Log in Subscribe

About Books

July 09, 2021

George Ernsberger
Posted 7/9/21

Together We Will Go by J. Michael Straczynski (Scout Press).

Another smart, nervy novel by a person who also writes for television and film and comics…would be one way to introduce this …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

About Books

July 09, 2021

Posted

Together We Will Go by J. Michael Straczynski (Scout Press).

Another smart, nervy novel by a person who also writes for television and film and comics…would be one way to introduce this book. Another might be: dread and misery realistically portrayed, an honest book about suicide as a solution (or an escape or…other things). A brainy, convincingly hopeless guy decides to commit suicide, but then invites others to join him—only if they’re seriously committed. He places ads, gets a few takers. He buys a small bus and hires a driver to get them to California, where they’ll drive off a cliff at sunset. But they must do the trip publicly, on line—anonymously, so they can’t be found and stopped, but they’ll post messages, reflections on …well, on life. And death. Which are ours to read. It needs some persistence, but only at first; the originator of the scheme, the first writing we’re given to read, is as edgy and uncomfortable to listen to as a guy capable of such stuff certainly would be; but the first passenger is appealing, the driver is a calming influence, and…well, and off we go. I won’t give away the ending, but there’s no joke (well, and I don’t see how any reader will resist sneaking a look early on—you won’t be sorry, either way), and you won’t feel tricked or cheated, and you’ll pretty surely cry, some. Straczynski isn’t just a wise guy.

The Stranger Behind You by Carol Goodman (Morrow).

An old favorite of the column on general merit, but also because she often sets her thrillers in our general neck of the Catskills. But this is a very New York City novel, sophisticated and knowing—richer folk than those I hung with, mostly, but recognizable and believable, and the grip of the suspense, of course, is not gentle.

Tender Is the Bite by Spencer Quinn (Tor).

The eleventh of this series: Chet and Bernie, the detecting pals; Chet, the narrator, is a dog. Who’s hardly cute, at all, nor is Bernie, the private eye. They’re endearing (a little; you know, a dog) but real private-eye novels. If you’re even a bit susceptible to trying them on, you’ll be glad you did.

The Hollywood Spy: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal (Bantam).

Historical fiction as much as mysteries, this series; strong suspense, but also deep portrayals of real places in the world at a real moment in time. This is Hollywood, 1943, and (as always) you’ll recognize some of the featured players, who aren’t just decorative, but brought to life. There has always been plenty of darkness to be found in this sunny place, and MacNeal knows how to work with that.

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline (Custom House/Morrow).

Paperback reprint of the great historical novel that the column urged on you last year, of the settling of Australia. Rich, full of action; deeply researched but dramatic, compelling storytelling.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here