FIVE THINGS you didn’t realize you were dying to k...

Let’s go with the old journalism five Ws. What: You know them, collective nouns, also known as terms of venery, are those singular words we use to label groups of things, like a pride of lions, a school of fish or a quiver of arrows. When they are familiar we scarcely notice them, they’re just words, right? But often they are poetry: a murmuration of starlings, an ascension of larks, a lamentation of swans, a murder of crows. Or comedy: a slouch of models, a heep of sycophants, a whored of prostitutes.  Collective nouns appeal to the stuffy, pedant1 and the libertarian, neologist2 alike. They are the dark matter in our language3; every noun...

FIVE THINGS about NANTUCKET COUNTERFEIT: A Henry K...

1) Your protagonist, Henry Kennis, has to be the world’s most literate police chief, bar none. How did you decide to create a cop who writes poetry on the side?  Steven Axelrod: First of all, I write poetry myself — very much like the accessible reality-based verse that Henry composes, which is not really in fashion now. The wife of one of my MFA program professors, a very prominent modern poet, read NANTUCKET FIVE-SPOT (which was written as my creative thesis) and remarked. “I love the fact that hero is such a bad poet! So charming.” I guess I couldn’t resist the urge to let some of these “bad”...

FIVE THINGS – AN EMPIRE FOR RAVENS by Mary R...

1) The John the Lord Chamberlain series, of which this is the 12th installment, was the very first novel published by Poisoned Pen Press back in 1999… How did you and Eric manage to connect with the Press, since they had virtually no track record back then? It’s an interesting not to say unlikely story. Poisoned Pen Press was founded in 1997 and that same year published A-Z Murder…Goes Classic, a collection of papers read at a crime conference in Arizona. The topic was what makes a mystery a classic, and the compilation was nominated for the 1998 Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Critical/Biographical Work. We wrote to the...

Five Movies and Books that made me the writer I am...

The creative process requires a great deal of input, a constantly changing stew of ingredients. Trying to narrow down only five things that have influenced me as a writer is a difficult task, like trying to rope the wind. In no particular order, here are three books and two films which have had a big impact on my writing. A DRINK BEFORE THE WAR by Dennis Lehane. Arguably one of the finest detective novels of the modern era. Lehane’s debut takes all the old tropes—a troubled investigator, his attractive associate, a psychopathic sidekick—and makes them fresh and believable, giving the characters a depth and emotional resonance rarely seen in...

FIVE CLUES THAT YOU’RE READING A BRIAN FREEMAN THR...

• THE WEATHER IS BAD One of the many things that impresses me about Michael Connelly is that he manages to bring drama and suspense to Los Angeles, where the sun is always shining. You’d think that the criminals would simply put down their guns and say, “Wow, what a gorgeous day. Let’s go to the beach.” My own criminals (and heroes) have to slog through truly awful weather. I wrote about so much snow and ice in my early books that Minnesota readers began urging me to write a summer book to talk about some of our good weather. I did—but then I electrocuted one of my characters during a summer lightning storm. When I went to Florida in Season...

Five Favorite Things – Horror Movies from ne...

1. The Exorcist The Exorcist has the best setup of any horror film. It uses the decency of the characters and the stark realism of the dialogue and the cinematography to suck you in. Father Karras’s goodness, guarded as it is, is something you feel just by looking at his face. He’s suffering over the death of his mother, and he’s questioning his faith in God. He represents most of us, I think, in that he sees how the existence of God gives life meaning, and yet he simply can’t get himself to believe. He has a depth I always wished to see in a priest when I was a kid—but never did. It is against this backdrop—of a man searching for and...