Nicole Is Currently…

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Nicole is currently…

Reading: “The Vows of Silence” by Susan Hill. I’m always surprised when lovers of crime noir tell me they don’t read Susan Hill or don’t know who she is. She writes dark and moody crime fiction set in quaint English towns and her brief descriptions of the food the characters munching alone puts me squarely in the midst of rolling hills and cobblestones and people who are always saying things like “quite so.” If you’re a fan of crime novels in general, I definitely recommend Susan Hill. Her novels aren’t quite as propulsive as some other suspense/thrillers out there. It’s like publishers decided that all crime and suspense stories have to be Jack Reacher or they’re basically literary fiction. I don’t totally get that trend, but whatever the reasons for it, Hill’s books are a nice departure from it without losing an ounce of suspense. This is the fourth book in the Simon Serrailler series, of which so far the first book was the best, though they’re all good. I’m enjoying this one as well.

Last Book Read: “The Memory Collector” by Meg Gardiner. Gardiner is one of the authors who fits in well with the style of action on every page in a crime suspense novel, and she does it well. The adventures of Jo Beckett are definitely not zany, don’t confuse her protagonist with Stephanie Plum or Izzy Spellman, but they are intense and the danger is palpable. Dr. Beckett is a forensic psychiatrist, which means she performs “psychological autopsies” on dead people to try to determine why they died. I just finished book two of this series, and there were no psychological autopsies performed in this one, so obviously I’m wondering if this series is going to go the route of those catering mysteries where it’s like, “Why is a caterer running across so many dead bodies?” except it’s why is Beckett in so much constant danger? BUT-the books are good enough that I found that little detail pretty easy to overlook in this last one, and Gardiner never hesitates to kill people, so that keeps everything fresh and suspenseful. Gardiner’s books are eminently readable and you just chew through the pages. If you’re looking for suspense with a punch and a smart plot premise, you really can’t go wrong.

Cheering: The Kansas Jayhawks are back in the tournament as a #1 seed, and this team is so scrappy and weird, I have no idea what to expect. I would love a run to the Final Four (or what the heck, I’ll take another championship if it’s on the table). This team had one of the most roller-coaster years in recent memory. When they’re good, they’re very good, and when they are bad, they are horrid. I’m ready for the tourney, ROCK CHALK! Also, my girl Serena is back in action after giving birth, and you know I always have her in my heart.

Traveling: Next trip up: Florida Keys. I’m so excited to go on a real and true vacation that doesn’t involve some aspect of work. One of my cousins is getting married, which is really just a good excuse to head to the tropics. I plan on being in the water 97% of the time, so please, if you see me, bring me sunblock and Gatorade. Then in July it’s NYC and THRILLERFEST! I love NYC, and I love Thrillers, and I love learning from great thriller writers, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

Writing: I am doing a deep rewrite of “The Wench and the Warrior.” It’s everyone’s favorite book that I’ve written, but it needs a lot of work, so I’m hopeful I can get that done by July and pitch it at Thrillerfest and get a gigantic contract.