I just finished Jeffery Deaver's The October List. I always enjoy his books. He did something a bit off the normal track by presenting the story in reverse.
The story begins with chapter 36 and then runs backward to end with chapter 1. I will admit I got annoyed a tweak about a third of the way into it, but not nearly enough to make me put it down. And his endings, no matter if you arrive by the front door or come in through the back porch, are worth the journey.
To me, it was interesting the way he rolled the story out, dribbled clues and disclosures, the way he always does, but I imagine it would be easy to get befuddled going at it in reverse. But Mr. Deaver is a meticulous outliner. For a seat-of-the-pantser to pull off a mystery told backwards, he'd have to have to have a truly beautiful mind.
First, the ebook version of Noble Deeds is live on Amazon. Woo Hoo.
Upcoming events: November 11, at 7 p.m. in the library at Duchesne High School, I will be giving a Veteran's Day tribute to all veterans, actually, but especially to veterans of the nautical persuasion. After the talk, Noble Deeds will be for sale. All proceeds will benefit the school. My intention for the book was that it be a tribute to the sailors it was my privilege to serve with. And, I am pleased to be able to do the book launch at Duchesne. Sister Matthew taught Literature and Creative Writing my junior year at DHS. My interest in writing comes from her class. In addition, she gave me motivation at a point in my life when I needed some.
Then on Saturday, 16 November, I will be doing a book signing at All on the Same Page book store in Creve Coeur. Author's proceeds from sales will benefit Wounde3d
First, I got my proof copy of the new book, Noble Deeds. It looks good, so onward.
Plans are underway to do a book launch event on Nov. 11 at Duchesne High School at 7 p.m. Where did I go to high school? you ask. Hint: initials are DHS. I am very pleased to be able to do this event at the school where I graduated and where I fell in love with my majorly best friend till death do us part temporarily. Besides those two reasons, Sister Mathew taught Literature and planted the hankering to be a writer in me. Took a while to scratch this itch, fifty years, but it was a deep-seated urge that decades could not diminish. In addition to writing, she also gave me, what today would be called a motivational speech. Back then we called it a kick in the rear. In my junior year of high school, I needed a motivational event from someone other than my parents. She obliged. I wish she were still around. I'd like to thank her.
The second thing is that I spoke to a book club about Sundown Town Duty Station this week. It was the second time I've appeared at a club rendezvous. Both experiences have been rewarding. At the last one, a woman asked a question about what a character thought on page 204—well, I was just so pleased. I'm sure I wallowed into pomposity with my answer. But that woman's question was so very cool.
It just occurred that she might have been the designated question asker, and opened the book at random somewhere near the middle, intending to read only one page and frame a question from whatever she found there, and, lo, struck it rich by landing on a page with only six lines—nah.
Some wanna be writers are paranoid and have esteem issues. Thank you, God, not me. Actually, I thought the woman's question was insightful. It pointed out that men and women have different eyeballs because we sure see the world differently.
Blessings and thanks.
Two main settings for the story. Setting one: a US Navy aircraft carrier. Pete Adler, a brand new commanding officer is taking his honking big ship to sea for the first time. Aircraft carrier CO. He thinks he's hit the big time. What he actually finds that day, however, may be the end of his career.
Setting two: the CO is haunted by memories of a cold, aloof father. We flashback to a small Missouri farming town to meet the father and Petey growing up.
The book just went to production. It should be available soon.
I just finished Kathy Reichs, latest, "Bones of the Lost." Good book. Quite often I rate good books four stars, but this one, in my mind, rates a fiver. A couple of the long-running series writers I've followed in the past have wrung the juice out of their characters, in my mind. But, I think Ms Reichs hit a new high with this one. I recommend it.
Non-fiction books I've read, and recommend:
"The Admirals," good summary of the histories of the better known five star admirals from WW II, plus a good bit I did not know about Admiral Leahy. Good book.
"A Short History of World War I" by Stokesbury. Harry Levins mentioned this book in a column of his. It presents a succinct roll-up of the factors leading to the war, and the book is worth getting just for those early chapters.
"A Higher Call," by Makos. Great fighter pilot/bomber pilot story. Great tale of chivalry surviving in the midst of world war like a lone poppy on an otherwise barren sun-baked ridge of Mohave desert brick-hard clay.
I got distracted a couple of months ago, and since have had more than a minor infestation of procrastination bugs. Bloody things, harder to get rid of than bed bugs.
Once, while I was a US Navy pilot, I left the cockpit for two years for grad school. Getting back into flying was just about as hard as cranking up the blogger again. In the future, I will try to slog away even in times of distraction. There, I made a 2013 New Year's resolution.
I read a couple of interesting books recently. I read them at the same time. Before ebooks, I frequently had a history and a novel going simultaneously. I was reading away on Joy Castro's, Hell or High Water on my iPad when a friend finished James Patterson's Beach Road and gave it to me. I don't think I've really been able to appreciate "plot driven" and "character driven" before simo-reading those two books. I characterize Beach Road as plot driven. This book was also interesting to me because the first two chapters are in third person. Then each of the main characters presents his bit and piece of the story in the first person for 115 additional chapters. Interesting, and it worked, once I got past chapter 8. At chapter 8, I stopped, said what the heck is going on here?, and went back over 3 to 7. But I was hooked and flipped ahead a couple of chapters to see how those were presented. At the end the whole thing worked. That James Patterson, he might sell a book or two, I thought.
Joy Castro's book came across as powerfully in the character driven category, but the more I thought about it, not only did the main character provide motive force, but plot driver was in there too as well as a third propellant. The story is set in New Orleans, and some writers absorb the setting of the place into their veins and spill it out in ink. Ms Castro does it as well. Hell or High Water, in my mind, is character driven first, plot driven second, and setting driven third, and all three drivers as woven together in a very nice package. I enjoyed reading the book and learned something to boot. Cool, huh?
John Zerr is the author of four novels, The Ensign Locker, Sundown Town Duty Station, Noble Deeds, and The Happy Life of Preston Katt.
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