In Chandler's Footsteps
One of the kings of California crime fiction is Raymond Chandler who created the celebrated private detective, Philip Marlowe. Even though Chandler died in 1959, his work still resonates with readers today and is often paid homage to by today's writers working within the suspense genre. Steph Cha and Matt Coyle, two local Southland authors, recently published debuts that paid homage to Chandler, and Marlowe, in slightly different ways. Both authors are also going to be featured on the California Crime panel at the 8th annual Literary Orange, on Saturday, April 5, 2014 at the Irvine Marriott.
Follow Her Home casts an aimless 20-something Korean American woman in the private eye role with interesting results. Fearing that his father is having an affair with a much younger woman from the office, Juniper Song's best friend asks her to snoop around. He's rather insistent because the last time his father strayed his mother tried to commit suicide. Song has had some success in solving mysteries before, including a tragic incident that involved her younger sister. However, as soon as she starts sniffing around the alleged mistress, Song is knocked unconscious for her trouble and wakes up to find a dead body in her car. What would her hero, Philip Marlowe, do in this situation? He'd keep sticking his nose where it doesn't belong, of course! Excellent use of a rich Los Angeles tapestry that includes plenty of sunshine and seedy underbellies. It's a refreshing twist on a classic story.
Yesterday's Echo takes the lovely beach town of La Jolla, California and gives it a hidden, ugly face. Rick Cahill used to be a police officer, until his wife was murdered. He was considered the prime suspect, but the district attorney didn't have enough to make a charge stick. With everyone, from friends to family, abandoning him, when an old college buddy offers him a job working in his La Jolla restaurant, Rick jumps at the chance. He's always going to have a cloud of suspicion over his head, but his life is steady - until one night an attractive TV reporter walks into the bar and asks for his help. The former cop in Rick cannot say no, and naturally our beautiful woman has a whole host of unsavory characters creeping out of the shadows. This story features more twists and turns than any coastal highway and was impossible to put down, especially as the action starts flying fast and furious in the final chapters. The author is a fan of Raymond Chandler's work, and his story of an "every man" with a shady past roped into trouble by a mysterious woman has all the hallmarks of classic noir.
To learn more about Literary Orange, please visit the web site, where you will find a complete list of attending authors and information about registering to attend the event.