SPLIT TO SPLINTERS, Eli Sharpe #2 and other news…

FYI: if you liked Go Go Gato and want to know what Eli Sharpe’s been doing lately, perhaps you’d be good enough to pre-order Split to Splinters, the next installment featuring my sharp-dressed, quick-witted detective. In this one, Sharpe is hired by Jim Honeycutt, a Hall of Fame pitcher turned real estate mogul, to track down a very valuable piece of baseball memorabilia. In order to solve the case, Sharpe must do battle with the daughters Honeycutt, four formidable women, all with their own agendas, as well as Tess Honeycutt, the smart and sexy wife, and a sixth woman, who, depending on who you ask, is either Honeycutt’s business partner or his mistress, or both. Oh, and then there’s the ancient alcoholic journalist living in Honeycutt’s basement, a man who is supposedly ghost-writing Honeycutt’s autobiography. Honestly, there are so many subplots in this one, so many ulterior motives and suspicions and God-only-knows what else that I can’t remember them all. I do remember that the book is fun and real page-turner. . . so much so that Steven Steinberg, coauthor (with Lyle Spatz) of the award-winning 1921: The Yankees, the Giants, and the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York, had this to say about it: 

“A fast-paced whodunit of family intrigue centering on a legendary baseball pitcher, whose priceless 300th-win baseball has been stolen. Max Everhart’s PI, Eli Sharpe, was himself a former ballplayer, but a mediocre one. Yet his grasp of human nature is of all-star quality. Sharpe is a clever and appealing character, and the story’s suspects are vivid and distinctive. Split to Splinters is a solid hit, and I look forward to his next case.”

I’m also closing in on an ending for Ed, Not Eddie, the third book in the Eli Sharpe series. This one’s about a female knuckleball pitcher who, on the eve of being drafted into the Major Leagues, begins receiving anonymous death threats. Action ensues, etc. It’s fun. I think people might like it.

And finally, ten years after I wrote it, my short story “Virginia is a Different Country” is going to be included in an anthology put out by The Story Plant. That’ll come out this summer. Here’s a link to their website.


If you’d like to preorder Split to Splinters, you can do so here:




Book Review: WOLF IN WHITE VAN by John Darnielle

Impatient readers need not apply here, but if you allow the hypnotic voice and fragmented imagery and disjointed narrative structure to carry you away, you can and will find great reward in these pages. To me, this isn’t a novel in the conventional sense. It is more of a twisted yet highly readable mind map of the protagonist, a horribly disfigured young man who invents a choose-your-own-adventure game called Trace Italian. He creates (and runs) this game via snail-mail, partly to help heal both his mind and his body after he shots himself in the face and has to spend a very long time in a hospital. The game attracts a cult following, and two teenagers–a boyfriend and girlfriend–actually get so into the game that they lose touch with reality and one of them, the girl, dies while playing it. Another player dies as well under similar circumstances, but thematically speaking, these are minor because the game (and Wolf in White Van itself, too, really) is just a metaphor for the human brain–and the very wonderful and truly horrific things it is capable of. I guess you could also file this novel under the Character Study category, which I enjoy, especially if the character in question is so confounding. And this one definitely qualifies. As I read this book, I started to imagine that I was traveling down every single synapse in this guy’s brain, that I had access to every thought, dream, nightmare, fear, fantasy. . .and yet I still couldn’t say I know what makes him tick. (To the book’s credit, there is a passage in here where the protagonist actually admits there isn’t anything that makes him tick.) You could also discuss, at length, the various ways in which imagination plays a key role in fiction in general, and this novel in particular, but I’m just going to suggest you start reading it and see for yourself. 

Bottom line, I finished Wolf in White Van almost a week ago, and I’ve found myself thinking about it every day since. What else can I say?

Book Review: BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK by Ben Fountain

This book is amazing on many different levels. First, it’s an intimate character study of Billy Lynn, one-eighth of the Bravo company who performed a singularly heroic act in Afghanistan. Billy and his fellow soldiers are now on a Victory Tour across America to rally support for the War on Terror, and a majority of the novel takes place at the old Cowboy Stadium during a football game. Over the course of the book’s barely 300 pages, the reader gets to know Billy–I mean really gets to know him. . .warts and all, and he is sympathetic character for a million reasons besides his youth and newly-appointed status as a National Treasure. Billy grapples with the obvious things–war, death, etc.–but he also tries to figure out what it means to be a human being, first, an American solider, second, and a young man with normal hangups and desires, third.

Another reason this book is riveting has to be the writing, and more specifically, the passages about America and Americans. Just one fantastic, funny, sad, and dead-on-balls accurate sentence after another about how we talk, think, behave, and interact with each other and the world around us. My favorite has to this though (don’t have the book in front of me, so I’m paraphrasing): Americans are polite as long they get their way. How great and f-ing true is that statement? This book is packed full of truisms like that one, and for my money, that’s what the book does better than anything else: it holds a mirror up to the face of America. . .and the image reflected back is equally beautiful and terrifying.

Oh and if you’re into that sort of thing, the main setting–the old Cowboy Stadium–serves a useful, apt, and rather depressing metaphor for our great country.