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J.K. Rowling returns to detective work with ‘The Silkworm’


At first glance, Cormoran Strike sounds like a Frankenstein’s Monster of character qualities: imaginatively named, dedicated private investigator, missing half of one leg due to military service in Afghanistan, unwanted son of a rock star, armed with an uncanny memory, physically intimidating but internally sensitive. In the hands of a lesser writer, Strike would be a cardboard cutout. Luckily, J.K. Rowling can really write.

Posted: July 14th, 2014 in Arts and Books,Headlines | Read More »

Isabel Allende plays a deadly game in ‘Ripper’


As far as high-concept foundations for a novel are concerned, the idea at the heart of Isabel Allende’s “Ripper: A Novel” (translated from the Spanish by Ollie Brock and Frank Wynne, HarperCollins, New York, 2014, 478 pages) is quite intriguing.

Posted: July 14th, 2014 in Arts and Books,Headlines | Read More »

Review: Stephen King’s terror automobile


Stephen King knows a thing or two about terrifying automobiles. Most frightening is the possessed titular Plymouth Fury in 1983’s “Christine,” later memorably adapted for the scary screen by John Carpenter. In 2002, King’s novel “From a Buick 8” featured a classic car that served as a doorway to another dimension.

Posted: June 23rd, 2014 in Arts and Books,Headlines | Read More »

Philipp Meyer’s good ‘Son’


Seven generations of the McCullough clan are introduced to the readers in a family tree that opens Philipp Meyer’s “The Son: A Novel” (Ecco, New York, 2013, 561 pages). This foreshadows the sweeping scope of this critically acclaimed novel, only the second from Meyer, the author of the similarly critically acclaimed 2009 book “American Rust.”

Posted: June 16th, 2014 in Arts and Books,Headlines | Read More »

Filipino scientist remakes Noah’s Ark tale in US-published novel


Much of David Ramirez’s life is full of science. A former molecular biologist, Ramirez had worked on the cutting-edge Human Genome Project, an international study into the nature of human DNA, and then came home to the Philippines to get married. Ramirez also decided to add “fiction” to the “science” part of his life.

Posted: May 26th, 2014 in Arts and Books,Headlines | Read More »