Thoughts of a Young Bookseller

Friday Jul 24 2009
by Michael

Now that I am spending more and more time in the shop and getting a better sense of the genre, I find myself more able to express opinions on the qualities and abilities of our more popular writers.    Even armed with this new level of knowledge, I still find myself feeling quite silly when a great 'new' writer for me proves to be someone whom seemingly everyone else has been reading for decades.  

With that in mind, I thought that I would write about two authors, one who is actually new to the shop, and one which is only new to me, and may either be new to you, or so old that you may have forgotten about them.  

Chris Ewan has recently released his first novel, entitled The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam.  Harkening back to and, in fact, acknowledging Lawrence Block's 'Burglar who' series Ewan has created a delightful character in Charlie Howard.  Charlie Howard is the writer of a series of suspense thrillers starring a burglar named Faulks, who is based in no small part on Howard, a burglar himself.  Set, obviously enough, in Amsterdam, it harkens back to what made the early novels featuring Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr so enjoyable: well-paced, self-effacing, and funny without being silly.  This is definitely a book for those of us who prefer capers to hard crime, and charming criminals to grim detectives.

Originally, I intended to speak more to Block, who, as a Grandmaster of the Mystery Writer's Guild, has no end of series which I could discuss and have enjoyed.  However, after on a whim picking up the first in a very different series, and staying up all night to read it, I thought I would write about it instead.

Jonathon Gash, like Lawrence Block is no stranger to the majority of you.  But when I picked up The Judas Pair, the first in the Lovejoy series, I was enthralled, not so much by the mystery, but by the character and the setting.  Lovejoy, London antique dealer extraordinaire, made famous by Ian McShane's portrayal of him in the BBC series, is such a likeable character, and experiences such a dramatic personal journey throughout the novel that the story, if not the mystery will keep you turning the pages.  What's more, the details offered in the description and nature of the antiques featured in the book are so wonderful on their own, that you get the sense that if Gash wrote Sotheby's catalogues, it would make the bestseller lists.  

I make a point of reading series in order, so I have only started the second Lovejoy book, Gold from Gemini, as this goes to print, but I am already enjoying it immensely.

Like Sian, I now have a mystery e-mail:  Feel free to drop me a message, I look forward to hearing from you.

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