At Edgar-winner Art Taylor's blog, several writers (including me) pick apart their stories' First Two Pages to see what works and what maybe doesn't. You can also read Art's prize-winning story from Ellery Queen's magazine.
"Time Sharing" (Hitchcock's-coming)
"Last Night in Malibu" (Hitchcock's-November/December 2019) *
"The Welleses' prickly marital relationship adds substance. Anne, forging a strong bond with [the villain's] 11-year-old daughter, begins to break out of her shell. Distinguished by Boland's skill at keeping several plots going at once."
"Charming thriller . . . chases across Europe and tightly written gun battles. A delight for anyone who enjoys French crime cinema."
" 'I was abducted on Tuesday, the second evening of October, and became an accomplice to murder on Friday.' So testifies Charles Mistinguett. a shady financial consultant, hotelier on the Cote d'Azur, and semiretired crook. Charles is everybody's fall guy, but he's not quite ready to fall--and definitely not ready to see his mistress, daughter and son fall with him.
"This slick thriller combines the noirish cool of French cinema (think Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai) with an almost jaunty, witty charm (Cary Grant in To Catcha Thief and Charade). Stylishly written and cleverly plotted crime fiction."
"A mix of old-line Commies, red-diaper babies, and more recent Russian emigres . . . engaging."
"Tamar Gillespie, a young artist with a disabled husband, lives in a rural Connecticut village . . . and paints dog portraits for a living. The village population includes Ultra-Orthodox Jews as well as old Communists and red-diaper babies who consider Prague Spring a betrayal. When the community board offers a run-down house to a family of Jewish refugees from the new Russia, old political feuds reappear. Historical-mystery readers who enjoy political debates will find much to appreciate here."
"Fans of hard-edged spy novels will hope that this outing for disgraced Wall Street banker Patrick McCarry is but the first of many from Ross (Long Pig). When McCarry’s firm makes him the scapegoat after a hedge fund disaster, he manages to find a new position in London. Assigned to handle Chester Holt, an American looking to open a factory making engines in Hungary, McCarry learns on arriving in Budapest that his new client is actually in the arms business.
"Members of the American intelligence community fear Holt may be pouring fuel on the continually combustible Balkans.
"The job turns dangerous, with twists straight out of a John le Carré novel. The narrator’s sardonic wit helps keep the tone from getting too gloomy, despite the story’s basic darkness."
F. Paul Wilson "One of the great joys of reading is stumbling across a good book that neither you nor anyone you know has ever heard of. I'd never heard of Boland (though he's written a slew of books over the last quarter century) and never heard of this novel despite a starred review in PW. I picked it up because I'm interested in evolutionary genetics and the title caught me eye. I'm glad I did. I love a good science thriller and this one is a helluva read--a ballsy book that keeps taking unexpected turns. It's got a booby-trapped, centuries-old crypt with 3 lead-lined coffins, archaeological secrets, mind-boggling genetic mysteries, many murders and even a few explosions, a mysterious foundation, a relentless NIS investigator, and much more. I might have hesitated to tackle such a combustible farrago, but Boland plunges in and brings it off. As a lagniappe, I learned a few things. Recommended."
Publishers Weekly Starred Review
"Superior science thriller. . . . Boland's taut atmospherics are top-notch, and the evolutionary themes he explores are easily accessible to nonscientists."
Mystery Scene Review
"A riveting scientific suspense novel on the order of the popular Preston and Child thrillers. . . . Boland makes complicated theories about DNA and genetically linked illnesses easily understood. And in contrast to many science-heavy suspense novelists, Boland also has the ability to create three-dimensional characters. [The hero's] love life is a mess; and even brutish Luther turns out to be much, much more than your average killer. Hominid never fails to make for exciting reading." Betty Webb
Young Key West sleuth Meggie Trevor is so broke she'll take on any client who pays cash. That includes a politico named Hub Bennell, who's two steps to the left of a crazy Cuban gun-runner. Wild times in rowdy Key Wasted.