Monday, March 19, 2007

Kirkus reviews Free Fire

Kirkus Reviews calls C.J. Box's novel FREE FIRE "one of the season's highlights," and says that "the central situation is...strong, the continuing characters [are] appealing and the spectacular landscape [is] lovingly evoked...."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Peter Meinke Wins Poetry Medal

Our own Peter Meinke recently won a bronze medal for poetry in the first annual Florida Book Awards. Congratulations, Peter!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

It's Starting To Look Like A Constellation!

Yet another star for C.J. Box's Free Fire, this time from Publishers Weekly:
When four environmental activists employed by Yellowstone Park are murdered in
an isolated area, the Wyoming governor sends outspoken Joe Pickett, fired in his last
outing, In Plain Sight (2006), from the state’s game and fish department, to investigate in Anthony-winner Box’s absorbing seventh crime novel, his best yet. Helped by astute park ranger Judy Demming and his antisocial pal, falconer Nate Romanowski, Joe gradually connects the murders to competition for bio-mining rights in Yellowstone’s hot springs. Joe’s often harassed family is on the sidelines, except for a startling appearance by his long-estranged father. Box skillfully weaves ominous scientific phenomena and legal loopholes peculiar to Yellowstone into his story of corruption, greed and deception. The author vividly evokes Yellowstone’s natural beauty, but the book’s real power emanates from Pickett’s (and Box’s) passion for preserving the wilderness and stopping those who would cynically destroy it.

Box and Lehane in Kirkus Reviews

In its special Mysteries and Thrillers issue, Kirkus Reviews features not one, but two ARLA authors!

The issue features C.J. Box's FREE FIRE as a "Hot Release of 2007." Kirkus writes:
Yellowstone National Park provides the panoramic setting for Free Fire, the seventh crime novel to feature C.J. Box’s Wyoming Fish and Game Warden Joe Pickett. This time, Pickett is all alone and out on a long limb. “As Free Fire opens, Joe has been fired and is working as a ranch foreman for his father-in-law,” says the Wyoming-based author. “He’s pulled back in by the Governor of Wyoming, who says that when he thinks of crimes committed outdoors, he thinks of Joe Pickett. Joe doesn’t know quite how to take that, but he is rehired and put back on the state payroll to investigate a multiple murder in the park.” Box has long wanted to write a book set in Yellowstone, and his discovery of its legally questionable geography provided the spark for the crime-fighting warden’s latest adventure. “The so-called free-fire zone is a point of fact,” he says. “There’s this little 50-mile strip that’s between jurisdictions. The Sixth Amendment says that anyone who commits a crime in the U.S. is entitled to a jury trial in the district where the crime is committed, but no one lives in the free-fire zone, so there’s a legal conundrum in drawing a jury. It’s a fascinating problem.” There’s plenty of action, too, as the inimitable Pickett navigates the untamed wilderness of the American West. “There’s still a frontier mentality and a lot of individuality out here,” he says. “Although the frontier was realistically lost a long time ago, there’s still a thirst for justice here that I try to portray in these books.”

Kirkus also annoints Dennis Lehane as one of the top ten biggest brands in the Mysteries & Thrillers market, alongside the likes of Elmore Leonard and James Bond:
Mystic River serves as a line of demarcation in the career of Dennis Lehane. Prior to the 2001 publication of the novel that raised Lehane’s literary renown and popular profile, he had built a loyal following among fans of hard-boiled mysteries through a series of five novels, beginning with 1994’s A Drink Before the War, featuring the investigators Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. Not since Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora Charles had a male-female detective team played off each other so well.

With whipcrack dialogue, breakneck plotting and a strong moral code, the series established Lehane as the mystery bard of his native Boston blue-collar, hardscrabble neighborhood of Dorchester. If the devil is in the details, the series established Lehane as a devilishly engaging master of the contemporary urban noir.

Mystic River quickly outsold his five previous books combined. And this was well before Clint Eastwood’s 2003 film adaptation, which earned Oscars for actors Sean Penn and Tim Robbins and nominations for best picture and director.

In 2003, the author published Shutter Island, a novel that seemed less like an extension of previous work than an experiment, relying on tricks of plot rather than depths of character, and forsaking the old neighborhoods for a hospital for the criminally insane in Boston Harbor. Then came a collection of stories and a play, 2006’s Coronado, which Kirkus called “an impressive step forward for a writer of commanding gifts.”

So, six years after Mystic River, where does Lehane go from here? Though he has long been reluctant to discuss works in progress, he’s hinted that Kenzie and Gennaro may soon return. And there seems to be the possibility that some characters from Mystic River might eventually resurface as well.

Meanwhile, Lehane’s dialogue (along with kindred spirits George Pelecanos and Richard Price) has crackled through scripts for The Wire, the critically acclaimed HBO series about Baltimore’s drug trade.

Congratulations, Dennis and Chuck!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Another Star For Free Fire

Library Journal gives FREE FIRE, C.J. Box's latest, its second starred review:
Although recently fired from his job as a Wyoming game warden, Joe Pickett (In Plain Sight) is asked by the governor to investigate an officially closed multiple murder case in Yellowstone National Park. Four campers were gunned down by a lawyer who escaped conviction via a loophole. Knowing full well that federal agents and the National Park Service will not want him poking around, Joe stirs up trouble nonetheless with Nate Romanowski, still wanted by the FBI for questioning in a number of unrelated crimes. Their surprise discoveries in Yellowstone quickly escalate into a dangerous situation. Box, winner of the Anthony, Macavity, Gumshoe, and Barry Mystery awards, knows how to turn on the nail-biting suspense and violence until the cliff-hanger of an ending. Fans of outdoor action mysteries by such authors as Steve Hamilton and William Kent Krueger will snap this up. Highly recommended. Box lives outside Cheyenne, WY.