Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Lineup ~ Book Review and Giveaway


The Lineup: Edited by Otto Penzler

Being someone who has recently delved into the genre of crime stories, we had the opportunity-- thanks to Hachette--to review a copy of this book. The by-line is "The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives". I was quick to volunteer to do the review for this book!

The Lineup editor Otto Penzler opened the doors of The Mysterious Bookstore in 1979. He enjoyed a thriving business until the more recent conglomerate of big chain bookstores began to force the practical extinction of independent book sellers in recent years.

In response to his declining business and these new pressures, Penzler desperately asked his staff for ideas to boost business. They mentioned the original works Penzler commissioned authors to write each year at Christmas as customer gifts, but this would only cost money. In a spurt of 3 a.m. inspiration Penzler woke with an idea "How would it be, I wondered with the optimism that three a.m. can induce, if I asked some of my author friends to write a biography, or profile, of their series character?" His original idea to produce lovely pamphlets of these profiles was too costly but the idea morphed into the creation of limited-edition collector copies which were a huge success. Penzler wanted to share these character backgrounds with a wider audience and thus teamed with Little, Brown to create a compilation!

Penzler has put together a compendium of 22 authors! The authors provide the reader with insights into items such as: how they developed as a writer, who and what was their inspiration, the inside scoop on their detectives, as well as helpful tid-bits to help out budding crime writer wanna-bes!

Take for instance John Connolly's character Charlie Parker. Parker is described as "becoming defined not simply by anger and the desire for revenge, but by his own sufferings. Because he has suffered, he is unwilling to allow others to suffer in turn. It is his capacity for empathy that ultimately ensures he does not destroy himself with selfishness and grief, or allow himself to be destroyed by the man he is hunting, the killer of..."

Robert Crais described Joel Pike as someone who "doesn't give a lot of due to what we call "black-letter law." Pike has a very strict moral and ethical code, but it is a code independent of written statutes."

There is also Alex Delaware who was created by Jonathan Kellerman and described as "a down-to-earth yet dashing fellow. Energetic, confidently masculine, analytical, insightful, hopelessly compassionate, and , most important, addicted to the truth."

Of fascination, were the career paths that the authors have taken before 'making it' in the publishing business as crime writers. One surprisingly began her education with the intention of becoming a dentist. Others stumbled upon it in a more logical sense as they began as journalists, or at least in careers where writing was a big part of what they did.
Now, I do not want to give away all of the 'secrets' here in this review. Not only will the reader of The Lineup be afforded insights into the characters that they have already or may yet grow to love, but their eyes will be opened to the creative process for some amazing writers. What also made the book interesting was the varied way in which the authors have addressed the task put before them by Penzler! This book would make an excellent addition to the library of any full- card-carrying crime fiction aficionado, or to that of a reader with a newly budding interest in the crime fiction genre, opening his/her eyes to the varied and exciting world created by these 22 authors.
REVIEW BY TOM
5 Northern Mama readers will gain the inside scoop on their favourite crime fiction heros and heroines when they win copies of The Lineup!
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Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents. Giveaway closes December 22, 2009 10:00pm CT. Please read Giveaway Rules for further details.

52 comments:

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