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December 06, 2007


Clea Simon

I know you're more of a thriller, hard-boiled crime fiction person than a cozy or purely character-driven reader, David - "de gustibus non disputandum" and all that - but I can vouch for Lisa Lutz's "The Spellman Files." Very funny, very smart, very fun characters. The set-up is that a young woman has been raised in her family's PI business, and she's getting a little sick of it. Not much violence or action, but for those who go for characters over kills, a true winner - and a good pick by Amazon.

Roddy Reta

If you haven't read Cody McFadyen yet, give him a try. SHADOW MAN was an incredible debut, and I hear the sequel is even better.

David J. Montgomery

I like anything if it's good, cozies included. And I've heard good things about The Spellman Files. Just never got a chance to read it.

David J. Montgomery

I think I tried Cody McFadyen's first book and didn't care for it. I don't remember for sure, though.

Cameron Hughes

Heartsick is a glaring bit of WRONG on that list. Awful book, awful pedestrian writing, fails as torture porn(Seriously, this is nothing compared to movies like Hostel, which, by the way,works better as a thriller than Heartsick.) and has a butt-load of plot holes and leaps of logic and cliche's.

Awful awful book. And I am not the least bit surprised its the New Big Thing.

Patti Abbott

I don't know a single person who liked Heartsick so what made it catch on? Advertising, I suspect. It's sad when so many deserving books wilt on the vine to see this one get so much attention.

karen terry

I read Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill and you are right it is a strong contender. I really enjoyed his book.

Roddy Reta

I didn't like Heartsick at all either, but it has received a LOT of favorable reviews, including starred reviews from PW, LJ, and Booklist.

David J. Montgomery

"I didn't like Heartsick at all either, but it has received a LOT of favorable reviews, including starred reviews from PW, LJ, and Booklist."

I know -- and it boggles the mind! It struck me as a book that was written in a very calculated fashion, in an attempt to become a bestseller. (Obviously this is pure speculation, but I'm going with my instinct.)

It's like the author went down a checklist: proven high concept plot (check); serial killer (check); FEMALE serial killer (check); woman writing gruesome crime scenes (check); tortured, wounded protagonist (check); etc.

What's missing is the most important thing: a compelling original story.


I still can't figure out if I liked HEARTSICK or not, but I'll say this: I remember it pretty well and I read it three months (and a good hundred books) ago. But like David, I couldn't shake the feeling that I was reading a book calculated to evoke a visceral reaction instead of a book stemming from a writer's visceral need to write it.

Elaine Flinn

Late to the party, but I agree with all of you about Heartsick. Talk about writing 'to the market'?? And 'checklist'? Perfect! I was thinking of 'paint by numbers'- kinda thing.l

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Was well written

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David J. Montgomery is a writer and critic specializing in books and publishing. He is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has also written for USA Today, the Washington Post, and other fine publications. A former professor of History, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and two daughters.

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