Friday, January 1, 2010

Thanks from Shaneville . . .


By Shane Gericke

I have the privilege of writing the very first Criminal Minds of 010110, so let me start by thanking each and every one of you for reading my bloggish scribblings this past year. It was an honor to get to know all of you, and in particular my CM colleagues, who blog so well I’m embarrassed sometimes to put my work up next to theirs. (Seriously. You guys are insanely talented writers: clear, concise, and funnier than hell. I learn a lot from you.) I deeply appreciate your reading Shaney-centric Fridays, and all the other days of the week. This is a labor of love for us—nobody pays authors to write blogs, it’s done on our free time—so it’s fun to know you’re in the passenger seat, along for the ride. Just don’t change my radio station . . .

Now, today’s topic (cue the Mackenzie Brothers, eh …) which is my list of best books of 2009. Drum roll and envelope, please . . . the very best book I read that was published in 2009 was . . . uh . . .

Ah, hell, I can’t do it. I scoured all the “best books” lists out there, and am chagrined to say I haven’t read a damn one of ’em. Not one. Sigh. Too many balls in the air this year writing my new thriller, Torn Apart, working as chairman of ThrillerFest, and judging biographies for the Edgar Awards. (That last with CM guru and author extraordinaire Kelli Stanley as chief biographies judge. We picked a lovely book for you, which you’ll find about in a few months when MWA releases the five finalists and winner.)

With any luck, the new year will free up some time for me and I’ll actually read a “best book” the year it comes out. Not that “best book” lists mean anything, mind you; what’s “best” is what you consider best, not anyone else. Unless my books are on the list. Then, the list is important and vital and worthy and GodthankyouforpickingmeIwonIwonIwon.

So, where were we? Right. Best reads of 2009. Like I say, I didn’t read any of them. But should you want a complete roundup of what various folks and institutions picked as their best, scamper on over to Stacy Alessi’s site. Better known as “The Book Bitch” (her title, not mine; Stacy is a gracious and funny person who reads a lot of books), she’s rounded up every big-deal “best of” list for Oh-Nine, from the Times twins (New York and L.A.) to Publishers Weekly to Amazon to more. Go feast your readin’ eyes on:

http://bookbitch.blogspot.com/

Crime fiction reviewer and blogger Sarah Weinman published her own rankings of the best crime fiction of the decade, including her No. 1 pick, Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River. She calls it a game-changer, and she’s right: this book is a masterpiece and a gem and every other descriptor I can muster. (Yes, it’s that good; even better than the Sean Penn movie version, which was terrific in and of itself). Check out Sarah’s work at her blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind (the decade’s-best list is halfway down the page, the December 10 blog item), at:

http://www.sarahweinman.com//

If you can only follow one book blog (besides ours, natch), pick Sarah’s. It’s good, it’s timely, and most important, she links to every-damn-thing out there related to crime fiction and books in general, so you won’t miss a thing.

Finally, I’d be a scumbuckety hairball in a cheap red dress to not mention that Our Sophie made reviewer David Montgomery’s list as one of the best books of 2009—for a debut, yet, how cool is that?—for the launch of her stellar Stella series. You’ll find David’s choices in Sarah’s blog at the aforementioned Sara Weinman link; it’s near the top of the page. Congratulations, Sophie Littlefield! We’re proud to know ya.

And finally-finally, the coolest book moment for me in 2009 was meeting a table-full of high school girls. They belonged to a summer reading club at the local public library, and read my second book, Cut to the Bone. That didn't scare them off, and they decided they wanted to visit Naperville (their town is 30 miles away from mine) and see all the places (which I turned into crime scenes) mentioned in the book. Their librarian/club adviser e-mailed me, wanted to know if I'd meet them for lunch and talk about books and writing. I was flabbergasted that kids would want to hang out ... and then they went ahead and liked my writing? Yeah, I was on that offer like a dying man on a tumbler of whisky. Or something. Anyway, we talked literature for several hours, I got a free meal--joy oh authory bliss--and I met some of the coolest kids I'd ever had the honor of knowing. Bless all librarians, and their summer reading programs everywhere!

