased to learn that the non-stop action is as propulsive, as ever.

To read the full text of my review for the Associated Press, please click here.

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My Wife Patricia Smith and I Interviewed About Our Literary Partnership.

Check out this video of my brilliant wife Patricia Smith and I being interviewed about our literary partnership, with each of us reading a bit of our work. Just click here.

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Patricia Smith Performing with the Benjamin Boone jazz band

Yes, that’s my brilliant wife Patricia Smith performing with the Benjamin Boone jazz band. The cut is from his new album, “The Poets are Gathering.”

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Mike Lupica’s First Jesse Stone Novel Disappoints.

Mike Lupica has been entrusted with continuing the main characters in two of the enormously popular and profitable crime fiction series started by the late Robert B. Parker. In his first two attempts, well-plotted yarns featuring Boston private eye Sunny Randall, he successfully mimicked Parker’s distinctive prose style characterized by ironic dialogue and short sentences that jitterbug across the page.

But Robert B. Parker’s Fool’s Paradise, Lupica’s first attempt at a Jesse Stone novel, gets off to an agonizingly snow start, employs one of the most over-used tropes in crime fiction, and strays from Parker’s style with a lot of long, discursive paragraphs.  The end result is an unexpected disappointment.

You can find the full text of my review for The Associated Press by clicking here.

 

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My Review of Spencer Kope’s New Thriller, “Shadows of the Dead”

In Shadows of the Dead, the third thriller in Spencer Kope’s “Special Tracking Unit” series, a bound woman is discovered in the trunk of a car. After questioning its deranged driver, the FBI realizes there are more victims out there and sets out to track them down.

Kope made a risky choice by giving his hero, Magnus “Steps” Craig, what amounts to a comic-book superpower because fans of police procedurals tend to get exasperated when police procedure isn’t accurately portrayed. However, they are likely to admire the story’s twists and turns and the author’s chatty writing style.

For the full text of my review for The Associated Press, please click here.

 

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My Review of T. Jefferson Parker’s Latest Roland Ford Detective Novel

With each new book in T. Jefferson Parker’s series featuring San Diego private detective Roland Ford, the less the yarns resemble private eye novels and the more they bring to mind apocalyptic James Bond thrillers.

Fans of detective stories are likely to prefer the first Roland novel, The Room of White Fire (2017), over the fourth and latest installment, The She Vanishes, but apocalyptic conspiracies involving powerful forces fit the current national mood, and Parker certainly has the writing chops to pull this sort of thing off.

For the full text of my review for The Associated Press, please click here.

 

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My Review of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s “First to Lie”

The first liar we meet in Hank Phillippi Ryan’s The First to Lie is Nora, a pharmaceutical representative whose job is to push a drug that can increase fertility in women who have difficulty conceiving.

But once we meet the other characters including Ellie–an investigative reporter who thinks Monifan causes permanent infertility in some patients–the reader realizes that nearly all of them are lying about something and that some them are not who they pretend to be.

As Ellie’s investigation reaches a climax, the identities and motives of the characters are revealed in a series of improbable twists, some of which readers nevertheless are likely to see coming. Ryan holds the tale together most of the way with her fine prose and an uncanny ability to keep all the balls in the air, but readers are likely to find the last few twists difficult to swallow.

For the full text of my review for The Associated Press, please click here.

 

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A Tribute to the Great James Lee Burke

Fellow writers, including me and my wife, the poet Patricia Smith, congratulate the great James Lee Burke on the publication of his 40th book, A Private Cathedral. Patricia and I appear about 6:43 into the short video that kicks off with Stephen King.

To watch the video, please click here.  

 

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“The Architect” — Patricia Smith’s Stunning Tribute to Little Richard

Little Richard, who died yesterday at age 87, was approaching 60 when my wife Patricia Smith, one of our greatest living poets, wrote this tribute to him. Please give the stunning audio file a listen: https://soundcloud.com/user-975826890/recording48

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A Tribute to The High School Teacher Who Inspired Brian Dennehy

 

 

I met Brian Dennehy, who died today, about 20 years ago when he accepted my invitation to visit my staff at Associated Press headquarters in New York. He did so reluctantly because his dad had worked at the AP, and Brian long harbored resentment about the way his father had been treated there. Just what that was about, I never was able to find out.

While Brian joined us, he was gracious in sharing stories about his experiences, but NOT for print. One of the things he talked about was a football coach and theater teacher who had inspired and encouraged him. He might not have amounted to much, he said, if not for that teacher.

Hey, I said, if the teacher is still living, I’d like to invite him to sit with a reporter to watch one of your Broadway performances.

At first Brian said no. He didn’t want any story about himself, perhaps because he still didn’t quite trust us. You got me wrong, I said. The story won’t be about you. I will be about HIM.

Ok, then, he said, so we set it up. The teacher, Chris Sweeny, sat with one of AP’s best writers, Helen O’Neill, for a performance of “Death of a Salesman.”

To read the lovely story she wrote, please click here.

 

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