Chuck Greaves is the author of five novels, most recently Tom & Lucky (Bloomsbury), a WSJ “Best Books of 2015” selection and a finalist for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize.
Scott Graham is the National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of eight books, most recently Yellowstone Standoff (Torrey House Press), the third installment in the National Park Mystery Series.
Anne Hillerman sings in ‘Song of the Lion’ (Prose and Cons)
April 7, 2017
Review by Scott Graham
Beloved mystery author Tony Hillerman’s bestselling series, which featured Navajo Nation cops Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, ended with Hillerman’s death in 2008.
Or so his devoted readers thought. There were plenty of groans from Hillerman fans when word came in 2013 that Tony’s daughter Anne, a first-time novelist, was resurrecting her father’s series. But there were plenty of cheers, too. Turns out the cheering fans were right. MORE...
Deadly dozen (Prose and Cons)
March 9, 2017
The cliché that certain crime novels “transcend the genre” is as shopworn as the genre itself can sometimes be. But there’s no disputing that a new generation of crime novelists, many of them women, are rewriting the rules and bringing unprecedented levels of emotional nuance, depth of character, and linguistic elegance to a literary form whose most celebrated practitioners too often depend upon formula and rote. Evoking the works of Ruth Rendell, Kate Atkinson, and Laura Lippman, these page-turning novels are as much driven by the inner workings of their characters and the complexities of their relationships as by standard tropes of the three-act plot structure. MORE..
Winter’s Tales (Prose and Cons)
January 9, 2017
Norse Mythology, Gaiman’s 12th novel following such mega-bestsellers as American Gods and The Ocean at the End of the Lane, is chockablock with gods and dwarfs, ogres and trolls, monsters and giants. It spans the eons between the frozen mist world from which all life began and Ragnarok, the final, flaming battle between the forces of good and evil. MORE...
Time in a bottle (Prose and Cons)
November 10, 2016
In The Terranauts, his 16th novel to date, Boyle uses the real-life Biosphere 2 vivarium project of the 1990s as the basis for a compelling and thought-provoking examination of the frailties of human nature.
When first we meet Dawn Chapman, Ramsay Roothoorp, and Linda Ryu, they are three of the 16 finalists vying to become part of an eight-person team that will live for two years inside the Ecosphere, a domed, self-sustaining environment in the Arizona desert that’s a melding of Big Science technology and Big Top showmanship. The brainchild of flamboyant eco-visionary Jeremiah Reed, the Ecosphere is engineered (with rainforest, savanna, desert, ocean, and marshland biomes) to support its inhabitants physically while supporting itself financially from their relentless exhibition to the media and the ticket-buying public.
The final eight – four men and four women – are chosen not just for their technical expertise, but also for their telegenic qualities and their perceived ability to withstand the psychological stresses of extended, close-quarters isolation. But tensions arise from the outset when Dawn and Ramsay are selected for the mission while Linda – Dawn’s avowed best friend – is not. These three narrators then chronicle the socalled Terranauts’ progress in alternating firstperson chapters as what begin as petty jealousies soon metastasize into profound interpersonal dysfunction – think Peyton Place meets Ecotopia with an unhealthy (and winking) dollop of Lord of the Flies. MORE....
If you remember the ’60s. . . Prose and Cons
September 7, 2016
Nathan Hill’s sprawling debut novel, is a Chicago college professor with a past that’s as murky to him as his future. Samuel, whose mother abandoned him at age 11, medicates the stress of his daily existence with alarmingly large doses of online gaming while contending with the likes of Laura Pottsdam, a conniving student intent on getting him fired, and Guy Periwinkle, a New York book publisher threatening suit over Samuel’s failure to deliver a long-overdue manuscript. MORE...
O’Nan’s latest is slender but powerful (Prose and Cons)
August 5th 2016
City of Secrets is at once a riveting historical thriller based on true events in the Middle East, and a solemn meditation on humanity—in this case, the search for purpose, any purpose, in the wake of unspeakable evil. O’Nan’s combination of a thriller plot with the intense moral struggle of his lead character results in an engrossing reading experience, and a book readers likely will find themselves placing in the hands of others with the admonition that they, too, must experience it. MORE...
An epic chopping spree (Prose and Cons)
July 8th 2016
Proulx’s latest novel Barkskins ($32, from Scribner) – her most ambitious to date – is a sweeping, multi-generational saga of paradise lost, chronicling as it does the systematic deforestation of the New World. That saga begins in 1693 with the arrival in New France of two indentured servants, René Sel and Charles Duquet. “Here grew hugeous trees of a size not seen in the old country for hundreds of years,” observes Sel upon first sighting “evergreens taller than cathedrals, cloud-piercing spruce and hemlock.” MORE...
‘Cutting’ local water (Prose and Cons)
June 2nd 2016
With their futuristic, otherworldly settings, science fiction novels aren’t generally meant to strike close to home. For residents of the Four Corners area, however, acclaimed western Colorado author Paolo Bacigalupi’s best-selling, green sci-fi novel,The Water Knife, does just that.
The Water Knife is set in a climate-change- wracked Four Corners of the not-too-distant future. Bacigalupi, raised in Paonia, envisions our corner of the world as a rainless region where a crooked Las Vegas cartel has wrested control of the Colorado River’s water flow for the benefit of themselves and their cronies, with predictably grim results for everyone else. MORE...