There's a small, but growing, stack of books written by local authors piling on my desk, and it is one mixed bag of lit. Random House's Anchor Books imprint has sent something like seven copies of Mark Gimenez's The Color of Law, the paperback version of last October's Doubleday hardback. The book--about "a partner at a prominent law firm" who is "forced to choose between his enviable lifestyle and doing the right thing," which sounds so much like my life it might be actionable just from the back-cover description alone--will out August 29.
Last year's initial publication garnered some awfully nice reviews--enough to fill the back cover with huzzahs from the likes of Texas Monthly ("an unbeatable legal thriller with a lot of heart," which is a compliment as generic as a brown paper bag) and our sistah paper the Houston Press ("a page-turner...To Kill a Mockingbird with some Law & Order thrown in," which doesn't even sound possible) and The Washington Post ("a highly readable legal thriller...[with] a tasty plot--money, political intrigue, sexy wives...Venemous, vivid...and heartfelt," praise so cut-and-pasted together that it's only fair to include the entire review here for fact-checking purposes). Gimenez, a former Dallas attorney, now lives outside of Fort Worth with the family, which has gotta be wondering when Daddy's gonna make that long Grisham green. Soon, I'd say. Here's an excerpt from the book, in case you're trying before buying. If no one's already bought the film rights--and I can't find that anyone has--I got $18.34 right now, Mark. Seriously.
Also on the to-read list is Brief Encounters with Che Guevara, a collection of short stories from O. Henry and Pushcart prize-winner Ben Fountain, who is the subject of a flattering profile in The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, today. He was born in Chapel Hill and lived all around North Carolina before settling in Dallas with his wife and two kids. Says the paper about the literary world's latest best-and-brightest:
"Since the book's publication, Fountain's storytelling has received more acclaim and awards. The collection is the independent booksellers' Book Sense Pick for August, a Barnes & Noble 'Discover Great New Writers' selection and a Borders 'Original Voice' selection.
He graduated from Duke University's law school in 1993 and practiced real estate law, negotiating commercial deals, before deciding to write full-time and be a househusband, helping to raise two children, while his lawyer wife works outside the home."
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I've made the missus many similar offers to trade positions, but instead she's decided to stay home with the kiddo, which is why I write in 400-word increments. Also, the paper notes Fountain recently received word his short story "The Lion's Mouth," which is included in Brief Encounters, has won a 2007 Pushcart Prize. Fountain's so good he wins awards in the future. More from the stacks later, including a book written by the former equipment manager for the Dallas Cowboys. Not makin' that up. --Robert Wilonsky