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Recommended US Authors

A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin

I picked up a copy of Ira Levin’s A Kiss Before Dying for next to nothing in a recent Amazon Kindle sale. It was a member of an on-line book club who gave me the tip-off, and I’m really pleased that I acted on it. Ira Levin’s novels are probably overshadowed by the successful film versions of his work, such as The Boys From Brazil, The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby — A Kiss Before Dying has itself been turned into a film twice — so it was rather ironic that I soon formed the conclusion that A Kiss Before Dying came across, to me it seemed, almost likeĀ  reading a Hitchcock film.

Possibly a little old fashioned, and without any of the gore and explicitness that seem par for the course these days, nevertheless it allows the story-telling and plot to carry the day. Something that one or two modern day crime writers and publishers might do well to take note of.

A small, perfectly formed, masterpiece of suspense.

Read on for a full review…

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The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

The Lacuna by Barbara KingsolverWhat do you get if you cross a young man, a Russian political exile, a couple of Mexican artists and a United States in the grip of paranoia? Well if you’re lucky you might just get Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Lacuna.

I have never read any of her books up until now, and I’d been meaning to get around to reading The Poisonwood Bible but this one arrived in my to be read pile first. Many reviewers have judged it to be not really up there with Poisonwood so how did I get on with it myself?

Read on for a full review…

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The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen

The Bird Sisters by Rebecca RasmussenThere seems to be quite a buzz surrounding the impending publication of Rebecca Rasmussen’s debut novel The Bird Sisters, which is due to hit the shelves on April 12th 2011. I was therefore keen to get hold of a review copy; Rebecca kindly responded promptly to my request, and after reading it, I have to say I was mightily impressed.

I read and review a rather eclectic mix of styles and genres, and that variety is a great part of the joy of reading for me, but it is novels such as this one, that really have the power to reach inside you and pluck those emotional strings that are my true favourites.

We aren’t far into 2011 as I write this, and I’m lucky enough to have already read some excellent books, but I have to say if I read a better one than this in what remains of the year, then it is going to have to be a phenomenal piece of work.

Read on for a full review…

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Bad Marie by Marcy Dermansky

Bad Marie by Marcy DermanskyI picked up Bad Marie after reading a string of recommendations, and I’m afraid to say, never having previously heard of its American author Marcy Dermansky, but in the end I’m so glad I listened to those singing its praises. What an utterly compelling, sexy, darkly humorous and totally dysfunctional little novel this is!

Published last year by Harper Perennial, this is one I can’t urge too strongly that you should add to your reading list.

Read on for a full review…

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