Over his acclaimed career, Cook's novels have haunted, riveted, and spellbound readers across the world, and his short stories are equally acclaimed. They range from the intensely focused world of "Fatherhood," the Herodotus prize-winning title story, to the Edgar nominated "Rain," a dark, kaleidoscopic tale of Manhattan on a single, rain-swept night. "The Fix," the story of a famous boxing fix that was, well, not a fix at all, was selected for inclusion in Best Mystery Stories of the Year. "What She Offered," the gripping tale of a one-night stand, was included in The Best Noir Stories of the Century. Like Cook's novels, the range of this collection is, itself, astonishing. From a backwoods Appalachian shack during the Depression ("Poor People") to a Midwestern college campus in the throes of Sixties revolt ("The Sun-Gazer") to a midtown Manhattan bookstore on Christmas Eve, "The Lessons of the Season," this collection demonstrates precisely that, in the words of Michael Connolly, "no one tells a story better than Thomas H. Cook."
|Publisher:||W W Norton & Co Inc|
|Publish Date:||May 2013|
|Number of Pages:||218|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.68|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||6.25 x 8.75 x 0.75|
Chris Grabenstein was born in Buffalo, New York. At the age of ten he moved to Signal Mountain Tennessee and attended Chattanooga's Notre Dame High School. He studied journalism and theater at college and then moved to New York City. For five years, he performed and won awards with some of the city's top Improvisational Comedy troupes, making up scenes and songs on the spot in front of live audiences, just like they did on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" When not writing scripts for his friends to perform in the small Greenwich Village theatre, Chris also wrote for Jim Henson's Muppets.
In 1986, he and his college buddy Ronny Venable wrote a TV movie for CBS called The Christmas Gift. It starred John Denver and can still be seen almost every year during the holidays, usually on the Hallmark Channel. Chris also spent close to twenty years writing radio and television commercials for Burger King, Seven Up, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dr Pepper, and many, many others. Grabenstein won the Anthony Award for best first mystery for his first adult mystery Tilt A Whirl.
The other books in that mystery series have received all sorts of critical praise are called Mad Mouse, Whack A Mole, he'll Hole, Mind Scrambler and Rolling Thunder. In 2012 Chris collaborated with James Patterson on the book I Funny: A Middle School Story, which made The New York Time's Best Seller List. Chris is also the author of bestselling children's book Escape from Mr. Lemonchello's Library.
Four of the 11 stories in this debut collection of short crime fiction by acclaimed crime novelist Cook (The Crime of Julian Wells) have received prior praise. " Fatherhood" won the Herodotus Prize as best historical mystery. "Rain" was nominated for the Edgar Award. "The Fix" and "What She Offered" appeared, respectively, in collections of the best mystery and noir stories. "Rain" is good: an evocation of one rainy night in an unnamed city as violence unfolds.
"Offered" is not: this tale of a one-night stand is overblown and unbelievable. The debts in this collection are evident: " Fatherhood" depends on an O. Henry-style ending for its punch; other stories evoke noir master Cornell Woolrich, although Cook writes much better.
Verdict: Cook's mEtier has long been the crime novel, in which he slowly peels away false memories and forgetfulness and uncovers the unpleasant truths hidden behind them. In the confines of the short story, Cook's prose seems cramped. There's little space or time to do what he does best. All too frequently, you can hear the gears creak. A so-so collection that will appeal primarily to inveterate mystery lovers.
-David Keymer, Modesto, CA
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Running out of money, Diana Poole is forced to go back to the only work she knows: acting. Her much-loved husband and movie-star mother have died, and now Diana is over thirty-five. In Hollywood that means she might as well be dead. Still, a few key people remember her talent, and she lands a role in a new movie. But an actress should never get her hopes up, especially when she discovers the female lead’s murdered body.
Raised in her mother’s shadow, Diana knows people in “the business”will go to dangerous lengths to protect their images. When her own life and career are threatened, Diana decides to fight back and find the killer. But unmasking the surprising murderer isn’t that easy, especially when she uncovers what’s real—and unreal—in her own life.
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