Saturday, December 20, 2008


So, another year is almost over. We celebrate holidays based on a strange but workable blend of pagan, ancient and Christian, and other religious traditions and customs. It all seems to go together, at least in Western societies. I’ve lived in a world in which people fought each other over territory, power, economic gain and, for some, even humanitarian reasons. WWII, Korea, Viet Nam, Israel and Palestine, Turkey and Greece, Afghanistan and now Iraq. And one in which we celebrate peace and love in hundreds of unique and different ways.

Now our economy is in deep trouble and the Free Marketers in charge don’t seem to know what to do and they appear to have forgotten the ordinary, regular public, those of us who get up and, when we have a job, go work, pay our taxes and keep the country running.

I had the great good fortune to hear a local vocal group called Rose Ensemble recently. They have a marvelous full blend of voices, rare in so small a group. I recommend their CD. Highly.

Had the rare opportunity to interview Julie Kramer on my TV show. She’s the local writer, former television producer, of the popular STALKING SUSAN. Another recommendation. It’s a fine thriller/mystery.

We sent out a lot of Holiday cards this year. And I’m planning to crank up my mailing list. I still haven’t made the complete switch to email, but if you’d like to get information on my new book from Echelon Press, due out in the Spring of ’09, let me know.

Love Is Murder is upcoming in February, if I can find my way to Chicago through the drifts. Yes, it’s snowing heavily as I type this. Nevertheless, LIM is a fine mystery conference worth attending if you are in the area.

Here’s another review of a book I like and recommend.

By Peter May
ISBN; 0-312-34294-2
St. Martins Minotaur from Thomas Dunne
First US edition, September, 2005
Hard Cover, $24.95
353 pages

Dandy, just dandy. And oh so current. Peter May is a fine writer and he pays close attention to what he’s doing in this novel.

Interesting characters. Take Margaret Campbell, an ugly American who learns. She jumps on a chance to go, even unprepared, to China to lecture on criminal forensics. She’s a pathologist fleeing personal troubles back in Chicago. Take Li Yan, an up-and-coming Chinese police lieutenant who so far in his career has lightly walked the fine line of political realities and criminal investigations. They meet when Campbell’s car knocks the police lieutenant off his bicycle on a busy street in Beijing.

He’s a recently promoted detective who suddenly needs her expertise to help him solve the case of a man who apparently has immolated himself in a popular Beijing park. The two are almost immediately at odds, especially since the scientist starts out in a self-centered almost arrogant fugue state. But between them, as they begin to piece together the background of the man who died in the fire, and make their tortuous way through the difficult layers of forensic science and the Chinese political landscape to an diabolical conspiracy, their bond grows. They discover and develop much synchronicity between themselves.

They also discover much danger. This thriller of a novel, while teaching us a great deal about China and cultural relationships, careens pell mell through the story with frightening and exciting twists and turns. An outstanding and unusual novel that deserves a wide audience.

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