Tag Archives: series

Spend Sunday with Sakey’s Brilliance

marcusMarcus Sakey seems to have it all going on lately!  He’s built a reputation for solid crime fiction, is the host of Hidden City on the Travel Channel, is a frequent panelist and faculty member at fan and writing conferences, and (I can attest) is super-engaging on Facebook.  And he’s really knocked it out of the park with his latest novel, a genre-bending mash-up of thriller and sci-fi, Brilliance.

Protagonist Nick Cooper is one of the 1%.  Not the 1% of wealthiest Americans, but the 1% of Americans born since 1980 with a special ability – Nick is “brilliant” at instantaneously evaluating what people will do, and getting there before them.  This physical gift makes him especially skilled in physical combat.  Others of the 1% have other gifts.  With the exception of their particular gift, the “brilliants” are normal.

brillianceNot surprisingly, the 99% fear and want to control the 1%.  Surprisingly, Nick’s an agent with the Department of Analysis and Response – the federal agency charged with identifying, finding, and neutralizing those gifted who resist control:  terrorists.  Nick’s so committed that he goes undercover to hunt the uber-terrorist John Smith, leaving behind his wife, his kids, his partner and his colleagues in a desperate bid to simultaneously save the country AND keep his tier-one talented daughter in the family.  (Gifted children are taken away and sent to  a special training academy.)   The stakes are high.

And, of course, complications ensue.  Nick may be gifted, but he’s not all-knowing, and it takes a while for him to recognize  that the DAR is not what it purports to be.   He’s undercover, on the run, with a new love interest.  Terrible things happen and he’s responsible for many of them.   The final scenes are fraught with tension, as Nick must draw upon the strength of his friendship with his former partner to win the day.  Does he win it?  Yes, for now.  But Brilliance is clearly the first book in a planned series.

I’m thinking a movie series as well… the concept is awesome, the first book is packed with great characters and compelling action, and there’s plenty of room for continued conflict.  It’s like Jason Bourne with psychic powers.  Sure enough, Screenrant says Tobey Maguire’s producing and they’re talking James Franco for Nick Cooper.  (I’m not seeing that casting.  Jake Gyllenhal?  Jim Sturgess?)

My recommendation:  get the book and spend Sunday in Sakey’s world.  Want more insight into the book?  Here’s a link to an NPR email interview with the author.

Getting out there again… agents, take note

Excellent Paula for the future movie.

So, great news!  I just finished the final edit of Character-Driven, the first mystery in my 1-and-3/4 book series featuring sometime-actress, sometime-sleuth Paula Berger.  Paula’s headstrong, funny, and super-nosy.  All great characteristics if you’re going to get to the bottom of the bizarro behavior of your best friend’s husband.  Then he disappears and things heat up.  Throw in a couple of goons, a mob lawyer, a sociopathic surgeon, a cute cop… you’ll eat it up.  Or so I hope.  My writing pal, Addy, gave me great feedback, I’ve put in a super-au-courant subplot, and I took out almost all the ellipses.

Anyway, my new 2012 Guide to Literary Agents came in the mail today.  (Thanks, Amazon.)  So I’ll be scouring it for agents who will NOT say “I loved it!  But I don’t think I can sell it.”  I want one who will say “I loved it and I bet I can sell it.”  Ahh, the dream does not die.

“Bad” no more… Lone Wolf

I’ve been reading Linwood Barclay‘s books in order.  The first two, Bad Move and Bad Guys, feature sci-fi/reporter Zach Walker in domestic mysteries with a tough guy edge.  The third Walker book in the series, Lone Wolf, breaks the pattern – no “bad” in the title!

The book differs in other ways, too.  It still has the “family in peril” vibe, but in this case, the family is Zach’s father and stepmother, whose peaceful life in the piney woods is threatened by a family of hooligans renting from Zach’s dad.  He’s slow to take action to evict them, and the sheriff in town – who looks oddly familiar – is similarly slow to question their story when a man is killed, ostensibly mauled by a bear but more likely the victim of the evil family’s vicious pit bulls.

Where the previous books were funny with a heavy helping of twisty plot and a dash of mayhem, Lone Wolf ratchets up the violence, introduces numerous plot lines with a multiplicity of characters, and pulls back on the funny.  Zach is not as quirky as in the previous two books… less personality, more action. The change-up at the end is more disconcerting than surprising.  Spoiler alert.  Stop reading now if you haven’t read Lone Wolf yet and are planning to do so!

Or, if you’re still reading, you find that yes, it’s true that the reason why Sheriff Orville looks so dang familiar is because he looks like Zach – he’s his half-brother!  This makes sense to Zach because he remembers a bad time in his parents’ marriage, when his mother took off for a period of time – she needed time to get over her husband’s infidelity.   The twist at the end is that Orville and Zach don’t share a father… they share a mother.  Saintly mom was evidently slutty mom. (Dead now, of course, and can’t speak for herself.)

So, all in all, changes in the series are not to my liking.  And of course this is one I bought on Kindle because it wasn’t available at the library!  Last thought:  if anyone can explain the title to me, please do so.  I have yet to figure out why the book is called Lone Wolf.  I’d have thought Bad Scene.   Or Bad Time.  Or Bad Family.