Fiction Archive

My Parents Open Carry - There’s nothing funny about children dying from gunshots --- and, in the last few years, more than 7,000 American kids under 20 do each year. What’s even less funny is

‘A Christmas Carol’ & Beyond: Shorter books, please! - The writer I used to be would be appalled by the writer I have become. A butcher.   Back in the days before you could get credit at Harvard for taking courses that

‘Gatsby,’ F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the Murphys: Amanda Vaill connects the dots - The budget of the movie was $105 million, and as the May 10 opening of Baz Lurhmann’s 3-D adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” approaches, it feels like another $105 million

2182 Kilohertz - I've just read a stunning news item: So much of the Arctic ice cover has disappeared “that a ship could sail unhindered from Europe's most northerly

A Coffin for Dimitrios - Graham Greene: "unquestionably our best thriller writer." John le Carré: “the source on which we all draw." Alfred Hitchcock: “Eric Ambler is a phenomenon.” And perhaps the ultimate endorsement: In the film of

A Dangerous Place - GUEST BUTLER NORA LEVINE owns the literary mystery/thriller corner of this site. That’s my good fortune --- I can’t read everything --- and yours too. Nora introduced us --- well,

A Million Little Pieces - I am old enough to have lost friends to drugs and alcohol addiction.   And I am old enough to have people in my life --- people very

A Sorrow Beyond Dreams - The Sunday edition of the Kärnter Volkszeitung carried the following item under 'Local News': 'In the village of A. (G. township), a housewife, aged 51, committed suicide

A Stranger Like You - Hugh Waters has a problem --- no, Hugh Waters is a problem.  He’s the original nowhere man: dead-end job at an insurance company, childless marriage, gray personality. He took a community

A Visit from the Goon Squad - Jennifer Egan won the National Book Critics Circle Award. Then she added the Pulitzer Prize. You would be entirely forgiven if those awards for “A Visit to the Goon Squad” intimidate you

A Window Opens - In the cookie-cutter women’s crowd pleaser, the heroine is a Superior Being --- a Brainy Beauty and all-around Good Person who must wage a Superwoman battle to achieve wealth and

Abide With Me - Guest Butler Laura Harrington is an award-winning playwright, lyricist and librettist, and the author of Alice Bliss, a novel I love a lot. Her plays, musicals and operas have been

About the Author: A Novel - I like nothing better than to pick up a novel I knew almost nothing about by a writer unknown to me and go nuts for it. John Colapinto’s “About the

After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie - The favorite writer of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is rumored to have been Jean Rhys (1890-1979). If so, that says a lot, for the main character in a novel by Rhys tends to be

Alan Furst: Blood of Victory - Countries need oil for blood, steel for bone, rubber for feet. And in wartime, even more so. Think back to your American History courses. Why did the South lose the

Alan Furst: Dark Voyage - I spent my free moments this week reading my favorite kind of book --- one you can't put down. I read on buses, as I walked, while waiting for friends at

Alan Furst: Mission to Paris - If you have a deadline looming or even a busy week, the absolute last thing you want to do is crack open “Mission to Paris” and think you’re going to

Alan Furst: Spies of the Balkans - It’s a bittersweet day around here when a new Alan Furst novel arrives. On the plus side: I get to spend an entire day reading about 1939 or 1940, generally in

Alan Furst: The Foreign Correspondent - The heroes of international thrillers are usually manly men, built on the John Wayne model. If they have inner lives, they're in flight from them. Women are simply

Alan Furst: The Spies of Warsaw - The “spy” is “an ordinary-looking man, who led a rather ordinary life” --- he's a mid-level engineer at a German ironworks, married, with three children. But as he takes the