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Favorite book of the week: Ariel, by Lawrence Block

ariel-coverI know. It doesn’t seem as if it should be hard to qualify for this. After all, how many books do I read in a week? (Probably 10 or so, if you’re actually curious and not just criticizing my post’s title for fun.) But I’m actually pretty damn picky about which books those are. I don’t keep reading if I’m bored…

Regardless, this one was truly exceptionally cool. I don’t want to spoil it for you…but it surprised me. Several times.

Disclaimer: I’ve been a Lawrence Block fan for years. Decades, even. I went to a book signing of his about 20 years back, and I can report that his self-deprecating humor was exactly what you’d expect…

More than that? I’ve benefited enormously from his books on writing. I’ve even used his “Write for Your Life” affirmations…meaning, yes, I had them playing over and over while I wrote and slept. (I’d probably do that still, but I lost the copies I downloaded. Might invest ten bucks in re-acquiring them at some point.)

So, all that said? I hate to say this next bit…but I’m a much bigger fan of his more recent work. By “more recent” I generally mean the books he’s published in the last…oh, I don’t know…30 years or so. Ariel is older than that.

But it’s amazing, in spite of my probably-stupid generalization above. Ariel is…well, it doesn’t easily fit into any sort of genre boundaries. In fact accurately fitting it into a genre would ruin much of the suspense. Occult? Crime? Coming of age? Maybe!

It doesn’t hurt, given my own recent interest in foster parenting, that the story involves an adopted child…but maybe that won’t matter much to most of you who read this. It’s astoundingly (why am I so surprised, again?) well-written. It kept me up late. I’d like to share it with you.

Want something different? I don’t care what you’ve been reading; this one’s different.

Truly a wonderful book. Go buy it if you’ve a mind (heh), or get it via Kindle Unlimited. Since it is in Kindle Unlimited, you’ll have to get the ebook from Amazon. Print versions are likely more generally available.

I thought about posting a review on Amazon. But, as an author myself, I have to be at least slightly careful about that. The ‘Zon’s review policy is, at best, a confusing mess. So I’ll just post this here, and maybe I’ll do a bit more of this reviewing-stuff in the future while I’m at it.

Hey, do you folks have favorite books you think I might want to read? I’d love to hear about them. In spite of all the fiction available, my Kindle still runs dry…

We’ll see how it goes. Meanwhile, have fun out there!

Published inCrimeOccultOther people's fictionYoung adult


  1. What a nice start to the day! Ariel’s a book that can get lost, because it doesn’t really lend itself to categorization, as you point out. But self-publishing has enabled it to find a new and reasonably enthusiastic audience.

    May I add that we’ve also brought it out in paperback? Same Classic Crime Library cover, and it should be on the same Amazon page—and probably will be eventually. Here’s a link to the paperback:

    • David

      Now I’m all star-struck. Very cool of you to reply here.

      And thanks for sending the mp3 download link for those affirmations! I would’ve paid again, though. Honest. I mean, eventually. But, since I tend to put off almost everything I really ought to do right away, maybe my next book will turn out a little better than I’d have otherwise managed….

      • I am still wondering how I missed this great book the first time around.
        LB is, quite simply, the best.

        • David

          Yeah, it’s weird that I hadn’t read it either. Probably a combination of factors there: genrebending and the age of the thing. I’ve had this prejudice against older LB work for quite a while now. Looking back, I’m not sure where it came from. Maybe that collection of his really early stories? But I think my goofiness predates it. There was probably some sort of reason…?

          OTOH I just reread “After the First Death” yesterday, and it was pretty damned good. From another author, I’d say it would have been better as a short story…because the plot was utterly predictable. But who wants that in a short story? As things stood, I had a lot of fun seeing the thing unfold even though I was pretty sure how it would end.

          Did I remember the ending? Is that why it was so predictable? Maybe. Maybe not. Either way, I’m glad I picked it up again.

          So now I have a perfect excuse to go back and re-read a lot of books. So much for working! {8’>

  2. I have an autographed copy of Spider, Spin me a Web.

    Mr. Block made writing seem so easy – write it, clean it up a bit, send it out.

    I still love his books on writing – even though I discovered a very long time ago that he is a pantser, and I an extreme plotter, and those things don’t go together very well. I STILL like those books. He makes it seem so easy…

    And he is apparently a sweetheart.

    • David

      The funny thing? For me, writing is easy. Or it doesn’t work at all. Meaning that either I’m “pantsing” and enjoying myself, or I can’t produce enough words to matter. Which doesn’t mean I can write whenever I want…though you’d think it would. Turns out, getting into the right (write?) frame of mind to produce fiction can be difficult. But at least, knowing this, I can (in theory) quit trying to do all the things that don’t help.

      And yeah. He does seem to be a sweetheart.

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