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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Saturday, June 14

Moons & Opens & Gone Girl


Not going to happen again until August 13, 2049. I think I’ll probably miss that one. The full moon coinciding with Friday the 13th, that is. I kept watching for crazies who were out howling in the night, but none appeared. The true crazies don’t need any lunar lunacies or triskaideka phobias to send them ‘round the bend. They can just pick up a gun any old time and go to a school or church or mall to mow down strangers. Every day to them is a Friday the 13th.

I’m here in front of the tv watching the 2014 U.S. Open and I see it with one eye only. Without Tiger in the mix my heart just isn’t in it. I’ve been a faithful follower of every major golf tournament for the past fifty years, but without Tiger, who cares? Will Martin Kaymer hold on without choking? Will anyone mount a charge to catch him? I don’t know and I don’t really care. Come on, Tiger, get back on the course so I and millions of others can watch with bated breath to see what magic you perform.

I’m reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. It’s been on the best-seller list for well over two years and I can now understand why. She’s a stylist. The way she writes is more important that what she writes about. The character studies are more important than the plot. Not that this novel has no plot. Amy Dunne has gone missing at the beginning and then we move back and forth between Nick, the husband, telling us in the first person what’s going on in the search for Amy, and Amy’s flashback entries in her diary. With every entry, we learn more and more about the relationship between Nick and Amy. The style’s the thing. We first hear Nick ruminating about Amy, his wife: “When I think of my wife, I always think of her head. The shape of it, to begin with. The very first time I saw her, it was the back of the head I saw, and there was something lovely about it, the angles of it. Like a shiny hard corn kernel or a riverbed fossil. She had what the Victorians would call a finely shaped head. You could imagine the skull quite easily.” In an early diary entry, seven years in the past, Amy speaks of first meeting Nick at a New York cocktail party. “Anyway, the party is being thrown by one of Carmen’s good friends who writes about movies for a movie magazine, and is very funny, according to Carmen. I worry for a second that she wants to set us up:. am not interested in being set up. I need to be ambushed, caught unawares, like some sort of feral love-jackal. I’m too self-conscious otherwise. I feel myself trying to be charming, and then I realize I’m obviously trying to be charming, and then I try to be even more charming to make up for the fake charm, and then I’ve basically turned into Liza Minnelli: I’m dancing in tights and sequins, begging you to love me. There’s a bowler and jazz hands and lots of teeth.” The characterization of these two in the way they think and speak is what makes this stylistically so good. I think Kate Atkinson may be the best stylist writing today. Nearly everything she writes is so well written, so clever, that it becomes so quotable. The same is true of Gillian Flynn. Most writers today are more interested in the stories they’re devising than in how they write. Nearly all the financially successful writers today crank out one, two, or three novels a year, watching with pleasure how the bucks pile up. James Patterson is the prime example of that. The same can be said of other prolific writers: John Sandford, Jonathan Kellerman, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and many others. I’d advise anyone to find Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life or Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl to see what great writing style is all about.

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