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Archive for December, 2012

quiChina-born author, Qiu Xiaolong, is the Anthony Award-winning creator of the Inspector Chen series, set in 1990s Shanghai. The series, which started in 2000 with Death of a Red Heroine, now has seven installments with the 2012 addition Don’t Cry, Tai Lake, and has been translated into twenty languages. The Washington Post dubbed Don’t Cry, Tai Lake, a “charming and quite political detective novel,” while Booklist declared it “Magnificent.” The Wall Street Journal called Xiaolong’s first installment in the series one of the five best political novels of all time, ranking it with Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. Of The Mao Case, a reviewer for Booklist noted that it is “full, as always, of crisp detail and vivid atmospherics evoking contemporary Shanghai.” A Publishers Weekly contributor also had praise for the 2007 series addition, Red Mandarin Dress, pointing to its “first-rate characterizations and elegant portrait of a society attempting to move from rigid Maoist ideologies to an accommodation with capitalism.” (more…)

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I am absolutely delighted to introduce my readers to eclectic, prolific writer Allen Appel. I guess we have known each other for more than ten years now, but have never met face to face. One of those writer-buddy relationships in which propinquity plays no part. I have interviewed Allen a couple of times, we have read each others’ works in manuscript and offered suggestions, and we even survived a couple of attempts at collaboration.

I don’t doubt that many of you already know Allen’s work: he is best known for his time-travel series of thrillers featuring Alex Balfour, a history professor who is tossed about in time through the course of five books of the series. Time after Time initiates the series, and we find Alex back in the Russian revolution. Publishers Weekly, felt that readers ready to withhold incredulity “will be rewarded by scenes of cliff-hanging and head-bashing, slaughter, torture and hairsbreadth escapes, . . . true romance and wholesome sex.” New York Times Book Review dubbed this series opener “fine entertainment.” (more…)

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