Monday procrastination roundup: Welcome distractions

One of my favorite parts of reading a book is trying to figure out which character did it — whatever “it” happens to be — and which characters I’m supposed to think is the guilty party. It’s also something I strive to do when I write a novel.

You will have to be the judges of whether I’ve done my job in creating good red herrings. But CrimeReads and Karen Dietrich were the judges of these eight contemporary crime fiction novels that expertly use red herrings, and I can absolutely vouch for Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay.

Characters we love to hate

I am also partial to narrators who don’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. Very few people are always altruistic or in the moral right, and I like reading about people who feel real.

The wild success of Gillian Flynn, Caroline Kepnes, and Smantha Downing are proof that I’m far from alone. And Downing, author of the sensational debut thriller My Lovely Wife, has rounded up 10 of the most morally bankrupt narrators in fiction.

A small hint: Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) and Humbert Humbert (Lolita) made the cut.

Foreword INDIES finalists announced

Foreword Reviews recently announced its list of finalists for its 2019 INDIES book awards. The finalists include great reads The Unrepentant by E.A. Aymar and Sync by K.P. Kyle. The winners will be announced June 17.

Meanwhile, in Texas

I am excited about the buzz surrounding Valentine (Harper, March 31), the debut novel by West Texas native Elizabeth Wetmore. The novel takes place in 1976 Odessa, where the rape of a 14-year-old girl divides the community. Wetmore’s writing has been compared to Pulitzer-winner Elizabeth Strout, and this work of literary fiction “evokes the work of Larry McMurtry,” according to the Publisher’s Weekly starred review.

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