Monday, February 27, 2017

Bits and pieces

Outside The Episcopal Church of Heavenly Rest on Fifth Avenue and 90th Street. 2:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Monday, February 27, 2017. The weekend, beginning on Friday brought us warmer temperatures that tickled 70 degrees for a few hours; followed by a mild, Saturday, followed by an hour of heavy late afternoon rains, to a much colder Sunday with brisk, chilly winds blowing at least in my micro-Upper East Side by the river-climate.
Books and books. I read all the time, even in bits and pieces, to the point where much of my life is spent looking at print – rather than screens of entertainment photos – unless they’re related to the subject I’m reading about. I read more at this time of my life than ever before. My curiosity is even greater. It must be part of the evolution that we call Aging.

Most of my reading is history of one sort or another, mainly the previous three centuries as well as the contemporary. People. If I read fiction I’m drawn to Balzac or Trollope, or O’Hara. Because it’s getting back to history.

I was having dinner with three friends a few Sundays ago and the subject turned to mysteries. I don’t read mysteries. I just never got into the habit. I read the Hardy Boys when I was a kid. I read Linda Fairstein because she’s a friend (as well as an advertiser), and so I’m amused at the tales of a woman I know who in many ways resembles the main character in her books. I mention all this because my three friends at dinner discussing mysteries were almost obsessed.  I learned something new about them. And many others. “Did you read ...” “Yes, but did you read his first, blahblah blah!” “Oh I loved that,” or “Nah, I’d rather read ...”
I had no idea what they were talking about. I’ve known all three for a long time. I knew they were readers because we often discuss the books we’re reading. But these three, I could see, were addicted to mysteries. Which was mystifying to me but intriguing. Funny too. Nice also.

Last week I had lunch at Michael’s with David Carnoy who has a new book out – a mystery – “Lucidity” (Overlook Press). I’ve known David since he was in college which was quite sometime ago, because he is the eldest son of an old friend of mine, and I wanted to write a little something about his career as a writer.

David also has a day job as an executive editor at CNET. He’s also the father of four little ones ages 6 to 13, and he’s a hands-on father. He’s also written two other very successful mysteries – “Knife Music,” “The Big Exit.” Frankly I am in awe. And although we rarely see each other – he does live here in New York – I follow him through his mother’s telling me about his life.
DPC and David Carnoy at Michael's.
So at lunch I was curious to know how this all happened to him. I never knew he was interested in writing until he published his first novel “Knife Music.”

He told me when he finished the first book, he couldn’t find a publisher. Finally he decided to self-publish. And right after that he got on Kindle and he sold thousands of copies. At which point a publisher wanted to publish it. What with the Kindle and the published edition, he sold very well.

David's first novel.
Click to order David's latest, "Knife Music.”
Why was he writing mysteries? I always ask how it happened because many of us are naturally drawn to certain interests as children or young people that later define us in life. David, it turned out, was an excellent example: his interest on mysteries began early, as a kid ... reading the Hardy Boys (Linda Fairstein read Nancy Drew ).

Then when he was 12 or 13, his father, a professor took a sabbatical in France and David went to school over there for the better part of the year. There was an hour during class time when everything was in French, which he did not speak. So during that hour he happened to read an Agatha Christie. That was it. Before the school year was over, he’d read all of Agatha Christie.

Although he lives here in New York, with his wife and children, his novels are mainly set in Silicon Valley, where he grew up and went to high school in Palo Alto. “The Big Exit” (2012) and “Lucidity” (2017) are now part of a trilogy that features Detective Hank Madden. All have a bit of a high-tech slant, which reflect David’s experiences as an exec editor at CNET.com.

I haven’t read “Lucidity” yet. (I’m finishing a book called “Queen Victoria’s Grandsons” – she had something like 18 as her children married other European titles and royalty.)  David’s reviews have been candy to any one of my mystery-obsessed friends.

THE SHACK review: “Carnoy’s Lucidity stuns with complex detail that will keep readers guessing until the final, satisfying jolt.” Publisher’s Weekly: “Carnoy's sharp sense of humor and clever plotting—a character suffers a pair of setbacks involving a check he didn’t write and a text he didn’t send—make this novel a standout.” Harlen Coben:
“David Carnoy gets better with each book... Lucidity is a Tour de Force of a thriller that captures you from the very first page.” 

Terry McDonell (who happened to come by our table at Michael’s that day):  “’Lucidity’ moves with speed and power, doubling back, accelerating, weaving details, blasting through, relentlessly pulling you in ... A wild ride on both coasts at the same time ... Detective thriller fiction at its best.”
 

Contact DPC here.