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Michael Robertson

Sixty seconds with Michael Robertson...

Michael Robertson lives in Southern California. The recently published THE BAKER STREET JURORS is the fourth in his series anchored in 221B Baker St.

RTE: Describe yourself in a sentence?

Robertson: I don’t think that’s important—I just wish McDonald’s would stop offering me the senior coffee before my time.

RTE: What's the one record you'd take to a desert island?

Robertson: Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. And not just because of the title track. Or the invigorating sax solo. The whole album is a great mix.

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

Robertson: A farmer, when I was five, because I liked watching plants grow. This worried my parents, I think because my grandparents (on my father’s side) had gone to a lot of trouble to get from the Dust Bowl to San Diego in the 1930s (seriously, it was a story just like that). A doctor, when I was eight, because I figured a doctor would cure my asthma (eventually the thousands of shots did it). I didn’t start wanting to be a writer until I was about ten.

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August 6, 2016

If you happened to have made a resolution to spend part of your summer (re-)reading WAR AND PEACE or something similarly weighty, you may not quite have gotten around to it yet. But we can offer suggestions of books that are lighter, less ambitious, but by no means a waste of your summertime. We can also offer a few that have no particular redeeming value aside from being entertaining, and what's wrong with that, especially when it's hot?

If you fancy a trip to Paris but can't make it this year, Mark Pryor's THE PARIS LIBRARIAN might just offer a bit of compensation. Sharon Mensing reports that she was at least briefly transported to the City of Light and enjoyed the trip - and no jet leg.

Anne Corey took another sort of trip, this time to small-town Mississippi in the company of Ace Atkins and his protagonist, Quinn Colson in THE INNOCENTS which she says was most enjoyable. Fun was the operative word for Barbara Fister, who reports that readers will enjoy P.J. Tracy's THE SIXTH IDEA so much that they will overlook an improbable scenario.

There's not much fun about Alzheimer's, but Paul Cleave has managed to keep the reader off balance in TRUST NO ONE, where the main character, a writer, cannot be sure if the murders he remembers committing actually occurred or if they are only fictions. Karen Chisholm has nothing but praise for this book and for Cleave's work in general.

A consequence of the death penalty in the US is that those sentenced often remain on death row for many years after trial. That is the situation of the main character of Angela Pisel's WITH LOVE FROM THE INSIDE, a book about both families and justice. Cathy Downs found it compelling.

THE MONSTER'S DAUGHTER, a debut by Michelle Pretorius, is also about families, in this case the children of the agents of apartheid and the products of a monstrous gene-altering breeding program. This one did retain my interest, even though I thought it had too much crammed into it for comfort. This is as much an historical novel as a police procedural, if an unconventional one, but if you're looking for a full-on trip into the past, THE NINJA'S DAUGHTER, by Susan Spann, might be just the ticket. Meredith Frazier enjoyed the trip back to 16th century Kyoto. Maureen Jennings returns to Britain in 1942 in DEAD GROUND IN BETWEEN, which Jim Napier found well-paced and atmospheric. Will the weaver returns in Eleanor Kuhns' THE DEVIL'S COLD DISH, set in 18th C. Maine. Diana Borse does not much care for Will, but enjoyed the mystery itself and the details of early American life.

Now what about the girls this week? Two titles, but only one of these books has a girl at its centre. That one is THE AMERICAN GIRL, by Kate Horsley, which features an American exchange student in a coma in France. Christine Zibas thought there were rather too many challenges to believability to be altogether satisfactory. Despite the title, girls are not the focus of David Swinson's THE SECOND GIRL, but a damaged male PI is. Karla Jay found the character refreshingly original and says that Christopher Grant Ryan's narration of the audio enhances this rivetting debut.

Caryn St Clair is happy to report that Shaun Harris' THE HEMINGWAY THIEF is laugh-out-loud funny from beginning to end. While the humour in Colin Cotterill's I SHOT THE BUDDHA may be more subdued, it is still present, along with various visitors from the spirit world. PJ Coldren enjoyed the journey to the Laos and Thailand of half a century ago. Susan Hoover was unenthusiastic about Australian Ross Gray's THE DRAGON'S SKIN, which she found unclearly developed. She also was left wondering about the relevance of the title.

Michael Robertson is our guest in the "Sixty Seconds with..." spot over to your left. Do pay him a visit.

Our friends at CRIMEREVIEW have been keeping a sharp eye out on UK crime fiction. Why not see what they have to say about what they've read?

We'll be back at the end of the month with new reviews and a new interview. Please join us then.



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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