Tips From the Masters: Paul Levine

Paul Levine is one of my recently acquired tastes. He’s another one of those lawyers who started writing best-sellers just to piss us all off. Hey, do us writers start trying cases? But he won me over with a single title: Habeas Porpoise. You gotta love that.

And many love his two main series, Lassiter and Solomon & Lord. Lassiter is the slap-happy attorney who wouldn’t know what to do with an ambulance if he caught it, but can stipulate the wisecracks and rough stuff, Solomon and Lord are sort of odd-couple “Moonlighting” match-up of two counselors most unlikely to form a partnership. But a lot of fun. I really like the sloppy, always-in-danger-of-being-disbarred-and-unfriended heroes in both series, and envy the way he can juggle three or four storylines, each one always hanging its butt over a cliff as we segue to one of the other scenarios. Continue reading “Tips From the Masters: Paul Levine”

Tips From the Masters: Thomas Perry

Lin Robinson

Thomas Perry’s books have been a supportive reality for me for many years. I think we all have short lists of the writers we keep around until their ears are dogged because we can read them over and over, because they’re what we want when we’re too sick to get out of bed for a couple of days, or snowed in, or desperately in need of stepping out of the hell of our own world into one that’s been perfectly crafted and seeks nothing but to pleasure us. He’s one of my personal elite. And seems to step into that role for anybody exposed to his work. Continue reading “Tips From the Masters: Thomas Perry”

Tips from the Masters: Barry Eisler

Author Lin Robinson

Barry Eisler has two different claims to fame. To readers, he is the best-selling author of two exciting thriller series: the guy who doesn’t just write about heroes who are ex CIA covert ops specialists, Judo experts, international players, and start-up lawyer/operators but actually IS all those things himself. Or was at some point before coming in out of the cold to do boring things like collect awards for his work.

To indie authors, he’s a hero of another kind: one of the handful of writers like Konrath and Doctorow and Hocking and Locke who have become icons, living totems that not only testify to seismic changes in publishing, but have had a major hand in making those changes happen.

It would be hard to identify a single action that did more to light up new potential and realities for independent writers and publishers than Eisler’s decision last March to snub a half-million dollar advance from St. Martins in order to go his own way. The answer to the sneering, “Yeah, but if they offered you a big advance, you’d take it, wouldn’t you?” officially changed from “Damn straight” to “Maybe”, and that small shift put a very major crack in the monolith. Continue reading “Tips from the Masters: Barry Eisler”

Tips from the Masters: John Gilstrap

Author Lin Robinson

John Gilstrap has an unusual characteristic for a multi NYT best-selling author: he’s known online as very approachable and forthcoming individual, open and willing to connect. Maybe that has something to do with his kind of thriller, the kind that are less about whizbang, agency name-dropping, and international scare-shows, and more about human beings coping with hairy situations.

He’s always shown up heavily in the audio book market, with major sales to listeners and bling like The Copper Bracelet being #1 at, with Audiobook Of They Year and Audie Award honors for The Chopin Manuscript.

But my personal favorites of his books is an early one, Nathan’s Run, a excellent example of what I mean by his human scale. There’s no huge world-shaking threat, no blazing action sequences; just a 12 year-old boy on the run from death with nobody to protect or care for him. In fact, a scan of his work shows that many show similar themes, as much so as his more typical investigators and assassin thrillers: church camp teens held hostage, a son lost in a frozen wilderness, a couple protect a hunted waif, criminal parents fleeing capture with their teen-aged son. It’s suspense in the real world, the world you know and depend on–fear and action in your own size and idiom. Continue reading “Tips from the Masters: John Gilstrap”