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Peter Swirski looks at American crime fiction as an artform that expresses and reflects the social and aesthetic values of its authors and readers. As such he documents the manifold ways in which such authorship and readership are a matter of informed literary choice and not of cultural brainwashing or declining literary standards. Asking, in effect, a series of questions about the nature of genre fiction as art, successive chapters look at American crime writers whose careers throw light on the hazards and rewards of nobrow traffic between popular forms and highbrow aesthetics: Dashiell Hammett, John Grisham, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, Raymond Chandler, Ed McBain, Nelson DeMille, and F.
Fans of Lee Child know well that the muscular star of his bestselling novels, Jack Reacher, is a man of few words—and a lot of action. In Reacher Said Nothing, Andy Martin shadows Child like a literary private eye in a yearlong investigation of what it takes to make fiction’s hottest hero hit the page running. The result is a fascinating, up-close-and-personal look into the world and ways of an expert storyteller’s creative process as he undertakes the writing of the much anticipated twentieth Jack Reacher novel, Make Me.
Fueled by copious mugs of black coffee, Lee Child squares off against the blank page (or, rather, computer screen), eager to follow his wandering imagination in search of a plot worthy of the rough and ready Reacher. While working in fits and starts, fine-tuning sentences, characters, twists and turns, Child plies Martin with anecdotes and insights about the life and times that shaped the man and his methods: from schoolyard scraps and dismal factory jobs to a successful TV production career and the life-changing decision to put pencil to paper. Then there’s the chance encounter that transformed aspiring author James Grant into household name “Lee Child.” And between bouts at the keyboard in an office high above Manhattan, there are jaunts to writers’ conventions, book signings, publishing powwows, chat shows, the Prado in Madrid, American diners, and English pubs.
“Can I—the storyteller—get away with this?” Lee Child ponders, as he hones and hammers his latest nail-biter into fighting trim. Numerous bestsellers and near worldwide fame say he can. Jack Reacher may be a man of few words, but Reacher Said Nothing says it all about a certain tall man with a talent for coming out on top.
A gruesome murder, a stunned city, and Edgar Allan Poe come to life with vivid detail in this shocking true story by award-winning author Daniel StashowerOn July 28, 1841, the battered body of a young woman was found floating in the Hudson River. It was soon discovered to be the lovely Mary Rogers, a twenty-year-old cigar salesgirl who had gone missing three days earlier. By nightfall, news of the girl’s death had spread and sent Manhattan into a spasm of horror and outrage.In the months that followed, the gruesome details of the murder pushed American journalism into previously unimagined realms of lurid sensationalism.
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