Proof that a successful genre novelist can also succeed in an apparently remote field.


Can a suspense novelist begin a double life as a weekly humor columnist? Just ask Scottoline (Look Again, 2009, etc.), who collects some 70 “Chick Wit” columns she wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Such a venture is not a huge stretch for a writer whose novels of legal suspense have always depended as much on witty dialogue as on mysterious plots. Scottoline’s choice of topics is impressively broad: movie-theater candy, expensive bras, Valentine’s Day, the upside of interrupting (“I would never be so rude as to not interrupt a friend. How else would she know I was listening?”), the sensual joys of hot flashes and the dream of getting tattooed. As both her choice of topics and her title make clear, men like Thing One and Thing Two, her ex-husbands, form no part of the target audience of this “mix tape for moms and girls.” Scottoline’s tics—her promises to get “back to the point,” her wild exaggerations, her sententious kickers—will prevent all but her most ardent fans from trying to read this compilation at a single sitting. Her habit of referring to her nearest and dearest by epithets (“Mother Mary,” “Daughter Francesca,” “best friend Franca”) inhibits the growth of intimacy. Though she’s touchingly matter-of-fact on the death of her beloved dog, more formal occasions for serious wisdom like a graduation speech or a reflection on mortality take her out past her depth. When she sticks to homely observations on Starbucks, cougars, or real-estate ads, however, she’s shrewd, tart, sensitive and hard to resist.

Proof that a successful genre novelist can also succeed in an apparently remote field.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-312-58748-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2009

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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