Friday, October 22, 2010
Eclectica, the fine literary magazine, was kind enough to let me interview the always funny Susan DiPlacido for their Oct/Nov 2010 issue. Susan published three novels this year, so there was a lot to talk about. Read the interview here.
My review of her latest, House Money, published by Mundania Press, is below. Check out my review of Lady Luck here.
House Money, reviewed
Susan DiPlacido's latest novel (boy, how many times have I said that this year? Oh, right—three) is a Las Vegas gangster caper mystery, but at heart it is a character study. Protagonist Eva Russo has seen enough murder in her life, and—besides the fact that she can't be a made man in the Mafia even if she wanted to be—wants to pursue her own life outside of the mob. She wants to be known as more than the "boss's daughter."
A budding artist, the book opens with Eva's first art show. But due to the power play of someone (Dave “The Sheik” DeSantis) who works for her father (mob boss Joe Russo), Eva is pulled into the gangster life to revenge her father's murder, and reclaim what is rightfully her family's—namely the Oasis, a Vegas casino. That's the basic plot, but DiPlacido makes it come to life with her dialogue, tension and pacing, and well-rounded characters. She also gives the bad guy (The Sheik) meat to his character so he's not just a cliche; though he's not the sharpest tool in the shed, you can see things from his perspective, and understand why he did what he did. But Eva and her cohorts are smarter as they execute their plan to get the Oasis back in their control.
Saturday, October 09, 2010
Author Andi Rosenthal deftly weaves together past and present in this wonderful debut novel, The Bookseller's Sonnets. Because of its religious plot, people will want to compare it to the Davinci Code; while it does have cinematic potential, as that novel did, it is more multi-layered, modern, and taps in to character, prejudice and identity much more than the Davinci Code; it is more than just a religious mystery. Lead character Jill Levin, a curator at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in present-day Manhattan, receives an anonymous donation. It is a 500-year-old handwritten manuscript that—if it is truly authentic—is the diary of Margaret, the daughter of St. Thomas More. What is written inside has the potential to rock the worlds of both Judaism and Catholicism, but may affect Jill's life even more. Rosenthal's writing is crisp and fluid, and I couldn't wait to get home from work every night and crawl back into this world she created. It is a true page turner.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
This is just incredible, but my baseball/time travel story "The Chambliss Tapes" is the #1 free download on Amazon Kindle's free list, Sports category, and Baseball>Essays & Writing category. Sitting up there at the top along with Stephen King's own baseball story, Blockade Billy, which is the #1 paid download.
Sunday, October 03, 2010
I don't know if this is related to the post below, but Amazon has lowered the price of my novella, The Chambliss Tapes, from 99¢ to FREE. That's right, free! In a little more than two days, it has been downloaded over 500 times! Check it out here. It is currently the #1 free download in the Kindle Sports section.
Friday, October 01, 2010
If you have a Kindle, you should check out The Frugal Kindle. They spotlight highly-rated books under $9. It's a great idea, especially with the battle that has been raging between Amazon and the book publishers—the publishers wanting to price their books at $15, while Amazon wants to keep the prices lower, so more books can be sold. Anyway, The Frugal Kindle featured my comic novel INTO THE SUNSET on Sept. 30. Check it out!