Tuesday, May 22, 2012

International Mysteries from Atria

Dave and I drove to Brattleboro last month to meet the Atria Books "Great Mystery Bus Tour," with authors William Kent Krueger, Liza Marklund, John Connolly, and M. J. Rose -- it took two hours to get there, and much longer to get home (we stopped to visit friends), but it was worth it. Kind host David Wilson at Mystery on Main Street swapped stories with us, too.

The cream in the coffee (well, really, it was more like that final swirled heart that the barista magically creates on the top of the cappuccino) was a modest paperback handed out to exiting readers by one of the bus staff: The Atria International Books of Mysteries, Your Passport to a World of Murder and Mayhem; Circle the Globe with 15 First-Class Mystery Writers.

This, of course, was one of that strange breed of "free" books known as "samplers." It contains chapter one -- ONLY chapter one -- of each of fifteen mysteries (crime fiction in this case) presented by authors that Atria (a Simon & Schuster imprint) publishes. How nice that it was a gift, and a softcover one at that. I knew Dave wouldn't mind if I toted the book around casually, reading on the couch, in bed, on the deck. Matter of fact, I barely put it down. Because every single chapter one in this sampler is a good one.

So my "free" book ended up costing me quite a bit, as I scrambled to purchase the books that were started within it. We already had plenty on the shelves by John Connolly and Liza Marklund and Walter Mosley, and a growing section of William Kent Krueger (because I enjoyed finding his books at the mystery shop in Madison, Wisconsin, a few years back). And Spencer Quinn is a regular in the Kingdom Books collections, as is M. J. Rose.

But Paul Cleave, of New Zealand? New to me. And his book Collecting Cooper is a wonderfully dark investigation, a cross between Garry Fisher and Dave Zeltserman with maybe more bodies. Malla Nunn of South Africa? Wow! Kristina Ohlsson, a Swedish author I'd missed in the new Scandinavian fiction craze, is going to be a new favorite, too.

(And don't worry, I'll get to talking about the other authors in there, too. Just not all at once, OK?)

I am ready for a long, long summer of reading. Thanks for the nudge, Atria Books.

Oh, almost forgot -- if you didn't get to one of the bus tour events, you can STILL get a free copy of this sampler, if you don't mind receiving it as an ebook. Here's the link. Go for it!

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