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How to Enjoy July

How to Enjoy July… Not difficult at all, really. All I have to do is take a minute to recall how long it took summer to get here and it’s no great trick to rejoice in its presence. But this past week has given me more to be happy about than warm weather. This past weekend of fireworks included several sparkling reviews, and it would take a far more modest soul than I to keep them to myself. First, the Washington Post. Here’s what Michael Dirda had to say about The Crime of Our Lives: “Lawrence Block, the multi­talented grand master of the mystery, here collects his essays on Fredric Brown, Raymond Chandler, Evan Hunter, Ross Thomas, Donald E. Westlake and more than a dozen other crime-writing mentors, friends and admired contemporaries. Since Block possesses an almost preternaturally engaging voice on the page, these pieces make for ideal hammock or beach-blanket reading.” And Sarah Weinman at The Crime Lady: “That I’m recommending this book should not surprise, because here, as in so much of his work, is this innate engaging quality that all born storytellers have…My fake quibble is I wish Block had written about Lawrence Blochman because it would have amused me. My half-quibble is that I wish he’d written more on female writers, especially as his Mary Higgins Clark piece was very good. My real quibble is it wasn’t long enough. Which of course, is no quibble at all.” And Terry Zobeck, posting in an online newsgroup: “…It was especially interesting for me to read Larry’s thoughts on Hammett and Chandler, two of my all time favorite... read more

The Crime Lady on TCOOL

Sarah Weinman had some lovely things to say about THE CRIME OF OUR LIVES in The Crime Lady. That I’m recommending this book should not surprise, because here, as in so much of his work, is this innate engaging quality that all born storytellers have. But it is another in my “nerd book” recommendations because the pleasure is in spending time, by proxy, with the writers Block admires, envies (Evan Hunter for both), dishes dirt on (no wonder the daughter of Al Nussbaum, a larger-than-life figure who can never be written up enough, took issue with Block’s piece on him, though I agree he should have written that portion), or wishes he had known what really made them tick (Charles Willeford). My fake quibble is I wish Block had written about Lawrence Blochman because it would have amused me. My half-quibble is that I wish he’d written more on female writers, especially as his Mary Higgins Clark piece was very good. My real quibble is it wasn’t long enough. Which of course, is no quibble at all. Click here to read the full... read more

TCOOL in The Washington Post

In The Washington Post, Michael Dirda says of THE CRIME OF OUR LIVES: Since Block possesses an almost preternaturally engaging voice on the page, these pieces make for ideal hammock or beach-blanket reading. Click here to read the... read more

Sweet praise for TCOOL

Terry Zobeck is a participant in a Yahoo members-only newsgroup centering on magazine fiction, and a devoted reader and collector with particular expertise on Dashiell Hammett. Recently, and with some reticence as I don’t see the group as a proper vehicle for self-promotion, I posted a brief pitch for The Crime of Our Lives. Terry posted this in response: I’ve been meaning to post a message to the group regarding Larry’s new book, The Crime of Our Lives, which I recently purchased from Otto. How good is it? I opened the package and checked out the table of contents and didn’t put it down until I’d read the whole book. As a completist collector of Larry’s work there were several pieces of which I was unaware, including an excellent article on Dashiell Hammett from the Japanese issue of Playboy (this is combined with a second piece on Hammett that is to appear as the introduction to a new edition of the Maltese Falcon coming from Orion in the UK), a 1986 introduction to Edward Anderson’s (of whom I’ve never heard) Thieves Like Us, a lengthy 1994 GQ piece on Raymond Chandler, an intro to a collection of Ed Gorman’s stories (I hope Ed will soon be released by his kidnappers so he can get a copy), an intro to an ASAP collection of Gar Haywood’s stories (I’m a fan of Haywood’s and don’t know how I missed this collection), a couple of short pieces on Edgar Allan Poe, an intro to a collection of Spider Robinson essays (another author with whom I am not familiar), a 1990 article on... read more