Hard Word Book Club Reads Zoe Sharpe’s RIOT ACT

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery 

9781631940750Admittedly The Hard Word Book Club can also be a bit of a boy’s club, due to the genres we read being considered “male oriented”. I’m happy this month to put the spotlight on one of the best action/adventure writers out there  her kick-ass heroine with our upcoming discussion of Riot Act by Zoe Sharpe. It is the second book in the Charlie Fox series. Fox is often referred to as a female Jack Reacher, but like her author, she has a voice all her own (a voice we appreciated at last September’s hell-raising Noir at the Bar).

Riot Act has Charlie apartment and dog sitting for a friend. The first paragraph literally kicks things off with her fighting a bunch of hoodlums in front of the complex. In response gang threats, a security force is hired who turn out to be a pack of thugs no better than the hoodlums. Charlie finds herself caught between both, as well as the police. Of course Charlie’s training in The Queen’s army gives her a special set of skills.

Riot Act is an entertaining book providing strong characters and action, a finale that lives up to its title, and much to discuss. Be ready to talk about gender and class in crime fiction and well as the British take on genre writing.

We’ll meet Wednesday, August 27th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. Books are 10% off to those who attend. Our November book will be The Killing Kind, the third book in John Connolly’s Charlie Parker series.

You can find copies of Riot Act on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month at 7 PM. 

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The Hard Word Book Club Pulls Another Score With Parker

The Hard Word Book Club meets the last Wednesday of each month to discuss the best of hard-boiled and noir crime fiction. On Wednesday, August 30, at 7 PM, the Hard Word Book  Club will meet on BookPeople’s third floor to discuss Comeback by Richard Stark. 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

9780226770581The August 30th discussion of The Hard Word Book Club will look at the return of of one of the hardest of hard boiled anti-heroes. In the aptly titled Comeback, Richard Stark (the pen name of Donald Westlake) brought back his heist man Parker after a twenty-three-year hiatus. As the book proves, the bad man hasn’t slowed down.

Stark hits the ground running with the robbery in progress. The mark is a big time evangelist at a stadium revival. Things go wrong, gunfire erupts, and Parker is separated from the money by one of the gang members, Liss. To track down the double crosser and the loot, he takes the guise of an insurance investigator to team up up with the church’s head of security chasing the gang down. Full of reversals, terse dialogue, and visceral violence, this is Parker returning in full form.

Comeback gives us much to talk about. Some of the topics will be how Parker and the books have changed over the twenty years, the series in general, and heist novels. We will be meeting on Wednesday, August 30th, at 7PM on BookPeople’s third floor. The books are 10% off for those planning to attend.

You can find copies of Comeback on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

Murder in the Afternoon Book Club to Discuss: ANOTHER MAN’S MOCCASINS by Craig Johnson

The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets to discuss Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson on Monday, August 21st, at 1 PM on BookPeople’s third floor. You can find copies of Another Man’s Moccasins on our shelves or via bookpeople.com. 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery 

9780143115526On August 21st, we continue our annual tradition of reading the next novel in Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series. Another Man’s Moccasins is the fourth book in the series and my personal favorite. Unlike previous volumes in the series, Another Man’s Moccasins takes a deeper look into aspects of the Wyoming sheriff’s past that still haunt him.

The book is actually two mysteries, linked by a mysterious woman from Walt’s past. Walt and his deputies get a call alerting them to a body dump – a Vietnamese woman has been found murdered. On her person, they find a photo of Walt’s younger self playing piano in a Saigon bar. To solve his latest murder, Walt must look back to his first murder case as a CID officer.

With its explorations of Walt’s experiences in Vietnam and the past’s relationship with the present, Another Man’s Moccasins gives us much to discuss. We’ll be meeting on BookPeople’s third floor, Monday, August 21st, at 1PM. The books are 10% off to those who attend.

MysteryPeople Double Feature: MILDRED PIERCE

 

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

This afternoon, the Authors & Auteurs Book Club meets to view the 1945 adaptation of James M. Cain’s classic tale of California excess, Mildred Piercestarring Joan Crawford in an Oscar-winning role as the title character, a housewife-turned-entrepreneur who builds a California restaurant empire only to crumble in the face of her daughter’s rejection of Mildred’s middle class morality. The film differs significantly from the book, condensing the narrative and adding in more crime story tropes (unsurprising for a film made at the height of film noir’s golden age) yet each shares the same basic story and underlying menace.

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The Hard Word Book Club Spends the Summer with Parker

 

  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

One of our three mystery book clubs here at the store, and the only one dedicated to hardboiled and noir fiction, gets rougher than ever this summer. The Hard Word Book Club has decided to bookend the the summer with the toughest heistman in history. Donald Westlake planned to end the literary life of his ice-cold robber Parker, written under the pseudonym, Richard Stark, in 1974, then decided to bring him back in 1994. We’ll be doing the aptly titled Comeback in August. For this month, it’s the supposed swan song, Butcher’s Moon.

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Murder in the Afternoon Book Club Celebrates Texas Writers Month with Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale Calling In for The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club’s Discussion of Sunset and Sawdust

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  • Post by Crime Fiction Coordinator Scott Montgomery

The Murder In The Afternoon Book Club celebrates Texas Mystery Writers Month by reading one of the state’s best authors. Sunset And Sawdust is one of Joe Lansdale’s most underrated books. We’re happy to shed light on it as well as have Joe be a part of our discussion.

The book takes place in the Depression era sawmill town of Rapture, Texas, where Sunset Jones has just murdered her abusive husband, Pete, while he was trying to assault her. She turns to the only person who can help, her mother-in-law who owns half of Rapture. Knowing her son was no good, she helps Sunset get the job of town constable; newly available since the last person to occupy the position was the now-dead Pete. With the help of a charming Woody Guthrie type hobo and a hulking deputy who is sweet on her, Sunset enforces the law and wades into a mystery involving her late husband, oil, and a baby in a jar.

With this novel dealing with issues of gender, race, and class, creating a vivid portrayal of the depression, and containing characters both entertaining and complex, Lansdale gives us much to talk about. Luckily, Joe will be joining us via conference call for part of the discussion. Join us for the discussion on BookPeople’s third floor, May 15th, at 1PM. The book is 10% off for those planning to attend.

You can find copies of Sunset & Sawdust  on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets to discuss it on Monday, May 15th, at 1 PM. The club meets the third Monday of each month. 

Murder in the Afternoon Book Club to Discuss: THE SYMPATHIZER by Viet Thanh Nguyen

  • Post by Director of Suspense Molly Odintz

The Murder in the Afternoon Book Club meets to discuss Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer on Monday, March 20th, at 1 PM. You can find copies of The Sympathizer on our shelves and via bookpeople.com

9780802124944Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer has left me stunned. This hybrid spy-novel-cum-literary-satire won the Edgar Award in 2015 (which is how I convinced the Murder in the Afternoon Book Club to read it) and the Pulitzer the same year, which should begin a long career of appreciation in highbrow and lowbrow circles alike.

At face value, The Sympathizer is a Vietnam War novel from the Vietnamese perspective, ostensibly the perfect place for American readers to immerse themselves in the Vietnamese experience. Yet what Nguyen does best in the novel is expose hypocrisy. Rather than gently guide his readers into unknown waters, he plunges us into confrontation with our own assumptions, our own prejudices, and our own pompous behavior. While reading it, I felt more blown away by observations about the American character than any points about Vietnamese society.

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