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Pam Wechsler

Sixty seconds with Pam Wechsler...

PAMELA WECHSLER spent over fifteen years working as a criminal prosecutor at the local, state and federal levels. She has investigated and prosecuted a wide variety of crimes, including: murder, witness intimidation, sexual assault, drug trafficking, stock market manipulation, and political corruption. She has also worked as a producer, writer, and legal consultant for numerous network television shows, including the Law & Order franchise.
Pam grew up in the Boston area and is a graduate of Tufts and Boston University School of Law. Her second novel, THE GRAVES, has just been published.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Wechsler: Open to possibility

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Wechsler: I’m a big jazz fan, so Kind of Blue by Miles Davis

RTE: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Wechsler: I wanted to be a photojournalist. I worked for some newspapers and magazines, but then decided to go to law school.

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May 20, 2017

As the days grow longer and the weather warmer, we usually turn to gentler reading - a well-crafted cosy, perhaps, or an attractive, exotic locale for a bit of armchair travel. But the world seems so unsettled a place these days that it's hard to exclude serious matters even from recreational reading. So most of the books this week take on some troubling questions, difficult to ignore.

Two books, one fiction, one not, deal with the wrongfully convicted. Julia Dahl's CONVICTION looks back twenty years to a case in which a teenager was railroaded into the prison where he still languishes. Journalist Rebekah Roberts examines the evidence. I thought it a strong entry in the series. Testimonies by real-life ex-prisoners who were imprisoned despite their innocence appear in ANATOMY OF INNOCENCE, edited by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger. Their stories are effectively retold by a number of prominent crime fiction writers. Journalism and politics are at the centre of Christina Kovac's THE CUTAWAY as well, though Sharon Mensing felt that the journalistic content was more compelling than the plot, which lacked focus.

The first novel to appear by Agnete Friis as a single author (she co-wrote the Nina Borg series with Lene Kaaberbøl), WHAT MY BODY REMEMBERS, has a scarred protagonist with a difficult past, but Barbara Fister says she emerges as an "enormously sympathetic guide to the experience of lives lived on the fringes of society."

The unreliable narrator is a sturdy staple of crime fiction these days. Lourdes Venard reports that Lee Irby's UNRELIABLE takes the idea about as far as it can go. The college professor protagonist here admits that he is "conflating, confusing, and contorting reality," essentially to ensnare the reader. Lourdes enjoyed what she calls a wild ride. The main character of NORMAL, a novella by Warren Ellis, is a futurist by profession in the near future, one driven into a breakdown by his own vision of what is about to come. I liked it for its essential perversity and sly wit.

The protagonist of NOT A SOUND, by Heather Gudenkauf has suffered many losses, most seriously, the total loss of hearing in an accident. Diana Borse thought the setup was striking but as a thriller, it missed the mark in too many ways to be anything but a disappointment.

Too much angst? How about a nice island escape? Jim Napier reports that Ann Cleeves' COLD EARTH, the seventh in the Jimmy Perez Shetland series, is "perfectly paced and structured." Though anyone who knows the series (or the islands) will also know they are not an easy place to live. Some 200 miles northwest of Shetland lie the Faroes, even more forbidding, but presented in Chris Ould's THE KILLING BAY in so compelling a way that Sharon Mensing has placed them on her list of future travel destinations.

Two quite different approaches to the thriller are on hand this week. Robert Goddard's THE ENDS OF THE EARTH, set just after World War I, goes the classic Boy's Own route, with evil villains, (German), complicated plots, and non-stop action. Anne Corey enjoyed it, but thinks she would have liked it more had she read the two earlier entries in the series. THE MAN WHO WANTED TO KNOW EVERYTHING, by the Israeli author D.A. Mishani, takes quite a different tack. Both a police procedural and a psychological thriller, it leaves much more unresolved than nailed down. Phyllis Onstad says it's the sort of book that haunts you after you've finished reading it.

And yes, we do have one cosy: OF BOOKS AND BAGPIPES, by Paige Shelton, continues the adventures of a young woman from Kansas who is now selling books in Edinburgh. Though the plot is rather conventional, says Sharon Mensing, the description of the Scottish landscape makes it clear why the heroine doesn't want to go back to Kansas.

Our visitor to the Sixty Seconds this week is Pam Wechsler and you'll find her answering our questions in the box to the left.

Interested in British crime? Then visit our friends at CRIMEREVIEW for reviews of what's being published in the UK.

We'll come back next month with more reports on what we read. Please come back and see.



P.S. If you wish to submit a book for review, please check here before contacting us. Please note that we do not review self-published books.

Our mascot and masthead is Smokey the Cat. Smokey the cat went to the great playground in the sky on April 29, 2008, at 3:30 p.m. He was about 13 years old, had diabetes and only 11 teeth left. He is much happier now. He will remain as our masthead and mascot.

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