Monday, March 26, 2007

Genuine Enthusiasm

I had a really great moment on the weekend. Kevin and I went to the local grocery store and I told him to go check out the publishers of the books they had stocked. You know how it is, you see the paperback display in the drug store or the grocery store, bestselling authors, and not that many make it to the little village I call home. I always look to see if I see familiar names. The odd time I do, but last week there was a real treat.

Gregg Olsen's A WICKED SNOW was on the shelves.

From Publisher's Weekly:

From Publishers Weekly
In his first novel, true crime writer Olsen (The Deep Dark) brings complex mystery and crackling authenticity to bear on a cold case police procedural. Hannah Griffin has spent most of her life trying to forget the notorious Christmas Eve house fire that claimed her family and turned up almost two dozen other bodies buried in their yard; though the case remained unsolved, Hannah's mother became, posthumously, the de facto prime suspect. Twenty years later, Hannah's a happily married mother of one, a crime scene investigator for Santa Louisa, Calif., and a lifetime away from her traumatic Oregon childhood—until a series of mysterious events indicates that her mother may still be alive. Hannah reopens the case, as well as old wounds, after enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Jeff Bauer, the still-haunted chief officer from the original investigation. Thanks to Olsen's true-crime work, the case's particulars—both grisly and mundane—all carry genuine weight... Olsen's flashback narrative shines with lurid, carefully distributed details, and if it ultimately overshadows the present-day plot, his bizarre, many-layered mystery will keep fans of crime fiction hooked.

We'll be running a review of this book when the new Spinetingler is up later this week. It was very exciting for me to see the book all the way out here, because I keep my eye on the new releases by friends of mine and a lot of them don't make it into the Canadian chains, even. Gregg is a friend, he's a NY Times bestselling author and he's a fantastic writer. Kevin told me he found a lot to like in this book.

Sorry, I'm slamming on Spinetingler deadlines and other stuff, so I've been hit and miss here, again. I hope life will be like something I call normal next month, but I'm not holding my breath.


S. W. Vaughn said...

Oh! What a thrill to see a book by someone you know at a non-book store! That's wicked.

Hope life lets you breathe soon, Sandra. :-)

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yeah, it was very exciting! At first Kevin was grumpy when I told him to go look at the publishers represented (I had an excuse to justify it), but I wanted him to walk right over and see Gregg's book. I'm trying to think if there's been a book out here by anyone else I've met... John Sanford. Hmmm. Can't think of anyone else offhand, though.

norby said...

I've long been in the habit of checking the paperback rack at my local grocery store-you just never know what you might find. Usually it's a few mysteries, recent bestsellers and romance novels. Not long ago though, I was pleasantly surprised to find Anne Frasier's Pale Immortal gracing the shelves!

So, if making it onto the shelves of a smallish chain of Midwestern grocery stores is a mark of success, then Anne is there!

Sandra Ruttan said...

That's awesome for Anne. Pale Immortal's a great book - I can't wait for the sequel.

Eileen said...

I always check these racks as well- what a great (and well deserved on his part) thrill.

Sela Carsen said...

I check racks too. And turn out my friend's books so the cover shows! I know, booksellers probably don't like that, but they're my friends!

I have an ignorant question. What exactly is "true crime"? Is it fiction? Is it biography? Is it in that gray space, like a docu-drama, where the basics are there, but the blank spaces are prettied up?

Sandra Ruttan said...

True crime is an account of actual crimes that have happened. Gregg has a blog called where they talk about some of this, and this is an example of one of his other books. He's a NY Times bestseller and award winner. True crime is typically quite a different audience from crime fiction - A WICKED SNOW is crime fiction, so this is a transition for Gregg, but he's a talented and experienced author.

I turn out books too. :)