September 16th, 2021

I’ve been thinking about this quote from Arthur van Hoff as I get closer to revising:

“Over the years, I’ve learned that the first idea you have is irrelevant. It’s just a catalyst for you to get started. Then you figure out what’s wrong with it and you go through phases of denial, panic, regret. And then you finally have a better idea and the second idea is always the important one.”ether I feel like it or not. That’s how books get finished.

Here are 3 crime fiction links, 2 quotes, and 1 question for this week:


  • Holy cow, it was Colson Whitehead week on book review blogs. A flood of, mostly overwhelmingly positive, reviews for for the peripatetic Whitehead’s take on the crime/heist genre with HARLEM SHUFFLE. In the NYTs, Maslin returns and looks at Whitehead’s “unwavering eloquence” in a rich and wild book that is much more than genre fiction. It might start slow but crackles by the end.

  • Good news for EYE OF THE NEEDLE fans, Ken Follett has returned to the thriller genre. The best-selling author talks to PW about the “deep-seated anxiety” that led him back to the genre with the upcoming NEVER.

  • The Hollywood Reporter finds Peacock’s LOST SYMBOL adaptation “polished” and “decently acted” that “follows the plotting of a Dan Brown novel.” It does get in a good jab about Langdon’s ‘superpower.’


Two quotes from Chester Himes this week:

  • “Martyrs are needed to create incidents. Incidents are needed to create revolutions. Revolutions are needed to create progress.”
  • “American violence is public life, it’s a public way of life, it became a form, a detective story form. So I should think that any number of black writers should go into the detective story form.”


  • Are there better lead detective character names in the genre than Himes Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson? What is your favorite crime fiction character name? I do like the everyman simplicity of Joe Pike or Jack Reacher but damn, hard to beat Grave Digger or Coffin Ed.

Until next Thursday, happy reading,


Author the Max Strong thriller series

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