Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Outside of a Dog, #69

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx.

It’s getting cold outside in Michigan, even though it’s been Fall since September. While we still have a few days left of sunshine and 50-degree days, check out one of these Michigan-set novels; come back for more before you hide under your blankets for winter!

Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon – Dean Bakopoulos

Written an “an elegy” to the working class men of Detroit (and America) in this quiet, almost heartbreaking novel of growing up without a father. Building a family in Michigan is the theme here, and there’s more than a few biographical touches to this tale, as well as threads of magical realism.

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Mr. Paradise – Elmore Leonard

Famous the world over for gritty noir novels, Elmore Leonard is a New-Orleans-born Michigan native who lives in Oakland County. This novel of crime gone wrong involves a high-priced call girl, authentic dialogue and places (the very first chapter places the protagonist at the posh Rattlesnake Club restaurant), and a satisfying murder mystery.

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Poison Blonde (An Amos Walker novel) – Loren Estleman

Classic cars and classic clothes are hallmarks of Amos Walker novels. Written for fans of 40s and 50s noir, this 19-book series by native Estleman hits these private detective stories right on the nose, where classy dames and real gone hipsters abound. Set in Detroit’s backyard of Hamtramck, this is the 17th book in the series. If you want to start at the beginning, try 1980’s Motor City Blue.

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[Motor City Blue – Fic Estleman WMB]

A Stolen Season (An Alex McKnight Mystery) – Steve Hamilton

Winner of both the Edgar and Shamus awards for mystery and private eye novels, respectively, Hamilton is another local talent who turns his eyes to whodunits in Michigan – usually in the cold upper regions of the state. In this Alex McKnight novel (the seventh – and newest - in the series), plot crossovers and double-crosses surround the ex-cop while he deals with Bay Mills Indians and drug dealers.

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The Chocolate Cat Caper (A Chocoholic Mystery) – Joanna Carl (a.k.a. Eve Sandstrom)

Michigan seems to be a popular place to set series mysteries – such as these Chocoholic books, featuring Texan Lee McKinney, who moves up to a Michigan resort town on the lake to help her Aunt Nettie’s chocolate business get back up and running. Lee and Nettie end up accidentally solving mysteries in this fictional resort town, and all of the mysteries involve chocolate! These are a good suggestion if you’ve finished the Joanne Fluke novels and are looking for more tasty page-turners.


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For kids who want some local fun, try the Michigan Chillers series by Jonathan Rand – featuring titles like Dinosaurs Destroy Detroit and Poltergeists of Petoskey.


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