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Wednesday, September 14,2011

Detroit R&B legend comes to life in bio, 'Fever'

Michigan author, journalist Susan Whitall tells the tragic tale of '50s and early '60s singer Little Willie John

by Bill Castanier
Detroit writer and 1974 Michigan State University graduate Susan Whitall, who in her new book “Fever: Little Willie John: A Fast Life, Mysterious Death and the Birth of Soul,” makes the legend of Willie John come to life. It also shows Whitall to be an accomplished historian and music ethnomusicologist.
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Wednesday, September 7,2011

Get a clue

Popular mystery authors Stephanie Pintoff and Louise Penny come to town Saturday

by Bill Castanier
Mystery lovers get a double shot of love Saturday as two of the hottest mystery writers in North America visit Schuler Books & Music in the Meridian Mall for back-to-back presentations. Both are so good it wouldn’t be fair to pit them against each other.
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Wednesday, August 24,2011

'Extremely' challenging and 'Incredibly' appealing

Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel left critics cold, but it seems to speak to One Book, One Community readers

by Bill Castanier
Jonathan Safran Foer has a writing pedigree that can be traced back to his freshman year at Princeton University when his professor, the venerable Joyce Carol Oates, told him he could be a writer.
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Wednesday, August 3,2011

The kids are not all right

In ‘The Kid,’ Sapphire paints a disturbing picture of an adolescent adrift in the inner city

by Bill Castanier
For more than a decade, Sapphire, the author of “Push,” put a sequel on hold. “I put the ‘The Kid’ on the back burn- er,” she said in a recent telephone inter- view. “I hadn’t had a novel in 15 years, but I was not feeling outward pressure. I was in academia and writing poetry.
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Wednesday, July 27,2011

'River' siren

Bonnie Jo Campbell makes a major splash

by Bill Castanier
It’s easier to name a major author Bonnie Jo Campbell hasn’t been compared with (Edith Wharton comes to mind) than it is to tick off the long list of writers to whom she’s being compared: Eudora Welty, Mark Twain, Raymond Carver, Daniel Woodrell,...
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Wednesday, July 20,2011

First-time author McLravy goes on a 'Fool's Errand'

MSU alum cooks up a fine courtroom drama

by Bill Castanier
East Lansing author R. Charles McLravy knows exactly how many yellow legal pads it will take him to write his next mystery. Writing in longhand might be a lost art, but McLravy figures he filled about twice as many of the ubiquitous pads as he needed to for his first mystery, “The Fool’s Errand.
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Wednesday, July 13,2011

D.O.A. in A2

A psychotic killer stalks the streets of Ann Arbor in ‘Very Bad Men’

by Bill Castanier
In his second book, “Very Bad Men,” Dolan continues to write about the “mean” streets of Ann Arbor, but expands his mystery playground to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (The U.P. is also starring in two other mysteries this year in books by Jim Harrison and Steve Hamilton.
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Wednesday, July 6,2011

Everyone has something to 'Say'

Kristina Riggle’s latest novel examines a family in crisis from multiple viewpoints

by Bill Castanier
Author Kristina Riggle is something of a literary ventriloquist. In her most recent book, “Things We Didn’t Say,” Riggle tells a story from the point of view of six protagonists as they struggle to make it through an evolving family relationship that is brought to a climax by the disappearance of one of the children.
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Wednesday, June 29,2011

What should you take to the lake? Something old, something new

Here’s a few suggestions for summertime reading

by Bill Castanier
It’s hard to limit the "the books of summer" to 10 ' so instead I’m giving you 11."The Maltese Falcon," by Dashiell Hammett: The classic tough-guy/noir-detective novel that never loses its appeal. Since it was first published in 1930, it’s the book mystery and thriller writers dream of writing...
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Wednesday, June 15,2011

Minding Ps and Qs the LGBT way

Author tackles the questions Emily Post never faced

by Bill Castanier
Nearly 90 years after Emily Post wrote what at the time was the definitive guide to etiquette, Steven Petrow has added what he calls the definitive guide to LGBT life: “Steven Petrow’s Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners”. In the book, he answers new etiquette questions ...
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