Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Lee, Lee, Arlo and Me...

From Paul–

Women Love Violence– Last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal pasted Lee Child’s handsome mug on page one under the headline: “Odd Twist for Hero of Popular Thrillers: Women Like Him, Too.”

The Journal wondered why Lee’s super-violent Jack Reacher novels (The Hard Way) have drawn millions of women readers.

“Booksellers believe Mr. Child may have tapped into the same audience that has devoured romance novels over the past 20 years, a genre that in recent years has increasingly included more violence and suspense,” the Journal wrote.

Yep. Plus I’d say that women admire men of action who strive for justice, even the rough-and-tumble vigilante justice of ex-Army Major Reacher. I admire Lee’s action scenes. My protagonist, Steve Solomon, usually doesn’t hit a guy with anything other than a subpoena.

I’ll be seeing Lee at “Thrillerfest” July 1 in Phoenix. (City motto: It’s so hot, you'll plotz). Fans, writers, and critics are coming together for panels, talks, and margaritas. Space still available; check it out at the International Thriller Writers website.

I’ve dusted off my law degree because I’ll be defending Jack Reacher (played by Lee) in a mock murder trial. Ex-assistant U.S. Attorney Michele Martinez (Finishing School) will prosecute; M. Diane Vogt (Marital Privilege) will preside; James O. Born (Escape Clause), a real life cop, will be the state’s star witness...until I cross examine him. The jury will consist of book critics. Who better to sentence a guy to death, right? We’ll be using the scenario from Lee’s book Persuader for our factual setting.

The Deadwood Blues– The savvy Lee Goldberg
knows more about television dramas than anyone I’ve ever met. As a veteran novelist, he also has great advice for aspiring writers. Such as...NEVER pay to have a book published. But I’m not sure I agree with Lee's popular Blog yesterday, with its high praise for the season premiere of “Deadwood.” I think the show sags when Ian McShane is off-screen, and I’m not sure I care for the kinder, gentler owner of the “Gem.” It’s a show driven by the villain, or at least it was, and I liked it that way.

Arlo Guthrie is exactly my age, but his photo in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times makes him look about 89. Now, I’m feeling old. Maybe because of Guthrie. Maybe because of my knee surgery last week at Cedars-Sinai in L.A. Great hospital (motto: “Sinatra died here”), and the food’s not bad (try the potato latkes with sour cream). Great surgeon (Dr. Brad Penenberg). And there’s an excellent bakery (Breadbar) across the street.

By Paul


  1. Great post, Paul. And, whoa, that text wrap stuff is amazing.

    Maybe women like to read about Reacher for the same reason they like your Steve Solomon, i.e., at the end of the day, he's somebody you want on your side, and in Steve's case, somebody who makes you laugh out loud.

  2. Patty,
    I admire writers who do what I can't. Tom Wolfe describing the wainscoting in a Park Avenue apartment, James Lee Burke describing the moss in the bayou. And...Lee Child banging out a rock'em, sock'em 10 page action sequence. My action is mostly verbal, my fireworks an occasional lovemaking session in a Florida avocado grove with a Spanish love song playing: “Eres tú flor carnal de mi jardin ideal.”

  3. Reacher is innocent! He was with me all night teaching me the finer points of Canasta.

  4. I love Canasta, Evil E, and you'll have to share those finer points...

    That WSJ drawing just does not look like Lee, to me. Hair is kinda right, but the rest of it?

    Great post, Paul! And the lyrics are magnificent. "flor carnal" is pretty cool. My Spanish is weak, so I'm hoping it doesn't mean flesh-eating flower.

  5. p.s. if we keep up the Guthrie-related posts between the two of us, we may have to rename this "Naked Arlo."

  6. “Eres tú flor carnal de mi jardin ideal.”

    Translation: "You're the sexual flower of my perfect garden."

    I know. I know. It sounds better in Spanish. It's from the Cuban love song, "Como Arrullo de Palmas" by Ernesto Leucona from the 1930's. For the romantically inclined, picture the Tropicana in Havana around 1939, a warm summer night, an ocean breeze, the rum is flowing...you get the idea.

  7. I'll share, Cornelia - as soon as I master them. But I'm a slow learner and may need more lessons.