About the Whodunit Book Club

Whodunit Book Club has met in its present location for almost seventeen years! If you would like to join us, our meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month (except December).
We meet at the Chapters Store located at 41 MicMac Blvd., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Phone (902) 466-1640

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Whodunit Book Club - September 28th, 2010

Whodunit Book Club was thrilled to welcome local thriller writer, Pamela Callow to club this month!
The author of the bestselling novel "Damaged" Pamela generously shared some of her experiences with getting her first book published, the writing process and some other background information.

A self-confessed bookworm as a child, she was a regular patron of the local Bookmobile. When she was eight years old, she decided that she wanted to write a book. She credits her junior high school English teacher with lighting the 'spark' that really got her started. Pam took an adult education class at Mount Saint Vincent University. It took her five years to get published.

Her very first novel (a time travel historical novel) is as yet unpublished. She intends to someday revisit this book, fine tune it, and perhaps try once more to get it published.

"Damaged" was based on an actual legal case from the United States in which the perpetrator was an oral surgeon, a funeral home was involved with tissue brokering, and a class action suit resulted from it! She decided to set the novel based on this case in Halifax. The first publisher she approached actually rejected "Damaged" based on the setting. Whodunit members appreciated the local setting so we could readily imagine the scenes in the novel. Pamela receives positive emails from all over the U.S. and Canada about "Damaged", so the setting is clearly not a deterrent to those readers!

There is a great book trailer for "Damaged" available on You Tube!

A lawyer, Pamela Callow's writing process was aided by her legal background. This helped when doing research for her novel and also helped to open doors to such places as the Halifax Police Department. Her husband, a physician was helpful with the medical side of the story.

Pamela Callow gave us some insight as to the incredibly hard work that is required to ensure that the continuity of plot and character development is maintained. This is especially important when writing a series. She claimed to be a 'plodder' when she spoke of her writing regime. She creates flow-charts, an outline, and a full back-story for all of her characters before beginning on the actual novel. With a four book contract, she has resigned from her legal career and now writes full time, seven days per week!

Whodunit members were curious about Alaska, the husky dog which was a character in "Damaged". She says he is based upon two dogs that belong to her brother. She also let us know that there would be dogs featured throughout the series.

The second novel in the Kate Lange series, "Indefensible" is due out December 2010. This novel features a wrongful accusation against Randall Barrett and occurs four months after "Damaged" ended.
She is currently working on "Tattooed", the third novel in the series.

She credits her excellent PR team with some of her success. The first printing of "Damaged" was 128,000 copies! A real coup for a first-time novelist.
She commented upon the cover art of her books. They will all center around a woman's face and water. This, she says is a semi-metaphor for characters that are figuratively 'drowning'.
The hidden staircase in Kate Lange's home is another recurring element in the series. Pam says it is a metaphor for Kate's life.

Pamela Callow graciously signed books for Whodunit members following the meeting.
Some photos of the signing are below.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Whodunit Book Club - August 31st, 2010

Sixteen members attended this month's meeting which was, as usual, a lively event.
The circle's question this month was: "What book is on your nightstand right now?"
The answers enabled us to learn a little more about our fellow bookclub members AND some great recommendations were given in the process!
The novel discussed this month was "The girl with the dragon tattoo" by Stieg Larsson. This novel has been published in over 40 languages and has sold over 20 million copies! Therefore it meets anyone's criteria of a 'bestseller'. It is also an award winning book which garnered the Anthony Award and the Glass Key Award.
We learned a little about the author who, sadly, is deceased. He died of a heart attack at age 50 before having the opportunity to reap the rewards of his efforts as all three of his bestselling Millennium trilogy were published following his death. He was an investigative journalist, a workaholic and an activist. Because of the nature of his work he feared for his safety and hid out in his own home. He and his partner of 32 years never married because in Sweden you have to divulge your address once you are married. As a result, his partner Eva Gabrielsson does not benefit from the proceeds of the novels. His estranged father and brother inherit his estate. For an online interview with Eva Gabrielsson click here.
Stieg Larsson put a lot of effort into researching and preparing his novels. He actually had an outline for ten novels!
Also, the novels have been made into movies in their original Swedish language. I was fortunate enough to see the first two. There are also English language movies being made, but I believe that the original Swedish versions will surpass these in talent, direction and cinematography. I simply cannot imagine that the part of Lizbeth Salander played by Noomi Norén (aka Noomi Rapace) could be matched by another actress.

Whodunit members enjoyed the novel and about 3/4 of the members want to read the sequels. They felt that the ending was very well done and in keeping with the story.
Some found that the first of the book dragged a bit, but most agreed that this was needed to 'set up' the story for the rest of the novel.

This month's lucky winners of Pam's book giveaway were:
Jody, Marilyn, Heather and Lynne.

Next month's title is "Damaged" by Pamela Callow. A local author, she has agreed to attend our next meeting and Whodunit is excited to have her with us.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Great mystery anthology!

I enjoy reading short stories in my genre of choice... the mystery. When I come across a collection that is of absolute 'stellar' quality, I feel it is my duty to share it with my fellow mystery lovers.
"The Penguin book of Crime Stories volume II" is just such an anthology! Selected and introduced by one of my favorite authors, Peter Robinson, this collection surpassed my expectations.
Two of my favorite stories from this collection were: "The visitors' book" by Sophie Hannah and "The game of dog" by Reginald Hill.
Other excellent short stories in this collection were written by Ruth Rendell, Sue Grafton, Maureen Jennings, Robert J. Randisi, Rick Mofina, John Connolly and Lee Child to name a few.
Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Whodunit Book Club - July, 2010

I was sorry to have missed this meeting, but summer vacation took precedence.
I have garnered the following information from some of my fellow club members.

Pam's magical question/ice breaker was:
"What is your beverage of choice when you read?"
Varied answers included tea, coffee, wine etc. Of course all the answers came with anecdotes...
The novel discussed this month was "Sign of the cross" by Anne Emery.
First in a series set in our hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the book was enjoyed by most members. People felt the characters were believable and for the most part likable – the story was believable and not too far fetched. Overall the book was well received. Some highly recommended it, and gave their copies to others to read. Some had already read other books in the series.
The importance of 'setting' was discussed at length. Some enjoyed the fact that the books was set locally so that they could readily identify with the descriptions. Others prefer it if a novel is set in other parts of the world so that they can learn about other places.
The protagonist is Halifax lawyer, Monty Collins. He is hired to defend a priest, Father Brennan Burke who is suspected of murdering a young girl whose body was carved with a religious 'sign'.
From the author's website: "From their first meeting, Monty finds Burke acerbic, arrogant, and evasive about his relationship with the victim. Conflict between lawyer and client simmers all through the ordeal that lies ahead, as evidence piles up and murder charges seem inevitable. With Burke remaining tight-lipped about his past, Monty has no choice but to go behind his back and conduct a probe into the life of his own client. Never in his career has Monty been so lost for answers, until a long-forgotten incident takes on new and ominous meaning...".

"Sign of the cross" was the winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel in 2007.

The winners of the book giveaways will be added to this blog posting when I get the information. Anyone wishing to add to this post is very welcome to add their two cents worth...