News: August, 2010

Word on the Street and Other Appearances

Aug 18, 2010

Word on the Street: At this year’s festival in Queen’s Park, I’ll be appearing on a panel with two of Canada’s best crime writers: Giles Blunt, author of the John Cardinal books as well as two recent stand-alones, and Linwood Barclay, whose last four thrillers have made bestseller lists everywhere.

We’ll be in the Remarkable Reads tent from 3:00 to 4:30, Sunday Sept. 26, discussing our work and signing books. Many thanks to Random House Canada for organizing what should be an entertaining and informative event.

I’ll also be signing books at the Crime Writers of Canada booth from 1:00—2:00 p.m.

If you’re in or around Toronto, please come out for what is always a great time.

Sisters in Crime: I’ll be appearing on a panel with authors Sean Chercover, Maureen Jennings and Robert Rotenberg at the meeting of the Toronto chapter of Sisters in Crime, Thursday Sept. 16, 7:30 p.m., at the University of Toronto Faculty Club, 45 Willcocks Avenue. The theme for the evening is “Books to Television.” Update: Maureen and Bobby both had to cancel their appearances, so Sean and I reprised our act from Bloody Words (where we did a two-hander on private eye fiction). Here we discussed our experiences in having our books optioned for television, which for the most part requires we sit by the phone and wait for news. We had fun and so did everyone who came.

Wordstock 2010: Wordstock 2010 features a full day of seminars for writers and journalists, including a panel called “The mystery novel you have always wanted to write,” featuring yours truly, along with authors Rosemary Aubert and moderator April Lindgren. We’ll discuss, among other things, how journalism techniques and experience can be brought to bear on mystery writing. It runs from 11:15 to 12:30 at the Ryerson School of Journalism at the corner of Church and Gould in Toronto.

DarkLit Fest of Durham: This day-long event, hosted by Oshawa Public Libraries, sounds like a great time. It runs from 10:00 to 4:00, Saturday, November 27, at the McLaughlin Branch auditorium. I’ll be appearing with authors Jon Evans and John McFetridge on a panel called “Getting Away with Murder.” Guest of Honour is Kelley Armstrong, author of the great Otherworld novels featuring my favourite werewolf, Elena Michaels.

U.S. Distribution Deal

Aug 14, 2010

Here’s some news I’ve been eagerly awaiting. Random House Canada will begin distributing my first two Jonah Geller novels, Buffalo Jump and High Chicago, in the United States, which I hope will help me start building an audience south of the border. Also included in the deal are U.S. dependencies, territories, military bases and, for some strange reason, the Philippines. Up until now, American readers had to order my books through Amazon or other online services. Now they’ll see them in stores. I’ve offered to pose for a life-sized cut-out to be placed next to bookstore shelves but so far no one has taken me up on it. If you are anywhere in the U.S. later this year, let me know if you see my books in stores. I’d love to know!

NOW’s Four-Star Review

Aug 14, 2010

HIGH ON SHRIER

By Lesley McAllister, NOW Magazine

Toronto author Howard Shrier’s High Chicago took the prize at this year’s Arthur Ellis Awards for excellence in Canadian crime writing. And you can see why. Shrier, who counts crime reporter and comedy writer among his accomplishments, writes with an easy assurance and a killer sense of humour.

This is the second book in his series featuring Toronto private investigator Jonah Geller. A departure from soft-boiled Jewish shamuses like Howard Engel’s Benny Cooperman, Geller is street smart, fit and fearless, with a less than squeaky-clean past and a penchant for stepping up when needed.

The P.I. has recently opened his own agency, the enigmatically named World Repairs, with his best friend, Jenn Raudsepp, a stunning, wisecracking lesbian. Business is slow and the rent is due when he’s hired to find out why a young woman seemingly jumped to her death from her university residence.
Bodies start to pile up, and the blood trail leads Geller to a neglected parcel of land on Toronto’s waterfront and a high-flying Chicago real estate developer.

One of the best things about Shrier’s mysteries is that they eat, sleep and breathe Toronto. It’s rare, and refreshing, to see the city portrayed so perfectly on the page. And this is the real Toronto, with all its bruises and blemishes.

High Chicago is a great addition to the mystery shelf. Jonah Geller is the kind of wise, justice-seeking guy you can’t resist, and his relationship with his gay partner gives a nice contemporary – and often funny – twist to the genre. Nick and Nora they ain’t.

Let’s hope there’s a new Geller in the works; the world could do with a bit more of the Jewish idea of tikkun olam, or “repairing the world.”

Rating: NNNN (out of 5)