Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why I am crazy about Bill Ott...

One of the most rewarding experiences for a writer is to feel as if all the difficult things you've struggled so hard to describe are being taken in and understood by readers. So it's doubly rewarding when one of your readers also communicates that understanding to the wider world. That's why I'm crazy about Booklist's Bill Ott. He gets what I'm trying to do. As in:
"the culture of traditional Irish music is integral to her stories, not merely as set decoration but as a key, plot-driving mechanism. Similarly, the folklore and mythology of Ireland give the novels a thematic depth and metaphorical richness that sustain the reader far beyond questions of whodunit."

Go raibh mile maith agat, Bill!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


When I first conceived of an archaeological crime novel set in Ireland (way back in the mid-Eighties), I couldn't really find anything that fit the ideas tumbling around in my head.  You'd imagine, wouldn't you -- and I certainly did -- that the very act of unearthing of human remains was a situation ripe for mayhem and skulduggery. 

Imagine my delight, then, in the recent discovery of a new series of archaeological crime novels by Elly Griffiths, set in the English coastal marshlands, full of Iron Age artifacts and holy places... Here's a short review!

by Elly Griffiths
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN 978-0-5472-2989-8
Against the eerie backdrop of the Saltmarsh—a dangerous, desolate stretch of coastline that’s not quite earth, not quite sea—forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway stirs up fears and passions among the living even as she unearths Iron Age remains.

Although she’ll admit to being a walking cliché—she’s an overweight, unmarried, cat-loving academic—Ruth Galloway actually defies such slender classification. She’s an uncommon, down-to-earth heroine whose acute insight, wry humor, and depth of feeling make her a thoroughly engaging companion on this spooky, sometimes harrowing ride.

Early on, Ruth is called to a site where the body of a young girl has turned up on the Saltmarsh; the police fear it might be a child who went missing ten years previously. That’s where ancient history begins to cross paths with a not-so-distant past, and Ruth must tread carefully on the shifting quicksand of the Saltmarsh, and fathom the depths of her own history to determine whom to trust—even among her closest circle of old friends.

Like her protagonist, author Elly Griffiths has a strong affinity for ‘the crossing places,’ the borderlands between realms, those liminal places in the human psyche that link past and present.
 And the good news is that there are three more books in the series!