On September 21, The WD
by John Lawton
Grove Press (2016)
by Zoe Sharp
Felony & Mayhem (2016)
On September 21, The WD will be facing a full-on British Invasion. British writers, Zoe Sharp and John Lawton, will be engaging in conversation at the WD. Lawton, British spy and crime novelist, recently released his newest “sprawling heartbreaker of a novel,” Sweet Sunday about a New York private-eye from Texas. Then, there is Sharp a British crime novelist who has captivated her audience over the past decade with her Charlie Fox series. So, join us for a dangerously entertaining night of repartee through this event with an accent.
Turner Raines is not a typical New York private eye. He’d tell you so much himself, “I may not be the greatest gumshoe alive, but I’m a good listener.” He is a has-been—among the things he has been are a broken Civil Rights worker, a second-rate lawyer, and a tenth-rate journalist. But as a detective, he’s found his niche. In the summer of 1969—the hottest, sweatiest in history, the American summer in the American year in the American century—the USA is about to land a man on the moon, and the Vietnam War is set to continue to rip the country to pieces, setting sons against fathers, fathers against sons. If your kid dodges the draft, hooks up with a hippie commune, makes a dash for Canada, Turner Raines is the man to find him. He won’t drag him back, that’s not the deal, but he will put you in touch with your loved one.
That turbulent May of 1969, as Norman Mailer runs for Mayor of New York, Raines leaves the city, chasing a draft-dodging punk all the way to Toronto. Nothing goes as planned. By the time Raines gets back to New York, his oldest friend is dead, the city has changed forever, and with it, his life. Following the trail of his friend’s death, he finds himself blasted back to the Texas of his childhood, confronted anew with the unresolved issues of his divided family, and blown into the path of certain people who know about secret goings-on in Vietnam, stories they may now be willing to tell. Lucky for Raines, he’s a good listener.
John Lawton is a producer/director in television who has spent much of his time interpreting the USA to the English, and occasionally vice versa. He has worked with Gore Vidal, Neil Simon, Scott Turow, Noam Chomsky, Fay Weldon, Harold Pinter and Kathy Acker. He thinks he may well be the only TV director ever to be named in a Parliamentary Bill in the British House of Lords as an offender against taste and balance – he has also been denounced from the pulpit in Mississippi as a ‘Communist’, but thinks that less remarkable. He spent most of the 90s in New York – among other things attending the writers’ sessions at The Actors’ Studio under Norman Mailer – and has visited or worked in more than half the 50 states – since 2000 he has lived in the high, wet hills of Derbyshire England, with frequent excursions into the high, dry hills of Arizona and Italy. He is the author of 1963, a social and political history of the Kennedy-Macmillan years, six thrillers in the Troy series and a stand-alone novel, Sweet Sunday. In 1995 the first Troy novel, Black Out, won the WH Smith Fresh Talent Award. In 2006 Columbia Pictures bought the fourth Troy novel Riptide. In 2007 A Little White Death was a New York Times noteable. In 2008 he was one of only half a dozen living English writers to be named in the London Daily Telegraph’s ’50 Crime Writers to Read before You Die.’ He has also edited the poetry of DH Lawrence and the stories of Joseph Conrad. He is devoted to the work of Franz Schubert, Cormac McCarthy, Art Tatum, and Barbara Gowdy.
Charlie Fox was no good at being the nice girl her parents wanted, so she joined Her Majesty’s military and acquired a new set of skills. Now she puts them to use teaching self-defense to battered women in a refuge – passing on the finer points of roundhouse kicks, running like hell, and breaking a cheekbone when necessary. Her skills come in even handier when she takes a job working security at the New Adelphi, a hot new club with an enigmatic owner. And they come in handiest of all when a a rapist appears to be targeting the women at the refuge, and someone with a very nasty line in knife-work starts stalking Charlie’s friends.
Zoe Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire, but spent most of her formative year living on a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. Her work has been shortlisted for the much-coveted Edgar Award (given annually by the Mystery Writers of America), for the Anthony Award (presented by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention), for the Macavity Award (given by Mystery Readers International), for the Benjamin Franklin Award (courtesy of the Independent Book Publishers’ Association), for a “Dagger” award, (offered by England’s Crime Writers Association), and twice for the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel (presented by Deadly Pleasures magazine). The Charlie Fox series has been optioned for television, and – perhaps surprisingly, for people who think the series is all gunplay and motorcycles – won the “Lovey” award at last year’s Love Is Murder convention, where Zoe was the headliner. She was also the International Guest of Honour at Bouchercon 2015. Zoe lives in the English Lake District. Her hobbies are sailing, fast cars (and faster motorbikes), target-shooting, travel, films, music, and reading just about anything she can get her hands on.
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