December 1, 2016

On Writing: Let’s Look at Transitions

When switching from one scene to another or one chapter to another, the writer’s goal is to maintain the reader’s interest level or even to ramp it up from where the previous scene/chapter left off. To do that some writers, myself included, occasionally fall back on a straight narrative presentation. Here’s an example: Joe wrote 10:59 in the sign-in book even though the clock behind the receptionist said it was 11:03. “I got here on time,” he’d tell his parole officer, “but there was a long line at security.” There hadn’t been a line. He’d overslept and had to walk the ten blocks to the diner where his mother worked to borrow her car and a twenty to pay for […]
November 3, 2016

Two Book Reviews

Son of Hamas by Mosab Hassan Yousef (2010) I was privileged last spring to hear Mosab Hassan Yousef speak about his evolution from an honored place in the “Palestinian” world as the eldest son of one of the founders of the terrorist organization Hamas to an agent of Israel’s Shin Bet intelligence service to Christian refugee in the United States. I chose to read his book because I hungered for more details and a better understanding of his role in helping Israel combat Hamas-inspired terrorism and to better understand the basis of his rejection of Islam and his conversion to Christianity. No doubt many “Palestinians” since the decision 68 years ago by Arab religious and political leaders to attempt to destroy […]
June 29, 2016

Why I Write Thrillers

Ten years ago when I started writing novels if you asked me what genre I planned to write, I would not have said thrillers. Yet from a dozen false starts sitting on my hard drive, I picked a thriller for the first novel I tried to complete. That became The Expendable Man, which some still rate as my best story. And, what is the genre of the story I’m working on today? You guessed it––a thriller. Thrillers are one of the most competitive genres these days in terms of sales and numbers of books published––along with romances and mysteries. Why? What is it that attracts both writers and readers to this genre? I have some ideas. Let’s see if they […]
June 11, 2016

Not Surprising, Most of Richard Russo’s Fools are Men

Everybody’s Fool is the follow-up to Nobody’s Fool, Russo’s 1994 portrait of Donald Sullivan and life in North Bath, New York––a fictional community that is a compilation of Gloversville, where Russo grew up, and Ballston Spa, Saratoga Spring’s step sister. Sully is older now and has been told he needs a defibrillator. He’s also come into some money––his trifecta paid off more than once, then his high school English teacher left her house to him. Unable to work his usual jobs and not needing the money, he pays less attention to his sidekick Rub than the latter would prefer, but still ends most days on a bar stool in his favorite watering hole. While Sully was “nobody’s fool” in the […]
March 26, 2016

Updating My Calendar with Events you may want to know about

On my early morning walk today (if you can call 9 a.m. early), I was surprised at the flowering of so many trees in our development. Spring always surprises me. It’s here already! I guess I’m still used to Albany weather, which is probably two or three weeks behind Maryland’s. Time passes too quickly for me these days. My self-imposed workload never seems to diminish and my dance card for the coming months is getting filled in. Here are the highlights: I’ll be leaving for my first trip to Israel April 5. It will be a two-week adventure. Jude elected to say home. So, I’m traveling with my younger brother, Steve––a great opportunity for us to spend time together since […]
February 8, 2016

A Review of Austin Camacho’s Beyond Blue: Police Procedural with a Twist

In Beyond Blue, Austin Camacho, author of nine previous mysteries, brings a new twist to the police procedural crime genre. Instead of one protagonist, there are six, all of whom work for an organization dedicated to help the NYC police department take care of problems they don’t seem to be able to handle on their own. Funded by the Arab father of a 9/11 victim, Beyond Blue Investigations takes on cases such as an officer who has been undercover for too long and one who is falling apart because his wife is threatening to divorce him. They are also investigating a smuggling operation at JFK and a lawyer who has made a career of out getting crooks off by damaging […]