Fabulous Fiction Firsts #646



World Fantasy Award–winner Theodora Goss's debut The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter * is reworked from an earlier short story, bringing her "Gothic-inflected fantasies roaring into the steampunk era." (Publishers Weekly)

Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless after her mother's death, found among her mother's ledger monthly payment to the Magdalen Society for the upkeep of "Hyde". Curious and eager to claim the reward for the capture of Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, Mary enlisted the help of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, who were somewhat distracted in consulting for Inspector Lestrade in a series of gruesome murders of Whitechapel prostitutes.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #645



The Reminders *, a debut novel by writer, singer-songwriter, and actor Val Emmich (Vinyl and Ugly Betty) is the unlikely friendship between a gifted child who remembers everything and a grieving man who is trying to forget.

The 10-year-old Joan Lennon Scully (named after her father's favorite songwriter) has HSAM: highly superior autobiographical memory. While she can recall every minute detail of her life, she is frustrated that everyone else forgets, even the most important things and people in their lives. She thinks winning a local songwriting contest might make her unforgettable.

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"Terror in Ypsilanti" recounts the true story of The Michigan Murderer


Gregory Fournier, Terror in Ypsilanti

In Terror in Ypsilanti, Gregory Fournier says the Charles Manson murders overshadowed the trial of serial killer John Norman Collins.

"Notice of a psychotic killer in their midst did not resonate with the Ypsilanti, Michigan community in the summer of 1967."

So begins Terror in Ypsilanti, the award-winning book by Gregory Fournier. Not only did this idea not resonate with inhabitants of our area, but the term “serial killer” hadn’t even been devised yet; nonetheless, that is exactly who was stalking young women in Ypsilanti.

John Norman Collins ultimately was suspected of the deaths of seven women over a three-year period. Fournier, who was teaching in Ypsilanti at the time, lived a block away from Collins and “had several negative encounters with him.” But it wasn’t until he “saw (Collins’) face plastered across newspapers that I recognized him.”

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #644



Michigan author Karen Dionne's hardcover debut The Marsh King's Daughter * transports her readers to the wilderness of Michigan's Upper Peninsula where a woman must risk everything she has and use every skill she learned to hunt down the dangerous criminal who taught her everything she knew - her father.

When Helena Pelletier heard on the news that the notorious murderer/kidnapper known as "The Marsh King" has killed two guards and escaped from Marquette maximum security prison, she knew she could no longer outrun her past.

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Manifesto Destiny: Melting Watch Press debuts with Beats-inspired poetry anthology


Melting Watch Press

Cousins Joe Provenzano and Mike Benoit aren't short on proclamations. Their new Ann Arbor-based Melting Watch Press was inspired by a shared love of the Transcendentalists -- particularly Walt Whitman -- and the Beats, and the duo aren't afraid to claim their place in that lineage.

“We really consider ourselves to be part of their tradition,” says Provenzano. The cousins believe in "the idea of writing things that we’re actually thinking, and taking ourselves away from academic pseudo-poetry and (the) shielding of ourselves and opening our hearts to the page.”

Melting Watch Press' first salvo against "academic pseudo-poetry" is Chattering of the Subconscious Toybox: A Radical Anthology of Emerging New Poets, an anthology featuring Provenzano, Benoit, and their friend Jake Camaj.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #642 & #643



Fabulous Fiction Firsts #642

The Garden of Small Beginnings * by Abbi Waxman is a story of loss but also the joy of second chances.

It has been three years since Lilian watched her husband died in a car accident 50 feet from her front door. After a breakdown and hospitalization, she is back at her job as a textbook illustrator in a small LA publishing house and making a life with her two young daughters, Annabel and Clare.

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Elly Griffiths' "The Chalk Pit" continues one mystery's best current series


Elly Griffiths, The Chalk Pit

Deep inside The Chalk Pit is a strong female lead who is written so well that she feels real.

Secret societies, cannibalism, and ritual killings? Bones found in an old chalk-mining pit? Labyrinths and tunnels and a forensic specialist who keeps finding herself embroiled in murders?

Where do we find all of this?

Deep inside The Chalk Pit, the ninth book in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths.

The novel finds our intrepid forensic archeologist far beneath the streets of Norwich, England. The seed for the setting of this book was planted when Griffiths gave a talk at an independent bookstore in Norwich.

“The manager happened to mention that there was a tunnel under the store and asked if I wanted to see it,” Griffiths says. “(The chalk tunnel) was low-ceilinged and damp and led off into darkness. (My research) found that you can walk the length of Norwich underground because there are so many old chalk-mining tunnels, crypts, and undercrofts.”

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Red Scare: Glenn Frankel's "High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic"

Glenn Frankel, High Noon

Glenn Frankel's book recounts the Red Scare surrounding High Noon.

Each year we hear about how political the Oscars are, but this may have never been truer than in 1953 when High Noon scored big with critics and moviegoers the year before (and earned seven nominations), but also found itself in the crosshairs of the House Un-American Activities Committee.

“There was a campaign to make sure (High Noon screenwriter Carl Foreman) didn’t win, because that would be too embarrassing,” said Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Frankel, who just published High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic.

Frankel will talk about his latest book at the Westgate branch of the Ann Arbor District Library on Friday, June 23 from 7-8:30 pm.

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Hunger for Life: Roxane Gay at Hill Auditorium


Roxane Gay

Roxane Gay shows strength via her ability to be vulnerable in her writing. Post-It crammed book photo by Sherlonya Turner.

Roxane Gay is an endurance performer.

She is a professor, essayist, fiction writer, and cultural critic. Any pair of these things could fill or even overwhelm a professional life, but she does not stop there. As a person who at times fetishizes achievement, I am awed by the sheer quantity of pages that she has loosed into the world. And that is before we consider her Twitter presence or the volume of reading that she does, evidenced by the book giveaways that appear on her Tumblr from time-to-time.

I know that Gay’s smarts help fuel her accomplishments as do her talents, but when I think about her -- like, big picture her -- I just think, "Damn, she works hard. She hustles."

At Gay’s reading for her new book, Hunger, on June 16, I took a seat toward the back of Hill Auditorium and watched the audience file in. I've never been someone who needs an excuse to gawk at and examine other women’s bodies, and I was wondering who would join me to hear excerpts from Hunger, which tells the story of Roxane Gay’s body.

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Fabulous Fiction Firsts #640 & #641



Fabulous Fiction Firsts #640

Winner of the prestigious Prix Renaudot in 1988 and available for the first time in English (translated from the French by Kaiama L. Glover), Hadriana in All My Dreams * * * by Rene Depestre, combines magic, fantasy, eroticism, and delirious humor to explore universal questions of race and sexuality.

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