Robert Rotenberg - Author
Robert Rotenberg is a criminal lawyer in Toronto and the author of two bestselling novels, Old City Hall and The Guilty Plea. His latest book, Stray Bullets, comes out in Canada on May 1, 2012. His novels have been translated into nine languages and are sold in more than 40 countries.
I call these three books the holy trilogy of thrillers/suspense/mystery/ or whatever you are supposed to call them. All three are tight, all three were the breakthrough books for their authors and all three were made into terrific movies. At least once a year, I find myself looking back at least one of them.
Winton is an Australian writer who writes about his native Perth and transports me there in a way only beautiful prose can do. I've re-read some of his short stories many times, but Breath, his latest novel, is a stunning piece of magic.
When I find a writer I like, I tend to read all of their stuff. A few years ago our former mayor, and great mystery book reader, David Miller, turned me on to the Italian writer Andrea Camilleri. The man is my hero. He's 87 years old, and still once a year he produces stylish, funny, compelling mysteries based on his cranky hero, Detective Montalbano. All set on the craggy rocks of Sicily. And the food. Oh, to die for.
It is very stylish to be super-critical of John Grisham. And since I write what I've come to learn are called "Legal Thrillers," people often make a point of telling me how my writing reminds them more of Scott Turow than Mr. Grisham. (Not that I mind the compliment.) But in Ford County, a series of short stories, Grisham has a voice and a texture that is just tremendous. Tip: get the book on tape and listen to him reading in his lovely southern tones.
Bezmozgis' new book, The Free World, is a special novel. But few books have taken my breath away the way his debut, Natasha and Other Stories, did. It's one of those books on my night table that I flip through over and over again. Sometimes just to read a paragraph to see how perfectly it is written.
It's been much too long since this came out. Probably the only 1,500 plus words book I've read in years, and it flew by in minutes. I still remember the last night, sitting at my kitchen table, reading through to the end. Not wanting it to end. At about this time, I was really getting serious about writing and Seth - a lawyer turned writer - inspired me to my core. I've heard A Suitable Girl is in the works and I'm sure it will be worth the lengthy wait.
One of the really neat things about being a "writer," - still feels weird to say that - is from time to time I get advance copies of books. (ARCs in the trade argot.) A few weeks ago I got Vincent Lam's new book and as I write, I'm three-quarters through. I never want it to end. I ration myself to bite-size morsels every night, like a prisoner with a hidden stash of candies. It will be a landmark novel, and I feel most honoured to have had an early peek at this masterpiece.