Don’t let her pleasant demeanor fool you: Local author Alison Gaylin is not a bit hesitant about putting her characters out of their misery, whether they’re guilty of wrongdoing or not. The author of the Edgar-nominated thriller Hide Your Eyes and its sequel You Kill Me, plus two stand-alone novels, Trashed and Heartless, Gaylin gives her female protagonists chutzpah enough to stand up to bad guys, and to persist until their curiosities are satisfied and crimes are solved. She once said that it’s the drama, the tension of having lives at stake that intrigues her: “Usually when I write, somebody ends up getting killed.”
Blood is spilled all over town in her newest murder mystery And She Was, just released in mass-market paperback. A new leading character, Brenna Spector, is introduced as a divorced freelance private investigator who happens to suffer from a rare neurological disorder, hyperthymestic syndrome, that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. Though invaluable in her work, the condition often proves to be overpowering, as any sensory stimulation can set off a full-scale memory in her mind, like a DVD recording with no pause button.
Gaylin will read from And She Was and talk with her fans about all-things-murderous-and-suspenseful on Saturday, March 3 at 6 p.m. at Oriole-9 Restaurant in Woodstock, hosted by the Golden Notebook, and at Barnes & Noble in Kingston on Saturday, March 17 at 2 p.m.
The plot of Gaylin’s new book swirls around the unsolved case of a missing girl and how it’s connected to a local woman’s disappearance 11 years later. Coincidentally, Spector’s older sister is long-gone, having stepped into a strange car one day, never to be seen again. Bizarre connections like these abound, with loose threads dangling through the lives of police officers, dissatisfied suburbanites, a local developer and at least one wacko vigilante. The suspense won’t kill you, but it might keep you up reading all night.
Gaylin is adept at moving a story forward, deftly describing scenic details that suggest full-screen visuals in the mind of the reader. Her dialogue, both interior and between characters, clips along briskly enough that you almost get the gist of it faster than your brain translates words on the page. And there’s something comforting in Gaylin’s writing voice – the tone with which she lays out kidnappings and murders and horrible threats to human happiness – that somehow makes you feel safe and okay. It’s a mystery worth contemplating.
At Barnes & Noble in Kingston:
Saturday, March 10 at 2 p.m. – Discuss all-things-zombie with local author Linda Zimmermann, who will read from her newest chiller HVZA: Hudson Valley Zombie Apocalypse.
Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. – The Emerald Diamond: How the Irish Transformed America’s Greatest Pastime is Charley Rosen’s history of the Irish in baseball, examining how early Irish players and managers helped shape the game. The author of 17 sports books, Rosen brings his passion to the plate in this one. Meet the author and join the discussion.
At Barnes & Noble in Poughkeepsie:
Saturday, March 10 at 1 p.m. – The classic film West Side Story turned 50 last year and was celebrated by a dozen of the more obscure cast members in a book Our Story: Jets and Sharks Then and Now, a collective memoir of the gang members who danced their fights onstage to the tune of ten Academy Awards. Personal stories about the actors themselves – how they were chosen for the film, what they are doing now – reveal their critical contributions to the iconic film. Meet bad boys Eddie Verso (Juano), Bert Michaels (Snowboy), Harvey Hohnecker (Mouthpiece) and David Bean (Tiger) as they share memories and anecdotes and sign copies of the book.
At the Golden Notebook in Woodstock:
Saturday, March 10 at 5 p.m. at the Kleinert/James Arts Center – Anthony Robinson reads and signs copies of The Floodplain.
Sunday, March 11 at 5 p.m. at the Kleinert/James Arts Center – Poet Ed Sanders presents Fug You! An Informal History of the Peace-Eye Bookstore, the $%^& You Press, the Fugs and the Counterculture of the Lower East Side.
Saturday, March 17 at 5 p.m. at the Kleinert/James Arts Center – Meet Tricia Tunstall, author of Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema and the Transformative Power of Music. Part history, part reportage, this book reveals that arts education can indeed effect positive social change.
Saturday, March 24 at 6 p.m. at Oriole-9 – Erica Manfred’s latest offering, Interview with a Jewish Vampire, is a humorous, sexy romp with a Hasidic twist.
At Inquiring Minds in New Paltz:
Saturday, March 3 at 7 p.m. – Poets Howie Good (Dreaming in Red) and Pauline Uchmanowicz (Inchworm Season) will read and sign copies of their books.
At Inquiring Minds in Saugerties:
Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m. – Linda Zimmerman’s HVZA: Hudson Valley Zombie Apocalypse is the latest of her 20+ books chronicling investigations into hauntings and all-things-undead. This imaginative tale follows a medical student who fights to find a cure to the zombie infection, while fighting for her life in the streets. Come meet the author.
At Merritt Books in Millbrook:
Friday, March 2 at 10 a.m. – Author Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrator James E. Ransome will read their children’s picture book Words Set Me Free: The Story of Young Frederick Douglass, who was one of the most prominent African American figures in American history.
Wednesday, March 7 at 10 a.m. – Children’s author Peter McCarty brings his popular monster back in style, with a sequel that will have kids drawing their own little monsters in no time. The Monster Returns is fun, funny and delightful!
Saturday, March 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. – Sheila Buff, the ghostwriter or co-author of nearly 50 books in health and medicine, including seven national bestsellers, will conduct a workshop on self-publishing and publicizing. Her latest books, Birding for Beginners and Insider’s Guide to the Hudson River Valley, will also be available for purchase and signing. The workshop is $50. Call (845) 677-5857 or e-mail Scott at email@example.com for registration and further information.
At Oblong Books in Rhinebeck:
Friday, March 2 at 6 p.m. – The first Hudson Valley YA (Young Adult) Society event of 2012 will feature best-selling author Lauren Oliver (Pandemonium) and debut novelist Kate Ellison (The Butterfly Clues). RSVPs are required for this free event at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, March 9 at 7:30 p.m. – Poet Stanley Blum will read from Couraggio! his latest book in an autobiographical trilogy of poems and abstract oil paintings.
Saturday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. – Baseball historian Robert Fitts discusses his Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage & Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan.
At the Woodstock Library:
Saturday, March 10 at 5 p.m. – Come meet two authors for the price of one at this free event. Pamela Wardwell will read from I’m Nobody: A Woodstock Mystery, and Barry Knight will discuss points from his booklet Safer Driving Common Sense.
Saturday, March 31 at 5 p.m. – Divided We Stand: A Biography of the World Trade Center is Eric Darton’s compelling chronicle of the billion-dollar structure from its inception through construction, and how it reflected our 20th-century culture. This second edition includes a new introduction and afterword. Meet the author and engage in a lively discussion.