Liz and Gianna are two of a dying breed--traveling sales reps for book publishers--who sell books in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and the Deep South. Since we're constantly on the road hawking books, we must find ways to amuse ourselves. So here we've decided to share our anecdotes, adventures, favorite books, and efforts in making the world (or at least these few states) a more literate place to inhabit.
We're into the Top 20 people! In other news, the random Google search of the day that pulled up our blog was "super calamity physics." It's so awesome being the site that has the answers to all of the world's great questions. I wish I could share this magical feeling with all of you.
Moving on to the countdown...#20
Red on Red
Spiegel & Grau
From the author of the acclaimed police memoir Blue Blood, is a smart, gritty, piece of crime fiction. Now be warned that this is not for your average Jimmy Patterson fan; the writing is more along the lines of Dennis Lehane or Joseph Wambaugh.
Red on Red is the story of two very different police detectives, one introspective and damaged (hello, sexy), and the other is very ambitious and doesn't always play by the rules. Like Liz and Gianna's partnership and future marriage [we are not getting married...but you can still send gifts], this duo works. This is not a book where you will be racing to solve a crazy, twisting crime (and completely unbelievable to boot), but a high caliber (no pun intended) character driven crime novel. It is incredibly well written and hard to put down, a rare feat. Let me just say one more thing about the quality of writing and the character development: fans of Richard Price, and I am a huge fan, will fall in love.
A note about Conlon; he's a bit on the bright side. Fourth generation NYPD, went to Harvard (also wrote some for the Harvard Lampoon), just got back from a year stint doing intelligence work in Jordan, and now works in intelligence for the NYPD. If you read interviews with him he is a bit on the quiet side, a man of few words. Dreamy no? [Is he single?]
Snowdrops is the little book that popped up on the Man Booker Prize shortlist that was still pretty much grossly overlooked. It's a shame; there's a lot to love about this novel. It's a crime story, a portrait of modern Russia, a gritty, well-written narrative. (As always, I must state that I'm partial to all things Russia; it's my Canada of the East...or West if you choose to look that direction from Sarah Palin's house.)
Miller's book is told in the form of a letter from Londoner Nick Platt, a confessional letter to his fiance about his time spent in Moscow. This is the Post-Soviet Moscow of the early 2000's and shady business goes hand-in-hand with a nation still trying to figure out capitalism. This is Putin's Russia where former KGB operatives are poisoned with polonium. Good times. Anyway, Nick, British lawyer, met two sisters, Masha and Katya in a train station. Nick rescues them from a purse-snatcher, and then in the aftermath, the sisters convince him to help their aunt find an apartment. Nick convinces himself that he's in love with Masha.
This is Russia, though, and the seedy underbelly of the country begins to emerge. It's a psychological trap. A "snowdrop," by the way, refers to a body that is frozen and covered in snow and ice during the winter and only surfaces with the spring thaw. My kind of country.