Lawrence Block – Dead Girl Blues and more

Lawrence Block - Sixty Years of Incredible Writing

Oh, wow! It is always a JOY for me to talk to Mystery Writer of America Grand Master, Lawrence Block. (Now that Martha Grimes was a guest, it means that I have had the joy of interviewing ten MWA Grand Masters -- I would love to make Walter Mosley #11.)

Lawrence Block joined me to talk about his upcoming release of Dead Girl Blues on June 24th. It is, however, definitely not for everyone. Hard hitting is putting it mildly. Disturbing? Well, check out the warnings. It is, as you would expect from this master story teller, great writing.

We also talked about his brilliantly conceived anthologies that he has created during the past few years. The idea seems so simple: invite talented authors to based short stories of great works of art. But it took an excellent editor like Lawrence Block to put it all together. Of course, I have had the honor of interviewing many of the authors who have contributed stories to In Sunlight or in Shadow and Alive in Shape and Color, and the third in the series From Sea to Stormy Sea. Thank you, Larry!

By the way, while I'm thinking of Lawrence Block, I wanted to mention one of his series that I really enjoy -- the Keller Hit Man series. I've been thinking about Keller, because during this pandemic thing, I have been organizing -- first my cupboards, next my closets, then my coins -- and right now I am on my stamp collection. I don't have a very big collection and few of the stamps are valuable. I did pay pay 5 Francs years ago for a French Vietnamese stamp at the Marché aux Timbres on Marigny Square in the 8th arrondissement of Paris. It is the location where Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant filmed Charade. I gave that stamp away to someone who served in the war.  

One thing that this pandemic has taught people is that it is great to have a hobby -- something that can keep your mind occupied -- or at least distracted long enough to pass a few hours in the day or night. One of the best is stamp collecting. It doesn't have to be a million dollar collection to give you a great deal of fun. You have to marvel at the artistry or you get lost in memories.

Now, of course, if you are a real enthusiast like Larry Block, you will have even more fun.  He was a longtime collector of worldwide stamps that were issued before 1940.  You can read more about his interest in stamps on his website. Or get his book:

Generally Speaking: All 33 Columns, Plus a Few Philatelic Words from Keller

A collection of columns he wrote for Linn’s Stamp News, a magazine for collectors, it will capture your attention and you don't have to be a stamp collector to find the work of interest. This would make a great gift for Father's Day or for anyone still stuck in the house -- the Audible version is really great and if you aren't a philatelist, the book might send you in that direction.

Newest Lawrence Block Anthology

The Darkling Halls of Ivy

Many of the eighteen stories in this newest anthology are creepy, mysterious, and sinister--much as you would expect from a group of talented authors invited by Lawrence Block to write stories set in the halls of academia. One never knows what might be lurking in a lecture hall or library or residence on a college campus.

Many of the authors have been guests on Joy on Paper, including Warren Moore and Joe R. Lansdale.

I will also invite:

  • Ian Rankin -  he is so adorable. I met him at the bar in the beautiful Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg during Bouchercon2018. One always finds writers so much more interesting and relaxed at the bar!
  • Tom Straw - Don't you love that name?  Tom Straw who is really Richard Castle...or vice versa. Does he get confused? Just think, seven novels that went straight to the New York Times Best Seller list and one landed up in the No. 1 slot. I miss that series! In this book he has a story about a guy with a guilty conscience.
  • Owen King - Yes, the son of....another chip off a famous block. And I won't ask him about his father! It must get so annoying when you are the relative of someone famous to have that person overshadow every interview. Anyway, Owen is a fine author on his own.  His book, Double Feature, published in 2014, is about an indie film maker, Sam Dolan, whose first indie film is a spectacular failure. Having been a scriptwriter and having worked with many indie filmmakers, I appreciate the heartfelt insights into the movie business. I love a book that makes me laugh and sigh at the vagaries of life. Looking forward to talking to Owen -- and waiting eagerly for his next full length novel.

Well, I'm going to invite them all -- including Jill D. Block, whose book, The Truth About Parallel Lines, is one of my favorites.

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PatZi with Larry & Jill Block

I first met Larry Block and the chip off the block -- Jill -- at Bouchercon2018 at the fabulous Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg, Florida

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Get Owen King's book...

Film making is a crazy business -- and Owen captures a lot of it!

Perfect Father's Day Gift

This is the third book in Lawrence Block's acclaimed illustrated anthology series. He has gathered
together incredibly talented authors to write short stories inspired by masterpieces of American art.

Beautifully illustrated with full-color reproductions of the seventeen paintings, the collection includes a divergent range of themes and cultures.

The Truth About Parallel Line

This book has one of the best opening lines ever!
Writers dream of writing a memorable opening that will hook readers -- well, Jill does it with this debut novel that spans forty years. It is both a compelling and charming story about relationships. She moves deftly between point of views as her characters
grapple with life's challenges.  I particularly enjoy how Jill captures the excitement of New York City -- and brings back fond memories of my many visits to the city. My most recent one was particularly fun as I got to meet Jill at my favorite hotel, The Algonquin.

This is one of the books that I think should be optioned! In my head it is a film....

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