Monday, May 14, 2007

Final Chance to Win an ARC of THE CLEANER

Here's my last contest for an ARC of THE CLEANER. (I hope to give away a hardcover before the official release date, but no promises.) To enter let's make it interesting. In the comments section let me know the name of the book that most recently surprised you. By this I mean a book you didn't expect to be as good as it was, something that gripped you more than you would have guess when you first picked it up. Give us the author, and a quick description of why it had this effect on you. Don't give away any spoilers. I hate spoilers.

Here's an example:

GROTESQUE by Natsuo Kirino
I wasn't really sure what I was expecting from this book. Granted, I had heard good things. But when I picked it up to read I kind of expected it to be one of those books you read, enjoy, then quickly move on to the next one. Not even close. The story was like water going down a drain spinning you closer and closer to the center but not taking the straight route. Each time it took me around the drain there was something new and unexpected.

See, not so hard. Your turn! Doesn't have to be a thriller or suspense novel either. Any novel. Reading's good, but even better when you cross out of your comfort zone.

Contest ends at 9:00 p.m. Pacific Coast Time Thursday, May 24th.


Stephen Blackmoore said...

I know I'm not in the running for this one, but "The Song Is You" by Megan Abbott. I wasn't sure what to expect beyond a period '40's noir story, but the dialog the characters, the vivid capturing of post-war Hollywood and the movie industry was amazing. The dialog was like reading a Howard Hawks script; snappy, fast paced and so full of hidden meanings and double entendres you don't know who to believe.

spyscribbler said...

I already have a treasured ARC, but I wanted to mention a book that surprised me. A GAME OF PLEASURE, by Barbara Satow.

After all these romance hybrids: romantic suspense, paranormal romance, etc ... I'd forgotten what a true-blue romance was. The romance was the main plot, and most of the plot.

Boy plus girl. It sounds so plain, but it's like chocolate--yummy! When did an old-fashioned romance become fresh and original?

Rob Gregory Browne said...

The one that surprised me was VERTICAL COFFIN by Stephen J. Cannell. said...

Not a new book by any stretch, but I only recent discovered THE SHAPE OF SNAKES by Minette Walters, and it floored me. Literally. I don't know why I thought this would just be an interesting "who dunnit?" that I could breeze through and casually move on to the next book, but man was I wrong!

I read through this book in one night, getting more and more involved with the main character and her plight - and more and more frustrated and uncomfortable on her behalf with the way things were unfolding.

No spolier, but let me just say the last page of this book affected me in a way NO book ever has. I cried. I literally sat on the floor with the book in my lap shaking my head and crying. Simply amazing!

Steve G said...

God’s Spy by Juan Gomez-Jurado

I love a good thriller. One that wraps its arms around religion can be enticing, but after Dan Brown made his presence felt, a super read is hard to find. When I picked up Juan’s novel, I thought, okay another imitation, but was I surprised. I was sucked in from the beginning and too engrossed with the fast paced chase to give Dan a second thought. The chain of events will leave the most skeptical individual wondering if the story is fiction or truth hidden behind a veil of Vatican secrecy.

Stacey Cochran said...

John Saul's Suffer the Children. I picked this book up at the library because the library had a sign that said "If You Like Stephen King and Dean Koontz, you'll love...."

3 or 4 authors were listed. John Saul was one of them, and I checked out this book because it was his first published novel.

Saul writes with (for me) that perfect blend of real-life characters in paranormal suspense thriller plots that I like.

Some of you may know the story of how his first book was published. If not, it's definitely worth reading about.


jeff shelby said...

Damn you and your contests that continually suck me in...

"I Love You, Beth Cooper" by Larry Doyle.

Doyle was an editor for Spy Magazine and has written for The Simpsons and Beavis and Butthead, so I knew I would like this book. But there was a lot of advance hype and I was certain I'd set the bar too high.

Wrong. It's freakin' hilarious. The premise: the unbelievably dorky class valedictorian declares his love for the hottest girl in his class during his graduation speech. It all goes down hill from there. So, so great.

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson really surprised me. It was a new series by a new author. But the story was so fresh, original, and action-packed that I was talking about it for days.

aBookworm said...

I was surprised and entranced by Monica Pradhan's The Hindi-Bindi Club. It's a book about two generations of Indian and Indian-American women who deal with cultural and continental transplantation, history and emotion upheavals together in a manner that's poignant and impressive.

M. G. Tarquini said...

Steven Torres' The Concrete Maze. I won an ARC in a contest Steven held at Crimespace. He just asked for an opinion in return.

Real life made me take 3 days to read this book, but I could easily have forgotten the world existed and done it in one sitting. When I was away from it, I kept wondering what would happen next.

Why didn't I expect to find it so gripping? Because I'm not a crime fiction writer and only an occasional reader. I'd never read Steven's work before and I had the impression he wrote police procedurals. I worried it would read like CSI, or Law and Order. Instead what I found was an intensely human drama that grabbed my gut and wouldn't let go.

anne said...

A novel that I was totally enthralled with was The Sense of Paper by Taylor Holden. Excellent writing, thrilling and vivid chracters.

ellie said...

A novel that held my interest without prodding was The Book of Names by Jill Gregory. Loved the premise as well as the background information which was fascinating. A suspense filled action packed story.

diane said...

A complete treasure is A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell. Historical Fiction is something new for me but this book was compelling in everyway. Beautifully written and intensely memorable.

sharon said...

Since I am in the mood for Italy and Italian background there is a book that I just found. The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips. Very intriguing and enjoyable. The past and the present day which conflicts but is well done and enjoyable.

Steve Malley said...

My biggest surprise in a long time was RACHEL'S HOLIDAY, by Marian Keyes.

I'm not a big fan of Chick Lit, Romance or Rehab Comedy. Not even sure why I picked it up, to tell the truth.

But I found this amazing, dark, wry, powerful work by a writer with uncanny dramatic powers.

Still not much on the Chick Lit, but I did pick up the rest of her work!

Rick said...

Brett - since we are having lunch tomorrow - I decided I needed to at least think about this question - knowing you might quiz me on it over our Oyster Poboys from the Farmers Market. I feel small compared to the literary folks who have already contributed. As I mentiond to you on the phone, I was hoping for a great surprise by this new book by Jack Priest. But alas, it again reminds me how difficult it is to nail the "100% motivation" question for all characters in a book. At times, this book, "Ragged Man" makes me want to smack this author and say "are you freakin nuts - this is not what this guy would do...." - or perhaps differently, I should say, "You have not introduced us enough to your character to make us want to believe..." Anyway - I digress. So, instead, I will offer King's recent book, "Lisey's Story." At first, the read was slow, and I was thinking, "Oops - this one was a bit of a therapy session for King..." But in the end, the book takes a few new turns for King - and also allows you to feel the suspense and turns of a typical Stephen King book. I have not yet to go read the reviews (something I do only AFTER reading the book). But the most interesting piece for me is to understand if readers thought that the character actually went through the psychotic trip he describes, or if this is actually the inside understanding of a mental breakdown. Either way - it makes for new - different - and entertaining Stephen King. My two cents. I look forward to lunch. And I look forward to your new book. Cheers my friend! - Rick

(and by the way - thanks for the referal to Rob Gregory Brown's new book - I ordered it from Amazon and will look forward to it as well...and cool to see him in this thread!)