Sue B's Blog

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The Thieves of Manhattan

Ian Minot is a struggling writer working at the Morningside Coffee diner. Ian works alongside Joseph, a struggling actor, and Faye, an aspiring artist. Of the three, Ian has been the least successful in his career. His Romanian girlfriend Anya, however, is very close to getting her collection of short stories published while Ian continues to get rejection letters. One of the most memorable of these comes from the literary agent Geoff Olden who simply wrote “good luck placing this and all future submissions elsewhere”.

When Faye draws Ian’s attention to a customer they have nicknamed The Confident Man, Ian is appalled to see that he is reading a copy of the recently published memoir “Blade by Blade”. In Ian’s opinion, the book is a “bogus piece of crap”. As it turns out, The Confident Man feels the same way about it. The Confident Man is Jed Roth, a former editor at a very respectable publishing house. Jed left his position at Merrill Books when his decision not to publish “Blade by Blade” was overruled by the owner of Merrill Books. Jed has devised a plan to bring down Merrill Books and agent Geoff Olden and recruits Ian to play a crucial role in his scheme. Ian agrees but soon finds himself in over his head and unsure who to trust.

This is a fun story, full of humor and intrigue, which takes a few shots at the publishing industry along the way. The last few pages contain a glossary of selected terms used throughout the book, all based on literary figures.

August 28, 2010 Posted by | Fiction | , , | Leave a comment

So Cold the River

Once a highly sought after cinematographer, Eric Shaw’s film career is in a downward spiral. He shouldn’t be surprised-punching a famous director in the face will often have that effect. Eric’s personal life isn’t faring much better. He walked out on his wife Claire when he began to feel that she and her father were starting to think of him as a failure. Eric’s gift has always been his innate sense of knowing which pictures or footage would move the audience. His new career is using that gift to make personal memorial videos for funerals, weddings, and other occasions. When the sister of a woman memorialized in one of his videos offers to hire Eric to make a video about her dying father in law, Campbell Bradford, Eric agrees. Armed with his camera and a curious bottle of vintage mineral water that belonged to Bradford, Eric travels to French Lick, Indiana, to begin his project. What he finds there contradicts all he was previously told about Campbell Bradford. This and the fact that the bottle of mineral water he’s been carrying around keeps getting colder and colder to the touch, even as the temperature around him rises, should have been enough to convince Eric that he was heading toward danger. But, alas, Eric plunges ahead and ends up in a fight to save his life and his very soul. This is a fast paced, action packed supernatural thriller with great characters and a very clever plot. I enjoyed this from cover to cover.

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Fiction | Leave a comment

The Gendarme

Emmett Conn is 92 years old. Recently widowed and suffering from a brain tumor, he is plagued with headaches and bad dreams. The dreams come to him like a movie being played out in his mind, scene by scene. They begin to feel more like memories than dreams, but a head injury suffered during WWI left Emmett with very little memory of the war or his life before it. In these dreams Emmett is a Turkish gendarme, a position that one would hold before becoming a soldier. He is known as Ahmet Khan, the name he had before entering the United States. His assignment as a gendarme is to lead a group of Armenian deportees from their homes in Turkey to a camp in Syria. He leads this caravan of sick and dying men, women, and children for several weeks. Most of these deportees, considered a security threat by the Turkish government, die along the way. Though he wishes that it were not true, Emmett soon accepts that these are memories of his past; a past in which he played a terrible role in an almost forgotten genocide. It is also a past of forbidden love and the search for redemption.

This story alternates between Emmett’s life as it was, slowly revealed to him in his dreams, and his life as it is now. A life filled with doctors’ visits, his daughters growing concern for his physical and mental health, and the awful memories that begin to reveal themselves. It is a story of the horrors of war and the dangers of prejudice. It is also a story of forgiveness-of yourself and those who cause you harm. This is a remarkable novel.

August 1, 2010 Posted by | Fiction, Historical Fiction | | Leave a comment