So take care, one and all, and thanks again for reading me this year. Twas an honor writing for you.

Shane Gericke’s new thriller, Torn Apart, launches July 6 from Pinnacle Fiction. He’s remaking his website into a multimedia extravaganza that will make him look much better than he has any legitimate right to expect—the glory of professional photographers and web designers—and hopes it’ll be up and running by February. Keep an eye out at www.ShaneGericke.com

10 comments:

Jen Forbus said...

Happy New Year, Shane. 2009 was filled with wonderful crime fiction! And 2010 is shaping up to be as great if not better.

Here's to another great year!

Sophie Littlefield said...

am picturing you in a cheap red dress and I think I like it. :)

awww shane, you were one of my best '09 discoveries! See you in NY? (I love how that sounds! :)

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I love the last story of you meeting with the young readers. When I was young reader, I would have been THRILLED to meet with an author. Heck, I still would be. To me, reading is everything and authors who create what I enjoy so much are the best-est ever.

And I hadn't considered the date before: 010110. I wonder what that is in binary? And for babies born or weddings today what a great date to remember. I'll bet 10-10-10 will be popular. I helped a guy a couple days ago (I do unemployment insurance claims) who's birth date was 7-7-77.
Done rambling. :)

Shane Gericke said...

I can't wear cheap red dresses, Sophie. They make my butt look big ...

Back atcha on being one of my best '09 discoveries. Can't wait to see you in New York ... and YES it's great to be able to say that!

Shane Gericke said...

Jen, literature in 2010, as in 2009, would be poorer without you and your lovely blog. Thank you for doing it, and just for being you.

Shane Gericke said...

PK, I thought the same thing about binary code when I wrote out the date! 010110 is kinda Hal-like, isn't it? It must be a thing for repetitious numbers ... I love watching my car odometer his 11111 or 21212. The symmetry is very cool.

As for meeting those young readers, it was a gas. I don't often get the chance; I don't consider my work YA, with its headless corpses and all. Yet, these kids seemed to like it. More important, they "got" what I was trying to say, better than many adults. A lot of people today complain about "spoiled kids ... obnoxious ... money obsessed ..." or fill in the blank. Not me; with rare exception, the kids I run into are pretty all right. They're much smarter and socially aware of the world then I was at their age. Those of you raising this generation, you rock--the kids are alright.

Kelli Stanley said...

Happy New Year, sweetums!! I'm with Sophie--I wanna see you in a red dress. I'm thinking a strapless number, maybe something out of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. ;)

Along with Soph's amazing book, another one of our compadres who made a best list this year was Becky--A TRACE OF SMOKE is in Deadly Pleasures as one of the year's best. Go, Criminal Minds, go!! :)

And Shane, darlin', thank you for making Fridays something to look forward to in more ways than one ... can't wait to claim my hug at Thrillerfest! :)

xoxo

Kelli

Shane Gericke said...

Strapless? Not me, Kel. I'm, y'know, shy :-)

Becky got high-ranked too? Outstanding! Congratulations, Becky, we're proud to know ya.

You know, you and Sophie would look much better in cheap red dresses than I ... being our CM grand winners and all ... not cause I'd enjoy the sight, naw, nothing like that, only for professional CM promotional reasons ...

It's tres cool the two of you getting best-of honors.

Michael Wiley said...

With all respect, Shane, I have no interest in seeing you in a cheap red dress. You look much better in black.

I wish you a great 2010 and hope that TORN APART sets the pace for all others to follow.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Aww, thanks, Shane and Kelli! And congrats to Sophie (whose book was also nominated as Best First Mystery by Romantic Times, I somehow got nominated their ad Best Historical too, so we may be rockin' in Cleveland!).