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Articles by this author:

  • There may be a murder at the heart of Ray Merritt’s first novel, “Clamour of Crows,” but what’s really of interest is the author’s exploration of the culture of a Wall Street law firm.
  • They never should have done it. They never should have released the news that coffee wasn’t bad for you, was in fact good for you, so you might as well drink till your chromosomes start crackling.
  • You know an author has successfully taken you on a vast journey when toward the end of 400-plus pages, through meager meals of moldy salmon or stringy rabbit ingested by haggard explorers on foot in the Alaskan wilds, at last they are given a breakfast of fresh coffee and hardtack at a depleted trading post and you can almost taste it yourself.
  • The back of the hardcover of “Christine” that my 13-year-old daughter is reading is taken up entirely by a photo from 1982 showing Stephen King sitting on the hood of a vintage Plymouth in the mouth of what looks like a service bay.
  • When it came time for Iris Smyles to meet with the publicity people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to “do the usual thing of getting blurbs,” as she put it, for her book “Dating Tips for the Unemployed,” the ass-kissing and self-promotion could’ve sent her soul fleeing her body like a shirt ripped from a hanger. Instead, pausing in her consumption of some takeout, she noticed a promotion from the online company that had delivered it, a contest, really — your testimonial here, or something like.
  • Chris Knopf has left the fabulous Hamptons behind for the browner pastures of the Bronx. In “Back Lash,” the seventh installment in what is the original of his several series of crime novels, the geographically pretentious reference has even been excised from the cover, the billing simply reading “A Sam Acquillo Mystery.”
  • Is history soft, malleable, open to interpretation? Or is it stiffly a matter of facts, immutable, regardless of the “perspective” (that overused word, at once inclusive and diminishing) of the beholder?
  • Take a minute to think of two of the most romantic features of summertime on the South Fork. (Okay, barring anything involving the dunes and a blanket.)
  • “Think about it this way,” Jason the neck-tattooed motorcycle aficionado says to his adopted daughter in Simon Van Booy’s new novel, “Father’s Day,” explaining his lack of even one date during her two decades in his life, “I’m a single parent with no money, a dead-end job, a fake leg, bad teeth, and a criminal record. Plus I’m a recovering alcoholic. What loser could ever love a person like that?”
  • “Every ‘failure’ is a piece of future luck. Because it brings you closer to being ready.” This bit of wisdom from Uncle Lester, an eccentric and flop-prone composer of musical theater, to his nephew, Jimmy, a budding cartoonist, in Jules Feiffer’s 1993 illustrated novel, “The Man in the Ceiling,” is the heart of the matter.

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